I rather like a ‘girly’ garden. Fresh. Pretty. Flowers. Stuff. (Even pink). I rarely admit to it as, design-wise, such a garden always seems to be deeply unfashionable, even condescendingly referred to as ‘twee’. Which is a pity as more potential gardeners might engage with the whole notion of growing things if they felt comfortable giving them a decorative and pretty home.
Garden design seems to have become very ‘masculine’ in the last few decades. Lots of strong shapes, simple planting, controlled clipping and pared-back minimalism. I don’t know why I think of that as masculine necessarily, except that most of the men I know dislike clutter, have an aversion to fabric and aren’t impressed by flowers. And pink, other than a few flowers (if you must) would definitely be off the table.
So I trawled back through thousands of photos – of show gardens, public gardens, open gardens and botanical gardens to see what I could find that was ‘fresh and pretty’ and included pink. And there wasn’t much.
Lots of quietly classic green on green. Delicate white and frothy cream. Sunny golds. Brash orange. Loud fire engine red. Snazzy purple. Rich, rusty browns. A few dreamy blues. Beige and grey everywhere.
But nearly no pink, except in a few, scattered flowers. There were only a very few gardens out of hundreds, from both show gardens and real gardens, where pink came close to being one of the dominant colours.
Now I’m not saying that all women like pink as obviously they don’t. Maybe it’s the infliction of Barbie and all her paraphernalia throughout a girl’s childhood or, in my case, the awfulness of a dusty pink highschool uniform that suited no-one, which causes a life-long aversion to pink. Pink certainly seems to be forever stigmatised as a ‘girl’ colour, in a way that blue is not as a boy’s. And things that are seen as inherently ‘girlish’ are never valued the way something masculine or even androgynous will be.
But pink is SO pretty with green that, whenever I see it, I am irresistibly drawn to it. I still don’t understand why it is the only colour missing so comprehensively from most designers’ colour palette.