The energy of preparing for Spring has been going on all winter despite the rain. The garden has undergone a renovation of sorts that has been almost like starting a garden from scratch.
Suddenly, the weather this week has changed from winter to summer overnight. The winter mode of heading outside after the frost to keep warm in the sun around nine o’clock in the morning to heading out as early as possible to beat the heat is now the norm.
After a few months of neglect early in the year, I’ve been busy pruning, mulching, and building new landscapes, as described in my last few posts.
Like all renovations always there is destruction, mess, and with the winter rains, it’s been muddy under foot as well. The area strewn with wheelbarrows, buckets, tools, loads and loads of undergrowth, rose branches, mulch, potting mix and salvaged potted plants everywhere.
The garden was a shambles. I’m sure at times my husband had serious doubts about what I was creating apart from a great deal of upheaval.
Right on queue today, 1st of Spring, it all came together. I’ve been able to pack up the chaos and move on to the last large area to prune, weed and mulch from tomorrow. This garden has been left to last because it has shade for longer in the morning and did get a heavy Summer prune to the roses. Having never grown Delphiniums or Foxgloves before, I’m giving them a go this year too. These will be planted in amongst the roses, stachys lambs ears , lavender and alliums.
Delphiniums are part of the buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family, best known for the tall spikes of bright blue flowers. The genus name comes from the Greek delphin, meaning dolphin, referring to the shape of the nectar-containing spurs found at the base of the flower.
Foxgloves (digitalis) are a tall growing perennial or biennial good for the middle of the garden bed. Mine will be planted near the roses as they are evidently not great to touch being somewhat poisonous. The name, comes from the flowers that resemble little gloves. But also from mythology and folklore and in France they are called ‘Gant de notre dame ‘ -Lady’s Gloves’
Alliums Giganteum are like “giant onions” and belong to the Amaryllidaceae family. The Latin word Allium means “garlic” and giganteum means giant. I’ve tried many times to grow these from bulbs with no success. Then last year I planted a few from Perennial Plants Canowindra in small pots that grew and flowered beautifully. I now have about 6 so the display will be gorgeous amongst the roses.
There is always a certain amount of work in rejuvenating the garden after the frosts of winter. So many pots need to be moved into a protected area and shade cloth put up in winter that afterwards has to be moved again once warm days arrive. This year was mild, the rains were plentiful so the frost was not too thick and miraculously no plants were lost.
Yesterday whilst planting I realised that because we have had such a lush season this year, it has given me a false sense of our climate in the garden. The terracotta pots are covered with moss, the soil is friable and moist, and every few days we have a shower or two so there is hardly a need to water. However, the climate here is a far cry from green and lush once full-on summer arrives when it is baking hot and very dry. It would be easy to forget at present how scorching mid -summer can be in this region and what little shade is available.
If only half of what I’ve planned in, salvaging plants, establishing new roses on arches, establishing new garden areas and statement pots, come to fruition, it will have been worth the effort. Compared to the flourish of the first week of September 2020, there is a lot of growth to happen before looking like full Spring. Nonetheless, there is nothing like the sense of satisfaction when a project taken over several months is starting to take shape with the first tell-tale signs of new Spring growth. And now to garden….
All content and images by Di Baker 2021 or as cited
Title quote by John Muir