Wednesday, June 20, 2012

it's been awhile...

I was going to wait until June 30th, just so it was properly 6 months since my last post. Confessing this make me glad I'm not Catholic; I'd definitely be crap at it and probably lapsed. It also makes me aware of my own tendencies to put things off until a more auspicious or meaningful time approaches. Which is maybe a more sophisticated form of procrastination...but procrastination all the same. But you know, my fingers are itching to just tap tap tap out something which is just this post is playing catch up. Nothing earth shattering, just a few bits and pieces that have made me smile. 
Whale Hedge 

This is an image from a piece I did recently for The Cloudscape, it's a website I work on with some of my most lovely mates. It showcases all that is designed, crafted and happening along our stretch of the Great Western Highway. If you're curious as to what's hidden behind this mountainside mammal, or want to know more  about what's happening at this particular altitude, you should check The Cloudscape out!
Something I love about travelling is taking the opportunity to visit noteworthy gardens. This shot could be in Japan, but it's actually from Mayfield Garden, just out of Oberon. I'd always felt a little bad that I'd never had a wander through this showpiece, which so relatively close to home. And now, I'm excited to say, I have! 
This shot shows the silver birch glade, under planted with hellebore. Winter flowering, the hellebore create a soft canopy which is an especially nice contrast as the trees above lose their leaves. 

I'm don't want to go into too much about Mayfield as I plan to write about it more fully for The Cloudscape. But it is a wonderful example of what can be achieved in a cool climate garden, especially one of this size. With over 40 acres to play with and 25 gardeners on staff, this garden is best described as a folly in the grandest sense of the word!

I recently made the acquaintance of this wonderful old bloke, Doug. His garden is on the corner opposite my daughter's pre-school and each summer, into autumn I have admired his spectacular display of dahlias. This is just one of the many that line his nature strip. He's been tending his predominately dahlia garden for over 50 years and when I asked why dahlias, he told me that his late wife had loved them - enough for me to get a touch teary. This is something I love; that plants and gardens can be the conduit that says I care and I want to make you happy.
I asked Doug if he had any tips for the wanna be dahlia grower and he was pretty succinct. He cuts them back each year and every other year, he'll lift before it gets too cold. He then stores the tubers in sawdust and replant in the spring. Thanks to Wikipedia, I've also recently learnt that the dahlia is the national flower of Mexico. 
I am proud to report that despite a dismal summer, my artichokes did manage to set fruit. What I am not overly proud of is that I am not nearly disciplined enough to actually prepare them and cook with them. Instead, I am thrilled by their sea anemone style of the petal structure and I'm ok with the fact that I'm happy to let the plant go to seed. Artichokes also clump up really well. I dug this one out, split it up and had around 12 pretty good sized new plants. I was dubious about a couple which didn't have much in the way of a root system, but they're a hardy plant and all are thriving. Never be afraid to get dividing, people! I would add, snails also really like artichokes so you do want to keep on eye on them shredding the leaves.  

Magic Garden Autumn 2012

Gardening is one of my preferred forms of procrastination - there's a worthwhile outcome as opposed to just sitting on a chaise lounge popping bon-bons in one's mouth - but these last 6 months, it seems that the weather has conspired against me. The summer proper was wet, wet, wet and the indian summer I'd been so optimistically  counting on, came on too late and is just so cold. Truthfully, it's been a teensy bit depressing. But there have been bright spots...discovering that a bird had made its nest at the top of one of our tulip trees has made me feel slightly more kindly towards the autumn...
but I can't wait for spring!