Wednesday Vignette(s): Don’t make me miss winter!

Twenty four degrees Centigrade and it is not even spring yet, here in Adelaide in South Australia. I know it does not sound like much, especially when I think of what the gardeners of the Mediterranean regions of California have been going through. But this is also the sort of windy day that sucks the winter moisture right out of our seriously dry soils and leaves the door open for garden plants to perish and bush fires to start from the slightest spark.

Another reason this temperature so early in the season annoys me is the way I know it will cut short the show of bulbs in the garden here. A couple of weeks ago it was hail turning the delicate flowers on the early bulbs to mush. A couple of days like today and the bright blooms of daffodils and tritonia will be faded by the sun and the photos on my phone will be the only reminder that they had bloomed like so many stars.

I planted a lot of anemones and ranunculi in the beds as well. They are providing iridescence under the chopped back salvias. The arctotis daisy has filled the bit under one of the olive trees. In the last couple of weeks little fuzzy buds have been raising their heads out of the mass of leaves and going through a shepherd’s crook phase before throwing their faces to the sun in cerise exuberance.

Arctotis:
Arctotis

Flower stalk on Aloe maculata:
Aloe

Scilla peruviana:
Squill

Ranunculus:
Anemone

Anemone:
Ranunculus

Tritonia:
Tritonia

 

Eremophila nivea:
Eremophila nivea

The last photograph is of an Aussie native. This has done so well in the garden that I am sorely tempted to buy a few more, both of this kind and the species in general. One of these days, definitely!
Wednesday Vignette is hosted by Anna at Flutter and Hum. Click https://flutterandhum.wordpress.com/2018/08/29/wednesday-vignette-what-does-drought-tolerant-mean/ to see what caught Anna’s attention this week.

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Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – August 2018

It has been a while since I have blogged about the garden but I have kept up on Facebook with the garden photos and descriptions. Hopefully I will be blogging a lot more regularly once I make this start and join all the people across the country and the planet in recording what it is that we do in the garden to make ourselves mostly happy and occasionally a little anxious. So here goes my post for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!

                                 It is not winter without a pot or three of white Primulas

primulas

In the mostly happy category today was the discovery of the first flowers from the daffodils that I had planted last year in pots. Five bulbs to a terracotta pot, labelled with strips cut from the three litre milk jugs that I bought only for their recyclability (is that even a word?), eight pots in all. Unfortunately, some of the labels have disappeared and the writing on a couple of the others has all but faded in the sun that blasted down on them all through November, December and January. Actually there is a new bulb on flower wherever I look in the garden in August and as always, the plants are sensing that warmer days are only a month or two away. We had a perfectly sunny day on Tuesday and another one today. Although it looks like that might be about to change. Or not.

                                                             Split corona daffodils 

split corolla daffodils

                                                              Tete a tete daffodils

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                                                   Grape hyacinths by the front door

grape hyacinths

The other happy thing is the return of the perennials like Monarda and sedum Matrona after the winter chill.

                                                                     Monarda

Monarda

                                  Rosettes of sedum and a couple of self seeded Cosmos

sedum roses

                         Jonquil Erlicheer is always the first bulb to flower in this garden

Erlicheer jonquils

In the anxious category, I have so many things that there is little point listing them and developing a deep funk. But a large part of the anxiety centres around the voracious appetites of the local snail population. They seem to be able to zero in on the most recently acquired precious thing and then proceed to denude it of all green bits. The latest victims of the snails are a little yellow flowered chrysanthemum and a salvia. And a Artemisia Oriental Limelight. And…..and…you get the picture. Or what is missing from it anyway!

                                                                Escargot begone!

snails

I am also loving the new growth of these broadbeans, which are seeing a lot of bee action at the moment. I had the first baby bean yesterday, wrapped in a bit of nasturtium leaf with a fennel stalk for perfume. Yes, I am a grazer!

