It’s easy to forget that green is a colour. Nature’s neutral, it goes with everything, and on this lushly pastured island, we are so surrounded by it, so saturated in emerald, that we don’t really see it a lot of the time. I am always struck, on returning from foreign parts, by the greenness of this little Atlantic rock we call home. Who doesn’t like being somewhere sunny?
And yet, coming back from a teeming metropolis or an idyllic sandy beach, a noisy Big Apple or an arid Canary island, there is something welcoming about the verdant dampness that greets you as the glass doors at Shannon slide open. I’m not making this up – of all the places in all the world, I do think we’re lucky to live here, and there is something about that quiet, green stillness that says ‘You’re home’ – and you feel you’re back where you belong. (Yes, I know Shannon’s surrounded by boggy mudflats, but let’s not go there, okay?)
I love those minimalist London gardens, all clean lines and clipped evergreens, that grace the homes of super-high achievers with tens of thousands to spend on specimen umbrella-trained trees alone. Designed by Chelsea medal winners so hot they’re ice cold, they exude the simplicity that only comes with severe discipline, the kind that hasn’t touched carbs since the last century. How lovely to sink into one of those ergonomically engineered loungers after a busy day being master or mistress of the universe, and sip on an organic gin and tonic while the cool, clean greenness around you calms your mind and soothes your nerves. None of that noisy colour or floral untidiness (sooo high street, darling) – only smooth surfaces, perfectly maintained and always immaculate. Lovely in theory, but I’ll never have one of these gardens – not even a budget version. I just love bright things too much. Climbers, bloomers, spreaders, danglers. I’ll never have a minimalist ‘capsule’ wardrobe either unless I stop reacting to colourful prints like an unsupervised child in a candy shop. But although my garden has lots of colour, it also has lots of green, and sometimes I love that even more.
This is the time when summer settles – it sort of ages, gracefully if we’re lucky – and the greens deepen. A kind of relaxed lushness takes over from the more active, go-getting atmosphere of spring and early summer. Shapes are fuller and shade is heavier. I find this reflected in myself, or maybe it’s the other way round – after partying in the candy shop, the inner child has settled down to doze while the sugar rush wears off. Activity doesn’t particularly appeal, beyond cutting a few flowers to bring indoors. It’s time to let the garden embrace you, surround you, soothe you for a while. I would say cocoon, but nobody likes that word anymore, quite understandably. Even back in 1969 though, Pink Floyd knew that Green Is The Colour – and the time for green is now.
A version of this article was first published on GalwayNow.ie