I used to like agapanthus. I preferred the softer smaller ones, and I liked the ones with darker blue flowers. I knew some of them were noxious weeds but I wasn’t sure which ones were which, so I continued to grow them. It was so easy to divide them to fill gaps, and they were totally reliable.
Then, suddenly, a couple of weeks back, I stopped liking them. They just looked wrong. Why the sudden shift? I wondered. The answer is: the influence of two of my cyberfriends. Phoebe, whose blog is called Ballynoe Cottage, gardens in my home town of Melbourne, and Diana, of Elephant's Eye fame, gardens in South Africa.
In a recent post Phoebe indicated that she hated agapanthus. I was startled. I started to look at aggies differently. It’s the time of the year where they’re flowering and I see them everywhere.
Round about the same time that Phoebe made her comment, Diana featured some of her native plants in her blog, including agapanthus. They looked great in her context. I’m not going to run away and join one of the Indigenous Plants Only cults. It’s just that I’ve gone off Agapanthus. So they have to go – well, most of them anyway.
The other thing that irritated me, for a different reason, were the Canary Island wormwoods. Like aggies, they're great when you want something reliable to fill a space. But they grew too big. They hid their neighbours and spoiled the flow and serenity of the overall garden picture.
I prefer temporary gaps in the garden to plants that upset the overall harmony of the design. Today was the first day in over a week that I had time to garden. The temperature soared to over 30°. You had to be obsessional or an idiot to make garden changes today. I was both.
The plants wilted at me accusingly. The lovely rich soil was suddenly exposed to hot sun, and I imagined lots of earthworms diving for cover. Hot and tired, I invented a new method of mulching. It’s called Mulching for Lazy Gardeners, or MLG for short. You just chuck the cuttings and uprooted plants straight onto the bare earth. I can't say it looks lovely. But it looks better than plants that look out of place, and it looks heaps better than bare earth soaking up the heat. And it meant I could go inside and fall in a hot heap.