Autumn at " The Shambles"
It has been rather nice to have two sunny days in a row after such a wet summer. The garden is still very damp under foot which has led me to consider creating some more substantial path ways in certain areas of the garden. Plants in the garden are very resilent. They have bounced back after the dry times of 2009 that was followed by the torrential rain of early 2010. It is now time to top up the gardens with mulch and compost to help replace some of the lost nutrients that have leached away in the wet.
Yesterday I turned my compost turkey nest and there is a lovely lot of composted material that is ready to go. I like the turkey nest arrangement because I can have several composts on the go at varying stages . I can spend a whole day chipping and chopping garden clippings or if I don't have time I will just make a pile of bigger trimmings . Amazingly enough nature breaks everything down in the end.
The garden is looking very colourful at the moment. There are flowers on just about everthing.
It was very interesting to see flowers on Camellia crapnelliana, C. nitidissima chrysora and the beautiful bulb Acidanthera bicolor. Camellias in flower include Red Willow,Beatrice Emily,Hiryu,Plantation Pink, Vanity Fair and Dazzler. There are fat buds on all the different Japonicas.
Double Hibiscus mutabilis, Abutilon megapotamicum,A.x hybridum of all colours are brightening our Autumn garden.
Salvias including Salvia leucantha (3 var) , S.madrense, S.involucrata(3 var) ,S. coccinea
(3 var) and S. iodantha ,S.confertiflora are in full colourful display.
The crowning glory of blooms is the Gordonia axillaris. There are many other colorful shrubs,perennials and vines including Clitoria ternata with it's electric blue flowers.
All the roses have been in flower as well.
In the next few days I will be planting out a large collection of cuttings grown plants that will fill in some spots and I have a new area to plant out as we have recently had a Bauhinia tree removed. This is now a relatively sunny spot in our shady garden so it is very exciting.
Plans are under way for the open garden in June and it will be interesting to see the difference that 6 weeks makes.
Our Autumn doesn't seem to have started because our Red Cedars are still in leaf and the birds are collecting nesting material including shed hair from our sheep dog. When we had Basset hounds we actually found a perfectly made nest of tri colour dog hair so I'm on the look out for a black and white nest.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Dear fellow Gardeners,
In these straightened days when all of the press seems to be about water wise gardening and sustainability we would like to humbly suggest that before looking forward we should look back for guidance. In Australia's brief history our forebears collected beautiful colourful, perfumed plants from around the world. All the interesting new ornamental and productive species found their way to this country during that age of plant discovery.
This means that we don't have to be content with monotonous, dry climate gardens to be sustain able. Most of the traditional plants which have come down from 19th century gardeners have proven their hardiness. This idea of looking back to the success of our parents in water wise gardening is the subject of our book "Over the Fence and Overlooked, Traditional Plants in Queensland's Gardening Heritage" and is discussed on our website www.montvillegarden.com.
Old fashioned, reliable, ornamental shrubs include varieties of Abelia, Abutilon, Azalea, Brugmansia,Brunfelsia, Camellia, Chaenomeles, Clerodendrum, Dombeya, Eranthemum, Escallonia, Eupatorium, Hibiscus, Hydrangea, Iochroma, Justicia, Michelia, Osmanthus, Pentas, philadelphus, Plumbago, Plumeria, Punica, Reinwardtia, Ruellia, Spiraea, Tecomaria, Tetradenia, Tibouchina, Viburnum and Weigela to name but a few hardy plants.
We should never of course be without old fashioned roses of many types.
Sustainability is also a subject which has led to discussion of future Australian gardens being in small allotments, without the space for trees and with no place for "water hungry" plants. This sort of discussion in the gardening media, both print and electronic, is very city-centric.
This bleak constrained outlook ignores the fact that many Australians live outside the growing limitations of the cities, and some of us even live in the rarely considered Northern half of Australia. While poor city gardeners may face space and water restrictions the rest of us are free to enjoy a huge selection of trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs and vines without such concerns.
Gardening is a peaceful and fulfilling activity. Like the act of holding a bird and then seeing it fly away, gardeners plant the tubestock and seedlings and watch as nature grows these plants on to maturity.
Gardening should not become the subject of a philosophical war, where almost puritanical views on "sustainability", "Australian natives only" and "natural disease control" issues ruin a happy gardeners view of his or her work.
We need to get real and look back to the vast inventory of hardy old fashioned plants from around the world which will give vibrant colour, wonderful perfume and shade, and satisfy the puritanical desire to display a "low Carbon footprint"
Dr Michael Simpson