Lambley Gardens & Nursery, 395 Lesters Road,  Ascot,  Victoria 3364
Phone +61 (03) 5343 4303,  Fax +61 (03) 5343 4257

Winter Flowers

I’ve just got back home from a month long visit to England and France to be greeted by snow, hail and freezing winds. And yet the garden is full of good things flowering their hearts out.

Last year I bought a couple of pots of Daphne ‘Perfume Princess’ which is a cross between the common garden Daphne odora and Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’. This week every shoot of ‘Perfume Princess’ is carrying golf ball sized heads of large, pink budded, white centred, sparkling flowers with the typical spicy fragrance of D. odora. Daphne ‘Perfume Princess’ is widely available. The glossy foliage is dark green and healthy. Daphne bholua will grow 3 metres or more tall so I expect ‘Perfume Princess’ to grow at least 2 metres tall. I have one plant in some shade and one plant in a more sunny spot and both are doing well.

Narcissus ‘Rijnveld’s Early Sensation’ is the earliest flowering of all the yellow trumpet daffodils and I have a decent drift of it under some apple and pear trees. First released in 1943 it starts flowering in June here at Lambley and is good well into July. It has a shorter stem than other large flowered trumpets and so withstands all the bad mid-winter weather.

A few years ago Marcus Harvey sent me some seed of Iris cretensis which he had collected on the Mani Peninsula in the southern Pelopponese. This species is closely related to the Algerian Iris, I. unguicularis (syn I. stylosa) and has a similar flowering period from early May until September.

Marcus Harvey’s collection has narrower much more elegantly arching leaves than its North African counterpart and its flowers sit above the foliage. I planted out about 100 seedlings and each flower is slightly different ranging in colour from soft lilac to quite deep violet. I planted them much to close together to start with but I’ve thinned them to one metre centres which gives them breathing space.

Next to the Iris is a patch of the winter blooming Cyclamen coum. The strain planted here has silver leaves rather than the dark green normally found. The stumpy flowers range from blush pink through deep pink to carmine.