Happy Solstice

Even though the Solstice for the Southern Hemisphere isn’t for another 15 or so hours….this picture taken from my study window sums up the winter so far.

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Frosty window and Eucalypt trees

After taking out his wrath on so many tender plants in the garden, another freezing morning has seen Jack Frost trying to get inside the house…..(!)

It’s very pretty…and I haven’t seen these sorts of frost patterns on glass since travelling in the US a few winters ago.

Happy gardening 🙂

African Daisies

As many of you who follow this blog know, I have had quite a few African Daisy (Osteospermum sp.) plants pretty much in bloom since I put them in around March last year.

I bought a number of them as tube-stock, and at the time was informed that some of the varieties were less hardy than others (tolerating only light frost rather than the occasional freeze that we endure), so I dutifully potted the tender ones on and had them on the front porch through winter.

And they’ve grown!

With the danger of hard frosts now mostly past, and the fact that after my first winter here I now know where frost pockets are in the yard, I have decided to plant them out.

In my climate (USDA zone 8) Osteospermums flower almost incessantly. As long as the soil is reasonably fertile, free drained and moist, they will reward you with non stop flowers for a few years and then the shrub should be replaced.

The modern hybrids grow from cuttings in summer; but most varieties are available from seed. The gardening books state that they are drought tolerant; but in my experience, regular water will ensure proper flowering.

First up is the spooned/spider wheel flower:

Spider-wheel African Daisy

Spider-wheel Osteospermum

Next some of the purple ‘Passion Mix’ varieties:

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Osteospermum – purple passion mix

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Osteospermum – purple passion mix

I can tell you that these amazingly rich purples of the less hardy varieties really brighten the garden at this time of year: especially given that my garden is very new and only ¼ of the way complete (if a garden can ever be considered ‘complete’!!!!). These should be tough enough by next winter, but I will take cuttings none-the-less.

But still the hardy varieties still keep on giving:

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Osteospermum – lemon power

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Osteospermum – Cinnamon twist

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Osteospermum – Blue & White

If you like chrysanthemums, and you live in a mild climate (South East England/Southern USA and West coast USA) then I would definitely recommend giving these trouble-free, short-lived perennials a go in your garden.

Happy Gardening!

The garden stirs to life

Even in a mild climate like mine, the first real stirrings of spring are always exciting. With heavy rain in the Sydney region over the last two weeks, the morning frosts have waned and the garden is really starting to embrace the change of season.

The first of the Dutch crocus that I planted in autumn are starting to sprout. The royal blue looks quite lovely against the Muscari which is starting to sprout many more flowers:

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Dutch Crocus

There are also white Dutch crocus, but these have yet to send up any flower spikes….the aim is to get these bulbs to naturalise through the bed for a repeat display.

Further along the bed, the Ipheion (spring star) are putting on a nice show beneath the red-twigged dogwood:

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Spring Star

The little plot of bargain daffodil bulbs is powering along. A nice cream one has emerged:

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Daffodils

This was the same area back in April, after I cleared the huge amount of Jasmine and Ivy:

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April 2014 – post clearing

But it’s not just the bulbs. The Kurume Azalea (to the right of the photo above) that took a fair beating in getting all of the vines removed from it has also started to flower. It is nothing spectacular, but it is an encouraging sign. More importantly, there is now new growth at the base of the plant which means the gaps will be filled within a few seasons. When the weather warms up it will need a haircut to try and bring some shape back to the crown, but for now….:

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Kurume Azalea

On the subject of plants that have been cut unkindly, the patio rose that I hacked to pieces is looking very healthy with a lot of new growth from the base:

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Patio Rose

This was the same rose in the middle of June, two weeks after I hacked it (roots and all) and transplanted it:

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Post prune and transplant

The Pieris japonica is still flowering beautifully:

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Pieris japonica – Late August

This display has been well over 6 weeks already and shows no signs of abating. Here it is in the post from last month (28 July):

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And, last month…..

Even the little cutting I took of the plant at the beginning of summer has flowered:

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Baby Pieris

Happy Gardening!

New cupboard

Given the weekend was so windy and chilly, I turned my attention to the creating a cupboard in the front (guest) bedroom.

Previously, it was an alcove with shelves and some very old, 1940s-style cupboard doors. They were badly damaged and made from half rotten chip board, so were unsalvageable.

I used mirrored glass doors to enclose the cupboard. A little dated I know (if I were to be ‘on trend’ I would have gone for plain wooden cupboards to match the internal doors, but given that this room faces north and has a pretty view, I wanted to reflect that from all areas of the room). But the store had these in stock, so it also helped sway my decision!

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Besides, when viewed from the street, the mirrors reflect the sky which gives the impression that you can see through the house from one side to the other.

Still a lot of mill work and trim to add around the frame and the frame of the new windows, but not too bad for two days’ work 😀

 

Too cold for gardening today

Well, the autumn weather has taken a turn in the last two days. Yesterday was about 10°C (50°F) and breezy. But this morning it is raining and 2°C (37°F) and a colder change is predicted mid-morning with possible sleet….Brrrr.

It will be a day inside browsing the garden catalogues looking for the bare-rooted plants that will be shipped from next month 😀 There are roses to go along that picket fence and I haven’t even touched the front yard yet.

Nothing like a day daydreaming

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