A deep violet blue form of the Algerian Iris, I. unguicularis (syn. I. stylosa), has flowered in the dry garden all winter. Iris 'Mary Barnard' flourishes in a very difficult, very dry spot at the base of an olive tree where it also competes with a nearby privet hedge.
Thirty five years ago I was working as a propagator for Boulters Nursery in the Dandenongs. At that time it was the biggest Rhododendron nursery in the country. My personal passion at that time was the alpine rhododendrons which cover high Himalayan passes as heather covers Scottish moors.
This year the first Snowdrop (Galanthus) bulbs started flowering well before we’d seen the back of June. Normally at Burnside it is well into July before they flower and are at their best during the second half of the month. A planting of some mixed Galanthus caucasicus seedlings under an olive tree in the dry garden has given much joy.