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Other people’s gardens give me harvest envy. Instead of a cramped, windy, urban verandah populated with indestructible succulents, I’d prefer something more giving and forgiving, something like BB’s modest mediterranean-inspired garden on the south coast. Visiting at this time of year, we were actually able to gather the last handful of cumquats from the tree and attempt some domestic alchemy – homemade marmalade!

The envy isn’t just relegated to edibles. Unlike my misbehaving pot-stunted bushes which refuse to keep their original colour and insist on much more care and attention than they deserve, BB’s hydrangeas grandly swept the ground in front of me with lush full indigo blooms. Seeing them at their peak like this has softened my frustrations and reignited my romantic fascination all over again.

Indeed, reinforcing these notions over at TsukuBlog, Avi Landau explains how one Japanese name for them – Ajisai (紫陽花) – translates poetically to “a gathering of blues”, and how the flowers enjoy a dual symbolic reputation there: fickle-hearted/silent devotion. I think this describes the particular relationship I have with my hydrangeas perfectly, and like the Japanese, I’m going to start being more philosophical about their fickle pigments rather than bemoaning them.