“A gardener learns to play the hand he’s dealt” 

Once again, I’ve been saved from garden watering by obliging clouds and another deluge of rain over the last three days. It was predicted and arrived on schedule almost to the hour, beginning as quiet stillness in the air that made me think of the phrase, the calm before the storm. Followed by soft Irish drizzle and then heavy rainfall, but no storms. It is a rare occurrence that rain arrives when the garden needs water in my region.

More rain is on its way later this week causing severe flooding in some areas, unfortunately. The inland rivers, creeks and dams of NSW are all at capacity, and beyond with quite a lot of flooding, isolation and evacuations once more. We are flooded in too at present as the Wyangala Dam overflows, and the Lachlan river rises, preventing access to our local town.

On a positive note, and not intending to be selfish, each bout of recent rain here has fallen at just the right time after planting days. The new plants resettle easily as the cooler temperatures and extra rain create the perfect conditions for establishing new arrivals. And now the garden is burgeoning with growth, and everywhere are thousands of buds on all the roses.

Painting by Vermont artist Rory Jackson

Time seems to be on standby though, as I wait for the full flush of open blooms. The undergrowth, weeds, groundcovers, and new perennials have doubled in size in just a few days. At the moment it’s a waiting game for enough warm sunny skies to bring out that first amazing floral display. Any open blooms, except for the La Jago rose, peep out from the thick foliage, which is encouraging but still sparse. Nonetheless, the greenery and buds have their own charm, and at certain times of the day, the glow from glossy leaves is spectacular.

“Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.”

Marcelene Cox

With so many days of heavy cloud recently one’s eye is drawn to the textures and greenery that is remarkable. To gauge the diversity of the garden it’s a good exercise to take photos of the garden in black and white as this will highlight beautifully the contrasting textures in the assorted vegetation.

“The garden, historically, is the place where all the senses are exploited. Not just the eye, but the ear – with water, with birds. And there is texture, too, in plants you long to touch.” –

William Howard Adams

Yesterday and today the sun has shone all day, with a satisfying calmness pervading the garden, and the loud cacophony of frogs and bees accompanied the anticipation of spring in the air. More rain is expected today so I am in a flurry of weeding, and applying mulch once more.

Stachys Byzantina – Lambs Ears along the front path

The unprecedented season we are experiencing this year is a welcome change from high temperatures and the hot winds of September and October. It certainly makes for pleasant views and lush prolific growth. The unusual conditions are an apt reminder of how much nature is in control of the garden, and we have little choice but to go with the flow and take it as it comes. I’m grateful that it’s an overabundance of rain, not drought and dust storms, for a change.

“Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom.” 

Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
Ice Princess rose

The first Ice Princess rose bloom is out, and it stands out against all the green. The flower is open-cupped and very bright, with a tinge of pink on the edges. Ice Princess is a Kordes floribunda rose bred by W Kordes & Sons, Germany, in 2002. It was sold in Germany under the name ‘Eisprinzessin’ and introduced in Australia by Treloar Roses in 2019 as Ice Princess. The official registration name is KORettiflus. Ice Princess is growing on the edge of the main garden bed and is only 80cm tall, but lovely.

Fragrance-wise, the orange tree is about to flower, so the bees will have another compliment to all the lavender they are enjoying. Although the three Spirea cantoniensis bushes ( May Bush) are in flower and several Salvias, it is the lavender that the bees are busily hovering over in droves.

“It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Title quote by Michael Pollan

Header Image by an Unknown artist

Images from the top by artist Dmitry Levin, Sherry Smidt

Content Di Baker and all photographs in the garden 2022

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