Sunday, August 15, 2010

Winter? Dull? Where?

It's a myth that winter is a tedious time in the garden.
OK, you aren't out sunning yourselves on the grass, eating tomatoes warm off the vine, or surrounded by fragrant rose petals, but it doesn't have to be a time of boredom and gloom.

First, if you have deciduous trees, you get to see the structure of your garden: the architecture of the treetops; the bark and buds and sky beyond.

Then there are the many flowers - some subtle, like hellebores, some party animals such as narcissus - that take the opportunity to shine when the sun's behind the clouds and you really need a spot of brightness.

If your garden's feeling a bit dull, take a walk around the neighbourhood and see what's in flower so you can plan for next year and the years ahead. This is what I found in bloom this morning on my walk.

In my garden:
White hardenbergia
Daffodils, Earlicheer jonquils, and miniature daffs
Hellebores (Soft pinks, greens and cream)
Grevilleas (red)
Hyacinths (blue and pink)
Muscari (grape hyacinths in a deep blue)
Correa (white, cream and pinky green)
Light mauve miniature (Algerian) iris
That bright yellow daisy thing whose name I can never remember
Emu bushes (red and yellow)
Swan River pea.
I also had some lovely red beetroot and rainbow chard in the veggie patch, along with bright yellow flowers on the rapini (but only because I forgot to pick it). And cymbidium orchids in various stages of spiking or fading.

There are things that are more or less always in flower. Here, that includes:
Penstemons (red)
Westringia (purple is year-round, white not quite so)
Daisies of various sorts
Dark purple bearded iris

In other people's gardens I saw:
Purple hardenbergia
Violets galore (mine aren't out yet)
Kangaroo paws in various shades of red
Native hibiscus
Camellia (mostly in nasty pinks, but also some nice ones)
Early flowering cherries
Flowering quince
That horrible South African purple pea thing
And lots of magnolias only a week or so away from opening.

See? Virtually spring already.