We are having the most gorgeous days, with chilly nights, which make the days even more appreciated. Autumn colours are coming in abundance, and leaves are slowly starting to drop. I love the sound of each fig leaf as it touches the concrete courtyard; a quiet mention that something is happening.
We have been continuing with our planting out. Last week the very low-growng Gypsophila repens ‘Alba’, with its dainty white flowers, was planted at the front of the grey rock garden and we added more Echinops bannaticus ‘Star Frost’ plants to an existing group for more impact. With its deep green colour on the upperside of the leaf, and silver-white colour on the underside of the leaf, these thistle plants of medium height with silvery flowers look great against the grey rock. The gypsophila was bought from Wake Robin Nursery and the thistle plants from Parva Plants.
For a long time I have been thinking of moving the soft mauve autumn-flowering Caryopteris clandodensis shrubs from the red ‘Frensham’ garden. They were originally in this garden before I developed the red and burgundy garden, and as they flower in autumn, many of the red flowers in this garden had finished for the season. But the caryopteris looks even better where we have put it now and it will receive more sun, which it prefers. I don’t see this plant grown often, and it’s a lovely shrub for the autumn garden. It does come in darker blue flower shades.
‘Tête-à-Tête’ miniature daffodils have just been planted in the area where we already have blue muscaris, or soldier boys, and ‘King Alfred’ daffodils. This is a grassy area where we let the grass grow throughout the spring and it is cut in early December when the bulb foliage has died down. The grass is cut again in February and then left until the following December.
Photo 1: The green domes by the front entrance, Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Waimea’, have, over the years, got quite woody underneath, so we are going to replace them with new plants of the same variety and keep them much smaller, so that the new plantings we’ve been adding to the adjoining woodland garden can be appreciated, and not so dominated by the green domes. Photo by Juliet Nicholas
Photo 2: I mentioned in last month’s newsletter that we have a new parking area. This is the view of the live willow hedge that visitors get when they walk past the pin oak trees towards the garden entrance. Photo by Juliet Nicholas
Photo 3: The autumn-flowering borders which flank either side of the archway walk which leads to the far corner. The coral Hesperantha coccinea from South Africa and Zimbabwe and the Michaelmas daisies, or asters, flower for many weeks. Photo by Juliet Nicholas
Photo 4: Another lovely autumn mix of the coral hesperantha, Gaura ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and a smattering of asters. This planting sits at the end of the autumn borders shown in the previous photos, and I think the whole thing flows nicely. Photo by Juliet Nicholas
In last month’s newsletter I wrote about two roses, ‘Blairii No. 2’ and ‘Narrow Water’. A reader asked if they were still in flower in the garden. Neither of them is, in March. What I should have added was that it may be an idea if you are thinking of your winter rose order.
I am looking forward to some more of these clear, not-too-hot days when there is, as at any time of the year, so much to be done.
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