Spring will be here any minute now, and we're making preparations despite the wind!
This week at the potting table we’re in a world of Geums, in a multitude of shades through reds, oranges, yellow, yellow splashed with scarlet in the lovely Geum ‘Goldfinch’, pastel pinks, rose and shades of apricot sometimes flushed with pink or buff (as with ‘Leonards Variety’). The leaf form is also very attractive. They are I find an easy obliging plant, resistant to predators. They grow well here and don’t mind our frost free humid environment, even though as European immigrants they are used to frost, snow and ice.
While not for the tropics they are certainly suited to temperate Australia. They also grow and flower well in a pot, if you’ve run out of room.
Do you find that after a few years your garden gets a bit tired and maybe a little boring? Well, that’s how I was beginning to feel – shrubs past their use by date (which I had hung on to for sentimental reasons) and other plantings looking a bit tatty. So, with hardened resolve I’ve removed them, first taking lots of cuttings. Oh the joy of a new space to fill, and how it’s opened up the border.
I see gardening as a creative process; a garden can be changed and adapted in accordance with current enthusiasms and not set in concrete forever, unless you live in a stately home with a garden to match.
I’m a cottage gardener through and through and I come from generations of cottage gardeners, mostly women who grew the perennials and annuals they loved, regardless of the dictates of fashion. Never a refined palate of delicate pastels, their gardens were exuberant happy places with plants of all colours intermingling.
I find with different shades and tones of green and grey foliage, a gaudy garden is fun and a feast for the eyes. I like a garden which is a bit wild, a garden with surprises in odd corners, but then I am a plant collector and much of our garden is a receptacle for stock plants and a place to test the suitability of a plant in terms of hardiness, adaptability and longevity.
I love the gardens of Piet Oudolf; his gardens are such a beautiful smorgasbord of colours, texture, tones and shapes. Christopher Lloyd is also one of my gardening heroes. I enjoy his writing and most of all his garden. For me a summers day spent wandering the gardens of Great Dixter is heaven. Sadly he is no longer with us, though the garden is evolving still, in new and exciting ways, under the hand of head gardener Fergus Garrett.
We have been busily propagating a huge range of perennials all winter, so many new ones, many previously unavailable in Australia – check our website in the coming weeks for lots of new additions as well as some old favourites back now our stocks have increased.
Delighting us at the moment is the beautiful biannual Nicotina alata ‘Lime Green’ – large starry flowers hugely fragrant in the evening and early morning, big paddle shaped leaves and metre high flower stems – cut back as they fade and they re-flower. A lovely cut flower too. Now this is a real feast for the eyes and senses, a beautiful newcomer raised from seed we got from the Chelsea Flower Show last year. It’s always exciting to raise something new, we have never grown before.
I love propagating and it’s how I spend my days. However I will do my best to get back to you soon with some of our new additions to the nursery.
Visits to the nursery are welcome, just ring to confirm we’re available, or you may prefer to pick up your order from our nursery.
We will be at the Berry Small Farms Field Days on 8th and 9th September, Harpers Mansion, Berrima on 31 October and Riversdale Goulbourn on 5th November – looking forward to seeing you there.
Happy gardening, Mim