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:

Small

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:

DaffRoseTulip

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

Azaleas and more Narcissus:

jonqsAzalea

TulipsBluebells

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:

Azaleas

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

Azaleas1

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

RhodoPrim

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:

Wallflowers

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

And cool:

Blue

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:

Warm

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:

LongShots

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 🙂

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:

Tulip

 

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:

Daffs

The Cockatoo has actually left the white Narcissi alone!

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

Daffs2

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

The first Freesias have opened:

IMG_3346

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.

Muscari

I love the contrast between the Erysimum and the Muscari:

IMG_3546

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

Wallflowers

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!

Muscari1

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

IMG_3504

Anemone and Ranunculus are also starting to show promise:

Anemone_Ranunc

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.

Cyc_Pulm

Happy Gardening!

Monarch Butterflies

As I was deadheading some of the spent Grape Hyacinth flowers, I disturbed about a dozen Monarch butterflies feeding on the Wallflowers.

Watching them all lift up and flutter about before settling back down to nectar-sipping is certainly dreamlike! I was able to capture just three of the butterflies that returned:

IMG_0662

Butterflies

The Monarchs are actually a North American Butterfly, but have been in the Sydney area for almost 150 years. Here in the mountains, late October – early November is breeding season…it will be interesting to see if they lay eggs on these plants.

Happy Gardening 🙂