One of my neighbours has hydrangea plants that blow my mind. I know what you’re thinking – ‘That’s a granny plant. You’re early thirties, get back to the real world of phallic lilies!’ And perhaps I’m getting old before my time. But there is a allure to the hydrangea that can’t be denied. The soft frilly undies of its flowers, growing, expanding. The papery not-quite-white and not-quite-blue of their frill is charming in its indecisiveness.
Then there’s my neighbour – his bold, vibrant, decisive hydrangea has shouted into the hearing-aid of all those granny plants “look at me, I’m here and I’m a colour!”. The flowers are so dark purple they tease that they might be black. They flicker burgundy. They want to imprint themselves into your eyes. Whatever it is they’ve got, it won’t be mistaken for granny frills.
The other day I passed as my neighbour was pulling into the drive, I skittled across the road and filled him with compliments. And so it was, just like that, perhaps dazzled by my own charm, he revealed his secret, the missing ingredient from all the papery indecisive gardens that surrounded us. He gave it away, freely, openly, kindly. But I will not.
Thou shalt covet my hydrangea now! (Well, and his too)