Sunday, 15 January 2017

Agapanthus in abundance!

Hello everyone,
The photograph above is of my agapanthus bed, which covers approximately 20 sq. metres and is at its absolute best at the moment. Ok, I admit, this borders on 'showing off', but look at it - there are hundreds of flower heads and they're all mine! 'Agapanthus' comes from the Greek and it means 'Love flower'. And I absolutely love them.

Agapanthus praecox is a very common sight in Melbourne and a tough and versatile plant, often planted on roadsides and hostile environments, where other plants would not survive. The reason I had originally planted them in that position was because there were two large pine trees growing there and, after trying, unsuccessfully, to grow all sorts of plants under them, I gave up. Then my sister-in-law, Toula gave me some agapantthus plants, which survived and I kept planting more and more. About three years ago the pine trees died and had to be removed. Since then the agapanthus have been growing as if on steroids. Some of the flower heads are 25 cm in diameter and the stems are thick and strong.

In ikebana they are useful in all their different stages. I've used the leaves, which are lush and green all year round, the buds on their long and straight stems, the flowers, of course, and then, what I call 'the toilet brush' stage. And after they dry, I have sprayed them many different colours and used them with other fresh materials. They, also, allow me to manipulate them by bending the young flower buds so that their stems grow into delightfully twisted shapes. My friend, Parthena, calls this 'plant molestation' but she's a bit of a smarty pants.

Agapanthus buds with Alstroemeria in a large, Graham Wilke

Two arrangements featuring the twisted stems

They are perfect when massed
This is an old photograph of a Christmas arrangement featuring the dried and sprayed white
Below are a couple of examples of re-using materials.

You may remember the arrangement on the left, which I made using acacia aphylla and two Green Goddess lilies. When the acacia aphylla dried I sprayed it white and used it with the twisted agapanthus.

The Gymea leaves can last for many weeks and when I took down the Christmas arrangement, below, they were still a healthy green and I was loathe to discard them. I used one of them in the second arrangement, again, with agapanthus.

Bye for now,

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