Early October in the Garden

To my mind, October is really when the first stirrings of spring start to become that all-out marathon as most shrubs and trees get in on the act to peak between now and November.

At this time of year in the mountains, the weather is incredibly variable: for the last two weeks we had really cold, wet and blustery conditions (including frost, sleet and even hail) which damaged a lot of flowers – this weekend we are forecast to have a nation-wide El-Niño five day heat wave….yuck 😦

So I do apologise in advance that the pictured flowers aren’t ‘perfect’, but no garden should be perfect anyway…

The cold period has helped prolong the winter and early spring flowering plants:

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In the shadier areas of the garden, it is still winter. L:R Primula vulgaris ‘High Tea Drumcliff’, Cyclamen & Pulmonaria

Daffodils and early tulips are still giving a nice display, but the petals of the poppy took a beating with the sleet/hail:

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L:R Narcissus; Tulipa sp. & Papaver nudicaule; first spot flowers of Rosa banksiae in the hedgerow.

Azaleas and more Narcissus:

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L:R Osteospermum & Tulipa bokassa ‘Baby Doll’ ; Nepeta and Hyacinthoides hispanica; Anemone nemorosa

But the foul weather has made a lot of the azalea flowers rather tatty:

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The flowers of the red and cerise azaleas look a bit bedraggled with the sleet and frost; a De Caen anemone contrasts with the saturated cerise of the Kurume azalea

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More battered flowers – but the pale pink of Azalea ‘Inga’ seem to do just fine

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Rhododendron ‘Robyn’ is still putting on a great display – this is now its sixth week. Primulas against the flowers of Rhododendron ‘President Roosevelt’ and the beautiful new foliage of Heuchera ‘Purple Palace’


Still, there’s warm colours:

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L:R Erysimum; Eschscholzia californica hybrid; Indica Azalea ‘Goyet’

And cool:

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L:R Dutch Iris; Anemone coronaria ‘De Caen Hollandia’; Viola labradorica

And of course, the big jumble of colours thanks to the ever-popular ‘mixed’ collections that are always offered:

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Lastly, now that parts of the garden are a year old, it has finally started to fill out…don’t get me wrong, because I am using cuttings and tube-stock (plant plugs) there are still plenty of itty-bitty plants everywhere, but for the first time, I can start to appreciate more of what the garden will start to look like as it matures:

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Front Garden looking east this fence will eventually be removed as it isn’t the actual property boundary; Part of the newly-laid terraces in the back garden…this represents only a tiny portion of the garden – there is still much to do!!!!

Happy Gardening 🙂

Wednesday Vignette – Cherries on the Mountain

Mt Fuji it isn’t, and I don’t think that the Japanese will be clamouring to enjoy Hanami under the first cherry blossoms  on one of my hell-strips, but to me the view across the valley is just as lovely on a bright, breezy morning.

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We are looking North: the furthest blue hill that we are looking down on just to the right of the power-pole is the Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens.

If you are ever in the Blue Mountains, the Mt Tomah gardens are spectacular, and it is just a short trip to the magical garden village of Mt Wilson.

Linking up with Anna at Flutter and Hum. Do check out what has caught the eye of other gardeners around the globe this Wednesday!

 

This Week in the Garden

After such an average run of summer weather, the start to autumn has been the warmest in over a century.

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Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’

I guess the longer summer has suited the Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’ which has now turned to a wonderful deep rose as it begins to fade. What a stunning plant.

One of the plants I truly miss from my Sydney garden is Brunfelsia latifolia (commonly called ‘Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow’). It’s strictly a warm climate shrub whose flowers last for three days. They open purple on day one, change to violet on day two and then white on day three, giving this wonderful effect:

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Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow…not a plant suited to the mountains

But it is for USDA zone 9 and above. And while I took an off-shoot with me before I moved, it has struggled in its pot in my zone 8 garden and constantly looks frost-bitten (even in summer).

However, the Hydrangea paniculata gives a similar effect over a much longer period as these images from January onwards show:

And it fades to pink no matter what the pH of the soil is.

Its leaves are still fresh and green, unlike those of the nearby Hydrangea quercifolia, which are now starting to turn:

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Hydrangea quercifolia

I really like the contrast between the multi-coloured leaf and the last, recently opened flower of summer.

The more traditional Hydrangeas (these are Maiko and Nobuko varieties) that I started from cuttings last autumn and planted up in October, have grown nicely and although these are yet to flower, they are also starting to show some nice autumn colours which will add some additional seasonal interest to this border, where they are mass planted with azaleas and primulas.

