Despite the low temperatures and ice/snow of the last few weeks, July will probably end up about 2°C above the long term average and will manage to be in the top five warmest on record.
But the last few days has seen rain and much warmer mornings above freezing. Record warmth or not, it certainly makes it much easier to get out of bed!
Taking advantage of the wet, but no longer frozen top layer of soil, I’ve made a start on expanding the bed for the food garden.
Half of this garden benefits from being under the overhanging polycarbonate roof (hence all of the pots that I am over-wintering as well!), so has been spared frost-burn and damage from the recent chill. In addition to the items in previous posts, I have added strawberries:
- ‘Fragoo’, which has very pretty pink flowers and is very low maintenance, and
- ‘Alinta’, which is an Australian bred variety – apparently a cross from ‘chandler’.
You can also see the blueberry collection which is starting to take shape as a hedge on the right hand side of the border. The evergreen blueberry varieties survived the cold unscathed, so I am very pleased. The potted plants to the left are to continue the hedgerow the length of the house (once I dig the grass and prep the soil).
The blueberry varieties I have in this small space should give a fairly long season of munching:
- Denise – early
- Northland – early/mid
- Blue Ray – mid
- Sunshine Blue – mid/late
- Nellie Kelly – mid/late
I also planted a bare-rooted semi-dwarf, self-fertile cherry ‘Starkrimson’ in this bed. I bought this one reasonably advanced so I don’t have to wait too many years before getting my first crop.
As it is winter, I took advantage of the bare-root specials available; often the mail order nurseries have varieties not easily obtained locally.
I have potted these fourteen little treelings up until ready for planting later this year.
Most are destined for the front and side yards and some on the nature strip. Left to right we have:
- Katsura Tree
- White flowering Dogwoods
- Scarlet Oak
- Amur Maple ‘Flame’
- Eastern Redbuds
- Saucer Magnolia
- Silver Birches
Around the front, I planted a cut-leaf maple (Acer palmatum dissectum ‘seiryu’) in the front of the spare room window. As this will only get to about 3m/10′, this won’t block the view, but will certainly help soften the bare brick wall.
Looking around the garden, I am still amazed to see so much in flower:
I swear this little dianthus never stops flowering….
The Coreopsis is starting to flower
A pretty little Hebe in the front yard has made itself known for the first time since I moved in…
The Brachyscombe – a pretty little Australian groundcover – has basically been in flower since it went in as tube stock last summer and was unfazed at being ice bound.
Here you can see it with another dianthus and a Wallflower (fragrant sunshine) getting ready for a spring display.
The diosma shrub at the front of the house has finally burst into bloom
I’m not sure if I will keep it. Despite the pretty flowers, it is very straggly and attracts wasps – which is not good at the front steps!
A beautiful Pieris japonica, non-descript for the bulk of the year, really stands out in the shade of the bottle-brush.
I think this one is called ‘Christmas Cheer’, but I could be mistaken. It certainly is a tough plant, given how neglected the garden had been.
Rosemary bushes are always a mainstay of the winter garden:
Other plants aren’t doing so well after the ice and desiccating winds.
The Rhodoendron has adopted the classic cold wilt….it should come good soon. Surprisingly, the azalea beneath it is flowering away….
But the normally indestructible weed, agapanthus, has had a really difficult time with the frosts…leaves are burnt and turned to mush. It will be removed at any rate as it is a terrible weed and forest invader….but it is a big job digging these out.
My patio rose that I hacked to pieces a month or so ago is still going strong and has developed many new shoots, most of which were unaffected during the cold snap. A real trooper!
And still others are gearing up for spring….
Some of the Achillea cuttings I planted are starting to sprout. This variety is ‘Summer Pastel’
Lastly, I planted a little Daphne odora about 4 months ago as tube stock. These things are notorious for dropping dead, but this one seems happy enough to even have put on a few new shoots.
Here you can see it with Triteleia ‘spring star’ bulbs starting to emerge.