Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dancing Tulips

Tulips 'Abu Hassan' and 'Queen of Night' and some gatecrashers

With all this lovely warmth has come lots of lovely plant growth, which is great as I have 12 new plants in one border alone...although this does have watering implications. My neighbour’s wisteria is coming into flower and smells wonderful and my tulips are looking fantastic too, especially my favourite ‘Abu Hassan’ and inky ‘Queen of Night’. I always heard that ‘Queen of Night’ was a bit effete and would fade out after a couple of years but these have bucked the trend and multiplied by half, so all good there.

When I visit beautiful gardens for work, I often discover a gardener inspired by Sarah Raven and her colour schemes. One of her tips is, apparently, that one should arrange flowers like a wedding – a big one as a bride, several smaller ones that echo the form of the big one as bridesmaids, some other stuff as guests and then add a gatecrasher – a contrasting, uninvited flower to shake the whole look up. The picture above is my hot border; the yellow tulip arrived completely on its own (well, with one of its mates, a rogue allium with a drink problem) – which I was a bit cross about, but I am coming round to the idea that it is a good dancer and saves the tulip season from boredom.

The weeds are getting going too - at the biodynamic garden at Waltham Place in Berkshire, they grow bindweed up obelisks in the borders so it actually contributes to the look by adding height while not strangling the other plants. Sadly I don’t think my little patch has the grandeur to take it.

Yesterday I caught myself wishing that the gardening pixies would arrive in the night and do the weeding for me. But if every dandelion disappeared by magic, would this not be unsatisfying? As if I was somehow cheating? I have switched my wishes for unseen assistance – I am now hoping that the tidying up and laundry-putting-away pixies will come. Housework I am much less attached to.