It has been a very mild Summer so far, though I suspect it is about to get hotter! Apart from the odd day in the late 30s/ early 40s, it has been more like a late Spring, which has been wonderful for gardening and has given us the opportunity to clean up and reorganize the cutting garden, which had started to get out of control! We have now moved all the Narcissi to their own little patches under trees and the ends of the pergola and arches, and the old freesias to their own bank, bordering the car parking flat, where they can run riot and naturalize to their heart’s content! We have divided all the replicating Dutch Iris, tulips and anemones, which we then replanted throughout all the newly dug beds. I was surprised how many new bulbs there were and hope they all bloom successfully next Spring! We transplanted the self-sown feverfew seedlings down the centre of the Dutch Iris and old zinnia beds and moved the latter’s self-sown seedlings on a very cool day to their own patch behind the dahlias in the recent peony poppy bed, leaving a few seedpods of the latter to dry out for seed. The zinnias are such tough plants and all have survived and are set to bloom in January. We were also fortunate in that another self-sown sunflower seedling is blooming in the same spot as last year and we have sowed the seed of some bright scarlet Mexican Sunflowers Tithonia on either side of the Helianthus annuus. They may not be successful, as the packet stipulates sowing them in Spring, but given the cooler weather we have been experiencing, I decided to give it a shot and see what happens! All going well, it should be a stunning display late Summer. The dahlias have already put on a wonderful show. I love all their rich vivid colours, as well as their more muted, softer pastel shades. They make wonderful bouquets for the house and the Christmas table! I also made a lovely, wild, blowsy bouquet from the early Summer flowers in the Soho and Moon Beds : bright blue Cornflowers, paler blue flowering salvia, mauve wallflowers, pretty white feverfew daisies, pink peony poppies and the seedpods of the latter and Nigella orientalis ‘Transformer’. While we are still getting the odd peony poppy in the Soho Bed, the cutting garden has had masses of stunning ladybird Poppies, interspersed with a few self-sown Iceland Poppy seedlings from last year. The Soho Bed has settled down from its early November peak, but it still has nice colour with the roses (Lolita, Mr Lincoln and The Childrens’ Rose), and bergamot (photo 1), stachys and blue flowering salvia, replacing the wallflowers and the geum Lady Stratheden (photo 2). We have two other blue salvias in the Moon Bed : Indigo Spires, which we bought from the nursery at Foxglove Spires, and a light blue variety, grown from a cutting from my sister’s old garden. They contrast well with the white feverfew daisies and the gold daylilies, also given to me by my sister, along with this unusual flower, whose identity I have yet to ascertain. Any suggestions? Elsewhere in the garden, roses in bloom include : Autumn Delight (photo 1) and Penelope are reflowering in the white hybrid musk hedge; Frau Dagmar Hastrup (photo 2) in the rugosa hedge; Devoniensis on the pergola (photo 3); and Alister Stella Gray (photo 4) in preparation for its future entrance arch! However, the standouts of the Summer Garden are the cooling blues and whites : the blue Convovulus maritima and the Madonna lilies with their pure white trumpets and gold stamens, heralding the start of Summer. They look so beautiful with the sun shining through their petals; The potted gardenia at the back door with its sumptuous white blooms with their exotic sharp spicy sweet scent, which always reminds me of Christmas!; The white and blue blooms of the agapanthus bank, flowering in tandem with the mauve and white Acanthus mollis; and the soft blue shade of the new hydrangeas, their huge bushes showing great promise; and finally, the honey-drenched blooms of the pink and mauve buddleias down the path, constantly full of butterflies, bees and wasps! We have also had a few exciting surprises! Our new hosta Peter Pan has flowered with sprays of mauve flowers, which complement its blue-green foliage; Our dogwood Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’ has bloomed for the very first time. Its green buds turn white, and finally a deep pink by the end of Summer; The Sprekelia (Jacobean Lily) bulb nearby at the bottom of the steps has grown back after disappearing for a long while, after a mishap with the whipper-snipper, and most exciting of all … we discovered that we actually have more Jacobean Lilies, with an up-till-then unidentified bulb at the end of the tulip bed coming into bloom with its distinctive red flower, another Christmas treat! While the NSW Christmas Bush flowers have yet to turn red (delayed due to the cold I suspect!), Lady