Sometimes an idea enters my head and sticks…the last month or so, whilst taking photographs in the garden, I was seized by the notion that so many flowering plants would make fabulous earrings- only the flowering part I hasten to add. And I was reminded that a book I really enjoyed, with its fusion of autobiography and gardening, sometimes painful, was ‘The Jewel Garden: A Story of Despair and Redemption’ by Monty and Sarah Don. And their life and careers together started with jewellery. There is a wonderful photo in the book of them both sporting some of their work, with Monty looking as if he was auditioning for Adam Ant. It’s very touching when you read the whole story.
So, my first contender for earring potential would be Leycesteria formosa, the summer-long flowering shrub whose flowers seem to last for months, only becoming more luscious and dark as the weeks go by.
It is such a good, undemanding plant and graceful too, with its gently arching branches, so it does need a bit of room, and would be wasted jammed into a small space.
The second contender would be Feijoa sellowiana, the Pineapple Guava. My plants have taken their time to flower reliably, probably more than 5 years. But now, for just a short while at the end of May, these gorgeous flowers appear. Pink slightly fleshy petals surround an electric burst of bright pink stamens with golden tips. They certainly would have qualifed as dressy earrings in my Mum’s jewellery box.
And then there’s my pale orange abutilon, unknown variety, which I bought as a weenie from ebay years ago. It used to be in a pot, and this is its first year in the ground and it has been a hard year for newbies in the ground. So, it is a little subdued but will make it, I think. I love the classy droplets in pale orange, though I also lust after a variety called ‘Orange Hot Lava’. I am sure you will know why.
And then there are Fuchsias. I am not a big grower of Fuchsia, mainly because I don’t have a lot of kind shade and dampness, but in the garden I grow Fuchsia magellanica, which is really tough and comes back no matter what. The flowers are elegant, slim and pencil-like, and even better before they open fully, I think.
And I also have a little Fuchsia ‘Edith’ in a pot, which I bought as a plug at Chelsea last year. It has just produced the first flower, which is not quite open, but the cerise pink is quite gorgeous with the lavender underskirt.
And, finally, despite my Carmen Miranda tendencies, the plant I would pick myself to wear as an earring would be..Eucomis autumnalis, and I would simply take the little green pineapple-bit off the top. Quite lovely.