Travel writer Pat Richardson shares the pleasure of her own little corner of heaven to come home to
As I’ve mentioned, my garden’s colour scheme – apart from some early yellows to herald spring – is blues, pinks, crimsons and purples. Why? It all began at a big family party, when a talented flower-arranger dressed the party table with a tied posy in those colours – not pastel-toned, but jewel-bright and oh-so-beautiful – for every female guest to take home. One glance, and I knew which colours my garden was going to flaunt.
Each works wonderfully well at enriching the others, I just add a little white, here and there, for its cooling, calming contrast. Like most women, I have a soft spot for pink; cue roses, weigela, dicentra, azalea and add aquilegas galore, running the gamut from shell pink to dusky purple. Other purple flowers – lilacs, lavenders, rosemary, starry vinca, still-going-strong aubretia, and show-stopping erysimum Bowles’s Mauve – add depth to this glorious tapestry, as do the burgundy leaves of heucheras, and stunning crimson rosa Ingrid Bergman brings yet more richness. Geraniums and clematis will soon weave still more colour into this rainbow array.
And the superstar? Perhaps surprisingly, it’s the blues. Why we use the term to signify melancholy and gloom, I cannot imagine. The bluebells’ haze, echoing summer-days skies, and the achingly beautiful, vibrant intensity of ceanothus Puget Blue (pictured) are enough to make any heart sing. This is the colour, surely, of pure, exuberant joy?
This ceanothus is truly a survivor, I should add. We all have one in our garden, and I’m thrilled that in mine it’s this plant. Well, actually, it’s now a 10-foot-tall tree – which was not what it said on the tin – I mean label! When I started gardening, I was nothing if not determined. If I wanted particular plant in a particular place, I was going to have it. And if I failed at my first attempt, I tried again, And again. And again – until I succeeded. Of course, with this one exception, I never did. Nowadays, I’m more sensible: if, after two sterling efforts, I can’t get something to grow happily, I stop.
This ceanothus was my sixth, and just look at it! How it ever found room to take root in the tiny space between a fence and crazy paving that it wriggled into, through the bottom of its pot, I’ll never fathom; but, every year, as it bursts into heavenly blue glory, I thank heaven that it did!
|Pat Richardson has many years experience as a travel writer including 16 years as Travel Editor on Best Magazine. She has since turned freelance and writes mainly for the Daily Telegraph’s Escorted Travel and Cruise Supplements. As well as tending her own delightful Kew garden, she runs www.perfectlyworded.co.uk, a writing and editing service and consultancy, and www.HotelsThatWereNot.com, a website showcasing properties with a past.|