The death rate amongst babies and young children of the Central Highlands gold diggers was very high during the middle decades of the 19th century. Most diggers couldn’t afford gravestones and planted flowers, including Ixias, on their children’s graves.
I’m besotted by the dry garden here at Lambley. In a quiet way it has been beautiful all winter long. The small miracles of the bulb world such as Iris reticulata, Narcissus cantabricus, Galanthus elwesii and all the others which flower in the coldest and wettest months brought such delight to this besotted nurseryman.
I grow a drift of the Snakeshead Fritillary, Fritillaria meleagris, under a deciduous shrub, Indigofera heterantha, and a herbaceous perennial Euphorbia ‘Excalibur’. In my garden this fritillary starts growing in winter and has all the winter and early spring light as it grows, flowers, seeds and fattens its bulbs whilst the shrub and perennial are dormant.
Each new week of winter has brought forth a new palette of colours and perfumes from the bulbous plants. In this week's notes we are featuring photographs taken in the gardens this week of some of the first heralds of spring. The past week the stars have been the Muscari and Tulipa species.
The following notes describe the way I grow vegetables here in the garden at Lambley. I have a large area dedicated to vegetables, soft fruit, apples and frost hardy citrus. I grow cut flowers for the house in this part of the garden too.
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.