He looked at me with stern intent; I pressed my hand to my quivering breast in a vain attempt to still the fluttering of my heart. I moaned with suppressed excitement as a fond, cruel smile played on his lips. He reached for the huge ball of soft string and in a masterful manner, tied my flopping raspberries on to their sturdy frame. It’s still too cold to strap anyone to a sun lounger with strimmer line for a spot of consensual perving, unless you are truly hardcore. Count me out of battering anyone with anything, even if they are restrained and cannot retaliate; the scenario that gets me sweaty is plant pornography.
Helleborus argutifolius (Corsican hellebore)
As you know, sunlight consists of all the colours of the rainbow. Leaves use blue photons of light, which are the most energetic and red, because there are more of them. These are the wavelengths which are absorbed for photosynthesis and green is reflected since it is not used; hence the shade that we see is the one that the plant deems useless. There is a lot of it about. Dark leaved plants can cope better with some shadow and pale vegetation requires a bright spot. Some gardeners get sniffy about variegated foliage but in my opinion, this is the time of year when it comes into its own.
I expect you to keep my secret but I don’t really care for Rhododendrons. Their leaves contain a natural herbicide to retard the competition and they bloom for a very short time in an aggressive ugly purple that makes my teeth ache. The dead heads are reminiscent of an extremely bad hair day. Nevertheless, I keep a yellow flecked “Goldflimmer” to enliven a gloomy corner and I have a couple of Yakushimanum varieties whose blossom of pink froth I tolerate, in exchange for rich evergreen leaves backed with tobacco coloured velvet. Magnolia grandiflora pulls the same trick. Pieris shrubs are getting ready to bloom in spring, peppered with pimply buds but until the rosy new growth puts in an appearance, the dappled types add interest when it’s needed desperately. Cynara cardunculus (globe artichoke and cardoon) cover the gray part of the spectrum; new growth is burgeoning in the vegetable patch, soon to be joined by tulips, when they get a bloody move on. Senecio cineraria “Silver Dust” (ragwort) is living up to its name in bright thickets of filigree. The ornamental grasses have been a winter mainstay and Hakonechloa macra “Aureola” (Japanese forest grass) and lime green Carex elata ‘Aurea’ (Bowles’ golden sedge) are particularly vivid and welcome. Most of the Euphorbias have leaves on the blue side and are getting busy with brilliant top knots.
Sarcococca confusa (winter box)
I’m hoping that the one you love bought you roses for Valentine’s Day. Chocolates are always acceptable, including those for application about the person as well as within, if you get my drift. If the offering seems less than adequate, I suggest that you drag your partner to the nearest horticultural emporium and wheedle for gifts for the garden. It’s a ploy that never fails to make my pulses pound.