Giant willow aphids, tuberolachnus salignus to be exact, great monstrous aphids that don’t bother with leaves, they suck the juice straight out of the stems. I don’t mind them slowing the growth of the outrageously huge willows that lean over the fence by the rivulet, but I object to the multitudes of dopey wasps drunk on honey dew and the resulting sooty mould coating all plants underneath. This is the second year of the great grey aphid infestation, it’s worrying.
The mountain revealed its winter face briefly then thankfully returned to a benign autumn presence during the last couple of weeks of soft warm days.
Autumn is rolling through rapidly, the Malus ioensis is emptied of its red and gold lacquered leaves, the nashi pear and Cornus ‘Eddies White Wonder’ are bare, the golden ash is reduced to a bright light yellow filigree. Both coral bark maples are hanging on to their yellow and amber leaves but the better one with the gloriously brilliant winter stems appears to have lost several branches to some short of dieback, research suggests vermillcilum wilt. It may have suffered a sudden shortage of water over summer and and couldn’t sustain the beautiful fresh growth I was so pleased with in spring. The walnut next door, one of my ‘borrowed ‘ trees, is displaying an all over patchwork of yellow and green while the lightning rod Pyrus calleryana is the last to shed and is only gradually revealing colour change on a couple of branches
The small sample of chrysanthemums, (those wonderful autumn flowering stalwarts) here have been woefully neglected and are offering little. But amongst the colouring leaves and bare stems there are a few straggling blooms
Wonderful wonderful salvia, it’s hard to imagine gardening without their hardworking presence. Costa Rica blue comes into its own with large deepest ultramarine blooms, involcruata continues to wave bright lipstick pink racemes above the tall grasses, Phyllis Fancy and Megan’s magic are still making pools of hazy purple and white, bees are bumbling happily on the deep velvet flowers of Purple spires.
Another plant that keeps on keeping on and works with every thing is the luminous creamy green nicotiana, this is its 3rd year, they’re rather reduced in number, must sow a fresh batch for next season
A charming and petite early muscari, Muscari sivrihisardaghlarensis, and, unlike its name, it is very little. I’m not sure if the lack of stature is normal or due to starvation, I’m interested to see how it performs next year after some TLC
Also the very first Galanthus reginae-olgae appeared from nowhere, I like the way this bloom hooked itself decorously over the scape. Further excited investigation revealed several more varieties starting to nose through the soil; Galanthus ‘Eric’s choice’, elwesii, elwesii ssp whittalii, ‘Warburton’, ‘Maidwell L’, ‘Lavinia’ and the elegant ‘Yvonne Hay’
Crocus watching season started a while ago, beginning with the lovely wispy tipped Crocus vallicola. One of my challenges is identifying unlabeled blooms, and the other is confirming that actual labels are correct. Crocus pulchellus, speciosus, pallasii, niveus, mathewii, tournefortii, cartwrightianus and wattiorum, have been popping up with their captivating little faces.
Dainty wee cyclamen flowers have been hovering above leaves for a few weeks now, but the range of luscious cyclamen leaves alone make lovely pictures
The currawongs have moved down from the mountain to share the fruits of everyone’s labours, they are constantly swooping between the garden and the bush over autumn, their repeat clinking making a foil to the white cockatoo’s screeching presence and the wattle birds gurking commentary. The clamour of the big birds interplays throughout the day, joined briefly by the repeat ‘cossick’ of green rosellas — autumn is noisy here
Fruits that the Flying Fruit Disposal Service haven’t noticed…yet. Malus ‘Jack Humm’ is quite gorgeous but the tiny ring-in I received instead of Malus ‘Gorgeous will be turfed soon.
The youthful quince that I planted about for years ago produced its first quite generous crop. I thinned the fruit assiduously and waited in hopeful anticipation. Disappointingly when I cut into the lovely yellow fruit that eventuated they were largely brown throughout as though they were bruised. I’ve never seen this before so the search is on for a remedy.