Spring is truly underway ! We have had beautiful sunny weather up to 22 degrees Celsius and it is amazing how quickly the garden responds. The maples have new leaf, the Snowball Tree (Viburnum opulus) and Carolina Allspice ( Calycanthus floridus) are just waking up, the roses are in good leaf and my tiny shrubs of Viburnum bodnantense and Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) are powering along. Even my puny Philadelphus is sending out new leaf- it must have heard my threats !!!The Prunus has provided a magnificent show. I love the gentle snowflake fall of white blossom and the white carpet of petals beneath. The Malus floribunda is waiting patiently for its time to shine- but its only just hanging in there with more and more beautiful pink buds opening every day! All the hellebores underneath the feature trees are shooting madly.The Winter Honeysuckle and Daphne have just about finished, though the camellia and violets remain loyal to the end. The Banksia rose is definitely recovering, which is more that can be said for its fellow victim to Ross’s shears, our poor lemon tree, nor the Wheel-of-Fire, whose new Autumn leaf was severely burnt by frost! The herbs are looking fantastic !Ross has redeemed himself however by starting to dig the David Austin bed. While we had already planted the bare-rooted David Austin roses, we still had to eliminate the grass cover in between the plants and create a proper garden bed for them. With the former’s position right next to the Soho bed, I always had it in mind to create a crescent-shaped moon bed to complement the circular Soho bed with its sundial in its centre. Initially, I wanted the orientation of a waning moon- the moon of new growth – a backward ‘c’ – with its convex curve mirroring the concave curve of the right and nearest side of the Soho bed.
These photos show the position and the start of the intended moon bed.
However, because of the sweep of the paths through the main entrance pergola to the garden beyond, we decided a waxing moon ( shaped like a ‘c’ ) would look better with its convex curve facing the neighbour’s fence. The paths flowed better and funny little no-man’s-land corners at the points of the crescent were avoided. We plan to plant 4 citrus trees against this fence line, where the old kiwi fruit vine used to grow, so the orientation of the waxing moon bed also works well, as there is a sense of its curve enveloping the citrus. Being the Harvest Moon and the moon of the Earth Mothers: Demeter, Ceres, Korte, Danu (Anu), and Bast, we hope this will also ensure bountiful crops of fruit! The soft yellow, cream, gold and pink globular, cupped rose blooms will certainly look very beautiful against the glossy dark green citrus foliage and complement the golden/ orange orbs of fruit!Of course, we are aware that as everything grows to its full maturity, we will lose the moon shape, especially the convex curve, but the concept still provides the backbone underneath! We hope to prepare the ground for the 4 citrus trees this week : a Tahitian Lime next to the pergola, then an Imperial Mandarin, a Lemonade Tree and finally a Washington Navel. We will plant another Lemonade tree opposite the cumquats on the shed corner to form an evergreen arch before entering the main pergola. This arch will be extended by the arching canopy of a Smyrna Quince tree, which we planted next to the evergreen magnolia.Other plantings this week included :
- ‘Dogwood Red’ Beaute Orientale Azalea down by the red rhododendron and the persimmon. It is in flower at the moment and has beautiful burnt red blooms.
- a Cycad or Burrawang to mark the end of the fernery path.
- some local natives including a hakea, mintbush, native violets and more ferns.
We also sowed more seed in the cutting garden :
- Bupleureum and Nigella ( Love-in-a-Mist) in the Iris bed
- Borage and Cosmos in the poppy bed and
- Digitalis (Foxgloves) in the tulip bed.
The Spring bulbs have been to die for !!! So very beautiful and so precious !! The anemones have been stunning with all their white, pink, mauve, blue and red hues of every tone.
The daffodils and jonquils are all blooming- I particularly love the elegant Actaea daffodils ( also known as Pheasant’s eye or Poets daffodil). This was one of the first daffodils to be cultivated and is associated with many myths : see http://worldoffloweringplants.com/poets-daffodil-legend-history/. It is grown in the Netherlands and Southern France for its essential oil, Narcissus Oil, used in perfumery.Another jonquil with a beautiful scent is the erlicheer. I made my gardening angel a bouquet of them with violets and forget-me-knots to thank her, not only for all her manure, but also taking all of our garden waste. It will be so good to have that area cleared, so the rain forest plants can establish. We took our first load over this week. Ross also attacked the ivy down the side path and we moved all the pots of cuttings down there in preparation for the Banksia pergola construction.And the first of the tulips are opening up and what a show ! Bright orange Lily tulips with yellow centres, pink and white candy stripe Lily tulips, pure white Bokassa tulips and flamboyant pink and white Parrot Tulips like the skirts of Can-Can girls! We just had to remove their protective wire guard, though we still replace it at night-time, just in case the marauders return !!!And still on the theme of gardens, we had a very interesting outing last Saturday to the South East Coast Producers’ Field Day ( see http://southcoastfielddays.com.au/ ) . SPCA- South East Coast is a wonderful organization ( see : http://scpa.org.au/ ), promoting organics, seed saving and sustainability and all the stallholders and speakers were so inspirational ! Indira Naidoo was promoting her new book ‘The Edible City’ and the story of her transition from news reader and TV presenter to urban agriculture guru is fascinating. See : https://www.penguin.com.au/products/9781921383816/edible-city and http://theediblebalcony.com.au/. She also takes tours of the rooftop farms of New York City- apparently there is one that is 2 1/2 acres ! See : http://brooklyngrangefarm.com. France passed a new law earlier this year ensuring all new buildings in commercial districts are covered with green roofs or solar panels. See : http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/20/3636746/franch-rooftops-go-green/. Its so wonderful to hear about the greening of our concrete cities, which is essential for the well being of their inhabitants.
And finally, a beautiful photo of a fragile spider’s web in the top of the Prunus early one beautiful misty Spring morning and one of primroses, a true sign of Spring!