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Hydrangea

This was bed back in October, and because this side yard is visible from the front entrance, I have actually avoided my tendency to have ‘one of each’ and go for repetition…I can’t tell you how hard that was:

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Hydrangeas – October


Even the Red Maples that I am growing in pots on the veranda before transplanting them to their final home have started to turn:

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Acer rubrum

This clear-roofed verandah is where I normally keep tender plants as it is always 5°C warmer than the garden….this certainly proves that cold weather isn’t the only factor in determining vibrant autumn hues.

The wet weather continues to cause an explosion of weeds. Spirea ‘Anthony Waterer’ is flowering away despite being surrounded by paspalum and hundreds of broom seedlings (I must get around to weeding that bed this weekend!):

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Spirea and weeds


The long cool spell followed by warmth has tricked some shrubs – here is Viburnum plicatum ‘tomentosum’ starting to flower well out of season

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Viburnum plicatum

And all of last years bulbs are starting to come up very early.

This doesn’t concern me too much as many folk (whose soils are better and more moisture retentive than mine) have reported that most of their bulbs have rotted with the endless summer rain.

At least my daffodils seem fine. My saffron crocus, however, rotted entirely after struggling through the wet weather 😦

The Muscari have certainly enjoyed the moisture and have multiplied well:

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Grape Hyacinth shoots and never ending poppy flowers

And of course, with autumn, it now means bulbs are available to purchase!

With all of the lovely pictures of spring Irises coming from my gardening friends in Europe and those few parts of N. America not under 5 trillion tonnes of snow, it has prompted me to plant a few of my own.

I’ve chosen Dutch Iris ‘Discovery’, ‘Paris’ and ‘Golden Beauty’ – I’ve already planted these in the drier sunnier parts of the garden.

I’ve added to the daffodil bulbs (I’ll plant these out in mid-May otherwise, going by the other daffodils already sprouting in the garden, they will end up blooming in the middle of winter):

Daffodils and Tulips

All gardeners know where hard earned cash goes….bulbs 🙂

And, I snuck in some tulips for good measure. In my Sydney garden, tulips were just a frivolous waste of money. Here it’s cold enough for Tulips naturalise as long as I can keep the bulbs dry through summer….I’m always up for a challenge 🙂


Autumn is also tree planting time. Regular blog readers will know that I have very odd-shaped block of land with a dividing fence that is in the wrong spot, cutting off a large area of the garden. I fixed that with 50m of Leyland cypress:

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The new property boundary

I’ve been clearing this part of the yard for many months, there is still much to go, but it’s a long way from what it used to look like when I bought the place:

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Google street view 2010 – you can imagine how much worse it was in 2013 when I bought the house!

The Leyland cypresses will be kept clipped to a formal hedge, and, once they have grown to 1.8m/6″ the timber fence will be removed. The new hedge isn’t quite the property boundary, but as the land survey showed sewerage pipes running along the boundary I decided to keep the hedge 2.5m/9″ closer to the house to avoid any problems later.

And, to finish off this post, a quick shot of one of the garden Osteospermums starting its cool-season flowering spree:

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Osteospermum

Happy gardening 🙂

Late Summer rolls on

The three week cool spell (with days in the teens and single-digit nights) is over with temperatures back in the low twenties (70°s) during the day. The garden certainly has relished every second of it!

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pink Diamond’ is in flower.

The bees love this one. It opens white, but should soon fade to a striking, rosy pink. H. paniculata is still somewhat uncommon in Australia and I had to hunt around for this plant.


Autumn seems to continue to want to take an early hold, which is  worrying as there is still potential for hot weather between now and late March…further, it means that when the real autumn comes around, half the plants will be out of leaf 😦

Here, an Acer japonicum (Full-moon Maple) in a neighbouring garden is already in autumn colour:

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Too early for Autumn! I do like the white agapanthus though….


Most of the Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) divisions have flowered:

I’m not sure about the apricot/beige one (even though the bees like it). It’s an unusual colour and I’ll see if it grows on me, if not it can be moved to a different spot.

There are still two Yarrow pieces yet to flower, so it will be interesting to see what colours I get from them!


Salvias are a great performer in the more frost-protected areas of the garden. Here are but some of my current plants…

The deep purple Salvia x hybrid ‘Amistad’ is quite tender; I nearly lost the seedling to frost this last winter, but it has since tripled in growth and finally produced some very stunning deep purple flowers held on almost black calyxes.