X grevillea (photo 2) is doing the right thing with masses of red blooms for visiting honeyeaters, while the wattlebirds love my neighbour’s red hot pokers (Kniphofia), another Christmas flower (photo 1). The newly transplanted lemon verbena is also in full bloom and the rainforest plants are growing madly, including this beautiful staghorn on the loquat tree. Other garden stalwarts include the bromeliads, the pinks and geranium Rosalie in the Treasure Bed and the honeysuckle climbers on the fence. With so much in flower, the bees and butterflies are in seventh heaven. The fruit trees and vegetable garden are a mecca for the bats and the birds, though huge breeding flocks of Little Corellas and Galahs have taken over the trees, recently vacated motels for visiting flying foxes, which have now mostly disappeared to raid other areas. The skies are full of these noisy party acrobats, with the odd Sulphur-Crested and Yellow-Tailed Black cockatoo cousins joining in. The King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas are enjoying the scarlet Duranta berries, while the Satin Bowerbirds have been feasting on our beans and raspberries! This beautiful immature Crimson Parrot sent us scurrying to our bird books to confirm its identity!We were very excited when some White-Faced Herons decided to build a twiggy nest platform, high in the Black Cottonwood tree, though I suspect these two were visiting youngsters, as they don’t have the white adult face. We watch the parents’ changing of the guard (they share incubation duties) from our vantage point on the verandah. Apparently, the incubation period is 21 to 24 days, so hopefully, we will have some new baby herons for the New Year! We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying a relaxing break. All our very Best Wishes for 2017! xxx
And now, for our final two gardens, both relatively young and both collectors’ gardens: Perennial Hill and Chinoiserie!
1 Nero St. Mittagong Ph 0409244200 or 0413004740 1 acre
September to March: September Open Daily 10am – 4pm; October to November Open weekends; December Open the first two weekends; then finally, an Autumn Festival in April.
$8 Adults; $7 Seniors; Under 16 years old: Free.
Established on the sunny side of Mt. Gibraltar in 2001 by Craig and Julie Hulbert, Perennial Hill has been described as ‘a jewel in the making’ and also contains many rare botanical treasures. Craig has had his own landscaping business for many years, while Julie has extensive horticultural experience, having worked in a number of nurseries. Her passion is perennials, while Craig’s love is rockery plants and conifers and together, they have been able to indulge those interests in a series of rooms with different themes and styles. Even though it is only 1 acre and still a relatively new garden, it feels much larger and older. It is amazing that when they first built their house, it was a completely bare paddock with a few eucalypts on the lower bottom corner and a small grouping at the top of the block. The garden is situated on a steep exposed slope and has good volcanic soil and good drainage. From the road and entry, only the conifer area and rockery garden is visible, but there is so much more, hidden behind high Leyland Cypress hedges. On one side of the house is a walled garden and rose avenue and on the other side, a potting shed and propagating area. The area behind the house is more level and is cooler, wetter and shadier than the front, allowing a totally different set of plants to flourish. There is a French parterre, topiared shapes and poplar hurdles and dry stone walls, as well as a sunken garden with a dwarf Mondo grass floor, and double mixed perennial and shrub borders. Perennials include: Pulmonarias; Campanulas; Salvias; Geums; Penstemons; Filipendulas; Monardas; Lysimachias; Francas; Helianthus and Rudbeckias. Other plants include: Ranunculus; Leucadendrons; and Echiums with Digitalis. I loved all the different combinations with a strong emphasis on colour and texture, as well as light and shade. I also like all the garden accessories from birdcages to pots and statues.Craig and Julie have a large collection of Sambucus and Cornus, including the rare Cornus alternifolia argentea. They also have some very rare trees including: Dacrydium cupressinum (New Zealand Rimu) , Cunninghamiana lanceolata (China Fir); Cedrus atlantica glauca pendula (Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar); Abies lasiocarpa compacta (Dwarf Arizona Fir); Cedrela sinensis (Chinese Cedar); Pseudolarix amabilis (Japanese Larch) and Fagas sylvatica pendula (Weeping Beech).Julie runs a number of propagating workshops, as well as workshops with titles like: Gardening in a Cool Climate; Creating a Summer Border; and An Introduction to Perennials, which covers the main family groups; use of perennials in the garden; soil preparation