‘I don’t like pink in the garden’, I declared to a friend a few years back. ‘I’m not going to do it. Instead I will have orange and soft yellow, lime green, cream and white, blue and mauve and purple.’ Well, I’ve managed this in the front garden – except for the crab apple tree, Malus floribunda. Luckily its blooms come out before anything else, deep pink then turning white.
The back garden, however, has taken on a life of its own. I’ve kept to my colour scheme in most parts but there’s a strip down one side onto which my mother-in-law, in the adjoining house, looked out. And she loves pink. ‘Guess I’d better put some in,’ I thought.
First I went with a pale pink spring-flowering bulb that I had been given in the mid-1980s. It’s the prettiest and most relaxed little plant. It makes its way in among so many others, and it always looks divine. Can anyone give me its name?
Then, two ‘Ballerina’ apple trees. They came as a present. I’ve never really looked after them but they bear quite well – until the possums amble by in season and see how easy it is to reach the fruit, because they are columnar. Never mind, the blossom is lovely.
Next, a species gladiolus – white with a cerise throat – and some heritage dianthus acquired from Country Farm Perennials. Pink and white, pink and cerise. They enjoy my water-resistant soil as they sunbake on the gravel path.
Then, species geraniums – deep pink-purple and pale pale pink. No, I don’t know their names, but they are tough, too. They require little water and no TLC. I wish there were more plants like them!
The warm pink Velthemia flowers in the depths of winter and lights up the darkest space. This is an indestructible bulb that marches happily around the garden beds, resting its shiny dark green leaves on the soil. The wattlebirds wrap their claws around the thick stems as they snaffle up the nectar from the flowers.
There are two succulents with orange-pink blooms. One is flowering its head off right now and the other is getting ready. They sit next to a planter box made by Edna Walling that I was given as a gift a while back. (In it I’ve put a succulent with razor-sharp spearing leaves, to deter predators!)
My very favourite pink-flowering plants are different, but they sit next to each other. One is a native – soft pink Grevillea endlicheriana. It’s rarely without a flower or two and its fine grey-green leaves make a perfect picture.
The other is an old rose – ‘Stanwell Perpetual’ from the early 1800s. It is well named because in the 25-plus years it has been growing at my back door, I have never seen it without a bloom – or without a bud that promises to turn into one.