A quiet month in the Winter garden, but still plenty of garden tasks from pruning roses to transplanting shrubs and sowing seed for the Spring. We have had quite a mild Winter, with fewer frosts, which are lighter than last year and clear sunny days, which invite you out to the garden away from the fire! It has been so mild that the little oak tree still has its leaves as I write! Here is a view from our front verandah on a typical July day this season. All the bulbs are also peeking their heads out, including the lost Delft Blue hyacinths and miniature Tête-a-Tête daffodils (see below) in the rockery bed with the grape hyacinth and the bluebells under the crab apple tree. I have yet to find the fritillaries and the erythroniums, though I have a rough idea of where I planted them! The new tulips are growing madly- the little species tulip, Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’ (foreground), is so different to its hybrid cousin, Bokassa Tulip Gold, behind it! The snowdrops, Galanthus, (1st photo) and snow flakes, Leucojum, (2nd photo) are flowering, though I am impatient to see them multiply and naturalize in the grass!And my Dutch crocus (Crocus vernus ‘Remembrance’) are up! I was so excited to see my first splash of purple, as I had no idea where they were! They look so dramatic in front of the red camellia!The hellebores are now starting to open their buds – in order, Helleborus x ballardiae ‘Pink Frost’ (1st 2 photos); single form of Oriental Rose, H. orientalis; and my double forms of oriental roses, given to me for my birthday two years ago by my Mum. The wallflowers and forget-me-nots love the Winter, providing a splash of colour in an otherwise grey and green Soho bed! The thyme is thriving around the sundial. The violets are a sea of purple under the maple tree and up the path. The pink violets are blooming less vociferously up the sweeping entrance path and are matched by the first pink flowers of the begonias further up the steps. The camellia continues to delight with its deep pink, pale pink and white blooms.The Red Riding Hood camellia is also in flower and really attracts the eye in the garden. The sweet scent of the opening daphne flowers and Winter honeysuckle blooms make me glad to be alive every time I go out the back door! The latter is a perfect home for my gift bird feeder, though we are using to hold water for the little birds instead! The currawongs are dominating the bird bath at the moment, holding group seminars of up to 5 birds at a time! Huge flocks roost in our tree overnight. The little birds don’t stand a chance, but the currawongs don’t seem to worry the larger birds: the magpies, king parrots, crimson rosellas, galahs and female bowerbirds, all of which are revelling in the vegetable patch! Even the male bower bird has made a brief appearance to supervise proceedings (last 2 photos)!
They loved all the soil disruption, as Ross weeded and dug in manure around all the shrubs, ready for the new Spring growth.Meanwhile, a pair of White-faced Herons had a long sunny grooming session in the branches overhead. They are such beautiful birds! Ross has also been busy in the vegetable garden, with lots of weeding, hoeing and preparation work, but he has planted rainbow chard and shallots. The growth is all a bit slow at the moment, but we are enjoying the fresh organic broccoli heads! We finally harvested our first crop of cumquats for the season to make marmalade and splashed out on our first lemonade fruit! Only 2 kg cumquats for this first picking, but there is more unripe fruit on the tree. The loquats are also forming fruit and it looks like it will be a bumper crop! Ross also dug up all the tough, tenacious roots of the old Kiwi vines, which were resprouting and threatening to take all the nutrients from the new citrus trees. We pruned the David Austin bed, rather vigorously this first season to encourage a good bush shape, though will probably be more lenient in future years. Here are before and after photos of their haircuts! We turned another rose (York and Lancaster) on the shed fence, then planted out 3 Albertine roses, struck from cuttings, along the back wall of the shed. We also planted a Camellia sinensis, the tea plant (photos 3 and 4), next to the Native Frangipani (photo 2) in the corner of the flat, shading the grave of our old dog, Scamp. He always did enjoy a long chat and a cuddle over a cup of tea! The Lady X grevillea behind them is positively glowing at the moment! The chaenomeles are all coming into bloom back in the main garden and the transplanted shrubs are coming into fresh leaf. I love our flowering quince corner of white and ‘apple blossom’ (pink & white) varieties, in front of the white-pink blooms of our Star-above-Star camellia.We have a red flowering quince on the bottom fence , still in bud.We even have a few daisies in bloom – some sweet little paper daisies, Rhodanthe anthemoides (photo 1 and 2), the colour of their buds mirroring the blooms of the Coconut Sundae dianthus behind- serendipity at work! ; a single white marguerite daisy (photo 3); and a spoonbill osteospermum with its metallic blue centre (photo 4). The diosma (2nd photo) is also flowering, so we may have to wait a little before moving the tank plants. They compliment the fine mauve blooms of the westringia (1st photo) behind. We also transplanted the Linum from the egg cartons and sowed fresh seed (Linum on the left and Ladybird Poppies on the right) in the cutting garden beds. Ross sowed the peony poppy seeds, which has already come up in their thousands! See the fine rivers of green in the 2nd photo. Lots of seedling thinning ahead!! I cannot wait for all the colourful Spring blooms! Having said that, I am impressed by the number of Winter flowers we have and the fact that we can still enjoy a few vases in the house. Even the last of the rosebuds pre-pruning were beautiful! We also planted a succulent in this lovely shell for the kitchen window sill.To finish, here are some lovely sky photos from July! Snowy blustery clouds as a cold change comes through and the sun struggling to get up for the day! Must have been a bad case of Monday-itis!!! Till next month…!