Autumn, the crème de la crème of all the seasons, in my view, has arrived. I suspect the hot days may continue in the afternoons for several more weeks. Still, the hint of Autumn days’ freshness, clarity, stillness and beauty is apparent every morning, and it is magic.
Autumn’s arrival may appear disappointing as summer closes with the thought of the cooler temperatures and often bleak cold days ahead in winter. But for gardeners, Autumn is the perfect time in the garden and the more we get done in the coming weeks and months, the more magnificent next Spring will be.
From now until winter is a significant part of the garden year, with plenty to get stuck into, both inside planning and outside attending to the garden. Improving the soil is one of the essential tasks for Autumn, as taking new cuttings, letting some perennials go to seed, looking after the lawn, trimming hedges, planting bulbs, dividing perennials, mulching and cutting back summer plants.
Procrastination is the name of the game when it comes to my next task for Autumn; weeding. The best strategy I’ve found is to clear the weeds so new plants can go in. The thought of room for planting acts as an incentive and is very satisfying. It provides a sense of accomplishment like no other and alters the landscape for the better immediately.
Over the weekend I had a real treat to be able to visit several plant nurseries in Canberra including The Heritage Nursery Yarralumla. The colourful roses and annuals pictured above were taken at the nursery. I came home with a collection of English Lavender, Dwarf White Crepe Myrtles, Dutch Buxus and richly coloured annual;pansies. So, this week in the early morning I will be pulling out weeds, making space for new plants and then mulching all with Neutrog’s -whoflungdung.
Also, some other new plants arrived this week including a Cretan Pincushion Flower called Lomelosia Cretica. This one is a frost and drought tolerant plant that grows into a rounded evergreen small shrub 40cm tall. The flowers are prolific in a soft mauve colour and bloom from spring until late autumn followed by intriguing seed heads that can last inside in a vase for months without water.
Agastache’ Sweet Lili’ Sweet Lili Humming Bird Mint is a favourite plant of Paul Bangay’s due to its long flowering and unusual coloured flower heads in apricot-tinted amethyst that grow to 120 cm high. This one will grow in my dry corner garden that until now has baffled the hardiest of roses. Image below courtesy of Pinterest.
Iris unguicularis ‘Mary Barnard’ or Mary Barnard Algerian Iris, is my next new plant – a tough evergreen perennial that is said to thrive in any position except full shade. It features dark green leaves and dark blue fragrant flowers that bloom from May into September. I am planting this one in the French Garden. Image courtesy of https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu.
In truth I could not resist a stunning salvia either; a hybrid between Salvia nemorosa ssp tesquicola and Salvia Wesuwe, called Salvia Kate Glen or Kate’s Meadow Sage. It has dark violet blue flowers, is sun loving, drought tolerant and hardy growing to 70 cm. Perfect for my dry hot corner garden to grow with the Agastache. Image courtesy of Victorian Salvia Study Group.
The home garden has only a few roses in bloom at the moment, although masses of buds are forming again, so I expect in the coming weeks to have a last hurrah of roses in the garden, with perhaps the odd variety that may continue to flower into May. This week I’ve planted a new climbing rose; Blue Moon, which I hope will grow up the a path archway. Blue Moon is a Hybrid Tea rose discovered as a sport of Blue Moon by Julie Jackson in Australia in 1978 and discovered by Fred A. Mungia, Sr. in the US in 1981. The ‘Blue Moon’ rose has a strong damask fragrance from the mauve-purple flower heads that grow mostly solitary but sometimes in clusters throughout the season. It will grow to 300 cm and has glossy, leathery foliage, a sure sign of hardiness.
Whilst in Canberra I visited The National Arboretum; a stunning 250 hectares of rare and endangered trees-44,000 trees in fact. The Arboretum began in 2013 so has been growing now for ten years as an important scientific research centre for conservation, and study of rare, endangered and significant trees. There is so much to see and do here including the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia, the Discovery and Sensory Garden, the Bush Tucker and Central Valley Gardens amongst many other features. There are rolling green hills for children to run and tumble down, expansive unique play areas, concert and venue spaces, restaurant, gift shop and cafe. On top of all that the view is stunning. Read more about the Arboretum here
The Bonsai Collection is remarkable and showcases a range of traditional and modern styles including a display of unique Australian trees grown as Bonsai; Banksia, Eucalyptus, Paperbark, Melaleuca and Port Jackson Fig. I for one have never seen Bonsai Australian native trees before and the Paperbark and Port Jackson Fig were magnificent. The area where the collection is displayed is actually a venue for hire for an event of up to 100 people. Guests can mingle amongst the miniature forest for cocktail parties, weddings or any other desired outdoor event.
Sensory and Discovery Garden
Before 2001 the site of the Arboretum was a radiata pine forest that burnt almost entirely in the bushfires of 2003. The Arboretum began in 2010 and has attracted over 4 million people since opening in 2013. It is seen in the Canberra community as a symbol of recovery and regeneration after the devastation of the fires and is well worth a visit when in Canberra.
Content Di Baker 2023
Title Quote from Ecclesiastes 3:1
Images Di Baker or as cited