December 2016 – Part 1

Hello Everyone

December 2016 – Part 1

Well, I nearly made November for this newsletter. For part of this month I was co-leading the garden and cultural tour to Melbourne and Central Victoria. As it was highly successful we are planning to do another one next year, with a completely different itinerary. I will write more about this later.

Photo 1: A happy planting of poppies at the Lambley Gardens and Nursery in Central Victoria.
Photo 2: A serene setting in a private garden in Central Victoria.

I have been mulling over the idea of whether or not to plant an arboretum or orchard in the top paddock nearest the garden. While getting to the point where I was thinking that I had left it too late, I came across this quote from Anne Galloway who was a candidate for our local Council elections. “A society grows strong when old men and women plant trees they will never sit under.” So an orchard it is going to be I think, with a planting of nut trees.

A plant that I am growing in our garden for the first time is the old fashioned gladiolus. These plants were grown a lot in the 1950s, but for many years they seem to have been grown mainly for florists’ work but are rarely seen in gardens. I have also seen a lot grown in gardens in our village in Normandy, and neighbouring villages. We have planted a long row of the large flowering Gladiolus ‘Velvet Eyes’ at Frensham in front of the live willow hedge behind the potager. The sword-like foliage is growing well. AS soon as they come into flower I shall post a photo.

Two of the more well known species that I grow are Gladiolus ‘Tristis’, native to southern Africa, which has a greenish cream scented flower in mid spring; the scent being more apparent in the evening. Flowering after Gladiolus ‘Tristis’ is Gladiolus ‘The Bride’ which is in flower now; a pure white with soft scent. One of the modern hybrids that we grow is Gladiolus papilio. Smudgy colours of lilac, and lemony green make this a delightful plant to have in summer when the sun is brighter and muted colours are softer to the eye.

As all of these gladioli like hot sunny positions they should be used more, I think, as they combine beautifully with other plants and are easy to grow.

One of the things that I have learnt over many years of gardening, and which is constantly reinforced when I visit a garden where the plants are thriving and the gardener is happy, is that it isn’t necessary to try and grow things that don’t suit the local environment. I do think it is part of human nature to want something that is out of reach, or not practical to have, and this certainly applies in the gardening world. I cringe when I hear a conversation which starts with the person saying how disappointed that they can’t grow something, or that they wish they had the conditions for “X”. Grow what will be happy in your garden and climate, enjoy putting effort into plant associations, and embrace all of the things that you can have.

Happy Gardening and I will write again before Christmas.

Best wishes to you all


About Frensham

Our relaxed country garden started twenty nine years ago. In the early days I had very little gardening experience and no vision for the site, but an interest in plants was quickly developing. Over the years, with much trial and error, a garden has emerged which we and our visitors do enjoy.

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139 Old Tai Tapu Rd, Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
+64 3 3228 061

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