Day 158: changing the scenery

Daily details from the garden to bring you inspiration throughout the year

Enter  Paeonia  ‘Sara Bernhardt’ stage left.  Geum  ‘Totally Tangerine’ lingers upstage with honesty seedheads, while  Crocosmia  ‘Lucifer’ waits in the wings, nervously running through his lines in preparation for a dramatic entrance in the first week of July.

Enter Paeonia ‘Sara Bernhardt’ stage left. Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ lingers upstage with honesty seedheads, while Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ waits in the wings, nervously running through his lines in preparation for a dramatic entrance in the first week of July.

When I was a child, I remember my dad coming home one evening with a cardboard theatre (I’ve a feeling it may have been from Pollock’s Toy Museum  in Fitzrovia, but I might have made that up). It was essentially a box open to the front and top, the face lavishly illustrated with an image of a grand Victorian proscenium arch, the sides boasting vertical slits to allow scenery flats and players to be introduced as if from the wings. From front to back, you’d build up a three-dimensional world from individual layers, your perception of the whole effect changing as you moved slightly to one side or another. I loved that thing, and would play with it for hours, seeing how I could create a mood by changing the arrangement of objects in space.

It’s taken me decades to realise it, but I think I’m doing exactly that with the garden, building up a layered picture that changes as the performance progresses – one week such and such is brought into view, before fading to reveal that something else has been wheeled onto stage while your eye was distracted. This week, attention will be focussed, appropriately enough, on the paeony ‘Sara Bernhardt’, and you know she’ll be making the most of her short time in the spotlight.


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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.

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