Likewise, the showy, yet, horribly named ‘Sallyfun Bicolour’ (yes, that really is its name) has flowered much better since I moved it towards the front of the house where it has radiant warmth from the brick-work. Despite the name, with its three-tone dark blue, light blue and white frothy flowers, I think it is one of the nicest Salvias I have yet seen.


I have only the one Penstemon in the garden so far – I intend to add more – this one is Penstemon hartwegii ‘Schönholzeri’ and is finally starting to put on a show:


Of course with all of the rain this summer, weeds are prolific. Here in the Blue Mountains, combinations of yellow tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata), montbretia (Crocosmia X crocosmiiflora) and Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus praecox) feature along every road and empty lot……….as an interesting aside on Latin vs. common names, did you know that Horticultural convention dictates that you need to use common names when referring to weed species?

Anyway here are some random ‘pretty’ weed photos around town. These were all taken on a camera phone, so forgive the quality:

I love the goat tied to the fence to control weeds on the nature strip 🙂

Anyway, here is my patch of Crocosmia X crocosmiiflora in flower. This is in another part of the garden that I haven’t shown and haven’t even made a start on yet – you can see this weed keeping good company with agapanthus, blackberry, privet and so on….


I have also planted a Coreopsis, but this garden cultivar is sterile:

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Coreopsis ‘Salsa’


Tulbaghia violacea variegata (Variegated Society Garlic) has put on a display, with yet more Papaver nudicaule (Iceland Poppies) behind it preparing for their gazillionth bloom.

It’s also heartening to see how much growth the Cupressus glabra ‘Blue Ice’ (Arizona Cypress) row has put on this summer, they’ve more than doubled in size. You can see here, how tiny they were when planted in April 2014:

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Variegated Society Garlic, Arizona Cypress and Iceland Poppies

The Tulbaghia flowers are remarkably similar to the Agapanthus, which, having bloomed early, are now starting to go over. However, I found a slightly different variety in the garden which has a far more pronounced stripe to the flower:

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Agapanthus variety

I’m assuming this one is a chance variation. Maybe it’s actually unique and I can give it naming rights with a hideous name like the Salvia? Agapanthus praecox ‘Mattfun Bicolour’ anyone? Ugggh.

Sisyrinchium bellum (California Blue Grass) has put on a few flowers. This has been rather slow growing since I put it in at the start of summer; this area that I reclaimed had a lot of wild sheep-sorrel (Rumex acetosella) which I have struggled to remove. 

With its tiny roots wrapping around everything, I suspect it has slowed this plant down. S. bellum is hardy to USDA zone 7/8 and will take temperatures down to at least -15°C/5°F.

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Sisyrinchium bellum 

I do like the strappy leaves that these flowers provide: while much of the world is using grasses (a trend I like), I have to be very careful about what I choose as many of the foreign grasses could have an utterly devastating impact on the Blue Mountains environment, given that flowers/seeds are pollinated and dispersed entirely by the wind.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t have the tried-and-true grass-like plants such as the Tulbaghia violacea, Sisyrinchium bellum and this one, Zephyranthes candida (Autumn Crocus), which as an added bonus all produce great flowers:

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Zephyranthes candida


A plug of Stachys officinalis ‘Rosea’ (Betony) has given me it’s first little flower:

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Stachys Officinalis ‘Rosea’

It has a long way before it is redolent of Piet Oudolf’s deft hand:

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How Piet Oudolf does Stachys

But it’s a start 😉


And though I’ve shown them before, the roses provide such dreaminess to the garden:

These have seldom been without a bloom all season.


And what would late summer be without Dahlias?

My next door neighbour gave me these tubers from her garden last winter when I helped dig out some blackberry that had taken over. Therefore, I haven’t the faintest idea what the cultivar names are, except to say that all of them are low-growing varieties that don’t need staking.

The slugs and snails seem to be having a field day with the foliage and flowers, snapping everything off at the base; I suspect my neighbour uses bait to keep hers in such good condition 🙂

Despite being slug magnets, I love them, they are old-fashioned and remind me of my grandparent’s tiny front garden. However, the tree Dahlia cutting has not grown much at all; it was cut back by a slug attack at the start of summer, and the recent cool weather is hampering its growth. By now it should be at least 1.2m – 2m (4′ – 7′) tall:

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Tree Dahlia – not much growth


Verbena Canadensis is in flower. These are very short-lived perennials, but put on a reasonable display during their life. Dead-heading will extend the life and flowering. These continue the low-growing, white frothy theme that Iberis usually perform during spring.

