Begging for Blue
What word best describes the winter colour in the Moosey garden? Wonderful? Subtle? Or just plain drab? Over the past winter weeks I've swung wildly - one minute I'm seeing rich warmth and colour everywhere, then I'm sulking - the only colours anywhere are in the stripes of my thermal long-johns and on my shiny seed packets.
Small Colour Delights
As I creep around the garden I see many small colour delights - the velvet blues of the pansies, the strong blood-reds of a flax, and the warm pink-red bracts of a Leucadendron. My confidence grows - I'm certain that the Moosey garden is a feast of colour. Then I'll see a late spring photo and shrivel up in disbelief - the garden colour has absolutely no depth - my photographs look like a cold blue-green veil is covering all the borders.
The problem is that definite colour can form a small part of a plant or shrub (the Bowles Mauve wallflowers, the purple pansies, the Daphne, the Lavenders all defy my camera because of this). A speck of mauve or magenta in a sea of green doesn't quite have enough pictorial impact. Has any gardener taken a successful winter photograph of those beautiful lime-white hellebores in flower?
Yearning for Yellow
The Wattle trees start flowering in the middle of winter - what a beautiful sight their bright yellow flowers make against the clear blue sky. Well, at least they look bright yellow to the naked winter eye. I proudly take a winter photograph - disappointment comes later as the pictorial record looks pale and pathetic.
Subtle colours abound - old-rose red Hellebores, old-wine coloured Euphorbias, and of course the amazing multi-toned stripes on the coloured flax hybrids. Even the giant Phormium Tenax Species flaxes have a subtle sheen and glow on their olive drab leaves.
A Feast of Green Winter Foliage
There's a feast of basic bright green - foliage and buds on the Rhododendrons, grass lawns, PIttosporum and Olearia leaves, Camellia bushes shining in the low winter sun - well, they look bright to me, until I check up on the photographs. The New Zealand native Pseudopanax shrubs are the cleanest greens in my garden, but they are very camera-shy.
Winter Greenery - Hebe, Pseudopanax, Phormium
I know things could be worse. I know that many Canadian winter gardens are covered in blue-white snow. I know English winter gardeners who would dearly love blue sky, green grass, and pinky-red flaxes. Some New Zealand gardeners just don't know when they're well off!
Revelling in Red
There is no truth to the rumour that the above pictures have been artificially coloured by the Head Gardener using Photoshop...