Monday, July 28, 2008

Got the blues, but I don't mind

A lack of flowering plants is always going to be part of winter. Our local native birds are glad of the pink-flowering Eucalyptus leucoxylon var. rosea street tree at the front of our house, and the red-flowering Grevillea 'Superb' in the backyard, both of which flower through winter. These two plants are almost constantly occupied right now by nectar-eaters such as wattle birds, New Holland honeyeaters and rainbow lorikeets. But as for flowers, that's about it right now. So I was organising my iPhoto files yesterday and realised that last spring and summer was quite a lovely little blue period for the garden. So, as a way of banishing the midwinter blues, here's a simple post of my garden during its blue period last year.

Without a doubt the prettiest weed in my garden, these self-seeding 'Johnny Jump Ups' poke up here, there and everywhere from late winter through to late spring. From one punnet sown in innocence at least 10 years ago, these plants have become an established, and only occasionally annoying, flowering weed. I always pull up the majority of them as they appear in unwanted spots, but I always let several grow and flower, too.

A great little annual for spots that get only some sun during the day, torenias put on a good show and are very easy to look after and last several weeks.

One good accidental combo was when a vigorous, groundcovering pelargonium made it all the way to the torenia patch.

In Australia and I presume in other countries, when you say the word 'geranium' most people think of pelargoniums, but here's what they call a 'real' geranium. I bought several geraniums at a gardening show a couple of years ago, and this is the sole survivor. Hot, dry Sydney midsummer days killed off the others. This one doesn't flower for very long, but it's extremely pretty when it does so in spring.

If the geraniums are pretty but don't flower for long, this blue salvia is equally pretty and flowers for ages through summer. Months and months. It starts blooming before Christmas and is still in bloom in April.

I went mad and bought two punnets of seedlings and a packet of seed, planted them all and watched the results. The seedlings were a stouter, shorter plant and the flowers deeper blue; the seed-grown plants were generally a bit disappointing and variable, but they did grow and flower fairly well, but didn't look as good. However, I did get my 'field of blue' look, and it worked nicely.

Blue is always classed as a 'cool' colour, and in the heat of summer I think it does have something of a cooling effect. Although I do love yellows and oranges, too, and these are hot colours, and these balance out the blues.

I guess one of these days I should also balance out a blue-flowered posting with something on the yellows and oranges that I always go for.

I read somewhere a while ago that the best selling decorating colours in Australia, year-in, year-out, almost no matter what the fashionable colours might be that year, are blue and yellow. Maybe that's because of the ever-present natural colours of sun and sky, or sand and surf. Who knows? But it works for me.

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