05 July 2014 - by Lizzy Browne

You’re showing your age when a great night consists of  lazing around on the sofa with a seed catalogue and a bag of Doritos. Even more  so if you think that the place to make friends and influence people is at the  pub! That’s just so last year. No, according to Jamie, you have to join Facebook. Jamie’s been insisting for some time that a business like Urban Jungle  needs a Facebook account and I now believe we are up and running. I say this  because its Jamie’s day off and I have had emails from 4 very nice strangers  this afternoon, saying they accept my invitation to be their friend. I’m  needing an Idiots Guide to Facebook tomorrow morning.

Work continues on our Exotic Garden. We’ve prepared more  of the ground but really, because it was a vegetable garden last year (veg are  so last year too), and the soil has been covered with ground sheet all winter,  there’s very little groundwork to do. But behind the scenes we’re growing on  and nurturing a huge range of exotics to be planted out in a few weeks time.  It’d be all too easy to be lulled into a false sense of security with this  beautiful weather, but we refuse to be tempted into planting anything remotely  tender outside yet. We’re planning to have every individual plant ready,  waiting and hardened off and then we’ll work round the clock for a few days  and get everything in the ground at once. And currently, when not propagating  and cultivating we’re pondering the combinations of textures and form and  especially colour. We want this garden to be a riotous celebration  of outrageous summer colour and a showcase for tender exotics (and to cock a  snook at last winter). We feel like painters, adjusting our easels and mixing  our paints in preparation to apply to canvas. And no doubt, like artists, the  first brush stroke will be nerve racking but hopefully, after that first plant  is placed in the ground, the rest of the composition will flow - and we  certainly won’t be following any colour wheel ‘rules’. Exciting times.

I am reminded of this quote by Roy Lichtenstein -

‘Colour is crucial in painting, but it is very hard to talk about. There is almost nothing you can say that holds up as a generalization, because it depends on too many factors: size, modulation, the rest of the field, a certain consistency that colour has with forms, and the statement you’re trying to make.’

Whaam! (1963) by Pop Art artist Roy Lichtenstein.

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