Wednesday, 18 May 2016

planting with ornamental birds

I would hesitate to call it a fine day, but it wasn't actually raining, so I took the overground walk from Victoria Station from Trafalgar Square, straight through St James Park.

St James Park is the home of fancy plants and fancy birds, a luxury combination forever associated for me with the loadsamoney world of the high 80s, where after you'd got your grounds landscaped and the lake put in, the next thing would be to get a man to deliver you some ornamentals, which are, of course, birds. St James Park is the royalty-approved ground zero of that fad; luxury geese and ducks dotted across the water like fancy lilies, a cohort of pigeon-munching pelicans gifted by a wealthy chum (in this case, the Russian Ambassador in 1664) and smart planting designed to blend with the birds.

pink pigeon pink rhododendron flower bed

I liked this rather smart pink pigeon sat next to a clump of red campion; a touch of rustic charm amid the ancient Rhododendron varieties and this year's best tulips.

orange rhododendron unconcerned golden rhododendron
The Red Breasted Goose has such a smart appearance. That bold feather pattern seems designed for screen printing; and of course it contrasts wonderfully with the unusual orange and yellow azaleas.

hart's tongue resurgent hectic late narcissi bar headed goose
The Bar-headed Goose has a perpetually anxious air; painfully aware that it's more filler than killer. Too fancy to be ubiquitous, too grey to be popular; but still a good foil to the ferns and narcissi.

euphorbia spurge threat displays watering in

Barnacle Geese - Barnies - are the Basic goose of any ornamental collection. Simple, tough, cheap, reliable breeders. You can drop them between the interesting birds, like foliage plants (euphorbia, ferns).

There's clearly no love lost between Barnie and the Red-Breasted Goose, who knows it's a cut above (the pigeons don't care).

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