prior to planting; ongoing maintenance and pests and diseases. They have a market stall, as well as selling plants and gift ware in their garden shop in the house. They are also opened the garden for the inaugural Rare Plants Market Day on the last weekend of November. I look forward to seeing the development of this garden over the next few years. Julie and Craig are a lovely couple and very generous with their knowledge and time. They are constantly looking at new ideas to incorporate in their garden. Their new herbaceous perennial garden was inspired by Alan Bloom’s garden at Bressington, Norfolk, one of the 42 gardens they visited during a recent 5 week trip overseas. If you would like to see more photos, Australian Country Magazine wrote an article on this beautiful garden in their November issue.
23 Webb St Mittagong 1.25 acres
Ph (02) 4872 3003; 0412 507547; 0411 783883
Late September to the end of November 10 am to 4.30 pm $7 per adult
Not far away from Perennial Hill is another plant collector’s garden, established by Chris Styles and Dominic Wong in 1999 and specializing in peonies! They grow over 100 varieties of peonies from Chinese and Japanese Tree Peonies, which flower from mid-September to mid-October; European and American Tree Peonies, which bloom from mid-October to early November and Herbaceous Peonies, which finish the peony season from early to late November. The peony nursery is close to the house, the umbrellas shading the blooms from the intense sun. This pink peony is Hanabi from Japan.We visited this lovely garden last Autumn, but while we were in the area this weekend, we popped in for a quick sniff of the peonies, which were in full Spring bloom. Not all peonies are scented, so I was keen to smell them before making any decisions on peony selection, as tree peonies are quite expensive. They certainly have an unusual scent and I was really pleased that I made the effort to check and could now open the whole ballpark as far as peony choice was concerned. I loved the white ones and coral ones, but the deep reds were also very attractive! The first photo below is the Japanese Mekoho, while the second photo is Pink Hawaiian Coral.Peonies are the National flower of China and part of Dominic’s heritage, as his mother was Chinese. Apparently, during the early Chinese Dynasties, only the Emperor could grow peonies, so during the Cultural Revolution, Mao Tse Tung ordered the destruction of all peonies, because of their association with the royal family. Fortunately, they were also grown in monastery gardens and monks were able to preserve them, because their roots were used as medicine to purify the blood and treat female problems. The first photo below is Kronos from America. I’m not sure of the identity of the second peony.Dominic honed his horticultural skills on a 500 square metre block (plus the adjoining nature strip!) in Sydney, growing drought-tolerant plants around his Californian bungalow, but was keen for a larger garden and in 1999, bought a vacant block with Chris on sloping land with a creek at the bottom. They built a classic storybook cottage, which they run as a Bed-and-Breakfast with two guestrooms and a choice of an English or Chinese Yum-Cha breakfast. They designed the garden to be seen from the dining room windows, as the Winters are so cold. Here is their map of the overall design:I loved the long formal herbaceous perennial borders, which provide a constant colour from Spring to late Autumn and display great variation in colour, texture and leaf shape. Perennials include: Penstemons, Salvias, Centauras, Euphorbias, Alstroemerias, Phlomis, Oriental Iris, Verbascums, Cannas, Verbenas, Stachys, Scented Geraniums, Abutilon and Tree Lupins. There are also larger perennials like Melianthus, Romneya, Tree Dahlias, Stipa gigantea and Foxtail Lilies. There is also a potager, hedged with Hidcote lavenders, and full of vegetables and herbs; a chook boudoir; formal lawns, a parterre garden, a Chinese garden; a circular rose garden; an angel garden; an alpine garden with Lewisias, Pasque flowers and small alpine plants; a pond and stream garden, which is actually two ponds with a stream in between, growing Astilbes and Hostas, with a Chinese Peony pavilion beside the pond; and a developing woodland with trees like Tulip Tree, a Weeping Willow, a Trident Maple, Gingko, Pear, Birch, Beech, Sopora, Cherry, Judas Tree and Chinese Elm, all under-planted with rhododendrons, azaleas and bluebells. I love the little extra garden furnishings:There are also a number of lovely roses: Mme Grégoire Staechlin over the arbour; Crépuscule with an orange Abutilon neighbour; Lorraine Lea and Duchesse de Brabant on an arch over the path; as well as Abraham Darby , Complicata; Sparrieshoop and Rugspin. Dominic and Chris sell a number of perennials, as well as their main focus: herbaceous and tree peonies.