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Verbena Canadensis with out-of-season azalea

Case in point, re: dead-heading…the Lupins are preparing for another show. However, these flower spikes are no where near as fat or prolific as they were at the start of summer, but they look great with the background Astilbe:

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Late flowering Lupins and Astilbe

Not everything is successful. I sowed a crop of Ageratum in early spring. Almost all were eaten by snails and the one that is left has taken five long months to do this:

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One sad customer

Same deal with Impatiens, this is the best out of the seedlings I planted four months ago:

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A slightly less sad customer

The rest still look like this:

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More sad customers

I put in some annual Wallflowers; no growth and not one flower.

Even the Bellis perennis, (English Daisy) while successful in terms of numbers germinated + survival, have been slow to take. September:

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Bellis perennis – September…can anyone spot the error on the seed packet?

I have only just had the first flowers, and the plants are still fairly small after five months:

I must be one of the only gardeners struggling to get these oh-so-basic plants to grow!

At least most of the Aster family co-operates….Osteospermums still bloom away:

Felicia amelloides is repeat flowering:

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Felicia and Dianthus


Abelia x grandiflora (Glossy Abelia) is in bloom. This forms part of an semi-formal hedgerow along the neighbours boundary (one that has an eclectic mix of Cypress, Erica, Philadelphus, Pittosporum, Photinia, Prunus, and so on) so it has always been clipped at times that probably don’t suit its flowering habit:

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Abelia x grandiflora

I’ve taken a few cuttings of this shrub as they do very well around here (although the winter makes them loose their leaves) and it will make a much nicer specimen in the garden rather than crammed into the hedgerow with all manner of other plants.

Happy Gardening 🙂

 

Late Summer Starts – Flowers Galore

As late summer starts, for many gardens the ‘dog days’ often spell an end to much of the colour in the garden. But in a mild climate with no real heat knocking plants about, the flowering season is long.

Case in point: the nodding Hellebore flowers perfectly complement the Fuchsia. (Now there’s two plants not often in a sentence, let alone a photo together!)

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Hellebore and Fuchsia…together at last.

And, given the recent rain and weeks-long low temperatures (nights of about 6°C/42°F and days of about 14°C/57°F) mismatched seasonal flowers are not an isolated event.

Here, flowers associated with late winter and late summer sit side by side:

Or a red maple, already wearing its autumn colours despite summer….

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Sorry about the quality – taken with a camera phone

But at least the flowers typically associated with summer are in bloom.

The Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) is a charming harbinger of late summer:

Astilbe chinensis ‘Vision in Pink’ is blooming. Even though I took these from the same division, I like the subtle differences between the two:

More of my mixed bag lilies have flowered, I have a pale pink, a spotty pink and a white to add to the hot pink that opened at the start of summer

The Violet-Blue of the Campanula has come in for another flush of flowers. It makes a good companion to the Nepeta cataria ‘Walkers Low’:

Brachyscome multifida, a pretty little ground cover from Victoria & New South Wales, puts on a great display for much of the year, but is especially cheery in the height of summer. I’ve quite a number dotted around the garden:

They can be a little short lived, starting to fail after about 7 years, but propagate very easily from layering (which they do naturally, much like strawberries) division or tip-cuttings in summer. It is hardy to -15°C/5°F (USDA zone 7), but demands good drainage to shake the cold.

Continuing with Australian natives, the Grevillea banksii x bipinnatifida ‘Ned Kelly’ is also giving a nice summer display:

This one flowers continuously throughout the year. It is a little more tender than the Brachyscome, but it survives at least -10°C/14°F in my garden, although it starts to show some damage below -5°C/23°F. To keep these flowering and compact, remove all spent blooms and give it a light all-over trim with hedging shears in mid-late spring.

Despite being from opposite ends of the globe, its colours and form remind me of the fading the Oak-leaf Hydrangea:

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Hydrangea quercifolia

The cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) continue to charm, as do the California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) and the little Violas. These have been powering along since the first warm days of spring and show no signs of fading:

That packet of seeds certainly has been value for money, with such a long, long flowering season.

Alyssum is always a great flowerer, somewhat weedy, but the bees adore it:

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Sweet Alice

It’s in the same family as Wallflowers, and like them, keeps flowering in my climate as long as it doesn’t get too hot.

But another packet of seeds isn’t quite living up to expectations.

