Top ten list of garden plants

  • Abutilons of all kinds
  • Buddlejas old and new
  • Epiphytic orchids and ferns
  • Gordonia species
  • Heliotrope, Lemon verbena, Fennel and herbs
  • Michelias of all sorts
  • Perennial Salvias large and small
  • Species Camellias
  • Tea and China Roses
  • Weigela of all types

Montville Rose

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Doctors wife

I happened to see a  sweaty lycra clad lady emerging from a gym when it occurred to me that any exercise that doesn't involve dirt and minor injury is not my thing. As for lycra or having to go and purchase the stuff -I don't think so. My gardening attire is strictly rags with pockets.My clothes actually wear out to the stage of compost when I finally discard them. There are so many benefits to using your garden as an exercise space. The over  loaded wheel barrows require speed and balance as they are pushed around the garden down to the mulch pile or fire pit. Plenty of deep bends can be achieved just picking stuff up , lugging pots along with wrestling the dog for the palm fronds or the mower. Upper body stretches and toning is all part of reaching those dead branches and  bringing shrubs down in height .Cleaning out gutters and climbing up on the shed roof is another one for balance.  It is all about the struggle and not being arsed to go and get a ladder or wait for help.
Then there are the rocks. There is so often a need to move rocks around and the trusty furniture remover is ideal for this -there will often be several attempts at making the rock stay on but that is all part of the exercise  routine. Digging is great for the arms and the therapeutic  buzz you get from an open fire is rarely done at an indoor gym. Our dog "Shadow " is so fond of palm fronds that he will attempt to drag them off the fire in full blaze - that is when your  sprint comes in.

The thing about exercise in the garden is that you don't have to drive anywhere and it can take all day so there has to be some positive out come for all that physical activity.  The worst thing is discovering that you have run out of milk or something and need to do the quick dash out in the real world where real people are . That is when I or others notice my state of attire -OMG is that the Doctors wife?

New Paths, New plantings at The Shambles February 2017

The newly paved paths around the old house and north to the Plough Inn are finished and after a record hot, dry february a little rain and some showers have encouraged some transplanting, planting from our own stock and buying new plants.

 New Paths  front path garden.
From our own stock   Aloysia triphylla (Lemon Verbena)
                                       Clerodendron ugandense (Blue Butterfly bush)
                                       Lavandula spp (Lavender from cuttings at Montville School)
                                       Chrysantheum frutescens cultivar)
Transplanted               Clivea miniata  (Orange and Yellow)
                                      Liriope cultivar
                                      Justicia brandegeana (yellow shrimp plant)
New plant from Leighanne Gerbera cultivars x 2
New paths   South Rose garden
New plants                  Coreopsis grandiflora 'Calypso' is a clump forming herbaceous perennial with cream and yellow variegated foliage and golden yellow flowers with a ring of red around large yellow centres in summer. Garden edge South Rose Garden
                                      Tulbaghia violacea 'Variegata'. Variegated society garlic garden edge
                                      South rose garden
                                      Dianthus chinenesis Pinks from throw out bin Sunray Nursery
New paths  Azalea garden South Rose garden (Northern side)
                                      Azalea, Rhododendron indica “Dr Arnold” A small single Azalea, bears cherry        pink flowers tinged with mauve flowers. Apparently hybridizd by Camellia Lodge Nursery, or possibly the Netherlands.
                                      Azalea, Rhododendron rutherfordiana indica “Firelight” Rutherford Indica. Semi-double frilly red flowers on strong bush
                     Stone Circle Garden
New plants                 Abelia gradiflora variegata "Variegated Abelia". It has a natural rounded habit and produces masses of small white flowers in Spring, Summer and Autumn. The leaves are green and broadly edged with white with new pink growth.
                                       Euphorbia hypericifolia “Diamond Frost” grows to a 50cm cushion and is spangled almost all year round with tiny, white flowers. Africa  
From our own cuttings Weigela alba
New paths  South East Corner, East border garden
                                           Strobilanthus dyerianus  (Persian shield) Soft stemmed shrub with thick, quilted purple leaves to 6 inches long splashed with iridescent pewter or silver. In autumn, it bears delicate funnel-shaped violet flowers in an eye-catching spike formation
                                           Scutellaria costaricana  (Scarlet skullcap) Tender perennial native to Costa Rica, where it grows in the mountain forests at elevations as high as 2,000 m (6,500 ft). It is grown as a house plant for its orange- red flowers which are borne in rich terminal clusters. It is a member of the mint family
Transplanted to path edges Chlorophytum comosum, (Variegated spider plant syn. airplane plant, St. Bernard's lily, spider ivy, ribbon plant, hen and chickens) is a flowering perennial herb. It is native to tropical and southern Africa, but has become naturalized in other parts of the world, including Australia
New paths east border gardens
From our own stock       Pycnostachys urticifolia evergreen shrub produces vivid blue flowers shaped like a witches hat in autumn and winter. Growing at the tips of the branches
                                           Salvia pallida Pale Sage. Tall, Oval leaves scalloped edges, pale blue flowers
                                           Justicia aurea Yellow Justicia
                                           Begonia fuchsioides Begonia with bright red Fuchsia like flower clusters
                                           Stachytarpheta mutabilis
                                           Chrysanthemum frutescens hydrid ith low growth white flowers
From Rowena Cavanagh  Tecomanthe hillii ? Tecomanthe speciosa Yellow fast growing climber which flowers profusely in spring. Dense green foliage with bunches of soft yellow tubular flowers which fade to a pale pink as they fall off the vine. Full sun to part shade. On new arch East border garden.
Added                                  Festuca glauca Blue Fescue clump-forming ornamental grass noted for its glaucous, finely-textured, blue-gray foliage
                                              Hemigraphis exotica “Polywaffle” compact, prostrate, evergreen tropical perennial with small, dark green and burgundy leaves and tiny white flowers. The oval leaves are crinkled with curled edges and look rough and rigid but feel soft to the touch
Transplanted                       Ophiopogon      Mondo grass

