Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Almost overlooked

While the bold and the beautiful, like the Strelitzia above, tend to dominate in a sub-tropical or tropical garden, one of the joys of gardening is the chance to get right down to 'eye level' with some of the shyer flowers in the garden and to appreciate their quieter beauty. 

Liriope or lilyturf is a classic example. I tend to think of mine as a grass and have been pleased with its progress on a narrow terrace with cardboard plants. I had almost forgotten about the dainty blooms until their recent arrival, but they are so pretty in soft shades of mauve with the contrasting yellow anthers.

It is a similar story with my Italian parsley. It is truly one of the great success stories of my garden. One tiny seedling has grown into a lush mound that has kept me completely supplied in the kitchen for over 12 months. It was planted for practical reasons, and I was initially disappointed to see the flowers forming, fearing this might hasten the plant's demise, and yet the flowers have a delicate beauty, like tiny starbursts.

The neoregelia bromeliads are grown for the variety of their foliage, and the tiny flowers deep in the natural vase at the centre of the plants can be easily overlooked, unlike those of their dramatic guzmania cousins.

Few people would categorise zinnias among the easily overlooked, but this little guy is quite a subdued shade, albeit of orange or apricot. I bought him in a mixed punnet of zinnia, so I am not too sure what variety they are. So far they are happily flowering but are only about 4 inches high, and, since I planted some behind the daylilies expecting taller plants, they have been almost overshadowed.

Variegated foliage like this alstomeria tends to stand out in the garden, but if it were not for the cream edging around the edge of the long-stemmed  flowers, they could merge in with the dark red tones of the cordylines behind them.  I keep re-tweaking the planting in this part of the front garden: the cosmos have finished for the moment, and I have cut back the 'Wendy's Wish' salvia (back left), but I will try to think about a background planting to accentuate the striking two-tone flowers.

I love the windmill-shaped flowers of this Cuphea 'Vienco'. Normally, the burgundy flowers contrast with the foliage, but after the dry stretch in November, the leaves became quite red themselves, as you can see in the very top of the photo, and the flowers less conspicuous. Now, with the recent rain, new green foliage is once again a foil to the blooms.

Finally, when you do get down on eye-level, there are other things in the garden that could otherwise be easily overlooked, and that suits some critters just fine.

Dining out on the gardenia

A day later, and so much fatter! 

1 comment:

  1. These are all so pretty, I couldn't name a favorite. I think part of the joy of gardening is seeing the tiny things that others might not notice. Funny about the caterpillar getting fat overnight!



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