I’m not complaining as the seed packets – ridiculously cheap to begin with – were given to me free as they were two years out-of-date. The germination rate was fine (about 75%), but the picture vs. reality doesn’t quite match:

It would take a lot of photoshopping to even come close!

Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’ is blooming. However, I think this one has a little too much summer shade and it will need to moved in a few months to ensure it’s golden foliage stays true…

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Choisya ternata ‘Sundance’

And of course, in summer, the expectation is for hot, bold, brash colours:

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Nasturtium and Thuja Smaragd conifer

Few plants better capture the feeling of heat than Nasturtiums. Especially in a terracotta pot…(even though I forgot to bring the pot under cover during the winter so the frost cracked large chunks off it.) Oh well…

The Pelargonium has been belting out flowers since October.

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Pelargonium domesticum ‘Solstice Lilac Star’

I know these are sold has tender bedding geraniums in the UK, but they are much cold-hardier than credited (the caveat is that the drainage must be perfect; if they have wet feet, even light frost will kill them).

This one has survived plenty of hard frosts and snow storms without even the slightest damage. After each flush of flowers, just give them a light prune, some comfrey or seaweed solution, and it will be covered in flowers again in two weeks. Best of all, the cuttings root ridiculously easily to make new plants.

Here are Pelargonium cuttings that I put in a few weeks ago, straight in the ground next to the plant. As you can see by the dead bits, I didn’t follow any of the traditional rules associated with cuttings (Eg: no flowering parts, remove lower leaves, make sure the cutting isn’t too large, etc, etc). Most of them have taken root, and it really is that easy:

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Pelargonium cuttings starting to take

I usually pot these on into little tubes and give them away to neighbours and nice clients.

I do exactly the same for boxwood, but here I have at least used a pot. In truth, any pot-plant I ever have ends up being over-taken with garden cuttings, or larger seed that I am germinating. These two pots have Quercus robur and Camellia sasanqua seedlings in amongst the Buxus, Osteospermum and Erysimum cuttings….

Happy Gardening 🙂

The Joys of Summer (?!?!)

Despite the fact that it’s mid-summer here, the mountain weather can be very changeable and after having had a very warm October and November, the last few weeks have seen the temperature return to more normal conditions.

That means nights about 12°C/53°F & days about 22°C/71°F, as well as misty, showery days that struggle to get above even 10-12°C thrown in for good measure.

I think that this has confused some of the plants. For instance, I had planted small Helleborus divisions around the garden last Autumn.

Now, in the middle of summer, is the first time one of them has flowered, and it has been blooming for over two weeks (click for larger images):

Given how many more buds are waiting to open, I guess I won’t see too many blooms from this plant come winter time, but it is nice to see a Helleborus in flower with such fresh, green leaves!

In the shaded areas of the garden, things can be really slow to take off. I put these little impatiens seedlings in around late October, and still, almost nothing. Here they are with the Fuchsias in late November, showing a few flowers, but almost no growth (click for larger images):

I’m amazed that they have remained this tiny without the slugs and snails finishing them off. Here they are in January:

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Impatient these Impatiens are not…..

As well as winter flowers,I also have the first few autumn leaves:

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First Japanese Maple leaves

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Dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’) starting to wear autumn colours

But as well enjoying a respite from hot days, there are some benefits!

The Chilliwack Raspberries have ripened early (I’ve already picked and eaten quite a few), but its leaves too, have started to put on an autumn show!

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Bountiful Autumn Harvest….!?!

It goes to show that you don’t need frost for half-decent autumn colour. The coolest night we have had these past few weeks is 6°C/43°F (with most above 10°C/50°F).

I always find it fascinating to see which plants rely mostly on temperature changes, rather than both light and temperature, as their on/off switch…the weather will of course warm soon, so any effects are quite temporary.

Happy Gardening 🙂

Front Foundation Bed – Progress Shot

Some of you may remember when I dug one of the foundations bed in winter.

Originally just grass and a scruffy half-dead miniature rose that was completely trampled during the building works, it went from this:

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Old

To this in July – a garden of cuttings, plant plugs and bare-rooted plants (and hope!):

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Bare-rooted plants, tiny plant plugs and cuttings

And now five months later, it is really starting to take shape:

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Still a lot of growing to do, but it’s a lot more colourful

Obviously there is a lot more growing to go, but the climbing iceberg rose in the corner has been the star performer. Given that the wall is North-facing and receives all day sun, the salvias have also done really well:

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Salvia ‘Waverly’

Trying to ignore the annual diascias (granted, this is difficult but I haven’t the heart to rip them out), I really like the combination of blue-ish pinks and mauves against the blue-grey wall:

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Soft pinks, whites, mauves and catastrophic colour clash!