New paths  Fenced Rose garden
Removed then replanted   Tetradenia riparia syn. Iboza riparia
From our stock                     Neomarica caerulea
                                                Neomarica longifolia
                                                Liorope cultivar
Added                                    Cordylline Australis “Red sensation” deep red foliage all year round. It has thin, long hardy leaves that branch off the main stem
Behind pool Fence              Banksia ericifolia x collina “Giant Candles”

Gerbera hybrida  is a garden hybrid from the genus of plants Asteraceae (daisy family). It was named in honour of German botanist and medical doctor Traugott Gerber (1710-1743) who travelled extensively in Russia and was a friend of Carl Linnaeus. Gerbera is native to tropical regions of South America, Africa and Asia. The first scientific description of a Gerbera was made by J.D. Hooker in Curtis's Botanical Magazine in 1889 when he described Gerbera jamesonii, a South African species also known as Transvaal daisy or Barberton Daisy. Gerbera is also commonly known as the African Daisy. The domesticated cultivars are mostly a result of a cross between Gerbera jamesonii and another South African species Gerbera viridifolia. The cross is known as Gerbera hybrida. Thousands of cultivars exist.             Front Path garden Gift from LeighAnne Lawrence

Sunday, February 26, 2017

New Paths at The Shambles

Today we are having some heavy rain that is ideal for settling our new paths and the latest plantings.
These paths were put in by Custom Asphalt Driveways - Mark and his team of fantastic workers have done a great job.
These paths are an asset to the garden because they allow for Michael to walk more safely as well as civilising places that have become well worn tracks over the last 25 years. For us the expense of the paths is offset by the fact they we will always live here and the garden will always be such an important part in our day to day lives. People who visit the garden who have mobility limitations will get the benefit and Shadow our dog is really enjoying doing laps. Our garden is well set up with garden seating and Michael will often station himself somewhere in the garden and really take time to look at plants in detail.
Often this will inspire an "idea", and we all know what happens then.
I guess I have spent a fair bit of time putting  Michael's
ideas into action but generally the garden is a combination of both of us.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The wrong shoes

With all the dry weather certain plants have really thinned out to reveal trellises and archways that are in need of replacement.
As usual the first thing to do is to scout around for materials that can be reused. I even managed to obtain some throw out lattice strips from a friend in a fetching shade of bluey teal that we decided would be perfect for a new trellis for the quissquallis. Rangoon creeper - I just love the perfume of this vine-the smell of summer and Christmas and I love the clusters of star shaped pink and red flowers.
Unfortunately after two days of struggle buggle in the heat and dust with post mix ,zip ties, wire ,the wrong sized screws and lots of swearing the effect was more like debris that had come to roost after a major weather event. A fly away kids trampoline may have been better.
Anyway we kidded ourselves that in no time the vine would grow and cover the thing but I am a bit impatient so had another plan.Michael was probably just too scared to actually say it was shit due to the amount of blood and sweat that had been shed.
For the last 20 years plus we have had ownership of the" Wolff's Gate" a heavy piece of fencing that has been part of an outside laundry, trellising for various plants and lately ended up stored down the back in a tangle of weeds. Perfect!! 
As usual I have to wait for help and this time in the form of our son John who somehow manages to turn up with the "wrong shoes". It is an unconscious ploy to get out of working I just know it. Anyway not this time . John in thongs got to do the forward walk while we lugged the gate up to it's new position. We flipped and shoved it into it's position and set about dismantling the attractive lattice which has now been tossed aside but not too far. ( It could come in handy ) All we need now is some restorative rain so that the plant can cover the trellis asap.
I just feel a bit sorry for the neighbours. The gate had previously had other functions and has a cat hole  for when we had a cat and an assortment of white plastic hooks for something to hang on. Of course the the hooks are now facing the neighbours a perfect place for a dream catcher  or a pair of underpants don't you think ?
This photo show the area under construction with the Leonard Complex in the centre . Note newly cemented in coppers logs around tank at jaunty angles .

Record prolonged Heat and no rain

It is a testament to a gardens maturity and the plant selection within it, as much to the gardeners that "The Shambles" remain lush and full of flowers in spite of very testing conditions.
In 2016/ early 2017 there has a been a succession of heat waves and a failure of the pattern of summer storms or any monsoon. Tanks are dry and no break has been forecast as of early February.

We have taken advantage of this time to organize extension of our paved asphalt paths to connect all the way around the house, through the South Rose garden and the eastern border Gardens. Also to connect down the western edge of the lawns, along the fringe of the treed areas, through the previous fenced rose gardens to the North West Corner gardens to the Plough Inn.

Kyleigh has built a path along the side of the coral fountain.

Hopefully rain will come and restore our normal expected wet summer before it finishes.

                                               Michael Simpson        The Shambles