Mnemonics are useful; this I learned when going for piano lessons. Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, All Cows Eat Grass, etc. I was seven and this information stuck, unfortunately the music didn’t. My teacher had a handy ruler and I wasn’t enamoured of practising, so exit red-knuckled child, secretly elated as I preferred badminton. However, as every seven year old knows, the above title is the mnemonic for the colours of the rainbow, (and you get a bonus history lesson), and because it has been so wet recently I thought it appropriate to feature the seven colours. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Here we go:
Our Red hand features scarlet tulips, salvias, or pelargoniums depending on the season or what we think the rabbits won’t eat.
Orange lilies always provide a bright life to a dark corner, but can be harmful to felines. So remove that bouquet from the windowsill where Top Cat likes to have a snooze. Even a brush of pollen on his coat will make him ill when he grooms himself.
Giant Yellow dandelions make a great show in the Italian Garden, wonder what size the puffballs will be?
The Greensward on the north lawns sets off the mansion house to perfection. A reminder of earlier days is the presence of a commemorative urn placed by the Dowager First Marchioness, Lady Frances, second wife of Robert, 1st Marquess of Londonderry.
Blue Agapanthus can be seen in different areas and this is a lovely group in a corner of the Sunk Garden. The name comes from the Greek Agape meaning love, and anthus, meaning flower, hence flower of love. They come in white, pink and other shades of blue, and also in dwarf species suitable for pots.
Indigo is next and these flowers for sale at the moment in the shop are Agastache Astello Indigo.This is a half hardy perennial with mint-scented flower spikes which are long-lasting and irresistible to bees and butterflies. Ideal for gravel gardens and wildlife borders, and both flowers and leaves can be added to cakes or whipping cream for a hint of anise flavour. (The Indigo plant itself that gives its name to the colour made a popular dye and was used by Levi Strauss for his famous blue jeans, perfect for that faded, distressed look that we all love.) Agastache is a ‘wonder honey plant’ and produces copious amounts of nectar, so is very important for commercial honey production. It is estimated that just one acre of flowers can support over 100 hives.
Dame Edna would be proud of our Violet Gladdies in the Italian Garden, they have just bloomed and are the most lovely colour. These South African flowers do well in Moonee Ponds, and come in a great variety of colours. Easy to grow anywhere, but may need a stake in less sheltered areas, put the stake in when planting to avoid piercing the corm. If you plant over a number of weeks they will bloom over a longer season and make great cut flowers too. Gladioli, or sword lilies, are the flowers for your 40th wedding anniversary, and the flower of August.
So, that’s just a selection of colourful plants, there are many more in rainbow hues in our wonderful gardens. Come rain or shine, come and see them, and your mnemonic? FYFAMS: Find Your Favourite At Mount Stewart.