Other Places to Visit in the Southern Highlands:
Lydie du Bray Antiques
117 Old Hume Highway Braemar, near Mittagong. Ph: (02) 4872 2844
A wonderful selection of imported French antiques and decorative items, housed in the house, outbuildings and garden of Kamilaroi, a turn-of-the-century homestead. We particularly loved all the garden furniture and accoutrements including: garden gates, arbours and gazebos; tables, chairs and benches; statues and fountains; bird baths and bird cages; jardinières, urns and a variety of pots of different types and sizes.Dirty Jane’s
13 – 15 Banquette St Bowral Phone : (02) 4861 3231
A wonderful vintage mecca with over 75 individual dealers in three warehouse spaces. We finally found our four beautiful full-length lounge room curtains in the far corner of one of the sheds and after slight modification from a triple to a double pleat, they fit the windows perfectly and already being fully lined, saved us a mountain of work and expense! The fabric alone (at least 5 metres per curtain), a vintage Sanderson fabric called Salad Days, would cost a mint and is a perfect backdrop for our old cream and silver American Embassy lounge suites, which we found in our local antique shop. The curtains, which ironically were imported from America three weeks beforehand, look so sumptuous in the room and it feels like they have been there forever, even though we still pinch ourselves that we have been so lucky!Country Accents
Home of incredibly life-like artificial flowers, as well as products by Crabtree and Evelyn and Occitaine; candles and soaps; earthenware jugs and glassware.Victoria House Needlecraft
Corner Old Hume Highway and Helena St Mittagong Ph (02) 4871 1682
Open 7 days a week 9am to 5pm and online
A veritable treasure trove for anyone interested in textile crafts with separate rooms devoted to cross-stitch and tapestry; embroidery threads (photo below); knitting wool and needles; beads; and books and patterns.
370 Bong Bong St Bowral Ph 0439 025853
Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm; Saturday 10 am to 4 pm
Beautiful selection of fabrics for dressmaking. I am looking forward to sewing a dress from this beautiful blue and white fabric! The book titled ‘Art and the Gardener‘ is for Christmas, while the book about Glenmore was a birthday present for Ross.
Mt Murray Nursery
Lot 1 Old Dairy Close (off Berrima Road) Moss Vale NSW 2577 Ph ( 02) 48694111
Open 7 days a week 9 am to 5 pm.
Stocks a wonderful range of cool climate plants including maples, conifers and native trees; shrubs like rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias; roses and clematis; hedging plants; fruiting plants; vegetables and herbs; annuals and perennials and pots and ornaments. These are the garden spoils, collected on our trip from the various gardens and nurseries.Manning Lookout
We drove home via Fitzroy Falls and Kangaroo Valley. It is well worth taking a short detour up a rough gravel road (Manning Lookout Rd) to a spectacular cliff line and views over Kangaroo Valley.We had a wonderful weekend away in the Southern Highlands and could easily repeat the experience every Spring, revisiting these and other gardens including Retford Park, Milton Park and Camden House! For more on the wonderful open gardens in this area in Spring, as well as opening dates, please see:
For more information about the history of these gardens, it is also worth reading:
Gardens of the Southern Highlands New South Wales 1828 – 1988: A Fine Extensive Pleasure Ground by Jane Cavanough, Anthea Prell and Tim North.
