Of course it's me, not the veg garden, that's completely confused.
You see, it's the colours, and while they give me joy, they also require thought. You know, yellow beans along with chartreuse broccoli, gold-stalked chard (below) and yellow pansies (actually lemon pansies, then yellow, then gold, as your eye travels along the path). Or lemon Nasturtium with edible flowers and leaves, great in salads. For instance.
The problem is that every so often we move our little hens along from one patch to another - great in theory, and great for adding good loam and nutrients to the soil.
Once you've made something approximating `pretty', it's hard to see it destroyed - even by happy scratchers with names - who even produce eggs; valuable creatures. (`Happy' sounds terribly like anthropomorphising but when our girls rush out the door when it's opened in the morning, and scratch for insects all day, make happy noises of excitement periodically, and are hard to coax back into the large (permanent) hen run in late afternoon, then it's hard to not see them as enjoying themselves.)
I'm partially keeping the features - the ones that hide my compost bins. Yes, there's 7 bins (not enough, actually) spread through the 5 veg beds; plastic (useful, above) but ugly.
(A note on composting. Years ago we read about how to nearly fill the bin, then add a layer of soil, about 10cm (4 inches) thick or a bit more if you have it. Water the contents, then add, not the plastic lid, but wire mesh atop which lets in the rain; then ignore for a while. Works a treat! Good compost is the reward in a couple of months, longer in the cool months.)
So...I am hiding my ugly compost bins with the glorious, silver leaves of globe artichoke (above; Stevia, tried twice (in one bed), does not like our winters) and, as you enter the patch, a white or blue, usually dwarf, lavender is stationed on each side, as sentinels. Or curry plant (Helichrysum italicum - which hens like to nibble a little), with little gold button-like blooms, in the yellow patch. How to keep them? Just a few old bricks are placed around the feet, to stop enthusiastic scratching. As I've found out recently, it works - hurrah! Now I'm leaving the bricks in situ after the girls have been moved to another patch, and covering the bricks with mulch - and it all seems to be falling into place nicely. Now to work out the pansies (or other edible flowers - that's the rule). Plant in pots, remove the pots later and trim the stems, hard?
As Eccles said, `thinks'.
Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria. (www.jillweatherheaddesign.com.au)