This Week in the Garden….I can see clearly now (!)

With apologies to Jimmy Cliff, but after weeks of heavy rain, wind and storms, this week’s forecast is for fine weather. We have had over 500mm / 20″ of rain since the second week of April with only about 3 or 4 days without rain in-between.

So what a difference a bit of sun makes to the spirits.

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Acer palmatum and morning sunlight

As you can see, water is still draining out of my yard: everything is slushy underfoot.

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Water, water, everywhere

My little pine forest that I look out at from the study, is still in tact – so far – they took about 10 trees from within this area, and I certainly hope they have finished. Compare above (after the trees have been felled) and below – not too much difference, thankfully, but the rain may merely have delayed the operation.

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Same view about a month ago

After a lot of chilly weather (which isn’t going to get any warmer), most of the bigger floral displays have well and truly finished, anything that would still be flowering is a mushy, hail damaged, frost-bitten mess, so it is a case of enjoying subtle beauty.

The Camellia sasanqua ‘Mine No Yuki’ has been beautiful, although its blooms have suffered in the storms with a lot of brown spots:

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Camellia sasanqua ‘Mine No Yuki’

I love how the shrub holds its delicate double blooms back-to-back. Quite stunning!

During the weeks of inclement weather, Rosellas sought refuge in the bottle brush (Callistemon viminalis) tree: eating the seed pods that form along the branches. This made for excellent bird-watching on otherwise grey days:

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If only I weren’t an indoor cat?!

Like the Grevillea, these Australian natives bloom when most others stop and are great to ensure visitors to the garden:

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….Raindrops on Roses Grevilleas….

The rain has also flushed out some interesting bugs. Here is a rather unusual wingless fly (Boreoides subulatus) native to Australia: only the female is wingless. She uses that pointy tip to lay rows of eggs in damp crevices:

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Even the damp-loving insects need a break from the rain

Salvias continue to be the mainstay of the bloomers, bravely enduring the rubbish weather, although these, too are looking like they need a rest after flowering since December:

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Salvias are now starting to slow down for winter

Of course, there are still some other stragglers from late summer:

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Clockwise: Achellia, Osteospermum, Cosmos, Verbena, Bellis perennis, Papaver nudicale, Argyranthemum, Rosa ‘Iceberg’, Felicia ameloides, Penstemon, Sisyrinchium and Brachyscome

Then of course, there are the confused spring bloomers. In the warm shelter of the front veranda, these little pansies have started to bloom well ahead of schedule. Outside, they haven’t even started:

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Pansies and Bamboo…don’t ever plant this type of Bamboo in the yard unless you want the world’s worst headache!

Or the azaleas:

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Spring and Autumn….just look at that Hydrangea….!

The Hydrangea has been in glorious leaf for about a month now. I am definitely going to take more cuttings from this one, and probably sell it via a friend at the plant markets as it’s just so unusual to have such beautiful autumn colour on a basic hydrangea: it really makes for a superior type of shrub!

This is one of the ‘Mai-Ko’ types, on a shrub that I took  a cutting from two summers ago.

Of course, autumn colour isn’t unusual on Hydrangea quercifolia and this has also been going for quite some time as well:

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Hydrangea quercifolia


For those of you in the Spring, it’s not too late to rejuvenate old evergreen shrubs.

I cut this old Hebe back hard last September and it has really bounced back. It was about 2m / 8′ and probably 30 years old.

It is as tall as the railing in this year-old photo, and although it is difficult to see, it was very leggy and only gave a few flowers despite its size. It is to the right of the stairs:

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From a year ago: the Hebe is next to the stairs and the house is still only half-renovated

It was cut within 20cm / 6″ of the ground last spring – this is about a month afterwards:

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Recovering from a hard-prune

And here it is now:

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Healthy, and even a little flower 🙂

At least now, I can keep it bushy and start to re-shape it.

And speaking of Spring, it’s nice to have that snow-drop look in Autumn: Leucojum autumnale is a dainty little bulb at this time of year, but it is tough:

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Leucojum autumnale

Of course, there is still a lot of autumn foliage around:

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Clockwise: Enkianthus, Acer palmatum near the secret garden, Acer palmatum over the garage, Quercus rubra showing fantastic patterns

Even though the colour isn’t brilliant (it’s still in a pot waiting to be planted out) the Quercus rubra certainly has wonderful patterns!).

Lastly, the little Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Seiryu’ has given some nice colour. It goes well with the larger maple behind it:

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Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Seiryu’ dissolves into the larger Acer in a fiery display

Happy Gardening 🙂

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47 thoughts on “This Week in the Garden….I can see clearly now (!)

  1. That is a LOT of rain. Your garden weathered it well. I’ve never seen anything like your Grevillea before, it’s really cool! It looks like a sea creature. Love the birds too! Glad the sun is shining again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are quirky looking flowers! Sadly, I think they won’t go colder than zone 7/8…but they basically flower all year round, which is quite amazing

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    • The sasanqua-type camellias usually flower in autumn, but the most commonly grown japonica-type camellias flower in early spring. The sasanqua camellias make a great hedge and tolerate fairly hard shearing

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  2. So much rain, oh dear! Is this normal for this time of year? We had a lot as well in April and hope the ground will dry up soon. At least you have these awesome birds to cheer you up when you look out the window :). Your camellia is pretty but white flowers are always more delicate – this is why I shy away from them or position them into the rain shadow of the house, like my Geranium ‘Apple blossom’. Your red Acer truly shines!

