In the Garden This Week

Since the start of Spring most days have reached at least 12°C / 54°F.

Now while to many folks that doesn’t sound very warm, the garden certainly thinks otherwise. Add to that lots of intermittent rain showers and an absence of heavy frosts, and plants are really starting to wake up.

Here are some snippets from around the garden this week.

Papaver nudicaule lights up the entrance to the Secret Garden area (elsewhere in the garden, Poppies haven’t even begun to bud yet).


Hopefully I get some yellows and pinks to round out the mix…I seem to mostly end up with oranges and whites 🙂 Regardless, in my climate, these will go on spot-flowering for another year.

Despite the efforts of a single cockatoo who sneaks into the garden without the flock to eat white daffodils, many have lived to flower: WhiteDaffs

I think I may have finally caught the culprit in the act.


Luckily no two cockatoos look alike, so catching this killer should be easy (yeah right!)


I can’t exactly blame the Cockatoo…some of those daffodils have a striking resemblance to a fried egg 🙂

The yellow Narcissus have basically been left alone:


It’s also amazing how far ahead the sheltered ‘Secret Garden’ area is compared to the rest of the garden… and so many other bulbs are joining in the spring chorus, all weeks early thanks to the sheltered micro-climate:



Erysimum are starting to bloom:


Other temporary little sub-shrubs are also putting on a lovely show. While some were killed by winter weather, in the sheltered areas, Osteospermums put on seemingly impossible mass displays:


Assuming they have sufficient rainfall, these will go on blooming well into summer.

Other Asteraceæ flowers must surely be running out of puff after blooming almost constantly since autumn:


Limonium perezii is producing lovely new flowers: make sure you dead-head these as they are short-lived if allowed to go to seed. The Limonium will soon be surrounded by Freesia blooms.


In the Photinia hedgerow that runs along the Western boundary, a solitary Prunus cerasifera lights up the gloom with pretty pinkish-white flowers:


At this time of year in terms of shrubs with impact, the award would still go to the early-flowering Rhododendrons.

The first up is Rhododendron chrysodoron x burmanicum:


Often considered a little tender, this one did fine in its sheltered spot during the winter…however, late frosts can ruin the buds.

Rhododendron spinuliferum ‘Crossbill’, continues to shine and is slightly more hardy:


The first buds have opened on the largest of the Kurumes; more will continue until October, when it becomes a blinding mass of colour:


Rhododendron ‘Robyn’ is now close to its peak flowering. It will eventually reach about 1.2m / 4′ tall & wide and will really look pretty in this spot close to the porch.


The resident Magpie wants some food and will keep following me around until I relent. Magpies start nesting in June and they seldom abandon a nest…these two were caught out by a very cold July and August.

If June hadn’t been so mild, they probably would have created a nest lower down the mountain to guarantee food.

Here they were being fed during (what I hope will be) the last snow-fall a couple of weeks ago. If you’ve ever wondered what a cold, wet, pregnant magpie looks like, well wonder no more:


But back to the Early Rhododendrons.

A ruddy, intense magenta is the colour of choice for most of them.  The smallest of the existing ones is in the hedgerow:


But this is nothing to the ones below.

Planted well before my time it is stuffed in a 1m / 3′ wide space between the fence and my garage. No wonder it is leggy, but still pretty when in bloom. If it had the space, it would have grown to the proportions of my next door neighbours one:


I know some people aren’t fans of Rhododendrons, but regardless, they light up the garden at a time of year normally reserved for looking down to get any colour. And they do it unabashedly.

Happy Gardening 🙂


56 thoughts on “In the Garden This Week

  1. I thought narcissus were poisonous? That’s why nothing touches them?! Obviously cockies have caste iron bellies. They have been known to eat the odd artificial turf tennis club in W.A. so I guess that is the answer to that! All of that lovely colour (and the osteospermums). Don’t worry about the osteospermums and water. We have them all over our property and we never ever water them. It gets bone dry here for months on end through summer (not hot, just dry) and they keep on flowering the whole time on what is effectively baked parched clay! We are seeing bulbs emerge. The garden is full of daffies and jonquils and my favourite aquilegias are back for another long dry summer. Earl has his very own aquilegia outside the back door. It is growing in about a millimetre of debris that settled on top of the mortar between 2 bricks. It has steadfastly refused to die despite being the very first vegetation that Earl sets his eyes on every, single day (if you get my drift 😉 ). The most nutrient dense aquilegia this side of the Pecos ;). Gorgeousness abounds in your garden and gives me hope that one day we will have the same here :).

