3 8 21 MAY 2020
Gardens with Danny Clarke
Cut a dash with a
splash of colour
It’s not just flowers that make a summer
garden shine – a lick of paint on pots, sheds
and furniture brings a vibrancy of its own
When you need cheering up, a garden full
of colour can really lift the spirits. I don’t
mean the kind of clashing tones you used to
see in the bedding schemes of 1970s public
parks. What I’m talking about is the careful
introduction of colour to draw the eye around
the garden and create extra layers of interest.
I love using vivid paints outside. The
effects are instant and immediately
transform the space, breathing new life
into it. And, of course, this lasts even when
the rest of the garden is dormant and drab.
People tend to be a bit conservative with the
pigments they use outdoors, wanting them to
blend into the background rather than stand
out. I prefer to be brave!
WHAT TO DO IN THE GARDEN THIS WEEK
If a lack of rain has made the ground
very dry, set your mower blades higher
to reduce stress on the grass.
Container-grown fruit can now be
given high-potash liquid food that
will help ensure a good crop.
If you’re growing carrots, use crop protection
netting to keep carrot flies away. Their
larvae feed on the vegetable’s roots.
Just as I use plants of the same colour in
different areas to give continuity, I often use
paint in the same way. Something as simple as
having a series of carefully placed poles, all in
the same hue, can be so effective. You might
want to highlight or contrast them with the
plants in the border, or even echo your interior
décor, particularly if you have a really good
view of the garden from inside.
The colours I use depend on the kind of
garden I’m working in. If it has a tropical
feel, I usually go for clashes – that’s what the
tropics are all about, after all! But sometimes
something calmer is called for. If you’re
nervous, black or grey can be stylish without
being startling, and both make great backdrops
Once bluebell foliage in your garden
starts to yellow, dig up the plants and divide
them so you’ll have even more next year.