Broadbean flowers and Japanese red mustard with bee on the right hand pic

broadbeans and mustard broad bee.jpg

And that is what is happening in some parts of my garden in mid August for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. Hope you liked looking at it! A very special thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens without looking whose post I would never have thought of writing a blog post of my own today.

The Time of the Brugs

This week in the garden has been all about the flowering of the Brugmansia. Grown from a pencil thin cutting in a pot and neglected on and off over three years of changing houses and living in rental places, it never sulked or worse, gave it up and died. Once in the ground at this house it proved that flowers will always find a way. Every three months it blooms like mad for about two weeks. Then it goes quiet and lets nature work under the surface. I wish we had evolved to perform as silently. Carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, trace elements and of course the sun – all work away, not once needing applause or validation. And then, when their part is done, you are rewarded with this!

brug-2

Cuttings have been taken and rooted in a glass of water on the window sill. Two of those clones now grow in other parts of the garden. In another year they should be giving their parent a bit of competition!

brug-1

Another garden goodie from the Cape of Good Hope

This little gem is Oscularia deltoides.
Oscularia, because the little tooth-like edges make each pair of leaves look like a little mouth or osculum (Latin) and deltoides or delta-shaped as each leaf is triangular. In its home in South Africa, this succulent is known as dassie (hyrax) vygie (small fig) or sandsteenvygie because it grows in the sandstone country. I guess the rock hyrax must either live in the same terrain or like munching on the plant.

It has been doing beautifully in our Adelaide garden, in pots in morning sun and all day exposure to whatever weather we are having as well as in the ground, like the one in the photograph. The startlingly pink flowers are said to be almond scented, but mine are too low near the ground for me to breathe the perfume.

A tough plant for the Mediterranean garden despite its spun sugar flowers and celadon green fleshy leaves.

oscularia-deltoides

Photo: my own

Bare roots and all! Tree planting season is upon us

It is that time of the year again when a gardener’s thoughts turn lightly to bare-rooted trees, as a future feast for both the senses and the body. The youngest was kind enough to indulge me with the first of the season’s garden gifts with nineteen trees, or was it twenty two? These include trios of flowering dogwood or Cornus and forest pansy or Cercis and a solitary Magnolia grandiflora or Southern bull bay. The others are trios of Chinese tallow, katsura, Japanese maple and some others I will need to go and check.

Why trios? Well, trees look good in odd numbers just like Ganesha statues or shirtless photos of Brad, Salman or Putin. Actually, scratch that last one. Trees generally look good in groups, being social things.

Of the new arrivals, I am especially looking forward to seeing autumn colour on the maples. But wait, there is more as the Sham wow guy says on television. The Katsura is famed for colour and a sweet perfume from its autumn leaves that is variously described as caramel, candy floss or brown sugar! Imagine, candy floss on the air and not on the hips.

The other one is the Chinese tallow, with its three lobed fruit enclosing nuts covered in pure white wax. The Chinese used to boil the covering away to make candles. After the wax has been removed the seeds are apparently used as purgatives in herbal medicine. I kid you not.

But the one I am looking forward to most is the M.grandiflora, the one with giant cup shaped white flowers and waxy leaves with brown felted undersides. These are the classic corsage flowers, loved by authors of Regency romances and couples walking in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens alike(there is a splendid tree there).They are the Scarletts of the plant world, showy, dramatic, delicate but strong.

Frankly my dears, as you may know by now, I give many a damn when it comes to plants. Now to find someone willing to keep a shirt on and dig some holes and heft a few sacks of compost and rock minerals about, while I sip on a refreshing minty julep or three.

bare-root-trees.jpg

Photo: http://guildfordgardencentre.com.au/bare-rooted-trees/

People : Dan Pearson, Garden & Landscape Designer, Created Paul Smith’s Garden & Japan’s Millenium Forest ……

stuartshieldgardendesign

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Dan Pearson (born 9 April 1964) is an English garden designer, landscape designer, journalist and television presenter. He is an expert in naturalistic perennial planting.