This is the last of my general garden posts for the year. Next year, I will be focusing more on rose gardens. It is also the second last post for 2016! I will be posting the December Garden on Boxing Day. I hope you all have a wonderful relaxing Christmas and a well-earned break for the year! Much Love and Best Wishes to you all, Jane and Ross xxx
Last Spring, while impatiently waiting for our garden to wake up, we had a wonderful long weekend away from the 14th to 16th October. It was timed to coincide with the Spring Fair at Glenmore House, Camden, so we based ourselves at Mittagong, so that we could explore some of the other Spring gardens in the Southern Highlands. We had the most wonderful time, starting with Red Cow Farm, Sutton Forest, on Friday afternoon, then Glenmore House and Moidart on Saturday and Chinoiserie and Perennial Hill, both in Mittagong, on the Sunday before driving home. All totally different, yet equally special : an artistic romantic garden; an organic vegetable garden; a grand old formal garden; a specialist peony garden and a new collector’s garden. Throw in some browsing in the beautiful shops of Bowral, as well as an amazing needlecraft shop in Mittagong and some antique foraging, and you have the recipe for a perfect weekend away! I have broken this post into three parts, which I will post on three consecutive days, to reduce its word count. In Part 1, I will be describing Red Cow Farm and Moidart. In Part 2, Glenmore House and in Part 3, the newer collectors’ gardens of Perennial Hill and Chinoiserie.
Red Cow Farm
7480 Illawarra Highway Sutton Forest, 5 km south of Mossvale 2.5 hectares (6 acres)
1.5 hours drive from Canberra and Sydney
Phone: (02) 4868 1842; 0448 677647
Open 8 months of the year from late September to the end of May, 10am – 4 pm. Closed Christmas Day.
$10 Adults; $8 Seniors and $4 children (4 to 14 years old)We first discovered Red Cow Farm last Autumn and resolved to revisit it in Spring to see the 800 old roses in bloom, but unfortunately, it was a little early, due to the cooler temperatures we have been experiencing, so it’s a definite on our holiday agenda next year in early November! Here is a Spring rose and an Autumn rose from each visit. Despite the lack of old rose blooms, it was still well worth visiting the gardens again for all the beautiful Spring flowers. In fact, I would visit in any season, except obviously Winter, when the garden is closed! It is one of my favourite gardens! I love its size and scale; the different garden areas; the unusual and rare plantings; the variety of texture, form and colour in all the plantings; and the wonderful use of colour, as well as light and shade.This beautiful romantic English style cool climate garden was created by Ali Mentesh and Wayne Morrisey, who bought the property back in 1990. They designed a series of 20 garden rooms and spaces around the 1820s stone cottage, which was originally built by ex-convict, George Sewell, as a gentleman’s residence and named Red Cow Farm after the red Hereford cattle in the paddocks next door. Here is a photo of the garden plan, given to us on our first visit:Starting from the cottage garden in front of the house, the camellia walk leads via the Apollo Walk to the Abbess’s Garden, complete with its own chapel and angel statue; topiared cones; and beds full of exuberant plantings of old roses, dahlias, tulips and perennials and wonderful colour combinations. The riot of colour and form contrasts dramatically with the Beech Walk next to it. Two portals are cut into the high hedges, which were being trimmed on our first visit. The top of the walk leads back to a circular pergola, clothed in climbing roses and the house courtyard, while the lower doorway leads down to a beautiful Hazelnut Walk, under-planted with hostas, primroses, hellebores, euphorbias, tulips