This is a still-life celebrating the colour blue.
There’s no flower quite as blue as love-in-a-mist (except when it’s white or pink because we have those colours in the garden as well).
It’s blue upon blue with the sapphire hues of the blue glass, and the sky above the lemon tree in the painting.
This spider couldn’t seem to make up its mind.
It went up and down its thread, between the love-in-a-mist I’d picked and which was now in a vase, and the table.
Finally it settled for the flower.
The photo may well show it just detaching its thread.
A blue tide is creeping through the flowerbeds – even among the raspberries because I don’t have the heart to weed it out.
The love-in-a-mist season is beginning.
Pulling little wild carrot plants out of the flower bed, it’s easy to grab hold of a love-in-a-mist seedling by mistake as the leaves are very similar.
I was annoyed with myself when a love-in-a-mist plant came up in my hand.
Then I looked at what had been going on in the soil and realised why.
The love-in-a-mist root had wrapped itself lovingly around the wild carrot – the two were inseparable!
I spotted this sweet pea seedling today.
It’s growing in the crack between a manhole cover and the rest of the pavement that surrounds the house.
It looks as healthy and well-developed as any other in the soil of the flowerbed, but I’m afraid its days will be numbered.
Sooner or later a careless foot will scuff it out, along with the smaller love-in-a-mist seedling that’s keeping it company.
Either that, or it will dry up when rainwater no longer slides across the tiles and collects round its roots.
At that point the welcoming little pocket it’s inhabiting will prove to be stony ground.
This is my response to the challenge issued by Cecilia in her blog ‘thekitchensgarden’.
I took the photos today in not very photogenic weather. Here our al fresco dining area is shining wet from the latest shower and Mount Subasio, beloved of St Francis, is blotted out by mist.
The plant bulging over the tiled surface on the left is thyme, and behind it, in front of the yellow roses, is one of many clumps of love-in-a-mist.
Just to the right of the door, a very different scene with the rain now drying up.
Galileo is climbing on what we call our ‘cold frame’ – spare double-glazed windows propped on crates so as to provide shelter for seedlings. You can see he’s wearing a bell round his neck – the sort hunting dogs wear. It has a lovely Alpine tinkle which we hope will enable us to find out where he goes when he runs off frightened and doesn’t come back for hours. The other two dogs are keeping him company.
Behind the cold frame is what we call the ‘shelter’ – pallets held upright by stakes driven into the ground – designed to stop light seed trays etc from blowing away in the wind. It’s got pretty cluttered over time.
To the left of the cold frame is the barbecue which we never finished building but which we’ve used like it is, with the blocks laid dry. At the moment it’s full of rosemary prunings so that our next fire will smell nice.
Beyond the stub lamp is a glimpse of the nearest house in that direction. It’s the only one which could, conceivably, overlook us!
Of all the seeds we ordered from Britain and tried to grow here, love-in-a-mist has probably been the biggest success story.
Some of our experiments were miserable failures.
The poached egg flowers took one look at the Italian sun before turning up their toes, and the zinnias gave us a wonderful display for a year and then no more. The nasturtiums staggered on for a couple of years and then disappeared.
But our love-in-a-mist is almost a weed.
After overtaking the anaemic white strain, this beautiful shade of blue has become the majority colour and it floods the flower beds like a tide.
It crowds under the roses so that we have to pull it out by the handful, and flops over in the rain or where the dogs have made inroads.
At the end of summer, its seeds lie so thickly on the paths where they’ve fallen that you can gather them up with a dustpan and brush.
I remarked to Chokri about how just a very few plants have made it big here while others failed despite our efforts.
“You took too good care of them,” he said. “When you just throw them about, this is what happens!”