Summer’s arrived with a week of terrible storms in the Sydney area.
Here in the mountains, this pattern forms a daily ritual: bright, humid mornings that fuel the growth of giant cumulonimbus clouds. These clouds rumble incessantly from early lunch-time, obscuring the sky as they build in strength and spew torrents of rain before barrelling down either side of the mountain towards sea-level. There, the rising heat of the coast or inland plain only increases the storm’s ferocity: they become electrically charged monsters unleashing thousands of lightning strikes.
…by late afternoon ends up as this in Sydney…
And then it continues again all night!
We’ve clocked over 20cm/8″ of rain in 7 days and all of it Nitrogen-rich; refreshing the garden. In some cases, spring flowering plants have had a second flush, and in other, summer plants are blooming very early.
The Weeping Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis – hardy to USDA zone 8 if given a sheltered spot) has started its summer display very early:
Here it can be seen next to Rhododendron ponticum: it’s unusual to see these flower at the same time. Hopefully it should continue to produce flowers between now and April.
Incidentally, I love the golden flush of the new growth on the Himalayan Cedar, Cedrus deodara ‘Aurea’, which features in every one of the pictures of my house. It is one of three large golden varieties of conifer planted on the property when the house was built- I am grateful for the afternoon shade it provides (even if the needles are a pain to clear from the gutters)!
The climbing rose, ‘Pierre de Ronsard’ is weighed down by heavy blooms. Though these have lost their pink blush that featured in my early spring post:
It isn’t of concern, as the cream is equally delightful.
The rain and storms have meant some of the azaleas have already had a second flush. This is a White Indica in front of Rhododendron ‘President Roosevelt’:
While Azaleas spot flowering isn’t unusual, you can see how the combination of summer sun/rain have burnt the edges of the petals.
A little Aquilegia vulgaris ‘White Barlow’ makes a dainty combination with the Oak-leaf Hydrangea and Osteospermum ‘Lemon Power’
This is but a fleeting combination. Soon the Aquilegia and Osteospermum will go over and the foxglove will open in shades of strawberry (which will still work with the hydrangea). Then of course, in seasons to come, the Oak-leaf hydrangea will fill this entire space and obscure the fence line.
Lastly, an update showing some of the cuttings taken last summer-winter that have started to perform.
This one is Kolkwitzia amabilis.
Known as the Chinese Beauty Bush, this will be a spectacularly graceful, arching shrub in a few years’ time:
Deutzia x hybrida ‘Magicien’ has also flowered and is putting on strong growth since being struck last summer. Here it is given some afternoon shade by the Lupins which is actually beneficial while the cutting establishes itself. As I have light free draining soil, I often place cuttings straight into the ground to root:
I love the dual pink and white stripes!
And lastly, the cutting of the Tree Dahlia, Dahlia Imperialis, I took in June has started to give some reasonable growth. It was taller a week ago, but sadly the strong central leader received tip-pruning courtesy of a slug 😦
The slug’s feast won’t do lasting damage. Even though plant is a quick grower and this is a warm, sheltered spot in front of a sunny fence, I’m not expecting any flowers until autumn 2016…so that’s forward planning!
Happy Gardening 🙂