Garden Update – Winter is coming to an end

The Delft Blue Hyacinths playing the star of the side garden bed. Ten out of ten flowering their hearts out
The Delft Blue Hyacinths playing the stars of the side garden bed. Ten out of ten bulbs have flowered their hearts out

I’m nearly over my first Winter in Kandos. I’ve been told it was very mild and I believe that. It was particularly kind to me given I don’t have proper heating organised. I’ve learnt my lessons about the frosts and will be better prepared next year, and anticipate my plants will be better established and more protected by surrounding growth ¬†(I will not prune until the end of Winter).

Daffodils around one of the old roses in the front lawn
Daffodils around one of the old roses in the front lawn

The bulbs have been incredibly rewarding. I’ve been really happy with all of them. They certainly respond much better here than they do in my North Shore garden with barely a failure (well, maybe the Nerines were a tad disappointing. Bugger! I just checked and bought 18 but only had two flowers). The deep blue Hyacinths (Delft Blue) have been the highlight – I had no idea they would be so deep and vibrant. I’ll get some more of these next year, as well as Bluebells which for some reason I didn’t buy. I’ll also try to buy more of the Saffron Crocuses which are a bit on the expensive side, but I like the thought of growing my own saffron. Strangely enough these are all blue flowers! I’m yet to see the Freesias flower but they look as though they won’t disappoint. I’m not tempted to try tulips – just yet. Most of these bulbs came from Tesselaars. I’m also hoping they multiply happily from hereon.

Very happy with this bed - now extended past the first section and will go further
Very happy with this bed – now extended past the first section and will go further

The side bed near my bedroom verandah seems to be a success and the blues work well with the white primula (which I am loving – cheap cheery plants that go on forever with such pretty little flowers) and the lovely groundcover Fairy rose which is becoming a firm favourite. So much so that I am extending the bed right down the side of the house and repeating the colour scheme of pink, blue and white with the Fairy rose being a constant, combined with white ground cover camellias and filling out with bulbs and perennials for colour, including Acquilegia’s (another favourite), salvias, primulas, blue sages … I just thought – I should move some of the Cornflowers that are totally overcrowded from me tipping way too many seeds in near the Grotto and circular garden bed!

The front garden wall - this is a big job although I'm starting to see gradual inroads
The front garden wall – this is a big job although I’m starting to see gradual inroads

The Front Wall garden bed is making gradual progress. The wall runs maybe 40 metres long and I’m making the bed several metres deep so there’s a lot of digging when it’s all covered in weeds and grass (Kikuyu!), but each weekend I make a bit of progress, plant an ¬†area and cover with mulch. The old railway sleepers have been ordered so should provide some much needed structure. The wall has a Southern aspect so I can plant more shade sympathetic plants close to the fence but also climbers to scramble over the top, which is the job of the roses. The Wall is very plain and stark at present from the street (not even a tree in front although the Council are providing three pink prunuses to match the rest of the street). Camellias, Azaleas, roses and ornamental Maples as well as two Lilacs are dominating at present.

One corner of the front is getting close. Bit difficult finding a driveway underneath with only a few inches of soil in some places.
One corner of the front is getting close. It was a bit difficult finding a driveway underneath with only a few inches of soil in some places.

I’ve commenced tidying up the Church side of the back wall with two rambuctious Mr Lincoln’s being added with at least one more to come. The bold red should work well with the incumbent Ivy. I’m endeavouring to wind back the rose planting, although am tempted to add a few more Saint varieties.

The old pruned roses are starting to shoot already. Hopefully I get some good strong new branches to kick them along and put a bit of life back into the old bushes.

The garden veg are great. Lamb shank casserole this weekend with all homegrown root veg – baby carrots, parsnip, turnip, swede, celery, parsley as well as broad beans. The broccoli and beetroot have been topped up with a second planting. I also was shown “where the wild asparagus grows” and hope to get some in the next few weeks. The thought of fresh asaparagus from the garden is too good to resist.

All in all, we’ve survived Winter well and the garden is in good shape for the Spring.

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Borage kicking in. More blue flowers!
Smokey enjoying Convent radishes. It's lovely to have friendly ponies next door. I have my eyes on horse manure as well!
Smokey enjoying Convent radishes. It’s lovely to have friendly ponies next door. I have my eyes on horse manure as well!

Garden Progress in August – bulbs and the beginnings of roses!

The garden bed off my verandah. Enjoying seeing the initial blue, white and pink coming together, albeit little is flowering. The Fairy rose is proving to be one of my favourites and I think we will see more of her.
The garden bed off my verandah. Enjoying seeing the initial blue, white and pink coming together, albeit little is flowering. The Fairy rose is proving to be one of my favourites and I think we will see more of her.

The bulbs have been great value. At a time when so little else flowers, the bulbs are not just cheery, but always a surprise and at times spectacular. I look forward to adding more (why didn’t I plant any Bluebells?) and seeing my foundation bulbs naturalise and multiply over the years. I’m also starting to see the importance of colour placement. No mistakes so far, but it is rewarding when colour schemes work in practice.

The depth of blue in the Hyacinths is quite breathtaking and unexpected
The depth of blue in the Hyacinths is quite breathtaking and unexpected

This week the Hyacinths flowered. Last weekend there was just a hint of colour in tight tucked-up buds. This weekend was a spectacular show. They must have popped up so quickly. I bought these from Tesselaars and deliberately chose blue but had no idea how deep and vibrant they would be.

A little shy - miniature daffodils
A little shy – miniature daffodils

The Daffodils are growing and many are flowering. I chose a few different varieties which all seem to be thriving. The Snowflakes are always a delight and have been the first up and are still going strong. The Freesias all have lots of buds but are not quite there yet. I’m looking forward to them as they are spread under the Catoneaster.

Elegant and fragrant Erlicheer daffodils around the new Crabapple
Elegant and fragrant Erlicheer daffodils around the new Crabapple

As for the roses, well after pruning all the old ones back hard last weekend and planting six standard Icebergs, this weekend I planted eight new roses, mainly from bare root stock (yes, I’m learning terms and actually doing this stuff). Most are classics and I try to keep the list updated on an earlier Rose Blog. I’ll slow down on the roses soon, but still need to get a few more “Saint” ones to finish off the collection (at least for this year). I can’t imagine i won’t always have new ones I want to add as I learn more (two serious Rose books are on their way from Amazon).

Some new additions to the roses outside the sun room
Some new additions to the roses outside the sun room

I’m also ready to commence planting the long awaited ‘taties. This weekend I only started with Desiree in a potato bag, but also have Pontiac ready to go. You need to have some growth from the ‘eyes’ and I’ve left Nicola, Kipfler and King Edward potatoes in a nice protected sunny spot in the kitchen so hopefully can get some more bags started.

The other notable editions were two Asparagus crowns and two Rhubarbs in the side ‘Pumpkin Patch’, which is now a healthy mulching zone.

I’d like to think I will slow down soon, but know that I really want to get the front wall garden bed more established … and the weather is so good, it’s easy to spend time out in the garden. The dogs also spent all weekend outside with me, although I tend to think that Tango was more interested in the Dynamic Lifter. I know the roses will be rewarding just like the bulbs in that the new growth and flowers are so obvious to watch develop. I keep being told you can’t kill a rose. Fingers crossed I won’t be the exception to the rule. I look forward to the time when I post the blooms from each of these.

Even more roses outside the Chapel verandah
Even more roses outside the Chapel verandah