The Garden is suffused with blue.
It's as if pools of sky have dropped to earth, and little inlets of sea have arrived, and an oasis lake here and there, in tarns and swathes, all tying the garden together, even in the cut flower beds.
The front garden path is edged with a lovely bugle, as is my round lawn: Ajuga `Jungle Beauty' (last picture): handsome dark leaves - not flat like its brothers - topped just now with innumerable spikes of smoky blue flowers: not showy, precisely, just heart-warming. Behind these, and elsewhere, are pools of cool Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica, above), standing upright (enough to pick for a vase. They don't last long but something I found interesting was that they are like a daffodil - no, hear me out! - if you pick them carefully, with a pull, you can get a long stem, for a showy vase-full). Soft blue Anemone coronaria and Pulmonaria add to the picture and a few iris are beginning too. Of the native blue flag, sky-blue (a cold, English sky-blue) Orthrosanthos laxus has burst into bloom while O. multiflorurus, darker, smoky, is still in bud. (The latter make a stunning sweep by the main roundabout in Belgrave while a week ago - in cooler Kallista - a huge display of deepest blue Dutch iris took my breath away - in the roundabout; something I'm tempted to copy in my garden - in the yellow and blue area.)
What's surprising is that all these blues don't detract, but instead enhance, the giant blue poles (see post 27/9/15) and if, like me, you know that within the blue poles circle is the magnified atom with its shiny deep blue `nucleus' (larger, central) and (outer, smaller) `electrons' then it's rather satisfying.
But, and it's a big but, I promised myself to cut down the blue poles when the pink tulips, or other flower-power began and the garden looked incongruous: pop art next to flower garden.
Two factors are staying my hand. Or three.
The blue is fading and the poles are shooting. The 3m-high poles will give quicker screening between house and sheds - their original purpose - if I don't cut them down to ground level.
While I've planted 2 Magnolia `White Caviar' to do the screening long term, these may take a little time to reach the 3 to 4m I want. (Magnolia `White Caviar' is said to be an evergreen cross between Magnolia figo (with its wonderful scent) and Michelia yunnanensis, a plant I love for its perfect white flowers. This cross has perfumed, cream tulip-like flowers and can reach 4m high (while being a useful mere 2m wide).)
And...this week, the pink and white tulips in the rose garden, around the rondel, or circular lawn, well, there's maybe 10 flowering now, just out, and still the blue poles looks `nice'; still I want to keep them. Then again, the roses are in bud; can roses - the epitome of a flower garden - look consistent in front of a large pop art feature?...No!
Maybe I have to paint the poles green.
Moreover, J has made an interesting point, as partner of a would-be artist. One pop art installation in our country garden at a time is enough, a garden which (discounting orchard and edible patch) is probably less than ½ acre (very, very roughly ¼ hectare). It's probably a great rule...and as I'm itching to try a new idea...I think Blue Poles has had its day.
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.jillweatherheadgardendesign.com.au)