I grow more than fifty varieties of apples on vertical cordons against a forty metre long fence in the vegetable garden. And another twenty varieties trained horizontally as step-overs on low strung wire. They range from the ancient French apple Court Pendu Plat, which has been cultivated for at least four hundred years, to such modern apples as the New Zealand selection, Gala.
The tiniest crocus flowering here at the moment is Crocus biflorus ssp. biflorus which in full flower is no more than a couple of centimetres tall. I bought this bulb from Hillview Rare Plants four or five years ago. Marcus Harvey, who owns the nursery, grew the bulbs from seed he collected on Rhodos.
The modern Crocus chrysanthus clones which are becoming ever more readily available to Australian gardeners are on the most part hybrids between C. chrysanthus and C.biflora. Both species have a widespread distribution in the wild although they rarely overlap. C. chrysanthus ranges from Yugoslavia through the Balkans into Greece and Turkey. The various forms of C.
A favourite and essential winter job of mine is to make a year’s supply of Seville orange marmalade. I have marmalade on toast every morning for breakfast and Criss gives a fair few jars away so I need to make a lot.
Lambley Nursery gets lots of questions from customers about cutting back plants to get the best out of them. It is hard to generalise as we treat different plants in different ways. Take Salvias for example.
The last autumn leaf has barely dropped before the first snowdrops flower here. The earliest of all the Galanthus which starts to flower during late June and is at its best during early July is a variety I got from Bryan Tonkin’s Nursery some twenty odd years ago.
The Mount Fuji Cherry avenue at the nursery has finally burst into flower. We planted the avenue to celebrate the birth of our granddaughter Lili who was born in the village of Oshino in Yamanashi prefecture. The village is very close to Mount Fuji which was framed by Lili’s bedroom window.
Two years ago I planted about a hundred bulbs of Iris reticulata ‘Harmony’ in what I now call the thyme lawn. This week, the first week in August, I counted more than three hundred and fifty flowers out. Iris ‘Harmony’ flowers earlier than others of its kind by about a week. The pale sky blue ‘Alida’ and the rich purple ‘J.S. Dijt’ are only just opening their flowers.
The garden varieties of Salvia nemorosa are amongst the most beautiful and obliging of all garden perennials. They flower for a good half of the year in the tough windswept plains of the Central Victorian Goldfields where I garden. They are frost hardy down to -20C and didn’t show any signs of distress when we had four days of 47C a couple of years ago.