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.
“There are two sorts of people in the world. Those that have eaten fresh peas straight from the garden and those that haven’t” My grandchildren looked up, puzzled, as they absentmindedly threw empty pea shells onto the midden between the rows of pea plants in the vegie garden, momentarily forgetting Jeddah, my old Labrador, waiting to scoff any pods thrown his way.
There are two acquisitions of Euphorbia rigida growing here at Lambley. The first was collected more than twenty years ago “….just north of Sparta” in the Pelloponese. The second more recent collection was from north east of Gulnar in the Taurus Mountains “Among stones on limestone hills”.
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.