For good reason I associate Begonias with the 1970’s gardens of my childhood. Maybe, people grew them then because they seemed exotic. I suspect that a lot of my contemporaries have the idea that begonias are one of those frumpy plants associated with being middle age. I have no concerns about whether or not my garden is fashionable. I guess it reflects my quirky taste; I simply embrace whatever appeals to me. So, Begonias sit at the front of my cottage garden border; plump, pretty flowers with petals in pastel pink and buttery yellow. What isn’t to like?
The beautiful blue flowers, Roxanne Geraniums, are so prolific; they have certainly made themselves at home in the cottage border. As a child I loved the colour blue and had a bedroom themed with blue and brown flowered wallpaper (the epitome of good taste back then..really).
Years ago I recorded the song The Colour Of You with my brothers Phil and Ian. The lyrics to the chorus, ‘Blue, blue, blue is the colour of you’, were partly in reference to my own fondness for the colour. But it is also a nod to New Order and their song Blue Monday; bass player Peter Hook took a friendly interest in our band and, arranged for my brothers and I to record in his studio Suite Sixteen with engineer Rex Sargent. This was one of the songs we chose to do.
Under the name of The Gingerbread Tree we have amassed a large collection of songs and are now putting them out on our YouTube Channel. The Colour Of You is one of our catchiest I think and, appropriately, given where we recorded it, a bit of a homage to New Order.
I’ve recently been reading a book called Frida Kahlo’s Garden. It’s about the artist’s life and the house and garden Casa Azul in Mexico City that belonged to her and muralist Diego Rivera. Kahlo used botanical images in her work and the garden was another form of self expression. Now a museum, the garden includes unusual desert and tropical plants alongside lava stone paths, sculptures and a pyramid.
Like so many books, I seem to get half way through and then stop for one reason or another…Anyway, I’ve loved picking through the glossy pages and soaking up ideas for my own space. I’d love to visit Kahlo’s garden; I don’t expect a book can really do it justice. My brother, Phil, and I have our own book due out soon The Practical Senior Teacher (published by KFS press) which features some of our collages. Interesting how so many creatives find that gardening, like drawing, painting or collaging, can be another outlet.