We’ve had half an inch of rain and the land is rejoicing. (Yes, there is also flooding, as predicted) And it’s been possible to venture out into the garden today without getting sweated out. It has become possible to see the garden again and to look beyond whatever is wilting and crying out for help.
After all that heat and dry, the garden is looking rather prematurely autumnal and slightly battered. Flowers which are ordinarily still resplendent are going to seed.
And other things are going to seed anyway, because that’s what they do right now.
So my thoughts turn to Piet Oudolf’s claim that “In a natural garden everything should be allowed to finish flowering, not simply to please butterflies and birds, but also because plants in decline can be beautiful.” Page 120 in ‘After Flowering’ in Dream Plants for the Natural Garden
So I went round the garden checking this out. And some plants are. And some plants aren’t.
But I think we have a small stumbling block, which is that we are not generally fond of brown in a garden. Plants going to seed often go brown. I have a friend whose school uniform was brown and she doesn’t like brown anywhere. Most of us just enjoy other colours more.
Perhaps it’s from a distance that brown looks dreary though, because close up it can be very special. As Piet and Henk Gerritsen demonstrate better than I can: see Dream Plants for the Natural Garden again. (I have a signed copy! And better, I also have this – and this is boasting) (shameful) (he was probably just being polite) =
So this is a plea for us to begin to admire and seek out brown.
And more brown:
What we are now begining to see is form. Shapes and textures. That takes us beyond brown.
One thing I find problematic is that they’re not all beautiful, (sorry Piet) but if I want a plant to seed I have to leave it to do that.
So – are seed heads worth waiting for?? What do you think?