    Liked by 2 people

    • I thought they were too, I guess there will be ne very ill Cocky soon as it has munched about a dozen flowers!
      Believe me, the osteospermums only get rain water (they are just flowery filler plants until other things established around them)!
      I have heaps of aquilegia as well…but that will be for another post in a few months time (minus the nitrogen-rich fertilizer!!!!!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am so enamored of aquilegia’s that I am going to seed the property liberally with them. They grow with no water, on a hot tin roof, keep on flowering no matter what and spread like topsy. My kind of happy place flower ;).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ha ha, I think 12C is warm, even hot by our temperatures here over the last couple of years,
    you have lots of beautiful blooms Matt, shame about the white daffodils, sometimes starlings here pull yellow flowers off primrose and crocus, they don’t eat them just chuck them on the ground, so wasteful and so annoying,
    i like the sunny first photo of the poppies, it feels so sunny and summer like, there are so many lovely blooms I can’t chose one over another, thanks for sharing, Frances

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! The poppies are just marketed as Iceland, but they are big and blousy. The other ones I sowed are just starting to bud (they are matildas) and are no where as big as these.


    • I agree it’s absolutely lovely, but it’s not unusual in acidic soils… these are all early flowering Rhododendrons grown in a sheltered microclimate. Exbury gardens in the South of the UK has pretty much the same thing in the last week of February (which is where I’ve borrowed some of my Rhodo ideas from)…most of my azaleas and daffodils haven’t come out yet, so it will be a good display until at least November


  3. Matt, your ‘wanted poster’ is priceless! 😀 And so are all of your beautiful spring plants; that yellow rhododendron is particularly stunning. All of the yellows I’ve seen look rather washed out but yours absolutely glows. I do love rhodies, and was brokenhearted when the ones I had in my prior garden were assassinated by Hurricane Sandy (along with all of the other acid-loving shrubs).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! That hurricane did untold amounts of damage. Am I right in assuming it blew everything down and then flooded everything with sea-water, effectively ruining the soil?
      That would be utterly heart-breaking 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was lucky with the trees but the saltwater flooding was what did the most damage. It was like being surrounded by a moat for days! Even if there was electricity (it was out for 13 days) there would have been nowhere to pump the water to, because the street drains were also full. My son’s house 2 miles away was not flooded, but a 60-ft-tall oak came down on his roof.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I always enjoy hearing about your continuing bantering with the Cockatoos. And never again will I wonder what a pregnant magpie looks like – that one made me laugh! Well, it looks like spring is well on its way where you are. I have a big soft spot for poppies – memories of those go way back to childhood and the place where we spent every summer of it. Love them…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I love poppies so much, and to be able to get them so early in the season is always wonderful – I have a number of others around the garden that will start blooming in about 6-8 weeks, so it will be a nice long poppy season in the garden 🙂


  5. Looking good! I’m going to enjoy watching spring unfold in your garden even as fall claims mine. Fall is my favorite season, but I do love spring. Not having any cockatoos or parrots of any kind in my area, it’s really amazing seeing a whole flock in your garden. So cool! I love rhododendrons, but in the face of hotter, longer summers I’m not planning to grow as many as I used to want. I do love ‘Crossbill’, though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like that here. Very interesting plant!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Crossbill is a beauty isn’t it? Thankfully here, we get summer rain, so even in neglected gardens, Rhododendrons and azaleas are the survivors…this suits me fine as I love them!


  6. Happy Spring Matt! You have Poppies and Daffs at flower at the same time, I wonder what causes your plants to all come in a rush like this. Your wet Magpie photo was sweet, she looks like she needs a helping hand from you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Julie…the trick is that little micro-climate in the secret garden area. That, and the fact that I planted those poppys out direct in June and kept them under those little clear strawberry punnet containers you get from the supermarket. It kept the snails off them and it kept them warm until they had made enough growth. The other poppies in the garden are no where near this advanced

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I think they’re funny birds, it’s almost impossible to be cross with them. Besides, it might come back and eat all my agapanthus and crocosmia, which would be a lovely thing indeed!


  7. Spring has arrived, I’m happy for you!
    There is such a range of flowers in your garden already and they look great. I love the poppies of course but the narcissus have managed to put on a great show in spite of the troublemakers!
    …and I could always find room for a rhododendron if they promised that kind of color each year. How could you resent a plant for that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! It’s great to have spring back (although today is freezing cold and feels like winter again). I do love the rhododendrons…they are very effortless in this climate which makes it all the better


  8. I am enjoying your spring Matt. I’m not overly fond of Rhododendrons but really right plant right place and I can enjoy them as much as anyone. We had a lot of rain at the weekend so our second spring is just beginning to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Christina, Rhododendrons certainly do polarise people, but they require so little effort here, they thrive without being weedy and never need supplemental watering. I guess the climate of the Himalayas must be similar to here. I’m glad to hear you guys have finally had some rain and that the heat of summer might now be over!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. One marvelous plant after another in this post! My gardening year is just about set to begin too 😉 Sadly, I don’t think any of my Osteospermums survived the summer – too bad as they are such powerhouses of bloom! Oh well, such is gardening… Your rhodies are to-die-for… Looks like a perfectly beautiful spring in the Garden of Yellow Narcissus…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Amy! If the heat doesn’t kill Osteospermums then they do it by blooming themselves to an early demise. I don’t think you can get more than about 3 years out of them (unless you feed and coddle them, which I don’t) I just take cuttings in summer and let the parent plant demise


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s