Friday, September 16, 2011

Magnolias are another bloom that sing Spring, they anchor the season in the my memory and remind me particularly of the area I grew up. Trees as dominating as the houses whose front lawns they decorate and more than ample to play house in. Up here, you don't see them as frequently, when you do they're not usually as majestic. But the tree these came from is the one of the exceptions. It is easily as tall as my lovely neighbour's house and is a perfect example of a deciduous tree, in the perfect place. Facing north-east, it provides shady respite in the summer and maximises the sun's warmth in winter. In between, there are these drinkable blooms to enjoy; their shape reminds me of tea cups and crooked pinky fingers.

i do love to ponce about pretending to be a professional florist...

At the Gospel Hall, our old abode, Husbando had planted the Magnolia "Star Wars," as a tribute to his love of the George Lucas epic. It tickles me that somewhere out there, an earnest cultivator channelled his inner fanboy in order to give his labour of love such a nerdy name. I really hope that that is the truth and it wasn't a decision driven by the cynicism of the marketing machine. The realist in me knows the latter is most probably the truth, but the optimist is ever Pollyanna.

Magic Garden however, is all but magnolia free - another weird omission by Mrs Batty. I would so love to uncover her gardening notebooks, tucked behind the outdoor dunny. Perfect! Though it does feel inappropriate to imagine my genteel Mrs Batty making notes on the bog...I digress, swept away by toilet talk no less! When our new baby was born, I did plant one of the dwarf varieties, the evergreen "Little Gem." The leaves are a darker green, with an underside that is a russet - bronze colour. The flowers are a simple cream inverted bell and the whole ensemble seems hardier to me and somehow more suited to the Australian landscape. They are slow growing and happily, frost tolerant. In the year that ours has graced the prime position by the letter box, I really don't think it's grown significantly but apparently, it could reach between 4 and 8m high and be upto 5m wide. At this stage, it seems the baby has outperformed the tree...this is how it should be perhaps?

Two of my favourite ladies have returned home from holidays, each bearing the most delightful news...congratulations and hooray for everything, I say!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

So much of Magic Garden's beauty pre-dates me entirely; each season I feel like I am reacquainting myself with each element and this process of rediscovery thrills me. The collection above represents just some of the camellia varieties that Mrs Batty was so enchanted with. I would love to set myself the challenge of learning the name of each but really, looking through the pages of my trusty, doorstop-sized Gardening Australia Flora's Trees and Shrubs, there really are just so many different cultivars that it's quite overwhelming and I can't make any assertions with any confidence. Plus, the light in my study isn't the greatest!

the white varieties are a bright spot on a misty mountains
morning...but must they brown up so badly?

Suffice to say, the majority of my camellias flowering at the moment are japonica with a few reticulata, the difference being that the latter's leaves are darker and narrower in comparison to the japonica and their rose pink flowers have a larger and open form. According to my Gardening Australia doorstop, there are over 2000 cultivars of japonica which makes me feel better about not becoming an instant identification guru. One of these, 'Anita,' is especially sweet, narrow pale pink petals, streaked with maroon. She's a more magnolia type of bloom and kind of reminds me of painting on silk, whereas other deviations from block colour seems to be more of tint that bleeds to the edges. Does that make any sense to anyone but me? God knows, I'm hardly an expert in the field of painting on silk either...

A big thank-you to lovely Mimi, who kindly put all these images together in these very professional looking grids. Have I told you lately that YOU are AWESOME?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hello Hellebores! Hello Spring!

This type of shot makes me want to start super-imposing tiny creatures of the fey, in pearlescent outlines, so they could be seen in one direction but not the other. Spooky. As you've probably guessed my nous in this regard leaves alot to be desired and so rest assured, that won't eventuate. However, if you've visited and found that the images invisible, my apologies, I need some remedial image management lessons, I'm working on it and in short, I'm embarrassed...

But this is the first day of Spring, calendar wise and though it will take a little longer to work its way up the hill, I'm embracing today like my first born. This time last year, I was in a haze of pregnancy and this seasonal milestone passed me by. Even still, now that our new baby has been 9months in and 9months out, days still pass me by...but not today, people, not today! She started out overcast but burnt off into unapologetic blue, her brilliance almost accusatory as if to say, 'Oh, really? You doubted me?' If only the sky could talk...