I have not featured our own garden for quite a while. In fact, I think my last reference to it was Spring last year, so I though an update was long overdue! It has been a very long cold Winter again with heavy frosts and very little rain, so all the flowering times have been delayed, both in the garden and in the native flora.Our recent walk to Hegarty’s Bay was marred by the dearth of the highly anticipated Spring wildflowers. This month has also been quite cold. So we are only now just starting to experience early Spring. The early jonquils (Erlicheers, Ziva Paperwhites and white jonquils) and camellias are now over,
but other narcissi (including the double Winter Sun in the first photo, and in the second photo in order: Pheasants Eye (top two photos), Golden Dawn and scented white Geranium, Ptolemy and King Alfred) are persisting…,
along with violets…,
However, it is the advent of the Spring blossoms, which really spells Spring for me: the plums and crab apples, and flowering shrubs: Exochorda macrantha ‘The Bride’ and superbly scented Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’.We had a wonderful display of our new Dutch Crocus (white Jeanne d’Arc, striped Pickwick and mauve Grand Maître) in the cutting garden, which has had a makeover in its arrangement with the paths now dividing it into four large squares rather than the original four skinny strips, allowing much more room for the plants to grow and multiply.We have two shady beds nearest the boundary trees (left side of photo above) and two flower beds in full sun (right side of photo above). The back shady bed is full of feverfew and blue Love-In-The-Mist, Nigella hispanica, both wonderful fillers for bouquets, while the front shady bed contains foxgloves, Nigella orientalis ‘Transformer’, Aquilegia, Dutch Crocus, Hacquetia epipactis, Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis), pansies and heartease, the latter two sustaining us through the Winter with their wonderful colour!The back sunny bed is chock-a-block with Dutch Iris and poppies, edged with ranunculas, and the front sunny bed is now coming into its own with the steadfast purple Hoary Stock, Matthiola incana, which provided much needed colour over the Winter, as seen in this vase with Winter Jasmine, Jasminum nudiflorum; anemones, Anemone de Caen….;
and now, Lily Tulips (Synaeda Orange) and Parrot Tulips… and species tulips: Lady Tulips, Tulipa clusiana: the red and white Lady Jane, and yellow chrysantha and ‘Cynthia’ varieties, as well as the stunning Bokhara Tulip, T. linifolia.The cutting garden certainly is a mass of colour at the moment and I find it very hard to pick anything!!!!The Soho and Moon Beds have been weeded, pruned and mulched over the Winter.
A few ailing roses have been replaced and the Bog Salvia removed, as it is far too rampant and swamps everything! We have moved some of the plants around to allow for better aeration around the roses and peonies. The wallflowers and nemesias are blooming at the moment. It looks like I might have my first Tree Peony this year!We also transplanted the hybrid musk and rugosa rose hedges, as they were not thriving, due to the heavy root competition and shade provided by our neighbour’s huge old Cottonwood Poplar tree. Fortunately, the latter had a severe haircut by some very talented tree surgeons over the Winter, with the removal of the bough over our Mulberry Tree, so we hope the extra sun will sweeten the fruit considerably this year, provided of course that we get more serious rain as well! We plan to build a glasshouse on the old rugosa site one day in the future.The rugosas all moved up to line our driveway, while the other roses now grace the sweeping path from the Main Pergola up past the entrance steps (on left of photo), along with new plantings of quince, apricot (second photo) and Prunus subhirtella autumnalis. We have also planted a golden peach to replace the dead Native Frangipani in the Tea Garden and a fig and a blood orange in the citrus patch behind the Moon Bed.
Sweetly scented old-fashioned freesias are just starting to bloom on the steep bank of the Tea Garden (second photo below), while their colourful relatives brighten up the feet of Mrs Herbert Stevens next to the house (first photo below).And we have the first of our new Bearded Iris starting to bloom at the top of the agapanthus bank.We also planted clematis on both iron rose arches: a blue Clematis macropetala ‘Pauline’ to complement the golden roses Rêve d’Or and Alister Stella Gray at the entrance to the garden; and the fast-growing pink Clematis texensis ‘Princess Diana’ to accompany the creamy Sombreuil and pink Cornelia on the chook fence arch (photo below). While we still have to develop our chook yard, we have moved the compost bays and planned a garden shed behind the Perennial Bed, where the raspberries have been pruned and tied up and the comfrey, sorrel, angelica (currently in full flower), rhubarb and asparagus are thriving. The strawberries and blueberries have their own bed, also sown with hollyhock seeds, and there are two more vegetable beds underway.Up on the terrace, the Treasure Bed has been awash with blue Hyacinth (Delft Blue) and grape hyacinth, interspersed with Tête à Tête daffodils, pale yellow primroses and now, the mauve Pasque Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris. We have created a new herb garden close to the house in the old Acanthus Bed, though the latter keep popping up- they are resilient survivors indeed! We have planted Italian and Curly Parsley, lemon thyme and common thyme, Savory of Crete Satureja thymbra, common sage, French tarragon, oregano and calendulas, now in full glorious bloom!. We have also started to clean up the agapanthus terrace, though it is a huge job, as the steep slope was never terraced properly, so new beds have to be created and supported, as well as eliminating all the old couch grass, before we can plant lavender. Ross also had major waterworks with new pipes being laid and a new tap in the vegie garden, which will make watering so much easier now. The bowerbirds were pretty impressed with the new tap! Ross can certainly dig a straight trench!!! And we have been working on the shed, lining the interior ceiling with ply, so now it is clean and dry and usable… not to mention, possum-proof!!! The shed garden has also been the recipient of much-needed attention and is sporting lavender, primula and euphorbia blooms! It is so wonderful to be heading into Spring finally here in the Southern Hemisphere! I know I was sustained over the long Winter by blog posts and Instagram photos from the Northern Hemisphere Spring and Summer, so I hope this post has returned the favour! I will probably write another Spring garden post later in the season, when the garden is in full party mode! In the meantime….Happy Gardening wherever you are!