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    • Thanks Annette – our autumns are getting wetter, but this one was pretty wet, even under the new order of things. The Camellia, is pretty, it was one of the few plants here when I bought the house, but it does get wrecked in all of this heavy rain!

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  3. Your garden still has so much colour and so much to enjoy despite the awful weather you have had. I love your autumn foliage and the Grevillea is gorgeous. Is it quite hardy?

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    • Thanks !! The grevillea is reasonably hardy (I’m equivalent to RHS zone 4/5) as long as it has excellent drainage. Mine is grown at the edge of a retaining wall with another fence adjacent and under the shelter of large eucalypts which do protect it from the worst of the snow and frosts. Since I’ve been here, it survived -7C and a week where the temperature didn’t climb above 1C and it has did OK. In the UK, it would probably fare well under a grove of birches or against a wall/fence – it only gets to about 1.5m, so is pretty manageable. But it won’t abide clay soils 😦

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  4. patsquared2 says:

    Wow, wow and wow! Beautiful pictures of absolutely stunning flowers, plants and vistas. And so glad the sun decided to pay a visit. I know I can get downright crabby after a few weeks of gray skies and cold winds!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a hell of a lot of water to fall in a month Matt! I’m beginning to understand your weather better now. There is still lots to enjoy and those autumn colours from the Maples are beautiful.

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    • It did flood my basement, about 3 times! Most houses don’t have basements here, unless they are on a steep slope like mine. But thankfully it didn’t cause much damage – the room was just for junk, which is now soggy junk 🙂

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  6. Those rosellas are stunning and cheers for sharing that fly, what an amazing creature. I love salvias as they hold the promise of being the backbone of my flowering garden as nothing much likes the taste of them. Even the wallabies only eat them when there isn’t anything else tastier. Watch those osteospermum daisies. They will take over! I love autumn colour and get a serious fix from this blog as well as whenever we venture out to the city that is currently multihued with amazing colour. A garden just down the road from us has the most beautiful cotinus. The colour is almost electric. Cheers for sharing your garden “lovelies” with us Matt. You are doing us all a “power of good” as my old nana used to say 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Narf! The salvias are hardworkers…but a little frost tender here. The Osteospermums are a total weed down the bottom of the mountain, but up here they don’t set seed – in fact, they tend to not make it through the winter unless very protected. I still have a few more plants that are about to turn colour, so hopefully I’ll have a week or two more autumn leaves yet!

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  7. Your pics showing the progress of the pine felling were a bit nerve-wracking. That must be the worst nightmare of someone who has a view they relish every day – that somebody else comes along and completely transforms it. But it still looks superb – were they a timber crop? I think your part of the world is probably quite protected in conservation terms, I’d have thought? Anyway – hopefully all will be well. The grevillea is stunning, but sad to hear it detests clay (from my point of view). Lovely autumn colour, especially H. quercifolia …

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    • Hi Cathy! That little pine forest is part of a garden that belongs to a B&B, so I’m hoping they don’t fell all of them to do something pointless like adding a gazebo or tennis court.
      We used to have very decent tree preservation orders, but recent state-level bushfire legislation overruled those protections so any tree within in 10m of a house can simply be cut down without approval. While almost all of the people who live here share my love of trees, it is now a case of no trees being safe, apart from those I physically own. It has been estimated that in the 8 months since the legislation was enacted, 10 trees a day have been felled in each and every ‘bush-fire affected’ suburb across Sydney – at about 300 suburbs, it’s just heart-breaking to see so much wanton destruction. I shake in disbelief every time I think about it 😦

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  8. gosh you have had some wet weather Matt, it sounds like here, I hope it doesn’t last for months like here, gardening in mud is not fun, your first photo is quite stunning, the foliage colour and shaft of sunlight, your camellia is beautiful and I also like the back to back flowers, the photo showing the steps up to your house really show the steepness of your hillside garden, nice you still have some blooms too, Frances

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  9. I’m impressed by the comeback of that Hebe. I really need to get out and cut back the bougainvillea, which suffered frost damage last winter and is now in full bloom anyway. Maybe I’ll wait… that’s a ticklish job! I’ve never seen much about Leucojum autumnale – just the occasional reference in books that go on to talk about L. vernum and L. aestivum. But it does look like a perfect smilemaker for autumn 🙂

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  10. Beautiful colours, in particular that hydrangea, it is stunning! It makes me feel kind of strange seeing those autumn colours, it almost feels like chatting via a time machine, here summer had just arrived…

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  11. Twenty inches of rain! At our current rate, it would take years for us to get that. Your garden is looking good, all things considered, and I’m glad to see that the Rosellas found shelter with you. I’m sorry I missed your post until now – I’ve discovered that all the WordPress blogs post to my blog list on a belated basis. It’s some glitch (calculated or otherwise) having to do with Google’s Blogger platform.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean – I get the same delays with the wordpress system and sometimes things just don’t show up at all! Although, they are now saying we are headed into an El Nino event, which is good news for California….bad news for Australia!

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  12. Looking good matt, that’s some amount of water, looks like it didn’t effect the plants to much. Im jealous, all i get to look at is boring sparrows, you get Rosella. Don’t envy your bugs though, you can keep those.

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  13. As always, beautiful photographs! And you really make me long for the fall colors. San Diego has two colors, green then brown. Ho hum. One day the need to return to my roots will overwhelm my need for frostless sunny locales. The older I get, the more powerful the drive to return.

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