Early life

Pearson was brought up in an Arts and Crafts house on the Hampshire-Sussex border. His father is a painter who taught fine art at Portsmouth Polytechnic and his mother taught fashion and textiles at Winchester School of Art.

He had a weekend gardening job for Mrs. Pumphrey at Greatham Mill Gardens, Hampshire that cultivated his interest in gardening. He decided against going to Art College, and dropped out of his A levels (backed by his parents) to be able to go to the RHS Garden, Wisley, at 17. During 1981–1983, he became an RHS Wisley Trainee, Certificate Course, aged 17. While at Wisley his mother introduced him to Frances Mossman, for whom he designed a garden. Dan then went to the Royal Botanic…

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Not quite Sissinghurst! But better.

I have always wanted to go to England; for the gardens and the RHS shows; for the lush green plants, all seemingly bathed in an eternal downpouring of light that is as watery and serene as a Gainsborough oil; for the sake of seeing the gardens of THAT garden show in May where Australians like Jim Fogarty have won gold with their unique show gardens.

Bel phool

White flowered Jasmine

But for the time being, that trip seems to be slightly out of reach. So, I sulk a little and then knuckle down to creating something of my own that will at least have been inspired by my love of British gardens. After all, I have drooled over enough shows with Monty Don and Alan Titchmarsh patiently pointing out the differences between potentilla and potential disasters and drawn up enough lists of plants that would look cottagey as well as survive Adelaide’s wet soggy winters and bone dry summers. These must also hold up against the bone white light of Southern Australia, more bleaching than a bottle of Chlorox on the unmentionables.

When inspiration strikes me, it does not do it by halves. I decide that I am going to plant up the wide bed that wraps around the empty space to the left of our house with a mixture of plants such as salvias, bulbs, perennials and annuals in a colour graded plan. I will start at the front of the space, where the wide bed sits atop two terraces held back by stone filled cages or gabions. The colour for that bed will be mainly white, grey and green. Blue will help enhance the whiteness of the whites and the greyness of the greys. This will be my Sissinghurst, only on a bed that will be hundreds of times smaller when compared to THAT white garden. My ambitions and plant wishes of course are more suited to something the size of the entire estate. I am blissfully aware that I am not Vita, nor do I have her means or the deep pockets of Harold Nicholson to assist me in my adventure.

I start of course with order. I draw up a list of all the white plants I have. I do this once by hand, just numbering the plants. I then do another one, grouping them by height. This will be the final one I intend to work from. I am sure I will be over-planting the bed, given the number of plants I have and the space constraints. But I am flexible about that. I plan to get around that by simply widening the bed till I can fit everything in. Told you I was flexible!

A lot of these plants are passalongs, which simply adds to the pleasure of planting. Each person, each nursery and each trip to get the plants will be revisited, every year as the plants reach their full blowsy potential. That after all is the best part of gardening!

THE LIST:

  TALL PLANTS   MEDIUM PLANTS   FRONT OF BED   CATCH UP PLANTS
1 Pale Sweet Peas Hi Scent 1 White Salvia Greggi 1 Alyssum 1  
2 Salvia discolour 2 Stevia 2 White Santolina 2  
3 Artemisia 3 Cotyledon orbiculata 3 White flowered Basil 3  
4 Arum Green Goddess 4 White poppies 4 Rain lilies 4  
5 Jasmine Sambac 5 Variegated Kalanchoe 5 Garlic chives 5  
6 Potato Vine 6 Pale orange Salvia Greggii Pumpkin 6 Chincherinchee 6  
7 White rose perfumed 7 Stachys byzantica 7 Tuberoses 7  
8 Ammi Majus 8 Clary sage 8 Candytuft 8  
9 Brugmansia 9 Russian sage 9 Spring Onions 9  
10 Salvia Finnisgrove 10 Spring Onions 10 White Ivy geraniums 10  
11   11 Leucophyta 11   11  
12   12   12   12  
13   13   13   13  
14   14   14   14  

 

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