Thursday, 6 September 2012

Fifty Shades of Green

Melbourne’s first days of spring have been a happy, sunlit, mild preview of upcoming searing summer days; a little tasty dukkah before the fiercest curry. (It’s unfashionable but no, I don’t like summer; bushfire risk is just part of the story.)
Sunshine, longer days and fewer frosts have wrought changes to the garden; it’s doffed its drear winter greens and tossed its bare branches and exploded (ahem) into fifty shades of green. (Someone had to say it.) Although I am not sure who is really in charge here (dare I say dominant), the garden or me.
Lichen-green tree leaf buds are appearing, iris are thrusting up swords of fresh gray-green leaves (topped by dark purple buds), and appearing in the lawn (as we optimistically call our circle of rough grass) are patches of Leprechaun-chartreuse. Handsome  Trillium leaves, in neat threes about the flower (below), vary from purest cucumber to pea-green charmingly dappled with markings reminiscent of the best Lindt milk chocolate giving a trout-like effect to rival the trout lilies (Erythronium) themselves. Unfurling shrub leaves are pure citron; all rather edible it seems, as well as delicious to the eye and the spirit.

Corsican winter roses (Helleborus argutifolius) continue to show off blooms of apple-green….I don’t just mean the green of leaves, by the way; I love green flowers too. Paris in particular (top) is a choice perennial, dormant in winter, which has not yet raised its flag of surrender – the nights are still too cold (less than 3 degrees last night). Soon the shoots will rise, unfurl geometrically (see below) and display (mainly) green flowers in late spring. It’s a joy but best in some shade.
Friends in my garden club, the Alpine Garden Society (Victorian chapter), also like green flowers but I’m afraid they are more sophisticated than I; they see beauty in a brown flower too (such as Scoliopus) but this is a step too far, if not an Olympian leap, for this gardener.

Incidentally, the garden is not all green; soon we’ll be at the equinox and saying farewell to the last of the gold and amber daffodils for another year.
Back to 50 shades of…green. (Oh my.) In my garden, as in the book, there’ll be love, pain, pleasure, reproduction and whipping into line…if I get around to it (the latter, that is). After all, a bit of soft tumbling of plants looks natural and suits my country garden. Just as well.

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