Friday, 13 July 2012

Seeing Red

Although this might sound like I’m about to have a rant, with the title, ‘Seeing Red’, it’s actually just an excuse to select some fabulous red blooms growing in the garden at the moment.  But on the other hand, as a totally ‘au naturel’ gardener (I don’t mean I garden naked but with all my flowers grown outside naturally, hmm... but perhaps I shouldn't be so swift to rule out naked gardening!) I do feel justified in having an appropriate rant about ..... oh yes, you guessed it, the rain. So I shall make it brief. This week is the first week I’ve felt a bit beaten by the rain with previous gorgeous flowers now looking like drowned rats as they start to shout, “No more rain!” to the good old English summer precipitation.  Yesterday in Suffolk however, there was was a minor reprieve, i.e. a real corker of a sunny day. I worked 10 hours solid in the garden knowing it was quite possibly the only full, beautifully warm, dry day we might have for awhile.  As late afternoon/evening arrived I could noticeably see how the flowers in the cutting garden had almost breathed a sigh of relief just as a result of drying out.  The saturated heads of the cornflowers even came back to life as their heads became upstanding and fluffy again.  With a return of the wet weather today, what better way to cheer myself up than to post a few pictures of sumptuous red flowers.

One red flower I have grown for a second year is Monarda (Bergamot) ‘Cambridge Scarlet’, and oh boy is she scarlet. I have only grown a small patch.  I wanted to be convinced that it’s vase life is generous enough and that it has that magical dynamic process of decay I always long for in a flower.  ‘Cambridge Scarlet’ has not let me down on either count, with a vase life of over a week and fading beautifully.  The pictures below show the flowers insitu in the garden then gradual close ups to really appreciate this complex flower with its double heads and amazing ruffs of reddy brown coloured bracts.  The cut flowers stand at a statuesque 90cms.

Look what happens when they are placed in front of a red background, in the late evening sun, luscious!

Croscomia ‘Lucifer’ is another red gem in the cutting garden and amazingly they haven’t been touched by slugs.  Crocosmia is fantastic in arrangements.  The flowers I cut this morning are 120cms tall and the flower's outline is crisp and clean when in tight buds and blousy and beautiful when the blooms open.  Occasionally, with flowers, I wonder if I am looking directly at the flower to find beauty or the space in between and with croscosmia I think it is mostly the space in between.

This one looks like fingerbob mouse from the side (cue the song, "Yoffy lifts a finger ...").

The ladder structure of the buds is very pleasing and looks almost exotic like an English equivalent of the 'Bird of Paradise' flower without the flower miles!  Again the red on red looks fabulous.

Roses and the last of the rapidly fading sweet williams from the garden today (I miss them already).  One might say, "Exit stage left sweet williams", with this velvet backdrop.

One of my other weaknesses is vintage advertising tins and they look great with arrangements in or at the side of them.  The second picture below is with the dried geum Mrs Bradshaw. In a previous blog, ‘The Hanging of Mrs Bradshaw’, I wasn't sure whether she would dry well but as you can see she dries very well retaining the deep red colour

On this occasion, ‘seeing red’ is not about anger or danger, but the pure visual pleasure of seeing red in the garden!

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