However did Christmas and the new year whip by so fast, I’m not ready to leave 2016
It has rained consistently for several days over the New year, on and off, mizzle, showers, then, just in case we were napping, a big heavy tropical flash flood wall of water. Was an immense relief to get 82 bales of freshly cut hay safely stacked away for the horse over winter. Since I sold the horse float and the big unit for pulling it I have had to rely on other people to deliver hay each year , it’s become an annual source of anxiety until all has been safely organised, paid for and stored in the shed.
The effect of the soft rain drops held by the flowers of Cotinus ‘Grace’ is very beautiful
A favourite rhodo, Rhododendron ‘Laramie’ purchased for its fabulous indumentum, has curled its drooping leaf edges up to show their furry undersides before dropping them. ‘Laramie’ had been growing and flowering happily in that pot for several years so I’m putting the death throes down to rotting roots – will try planting it out and hope for recovery
Salvia ‘Costa Rica Blue‘ seems to have finally come into its own after I realised it needed a bit of judicious pruning. It has 6 foot stems coming up from the base adorned with bright green tropical looking leaves setting off the racemes of soft ultramarine flowers. It continues from summer until first frost, giving deeper notes beneath the towering heads of Verbena bonariensis. The verbena has done a real Jack’s beanstalk act this year, its soft lilac dancing around the golden ash with the much darker blooms of Clematis ‘Aotearoa’
Constant inundation of the Galanthus pots has also been worrying me, I suspect they haven’t had time to drain properly and the wet combined with summery heat threatens rotting. Fingers crossed until I see the first leaves of the season emerge, these are plants that I cannot replace. I spread aged horse manure (very old) over the creek beds then covered them with freshly slashed long grass from the cascade paddocks to prevent the blackbirds from scattering the aforesaid horse manure in search of worms. Then a covering of plastic trellis netting was required for further protection against the local blackbird mob and the resident native hen family. I’m hoping this action won’t gain the attention of the willow roots. The downside is that I must remember to remove the grass mulch before the Galanthus start to wake up, and in the case of the autumn flowering Galanthus reginae-olgae this will be late summer.
On the subject of blackbirds there has been an explosion of families this year, shiny black papas and soft brown mamas darting to and fro with hapless worm lunches made all the easier to procure by the constant mizzle. Now, two weeks later, I’m regularly startled by a startled fledgling whirring off from its hiding place in a flurry of immature wing feathers
Lilies have been lovely, despite some ferocious wind, this year I remembered to prune the monster Rosa ‘Bloomfield abundance’ that towers over a couple of pink trumpets before the lily buds were ripped to shreds. Other pots with tall orientals have had to be regularly righted after tipping over in the wind, need better placement but not possible last year. Despite my best efforts to eradicate them last year rapacious double tiger lilies are still trying to take over the bottom bed from the more precious martagons and duchartreis. They’re really quite ugly, like weird orange octopodes. I’m removing the scarlet runners from this bed (grew too many to eat anyway) and will devote it to lilies — plus current residents, a big clump of chives, a healthy daphne and a beautiful black hellebore. As the side path runs down behind it on a higher level one gets a nice eye level view of the taller varieties.
I love the pure yellowness of L. Citronella’s neat turbans, 2 pots of bulbils grown on from last year are now a tray full of healthy babies waiting to be planted out.
Also lots of potting and repotting and planting out has been happening with the species cyclamen, one of my very favourite plants. Those planted out in the garden tend to be upset and uprooted by some small furry native critter, or a small black feathered import, so more precious treasures are safer in pots.
The sadly broken Betula Moss white has new growth bursting forth so now I have a quandary, do I let two or three shoots develop for a nice multi-stemmed effect or do I sternly limit growth to the strongest and stay with the single, albeit slightly bent, trunk
Thrilled to finally see the softest pinky cream layer appearing on the trunk of the only remaining Betula utilis var. jacquemontii. I’m a little disappointed that my original matching set (cliched design but classic) of three jacquemontiis has been replaced through various misadventure by a single jacquemontii, 2 Moss whites, (one recently inadvertantly stooled) and a common silver birch that is silvering up nicely, maybe that reflects the general chaos that is my garden, it can’t even manage a simple cliche!
Cleaning out the old flowering stems of the Iris wattii by the front door revealed a kitchen implement whose disappearance I had been puzzling over since the last jam making season
And something so beautiful, despite a couple of tiny chewed bits, on a very small first year plant. This clematis hasn’t made much growth at all, I envisioned it leaping up to the trellis on top of the paling fence and draping itself luxuriously about the neighbouring lily pily, but it’s still crouching a foot off the ground so I’m a little concerned about its long term viability
And the Spotted dog, stickybeaking at activity in someone else’s garden during his daily constitutional