episode 23 | show notes & advice
From the beauty of bold, stained glass windows to the emphatic and highly saturated patterns found in wildlife and nature, colour is an element of gardening that has captured both Sarah and Arthur’s eyes since their youngest years.
Marrying together flower families is a fine art. Still, between Sarah’s ‘Bride, Bridesmaid & Gatecrasher’ approach to selecting beautiful bunches and the colour palettes in Arthur’s Mill Yard dolly tubs, this episode of ‘grow, cook, eat, arrange’ is sure to spark your own imaginative, colourful combinations.
Capping off a podcast full of captivating hues, we also hear Sarah’s recipe for delicious, whole globe artichokes, topped off with a delightful sauce.
in this episode, discover...
- How you can draw inspiration from nature, wildlife and a wealth of colour books when creating your own colourful ensemble
- The importance of picking the right foliage to accompany your flowers
- Sarah’s ‘Bride, Bridesmaid & Gatecrasher’ method for creating beautiful and vivid bunches of flowers
- The colour combinations occupying Sarah & Arthur’s captivating arrangements
- A delicious recipe for whole globe artichokes, served with a secret sauce
links and references
- Shop Sarah's new book >
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Bold and beautiful colour
Both of us are drawn to colour saturation it’s through a passion for intense colour that Arthur and Sarah came to know each other after Arthur read Sarah’s book The Bold and Brilliant Garden.
Sarah works with 4 families of palettes of colours and uses them in separate areas of her Perch Hill Garden
- Boiled Sweet (or what Arthur calls the stained-glass colours) – orange, red, purple, blue, deep pink — Stirring and exhilarating
- Rich – copper, mahogany, crimson, deep velvet purples — enveloping and confirming
- Soft and Cool – mauves, primrose and cool pinks which are mixed with lots of white as well as pure white and ivory
- Soft and warm – based on white but with browns and oranges, mixed in to give a milky coffee colour, apricot, peach — like cashmere jerseys.
They are both wary of massive contrast, so avoid a razz-ma-tazz and riot of all colours, bright red, next to white, next to yellow, next to blue, look like circus clowns crammed in a vase.
And then of course there’s all the foliage behind the flowers.
Arthur advises looking at foliage first to connect your flowers and treat them as the mixers
E.g., in Monet’s waterlily painting on his pond, think about the water first before you add your flowers.
Favourite Foliage Plants for summer
- Panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain'
- Hibiscus acetosella 'Mahogany Splendor'
- Euphorbia oblongata
- Lagurus ovatus (Bunny's Tail Grass)
In spring, also think of
• Hard landscaping, of red brick, stone, gravel etc
BUT please note that foliage is not neutral and does not go with all
e.g., euphorbia-green is not good with soft and warm palette, whereas crimson foliage works brilliantly with that.
Silver is fantastic with Soft and cool, whereas again, does not work with euphorbia green.
YET it’s brilliant with dark and rich (to add brightness to what can be sombre), and the whole boiled sweet family.
Arthur recommends for inspiration.
• Sweet wrappers
• Things you see when you travel
• Plant catalogues and books
• Birds and nature
• And of course, it’s the mix of colours that makes beauty, not one single colour in isolation. One colour can be the overall theme but there needs to be a play around that.
• White Garden at Sissinghurst is made (in Sarah’s view) by the silver-green foliage of the quince trees and the purple grey of thalictrum stems, not just the white tones.
Arthur’s favourite colour combination for this summer for his dolly tub pots
• Orange, crimson , carmine, mahogany
• Orange annual Cosmos ‘Tango’
• Cosmos Bipinnatus ‘Rubenza’
• Petunia 'Tidal Wave Red Velour' F1
• Euphorbia oblongata
• Panicum capillare 'Sparkling Fountain'
• Hibiscus acetosella 'Mahogany Splendor'
Sarah’s current favourite duo now is
Rosa x Odorata ‘Mutabilis’ with Digitalis purpurea ‘Sutton’s Apricot’
Globe artichokes with angelica's sauce recipe
This recipe reminds me of Angelica, the cook in the house my parents used to rent in the Dolomites. I love the whole palaver of artichokes: pulling the leaves off and dipping them into the rich sauce, until you get to the soft heart, which you dunk and eat all in one go.
• 1-2 small artichokes per person
For the sauce
• 4 eggs, hard-boiled and shelled
• 1 very large bunch of soft green herbs (half flat-leaf parsley and the rest a mixture of chives, fennel, dill and/or coriander, or one of these)
• 2 tins of anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
• About 300ml extra virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• Black pepper
Cook your artichokes in boiling salted water for about 40 minutes. Drain them in the sink, face down, for 5 minutes and, when they've cooled a bit, give each a squeeze to get rid of any remaining water.
You can roughly chop the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor, but you want a coarse texture not a puree, so it's best done by hand. I break up the eggs roughly with the back of a fork and chop the herbs and anchovies with a sharp knife. Mix the whole lot together with the oil and vinegar in a large bowl. You won't need much salt because of the anchovies but add plenty of pepper.
Give everyone an artichoke on a plate with enough room for a dollop of sauce.
You will need a large bowl on the table for the discarded leaves (these make great mulch for the garden).