A few years ago, I had an acquaintance – well, a friend of a friend, really – who was fond of sweeping generalisations. After a while I gave up arguing with statements like ‘women’s voices sound funny when they sing’ and ‘only a fool reads a book more than once’, and took to collecting them instead.
One of the treasured items in my collection is ‘orange has no place in a garden’, which I was told, in a disapproving and firm tone, while we were doing a tour of my (then new) garden. There wasn’t much to look at – it was about this time of year – but there was a lot of crocosmia. And I mean a lot.
If I tried to eradicate orange from my garden, I’d have my work cut out. Not only do I still have the dreaded crocosmia:
(still lots of it), I have also deliberately added calendulas and nasturtiums.
I make no apologies whatsoever for including yet another marigold mugshot. I can’t get over how free they are of blackfly this year – mind you, I suppose something has to compensate me for the depredations of slugs, snails, wind, blight, eelworms and everything else that is treating my garden as a playground-cum-buffet.
But there are all the wildflowers as well, and the berries. I’ve had a lot more orange hawkweed in the meadow this year than I anticipated – I’m back in compensation territory with this – and my rowan tree has orange berries rather than red.
Was I supposed to eradicate these as well?
And what about the garden visitors? Wildlife, that is, not friends of friends with a penchant for pithy advice…
wildlife like this Red Admiral, which was zooming around the veg patch earlier. It had paused, as if to emphasise the point about the surprising ubiquity of orange, on one of the marigolds – but I couldn’t persuade it to sit still and have its portrait taken.
And then there’s the orange which is present in parts of a flower, like the stamens of a lily (mine are just beginning to open) or the centre of a narcissus:
complete with resting Orange Tip (which would also be on borrowed time if I took any notice of the instructions I was given)… Impossible. Out with it.
You can’t control everything in a garden. I’ve tried, at points in the past, and it doesn’t work. It does your head in because you’re doomed to defeat, and it’s completely unsustainable. At least I recognise the impossibility of getting rid of all that crocosmia. Not that I want to: orange most emphatically has a place in my garden, and it always will.
I guess this is sort of orange. Ish:
My first tomato, with secateurs for scale. I should really have pruned this ‘king tomato’ out, but I didn’t. It’s a Black Russian and weighed in at 560g, just beating the half kilo Black Russian from 2009, and is being made into roast tomato passata right now. Yum.