After this (comparatively) dry winter and sudden spring sunshine, it's as if the sea has rushed in and created pools of blue all through the garden.Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica,, above) are rock pools of summer-sky-blue with a hint of violet; they're spreading a bit too much (as many bulbs are wont to do), but it's hard to dislike a plant that flowers in profusion just when the spring warmth really arrives. They've appeared in the silver-and-raspberry coloured garden, too, but are welcome - even there. As a plant that is not treasured (and is prolific) it's one I'm happy for visiting children to pick bunches of the flowers, which is heaps of fun.
Shorter but with impressive leaves is Jungle Beauty Bugle (Ajuga `Jungle Beauty' (above) - so much nicer than the low, flat leaves of Ajuga reptans), awash with deep blue-violet blooms on 15 - 20cm stems; a groundcover that looks good all year and grows fast - what's not to love?
Visiting the bushland at Baluk Willam Reserve last weekend, we saw spots of blue there, too. Two plants stood out: on the forest floor, blue squills (or blue stars, top, Chamaescilla corymbosa) opening tropical-sky-blue, petite blooms; and scrambling through low shrubs, love creeper (Comesperma volubile, below) - a deeper blue, surely, than any other flower, even in bud. Why is this climber called love creeper? I'd love to know!
(We saw orchids, too, but ones I've seen before.)
As in other years, we were wandering through bushland, 10 minutes from home, with a friend - in strong spring sunshine.
Then cake and coffee.
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)