The mauve Osteospermums are temporary – they live but a few years, but they more than adequately compensate by being in flower for 90% of the year.

The Achillea and Salvias at the front of the bed will provide a nice contrast floral and foliage to each other: at the moment they are not much to look at because the plants are still so small, but fingers crossed by next summer I will get the tubular flowers and spikes of the salvia floating above the ferny yarrow…..

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Achillea millefolium ‘Summer Pastels’

Again, like so much in my garden, the Achillea ‘Summer Pastels’ was a lucky dip purchase – i.e. mixed, so this combination was another happy coincidence. I could just as easily ended up with orange or terracotta and then, dear reader, there would have been no photos at all (!)

However, the real stand out lesson in this bed for me (apart from the fluroscent dianthus), are the two climbing iceberg roses. One was put in as a bare-rooted plant in mid-winter and the other as a pot grown plant in late winter.

The rose in the corner was put in as a $12.95 bare-rooted plant: you can see how small it was in the second photo. It has grown 6′ in five months.

Even though I wanted two of these, the supplier only had one left. Because I was impatient to get at least one bed planted up – especially at the front of the house, and against my better judgement, I bought a pot-grown specimen for $23.95 and has done almost nothing (it is the rose to the left of the third photo).

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So much growth

I guess I should have been patient and waited until this winter to get another bare-rooted rose, they really are the best way to establish roses. Even though still small, at least the flowers are lovely:

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Delicate white and pink

Happy Gardening 🙂

Rock Rose

I love the happy blooms of the rock rose (Cistus ladaniferus). These were just little plugs when I planted them in March/April.

Now, they have started to fill out nicely and are covered in blooms:

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IMG_0746The white crepe-paper blooms certainly complement one of the seemingly never-ending Iceland poppy blooms:

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Each flower lasts but a day.

This is one of the more cold tolerant of the species and can be grown in USDA Zones 7/8 as long as it is given some shelter (just as I have done by growing it in front of a warm North-facing fence).

These short lived shrubs still have some way to go; growing quite a bit more slowly here than in their preferred Mediterranean climate, but considering these only had a few leaves each when I planted them seven months ago, I am certainly not complaining about the progress!

Happy Gardening 🙂

Lupins

I admit it.

I’m very excited about the fact that these have flowered for me. This is the first time I have been able to grow Lupins since living in London (and even then I had to grow them in a pot because of the heavy clay).

Despite their ubiquitousness in the last decade or so, it isn’t widely appreciated that Russell Lupin hybrids almost became extinct after the death of George Russell in 1951.

His Lupins all but succumbed to the cucumber mosaic virus and of the 150 or so named varieties that he bred, only a dozen were able to be ‘re-discovered’ during the 1970s and re-bred at a nursery close to where George Russell spent over 20 years perfecting his flowers, so while there these ‘Russells’ are probably not quite the same as the ones bred by the man himself, I am certainly grateful for their reintroduction!

At any rate, I love their glorious early summer display. As I have put them in the most wind sheltered spot of the garden, I haven’t had to stake them. There should be quite a few more blooms this summer and next; in Spring 2015, now that I know what each flower colour is, I shall take basal cuttings of those I like so I can get more of these for years to come.

IMG_0736 IMG_0748 IMG_0794 IMG_0792 IMG_0796 IMG_0798 I didn’t quite get all of the garish colours I had hoped for, but not to worry….I can keep hunting throughout the year. Happy Gardening 🙂

Early ‘late’ flowering Rhododendron

While the rest of the world tips into winter, here we have just endured a record breaking heatwave.

Last Sunday we reached 34°C/93°F, smashing the old record of 33°C/91°F to become our new hottest day ever…(the day-time average here at this time of year is 19°C/66°F)

So, after a warm October, a warm November and then a heat wave, the garden thinks it’s in summer!

I know that many readers in the western parts of the UK will be horrified to see a post about Rhododendron ponticum given how weedy it is in that part of the country, but here it is only moderately inclined to self-seed.

Normally, this would be in flower around Christmas, but this year it is a month early. I love its pale purple blooms: but you can see how warm it has been by the substantial amounts of new growth…

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Rhododendron ponticum

Certainly, whatever your experience with this plant, it is hard to deny the joy that the last of the Rhododendrons bring as the garden signals the change to hot weather…

Happy Gardening 🙂