and other bulbs. and the pond, with its own island and antique sailing boat and the bog garden, lined with yellow and blue iris. I loved the golden light in the woodland and the play of dappled light and shade. Resisting the temptation to explore the island on the lake, we meandered down the long herbaceous border, which ended with an obelisk and a wonderful borrowed landscape view of cattle quietly grazing the hillside beyond. We had to retrace our steps to the next border, as the ground was a bit boggy and the bees in their beehives very active! I love the variety in textures, colour and form in this garden, which was equally lovely last Autumn with all the deciduous foliage starting to colour. Red maples contrast with blue conifers and trees with golden and variegated foliage and stems like this wonderful stand of bamboo. I love the use of grasses in this garden! The woodland contains many rare trees and maples and is under-planted with massive rhododendrons and birches with paths leading to seats and restful shady corners, as well as back to the lake. I loved the bluebells, buttercups, cyclamen, fothergilla, rhododendrons and trilliums.There are numerous statues of cherubs, nude males, mythological gods and gargoyles throughout the garden.The island is accessed via a bridge covered with old roses, Lamarque (see bottom photo) and Albertine, falling into the water. We saw two very monstrous carp feeding in the pond.We then wandered back through the shrub and flower walk to the old gardener’s cottage and chook pen, where crimson rosellas, galahs, mickeys and crested pigeons were also feeding with the hens! It is such a delightful old cottage with so much charm! I love the circular flowerbed in the courtyard, which was filled to the brim with bright colourful zinnias last Autumn. This Spring, two large tubs of tree peonies Paeonia suffruticosa were in full bloom at the end of the pergola. Against the house is a long pond with much prettier smaller goldfish. The flower/shrub borders are separated from the orchard of apples, pears and stone fruits by the Crab Apple Walk.Just above the orchard is the Monastery Garden, a walled garden, measuring 25m by 8m, built in 1996 in the design of a Celtic cross. The formal beds are separated by paths, made of a mix of bluestone, sand and cement, and defined by English box hedging Buxus sempervirens. Plantings include: Maltese Cross Lychnis chalcedonica; Cascade Penstemon Penstemon serrulatus; Delphinium ‘Black Knight’; Geranium x riversleaianum ‘Russell Prichard’; tulips; and old roses: Reine des Violettes, Pax and Felicia. Statues of saints on plinths abound in the monastery beds including : St. Jude, St. Joseph and St. Anthony, all imported from Canada; St. Francis from Mexico and the patron saint of gardens, St Fiacre, a commissioned artwork by an Australian artist. There is also a large stone wishing well with intricately carved sides in the centre of the cross, a huge carved bell and a large Gothic baptismal font just outside the stone arch entrance to this part of the garden. A wisteria walk separates the vegetable garden and Montfort’s Nursery from the Monastery Garden. The kitchen garden is sheltered from the wind by huge old pine trees and is full of fresh vegetables and herbs. The nursery contains many rare self-propagated plants for sale. Ali is very knowledgeable about all the plants, having had over 20 years of experience designing private gardens in Sydney and Canberra, as well as on the South Coast and the Southern Highlands. The final section of the garden is a walled garden next to the house, full of colour and scent and a birdbath in the corner. A small shop in the front room of the house contains gifts and garden souvenirs: home-made jams, scented candles and framed prints of the garden. The garden is also used for weddings and photo shoots.
