Colour inspiration from suburban classics – spray chrysanths, hyrbid teas and hydrangeas

hybrid tea rose spray chrysanthemums hydrangeasSuburbia gets a mixed press, and ‘suburban’ (at least in the UK) is frequently thrown around as an insult. It can mean average, boring, pedestrian to restrained, uptight and limited. In gardening terms the heyday of the suburban garden was surely the fifties and sixties where neat rectangular lawns were edged with three flower-filled boundary borders. Hybrid tea and floribunda roses were popular for the summer along with bright vivid dahlias and then in the autumn chrysanthemums took over to bring some uplifting colour.

Of course, plants are plants and not in themselves suburban, and who cannot fail to love a classic pink rose or a blue mophead hydrangea. And, I’ve even found a style of flower arrangement that I like which works with the standard supermarket/garage forecourt spray chrysanthemums.

. . . so much so that I’ve used the palette for some scarves.

Oh yes, and finally, through the ether I’m informed by email and adverts that a festival called Christmas is on the horizon – UKHandmade has just published their Christmas Showcase featuring all kinds of handmade work including a stunning Christmas stocking embroidered by a lady who used to work at Buckingham Palace!

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

19 thoughts on “Colour inspiration from suburban classics – spray chrysanths, hyrbid teas and hydrangeas”

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I have had a look at the link you posted and think how lucky you are to have such an interesting venue in your locality. And it’s a real boon for artisans to share a specialist selling space.

    1. That’s pleasing to know and I heartily agree. I don’t always have cut flowers in the house once my own garden is exhausted, but every now and then it’s a visual treat in the autumn and winter. Trouble is many of the commercial/greenhouse grown varieties lack scent, but I guess we shouldn’t complain. I’ve grown winter honeysuckle (lonicera fragrantissima) for the past 10 years, but it got enormous so this year I cut it right back therefore, sadly, no scented sprigs for this winter .

      1. Each winter if we are organized enough we grow paperwhite narcissi inside – it was a childhood tradition in my husband’s family. They are perfectly nice flowers but the smell is just wonderful especially in the late winter. For looks, I favor the zinnia. Love the boldness and they last forever, inside and outside both!

  1. That is a beautiful transfer of natural colours to the material creation. Currently our red bottlebrushes are blooming and the wattlebirds are going crazy feeding off the nectar. Check this , (very long) google image link to see the range of reds we see.

    1. Thank you. I’ve looked at the amazing red bottlebrush link and see that it can be grown as a tree. It’s not hardy in my part of the UK, but I have seen a small pinky version grown in a pot. I think it was called ‘Perth pink’ – I realise now that’s not the Scottish Perth, but Australia!!! The trees certainly look striking and great for the birds.

  2. As soon as I opened this post I was struck with the mauve tones in the floral arrangements, enhanced by the backdrop wall. It made me feel moody and warm at the same time. So nice to see you transferred that into inspiration to a scarf. I just put a post on my FB page to let some of my UK friends know of your work. Might be in time for their Christmas inspiration. Like Denis, I have been enjoying our bottlebrush explosion and the reds are so intense I often think of you as I walk past and wonder whether you would take inspiration from that also. We too have the wattle bird, but one thing I have been missing in the last month or two – apart from some decent spring warmth! – is our green parrots. They used to go wild over a plant, I think it was a type of agave, which sent up long asparagus-like spears. Our gardener trimmed them back many months ago, and they seem to be slow to recover. Just recently, however, I am starting to hear the parrots chatter distantly, so perhaps they are talking about putting us back on their food map.

    1. That’s funny you should mention about the parrots and their delayed arrival as over last weekend I met a wildlife photographer who was showing beautiful photos of kingfishers. I’ve only ever seen a kingfisher once in my life, but he explained to me about the routine habits of wild birds and how these habits are mostly to do with their food. Kingfishers appear on a river bank at the best time the light allows them the clearest view through to the fish under the surface. They will return to the same place at roughly the same time as part of their food routine. I guess your green parrots are as smart as the kingfishers and have changed their routine as a result of the plant pruning, but when it regrows I expect an adventurous parrot will find it and spread the word that the ‘cafe’ has reopened after the refit!
      Thank you for mentioning me on your FB page. Is it weird – I don’t use FB or Twitter – but if people just stick Agnes Ashe in Google I think I’m easy to find.

  3. Your kingfisher story reminded me that for a while we had a kookaburra perching on our balcony rail. I think the garden cutback had been so severe that it reduced cover for the lizards, and as we are five floors up it was perfect for the beady eyed kooka to spot and swoop. I took some grainy photos on the phone through the glass door, I might find them and post. The kookaburra is gone, so that is one sign the lushness is returning I suppose.

    1. I suppose you could view human intervention (epic garden cutbacks!) like a tropical storm, but on a smaller scale and the wildlife just adapt as they always do. Some winners, some losers.

  4. Our conversation has inspired me to do another post, and I spoke to one of the other residents today who has taken up photography as a hobby and took some superb shots of the kookaburra – which you probably know is from the same “family” as kingfishers. I think you will like his work.

    1. Oh yes – I think birds are a great visual resource not just their colours, but the interesting shapes they make. Years ago I did a little work on the birds incorporated into the illuminations of the Lindisfarne Gospels – stunningly skilful.

      1. I learn so much through your posts. I had to look up the definition of palimpsest. I had never seen the word before! Now watch – it will turn up everywhere I look. And I can only echo Dennis’ comments. We are such a young country. We must have seemed so primitive to people arriving here from countries with long cultures.

      2. Palimpsest – it’s a great ‘chewy’ word, one to get your mouth round. Have to say it’s a word mostly used with manuscripts and sometimes church brasses. I think it’s usage with architecture is quite a recent trend – first heard it used in that context standing in the Abbey Gardens listening to my Art History lecturer explaining the Monastery’s history.

      3. I was having difficulty getting my tongue around it, so listened to a couple of audios. Americans seem to stress the first syllable, while the British is more ‘pah’, and even stress throughout, but both treat the ‘p’ verging on silent. I couldn’t find an Australian version, but I was struggling because I was trying to get the “p” pronounced and finished before tackling the ‘sest’ part.
        Came across this definition while looking for the audios:
        An old document which has had the original writing scraped off so that new words can be written over it. Now usually used in a metaphorical sense: The geological record is a palimpsest of the ages of the Earth; someone’s face is a palimpsest revealing the pains of their life. From the Greek palimpsēstos, “scraped again”.
        Live, and, learn.

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