Hi there fellow gardeners and like minded enthusiasts!
Well I don’t need to tell you how cold it’s been. Cold and a little wet, though a bit more rain wouldn’t go astray. I measured 176 ml to the end of May this year, down by 189 ml on the same time last year. This was, however, due to the enormous rain event in January last year when we got about 118 ml with good follow-up rain in February, March and April. Not quite so this year. While all indications are for a dryer Winter we can only hope for rain.
I don’t know about you, but I thought Autumn was comparatively colourful this year. Our two Ginkos and our Golden Ash were all quite yellow and lasted well, most of the reds were terrific (the Claret Ash, Scarlet Oak and Japanese Maples) and the couple of Persimmons were beautifully mottled with everything from yellow through to various hues of orange/red. Of course they look stunning in fruit once the leaves depart. Check out the pictures for yourself. While the Liquidambars around the hospital varied, my own at home (shown in photo) seemed to have a particularly brilliant display this year. The intensity of colour so I believe, is related to the difference between the daytime and nighttimes temperatures. The greater the difference the better the colour.
We’ve also seen the Chrysanthemums finish up after another dependable season and all the Roses put on a good final Autumn flush before slipping to dormancy. Once their leaves are gone, we’ll be out there pruning them back for Winter. Finally the bed of Osmanthus Fragran (in front of Physiotherapy), had one last enormous flush before Winter to the olfactory delight of anybody walking within cooee of it.
But as time rolls on and the temperatures plummet, the gracefully denuded Birches with their ghostly white bark rise up out of the fresh green lawns to herald the onset of Winter. But not all plants are retiring to a season of dormancy – in the central courtyard, the Winter Roses (Hellebors) are gearing up for another carpet like flowering under the small Birch trees there, while around the place the Daphnes and Winter Sweets are gradually incensing us with those heady aromas we’ve all become addicted to over the years. Elsewhere, planting of Camellias are ready to show off with the earlier Sasanquas out now and the Japonicas later. I particularly enjoy watching the new ones I planted along the Doctor’s Clinic grow up. One particular one is called ‘Dr Clifford Parkes”, a reticullata type with enormous red blooms which has put on a show since day one.
Elsewhere, various natives are at their best this season. Cootamundra Wattles produce masses of fine yellow flowers all over. We have the conventional tree types near the Dental Clinic and the less conventional prostrate types near the Birches building. Out the front a particularly large showy red (with yellow tip) Corea is flowering and elsewhere, a couple of Happy Wonders (Hardenbergia) are about to go blue and white. Unfortunately, while the lawns have rebounded and given us our green back, we need to watch for those flat, weeds, in particular capeweed, which will need pulling or treating somehow lest it takes over in Spring.
The next few months demand some grass cutting, the odd poison spray for weeds, rose pruning and the usual clean up of spent shrubs or those last leaves that you find quietly breaking down against a gutter or fence.
At home, all the summer vegies are cleaned out and I’m eating carrots, parsnips and the odd pumpkin that grew. I’ve since planted broadbeans, red and brown onions, snow peas, asian greens, broccoli and Tuscan Karle (because it looks good). Down the back there’s the ubiquitous silverbeat, Italian parsley and coriander growing spare and I have some young limes, lemons and ruby grapefruits nicely ripening. I always like to chuck in a couple of globe artichokes somewhere too for that stunning foliage with the follow up thistle like flower afterwards.
Well until Spring, enjoy the sod and I’ll see you when the bulbs are at their best!