19 – 21 Eridge Park Rd Burradoo, near Bowral 5 acres
Ph (02) 4861 2600
Open mid-September to late October each year; 10am to 4pm. $7 per adult
One of the grand old gardens of the Southern Highlands, Moidart was built in 1932 by James Burn, a member of the Burns Philp company, after it was split off from the Eridge Park Estate, and was named after a district on the west coast of Scotland. This iconic garden was constructed concurrently with the house, so was relatively well-established by the time the building was completed in 1935. The garden was designed by landscaper gardener Mr Buckingham, with much consultation with the architect of the house, Laidley Dowling, so it all fits seamlessly together as an integrated whole , the basic design remaining unchanged for over almost 90 years, although plant growth has altered the emphasis in some parts of the garden. For example, the conifers at the front of the house have now blocked all the views out of the garden and the huge mature trees are casting much greater shade over the garden, altering plant habitats and the growth of plants underneath. The same family still owns the property and lives in the grand old house.Much of the work was done by Bowral local, the late Clarie Worner, who apparently prepared the ground for planting by using dynamite to disrupt the solid layer of shale on the surface! A family friend and amateur botanist, DWC Shiress, chose many of the exotic tree and shrub species, which include specimens of Giant Sequoia (photos above); Cypress conifers; Monterey Cypress; Chestnut; Red Oak; Copper Beech; London Plane; Golden Ash; Golden Elm; Weeping Elm; Weeping Cherry; Tulip Tree; Crab Apple; Dogwoods; Cornus contraversa variegata; Davidia involucrata; Edgeworthia; Camellias and Echiums. Their relative positions can be seen on this mudmap of the garden design:The main driveway winds through a mature woodland to a turning circle, where the main house finally comes into view, before ending in a garage at the side of the house. However, we entered the garden through a woodland past the hosta walk; hellebores, bluebells and pulmonaria; rhododendrons, azaleas and viburnums; and the Bamboo Garden;emerging at a huge old camellia, very similar to the one at our front door. Below the camellia is an expansive lawn, studded with mature deciduous trees in fresh new leaf : elm, beech and plane trees. To the right is a serene round goldfish pond. We wandered down to the courtyard in front of the house, full of Iceberg standard roses and a silver garden. The central stone circular steps lead down to the first terrace, but the further two terraces must be walked the whole length to access them. It is such a lovely stroll past mature trees and shrubs like azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias and viburnums and herbaceous perennial borders. We looked down over the hellebore and bluebell walk to a paddock and large dam with geese and Highland cattle.To the south of the house is a delightful sunken rose garden, which is viewed from the house over a box hedge. It is formally laid out with box-edged garden beds, gravel paths, a central flowering crab apple and two sandstone semi-circular seats at either end. While it was too early for the roses, the peonies were a real show! Behind the sunken garden is the daffodil walk in amongst beautiful lilacs and dogwoods in full bloom, including an unusual double form of Cornus.There is a lovely pink dogwood at the back of the house.Moidart is famous for its collection of rare plants, bulbs, shrubs and trees and fortunately, it is possible to purchase many of them at a plant stall at the entrance, as well as online from Moidart Rare Plants: http://www.moidart.com.au/. More tomorrow…!!!
It has been a long month with a prolonged Spring season, but we are now finally getting some Summer heat with days in the mid-30s- a bit hot, given we haven’t had time to adjust yet (!), though we did have some beautiful soft recuperative rain last week. The Spring garden has been an absolute delight and quite magical, especially in the late afternoon sun. I think November has to be my favourite month with all the trees in their full regalia and Bearded Iris, Poppies and Roses all coming into their own. I just love the view from our verandah over our beautiful garden, with its borrowed landscape backdrop of trees of an infinite variety of foliage colour, texture, shape and form, especially in the misty rain or when the sun first comes up. The Soho Bed and Moon Bed have been such a show this Spring. The roses are in full swing. Here is a selection of blooms from each section of the garden:
Soho Bed: Hybrid Tea and David Austin roses: From left to right:
Top Row: Big Purple; Alnwick and Eglantyne
Middle Row: Heaven Scent; Our Copper Queen and Fair Bianca
Bottom Row: Lolita; Just Joey and Mister Lincoln
Moon Bed: David Austin roses: From left to right:
Top Row: Heritage; Lucetta and Windermere
Middle Row: Troilus; Jude the Obscure and Evelyn
Bottom Row: 2 photos William Morris; Golden Celebration;
Pergola: Climbing roses: From left to right:
Top Row: Adam; Souvenir de la Malmaison and Madame Alfred Carrière
Bottom Row: La Reine Victoria; New Dawn and Devoniensis;
House Walls: Climbing roses: From left to right:
Top Row: Lamarque; Mrs Herbert Stevens; Cecile Brunner
Bottom Row: Paul’s Himalayan Musk; Lamarque and Mrs Herbert Stevens;
Shed Front: From left to right:
Top Row: Viridiflora; Archiduc Joseph and Madame Isaac Pereire
Bottom Row: Fantin Latour; Fritz Nobis and Leander;
Shed Back: From left to right:
Top Row: Both photos Rêve d’Or
Bottom Row: Alister Stella Gray and Albertine;
Rugosas: From left to right:
Top Row: Roseraie de l’Hay; Russelliana (not a rugosa but at the end of rugosa hedge) and Frau Dagmar Hastrup)
Bottom Row: Frau Dagmar Hastrup ; Madame Georges Bruant and Roseraie de l’Hay
Hedge: From left to right:
Top Row: Kathleen; Stanwell Perpetual and Sombreuil
Bottom Row: Cornelia; Mutabilis and Penelope.
