This Week in the Garden.

Even though it is cold and wet today, we’ve had weeks of sunny and mild weather, meaning spring continues its early march. And it is mostly the bulbs that are early to flower, especially in the sheltered micro-climate of the secret garden area where Tulips are commanding my attention:

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Tulips

Clockwise L-R: Mixed Tulips (Monet Series); Species Tulip (Tulipa bakerei) ‘Lilac Wonder’; Bokassa Tulips ‘Baby Doll’

Narcissi in the other areas of the garden have finally started to open:

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The Cockatoo has actually left the white Narcissi alone!

Compare this to the Narcissi in the secret garden area which are so far ahead:

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The scent in the secret garden is heavenly on still, sunny days…let me tell you!

The first Freesias have opened:

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Muscari still continue to put on a lovely display. The secret garden area was the first to open, and now the rest of the garden is following suit.

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I love the contrast between the Erysimum and the Muscari:

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Most of the Erysimum in the garden have started blooming and I really adore some of the burnt reds and oranges:

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Pink Muscari are something of a disappointment. They have really only just started opening, and the pink is very subtle (to say the least). As they fill out in the next year or so, they may look impressive, but for now, I’ll reserve judgement. The garden centre did however include an unknown bulb in the mix which is far lovelier than the Muscari!

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Ipheon continue to give a lovely display and have been going since mid winter which is quite incredible.

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Anemone and Ranunculus are also starting to show promise:

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But not everything in the garden is early. In areas which only receive partial sun, my cold climate wins out.

For instance, when I lived in the UK, Cyclamen and Pulmonaria were considered mid-late winter flowers. However here, they have only just started to open, but are delightful none-the-less.

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Happy Gardening!

Spring Stirrings

On this, the last weekend of Winter, a week of showers, sun and mild weather has the garden already looking to the season ahead, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

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To me, Crocus epitomises the first of the spring flowers

All over the garden, plants are warming up for the Spring foot-race that becomes an all out marathon in the weeks ahead.

I’ve already shown the Muscari armeniacum which have been blooming in the most sheltered area of the garden, but I love them, and they deserve another look.

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Muscari armeniacum

It shows the power of the micro-climate: elsewhere in the garden, the Muscari have only just started to emerge, such as this little pink variety….

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Hard to believe this is in the same garden it is so far behind!


Narcissi are the stalwart of the early spring garden. The dwarf varieties have been flowering for weeks, and while they are fading, still look good enough to bring a smile:

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The taller Narcissus varieties have also started to open

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I’ll have to be quick however, there is a Cockatoo that is visiting the garden who likes to munch on all of the flower spikes. I am finding half-chewed stems everywhere (!)

Unfortunately for the daffodils, the Cockatoo also takes all of the leaves off, which means the bulbs will likely perish, and unfortunately for me, the Cockatoo only seems to like the more unusual varieties, leaving the bog-standard yellow ones untouched 😦


The very first Anemone coronaria has opened.

I adore these flowers.

This was part of a mixed “De-Caan” hybrid pack, so there should also be some red and white ones to follow, but so far I can see only blue buds….

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Ipheon uniflorum have been in flower since mid-winter but continue to look lovely:

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Helleborus continue to impress with their deep, rich colours:

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In the most sheltered areas of the garden, Primulas are in almost full-swing:

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Bellis perennis have kept a vigil all winter-long, and are still lovely:

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Papaver nudicale, normally a short-lived annual for most gardeners, spot flower for most of the year, but the first spring flushes are still a joy to behold.

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Shrubs are also getting in on the act, with the earliest-blooming azaleas starting to make an appearance.

These lovely blooms belong to Rhododendron spinuliferum ‘Crossbill’:

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The ever brash crimson of the early flowering Azalea indica ‘Red-wing’:

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Another early flowering Rhododendron (unknown cultivar) in brilliant magenta:

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And what of the early flowering variety that got caught in a snow-fall two weeks ago as I planted it? Many expressed concerns that it would be okay. Well, here it is; the carmine buds of Rhododendron ‘Robyn’ have turned to a soft lilac-pink:

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The Camellia japonica ‘Hino-Maru’ in the hedge-row along the property line is also delightful:

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And, lastly for this weeks’ wrap-up is the delightful scent of my little Daphne odora in bloom.

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Amazing to think that such a small plant can fill the air with a delightful fragrance!

Happy Gardening 🙂

Wednesday Vignette – Glistening Jewels

Muscari armeniacum remind me of jewels at the best of times, but it is even more pronounced after rain when they glisten in the gloom.

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And, thanks to a sheltered micro-climate, these are in bloom well before any others in the garden….giving me a taste of spring even though it is still winter.

Linking up with Flutter and Hum’s Wednesday Vignette. Do check out what others have thought worthwhile of a happy-snap around the world!

Happy Gardening 🙂

The First Spring Bulbs

What a difference a week can make in the garden.

With the weather going up and down like a yo-yo, it’s interesting to see the first real stirrings for the season ahead.

First up is Ipheon. I planted this up last autumn; it has a lovely pale blue flower. There should be quite a number more to come. Here it makes a nice contrast with the red-twigged dogwood.

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Spring Star

Next to make an appearance is the Muscari. Again, this was planted last autumn, so I will be keen to see any improvement as the spikes emerge.

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Grape Hyacinth

Lastly, even though it’s not a bulb, the first little Primula flower has also opened, so it can have a place here too, as it is probably one of my favourites 🙂

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The first stirrings of spring (even in a mild climate like mine) are always so subtle and call for a keen eye, but I guess that is part of the fun!

View along the new dividing fence

As this is the only finished garden bed in the house, I thought I’d share what I’ve planted.

This little garden bed was created after the fencing contractors finished the 30′ paling fence and gate in the previous photo which leads to the carport.

The soil in this part of the garden is very rocky; a mixture of sandstone, shale and ironstone. The largest, non-coniferous tree in the photo is Eucalyptus piperita and is native to this part of NSW. This tree is easily over 100′ tall, yet is classed as a small to medium size tree (?!?!). I can only guess that it has been here for many hundreds of years given how large it is.

The little dry stone wall that edges the garden bed contained stones that were all dug up from the garden bed itself, which will give you an idea of how slow going creating a garden here can be!

I added a large amount of rotted cow manure and a huge helping of rotted leaves to improve the soil as well as provide some additional matter to level the bed.

The planting scheme for this part of the bed is a row of Arizona Cypresses (Cupressus glabra ‘Blue Ice’) – these will get to about 40′ and will make a nice contrast to the lime green tones of the existing 30 year old Macrocarpa Cypress next to the car port.

Given that this bed is at the back of the garden, I want it to be able to survive on rainwater alone. I have included Cistus which have already grown in leaps and bounds – these should come into flower next summer. To keep them company, I have added variegated Hebes and a russet leafed Spirea.

The large shrub at the front of the picture is a variegated dogwood.

I had also planted some Hollyhock seedlings to hide the fence while the Arizona Cypresses filled out, but the snails and slugs found them irresistible!  A handful of foxgloves at least have survived.

At the front of the bed, I have added some Grape Hyacinth bulbs which will naturalise over time (you can see them already starting to sprout in time for early spring) and these will complement the freesias and crocus bulbs next to the gate.

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Tubestock is much to look at yet, but it should romp away by next summer.