Years ago, the RAC used The Rolling Stones’ haunting Gimme Shelter in a TV commercial where a lone lady’s car breaks down in the dark and a black knight on a shining motorbike pulls up to fix it for her. It was more atmospheric and persuasive than my summary gives credit: although I doubt TV advertising (like all intrusive advertising) works as well as the sales team would claim, in this case it triggered a purchase. I bought the (wrong) Rolling Stones CD to try to get a copy. I’m just that bit too young to be truly knowledgeable about the band and thought I was looking for 2000 Light Years From Home, a good title for a stranded lady.
Gimme Shelter sprang to mind when I spotted this ladybird. I’d have cropped in a bit tighter but liked the dramatic effect of the wizened seed capsules, hard, almost ugly against the splendour of the fiery foliage; the feeling of disarray. Continue reading
A 8ft meteor has fallen to earth, coming to rest in a garden. The impact has blackened the fencing, scorched vegetation and reduced trees and shrubs to charred branches.
The path is miraculously unscathed: not quite so old as the meteor, it has been made from a Caledonian boulder formed millions of years ago. Smaller boulders lie around, giving the floor added dimension and creating a lovely backdrop for the silhouettes of low growing plants and twisted embers of wood.
The dark planting scheme glows red hot in places: the chocolate-red cosmos and orange-red helenium firing up the green and pewter foliage, the burnt wood and the futuristic lilacs. This is the Elements Mystique Garden from RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 2018, but the setting would not be out of place in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Continue reading
This blushing geranium, technically, a pelargonium, has the good fortune to live in a traditional terracotta pot on a narrow ledge in a greenhouse at Stourhead, with several unusual varieties. I suppose that lends it some aristocratic credentials, although the aptly named P. L’élégante would be graceful even if a cutting somehow found itself transferred to the sunny windowsill of a greasy spoon caff. (Please don’t look like that – I’m not one of those who smuggle the odd plant cutting, though I cannot vouch the same for all people of my acquaintance).
When the pelargonium and I were formally introduced (this was at Stourhead, remember), its pretty white flowers seemed almost inconsequential compared to the foliage: tumbling, ivy shaped leaves with creamy margins, suffused pink.
Nandinas (and many other foliage plants) left me fairly cold until I started to take an interest in floristry and landscaping. I took them for granted. Now I look with fresh eyes, I see how decorative their small, grape-like bunches of berries and patterned leaflets are. Continue reading
This is a crop of a photo of foliage highlighted by sunlight with an effect applied in Photoshop.
Am I strange to think of heucheras as some of the most useful garden perennials for areas of light shade? Their flowers may be demure, but their often evergreen, variegated leaves provide wonderful ground cover. You may know them by their folk name: coral bells. Continue reading