Cornelia has been such a show that she warrants another photo all of her own! She will eventually be supported by an arch. Sombreuil is on the other side.Unexpected: Unidentified root stocks instead of the roses I’d expected from the cuttings. Obviously, the originals had already died and been replaced by their root stocks: The deep red one is Dr. Huey, but I am not sure of the others: possibly Rosa multiflora (top left) and Rosa fortuniana (top right and bottom left), both of which have been used extensively as root stocks in the past.
The poppies have also been a visual delight from the simple wild form to the pink and purple peony poppies, which show such variation in colour and form. I love the seedheads, as well as their fairy-like appearance as they gradually lose their petals. The Iceland poppies planted last year are blooming for a second year and the new Ladybird Poppies Papaver commutatum ‘Ladybird’ are so dramatic, especially among the cornflowers, though the seed packet also obviously included corn poppy seedlings as well! They replaced the ranunculus and Dutch Iris, which had their last blooms in early November. The cornflowers and the Nigella orientalis ‘Transformer’ have persisted, as have the magical foxgloves, which have deepened in colour and have such amazing patterns in each bell. I love the seedheads of the nigella, which follow their exotic soft yellow flowers.And the dahlias, despite their initial setback with the late frosts, have returned in a myriad of bright colours.Other blooms in the garden include: Feverfew, Lady’s Mantle (Moon Bed), Italian Lavender (Soho Bed) and Calendula (Herb Garden). The Dianthus ‘Coconut Ice’ and ‘Doris’ are in full bloom in the treasure garden and the Rosalie Geranium and Convovulus provide a sea of blue. The bromeliads at the front entrance combine the blue and the pink. The blue flowering salvia in the Moon Bed is also in bloom, along with the white Aquilegia under the hydrangeas. I love the white petticoats of the Acanthus mollis. Beside the pergola, the Snowball tree Viburnum opulus has been in flower for the whole month and has almost finished, the ground beneath it covered in its fallen snow-like petals. The beautifully fragrant Philadelphus virginalis on the other side of the pergola has taken up the batten. The Carolina Allspice in front of the Snowball tree has also lasted a long time. Both honeysuckles are starting to cover the fence well and I adore their fresh sweet scent. At the bottom of the garden, the sweet peas provide fragrance and the red bottlebrush provides a splash of colour, as does the ripening fruit on the mulberry tree. We have been enjoying its berries, along with the abundant strawberries, the loquats and the produce of the vegetable garden. The birds and flying foxes are also in seventh heaven. The latter are so cute that it’s hard to begrudge them their bounty, though we do want some of the fruit! Visiting birds have included members of the Cockatoo family: Pink Galahs, Little Corellas, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos and Black Cockatoos ; the parrot family: King Parrots, Crimson Rosellas and Eastern Rosellas and the equally colourful Rainbow Lorikeets;