Friday, August 30, 2013

Hellebores Orientalis - mixed purples

Hellebores (Winter Roses) are such a valuable plant in the garden. They flower for months and months over winter, and then over summer their foliage is a great lush green ground filler under trees etc. I just adore them. We have been very busy planting over the last couple of months, and a I try and sneak a few Hellebores into every garden. Some are a main feature, en masse, either behind a box hedge, or along a path. Others have just a few dotted here and there in front of camellias and viburnums, where they are in flower at the same time. In larger gardens, I do areas of just white, or just purple.

The flowers shown here are a mixture of purples, of the original old H. orientalis. I want/need all of them, as I can't decide between the deepest purples, or the paler ones with freckles. There are loads of fancy-pants new hybrids, which retail for about $17 +. Yikes! The hybrids I have grown are weaker than the parents (often the way), so maybe just choose them for pots, and put the oldies but goodies in the garden. Oh - and they set seed underneath, too, if you aren't too efficient at trimming the spend heads off!! And that is often how the mixed colours come through. So leave the flowers on for months after the colour has faded. All part of the journey...............

Have a great weekend. Rx

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Violets as Groundcover

For shrub gardens under deciduous trees - nothing beats the simplicity of the good old fashioned Viola - Violets. The glossy heart shaped leaves just look so lush 12 months of the year, with the added bonus of the very fragrant tiny flowers in winter and spring. I don;t know what you you buy them as these days (maybe Viola odorata?) - I have always just yanked mine out of my own or someone else's garden, and poked them in the ground. They can be a little invasive of smaller plants - so let them fill a large area between shrubs is best. Easy!

The tiny flowers are gorgeous in a delicate little vase, with a few leaves poked in to surround them. Very fragrant. They come in many shades, but the strongest seem to be purple and white. They are a generational plant, too. I have some that were my grandmothers, and my mother-in-law has probably 20 variations in colour, with shades from salmon pink to bright pink, white and various purples. Gorgeous as little posies to give as a gift. Very old-fashioned, but classic. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Euphorbia 'Chameleon'

One of my very favourite perennials, the dark colour of this easy-care Euphorbia adds depth, and great contrast, amongst a mixed planting.
Euphorbia 'Chameleon' contrasting with lime green plants (another
Euphorbia who shall remain nameless), and Heuchera 'Amethyst'
I have found the best way to get maximum benefit from the plant is to trim it back to ground level in mid-late summer, when new growth tips are appearing down below. Then it has it's colour on, right through until mid-winter (leaves go scarlet in the cold). Then trim it back again when these look dead and untidy, and the new growth should not be far away for spring flowering. This way you get two main flushes of flower.

Late winter - pull the dead stalks off.............
..... To reveal the gorgeous new shoots
I have just taken a before and after shot of the roughly cut stalks that have died off (that had been trimmed about two months ago), and today I just pulled these off to reveal the pretty new shoots coming through. Worth doing. Tidies it up beautifully and don't they look gorgeous next to the leaves of Heuchera Green Spice, below? One of my favourite plant combos. The Heuchera is evergreen, but fades a bit over winter.
Euprhorbia with Heuchera Green Spice - mid-spring

Yellow - yellow - yellow!

With this GORGEOUS warmest winter ON RECORD, I just have to get some YELLOW on this page!!! Spring is here a good three weeks early, and the daffodils are in full flight. Nothing says goodbye to winter better than the good old 'daffodilly'!! In the paddocks, down the driveway, in the garden - AND in vases - WHAT"S NOT TO LOVE?

Tin dress by Lisa Harman, vase by Neudorf Pottery, fabric lady by Helen Bach,
flowers by Mother Nature!

The fragrance of these potted white Hyacinths greats me each morning
at my office. Perfect in pots - just throw them behind a shed until
next year, once the flowers have finished.
No more doom and gloom stories about animals eating my plants - I promise!! Have a great day, Rx

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Farm Visitors - CLOSE THE GATE!

A month ago, I posted about our revegetation project out here on the farm, 1.5km from our house. I proudly showed photos of our developing gardens at the waterfall, and pizza oven. Remember?? Well we subsequently had some people coming to look at the waterfall, and pizza oven, and they managed to leave the gate open in to the pizza oven. TOTAL DEVASTATION. Young cattle spent a week making themselves at home, before I realised what was happening, and there is not a plant they did not either destroy, or seriously maim. I can't bear to go in there. We could have had a pizza evening last week, in the winter warmth, but couldn't bear the thought of going to the muddy area that the forlorn pizza oven now sits in. Unbelievable. Soul destroying. We had it 100% stock-proof, but obviously not human proof!!! All our bucketing of water, and rabbit-proofing, careful splitting and growing on of plants - gone - in one act of human negligence. First rule of visiting any garden or farm - CLOSE THE GATE BEHIND YOU!!! Thankfully the pizza oven is intact, but we will have to level the ground before we can put fresh lime down on the paths, and replant and bark the gardens. Arghhhhhh. Not such a happy event!!!
Photos of the garden taken in June 2013 - 'BEFORE'....
Before.....Now you see it...
Now you don't. 
All is mud, even the paths, and the lancewoods are now just sticks. Sticks!
Mud everywhere, where once was bark on the garden, and lime paths
Then yesterday, the first day of a long repair job! Couldn't bring ourselves
to go back any sooner than this, But need to get new plants in the ground while
it is still the planting season. We were given this beautiful ponga tree, and the
lime is for the paths. 
I don't think non-farmers fully realise the devastation livestock can have on planting, or on leaving gates open and mobs getting mixed up. If you are 'rambling' across someone's farm, for goodness sake - CLOSE THE GATE!!!!!