Friday, 12 April 2013

A stroll around my autumn garden

It's mid-April - Easter is over and Anzac Day is still to come.  In Canberra, Anzac Day is the day you put your heater on.  Certainly it's been blessedly balmy and my garden is looking Very Autumnal, which is just delightful.

I am particularly fascinated by the autumn leaves.  I planted the trees not only with microclimate in mind, but also because I wanted a spectacular autumn show.   This year they have come up trumps.  Here are some of the leaves I found today whilst strolling around the garden:

From left to right: Ornamental pear (Pyrus manchuriensis), Honey locust (Gleditsia 'Sunburst'), Claret ash (Fraxinus 'Raywood'), Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum 'Senkaki'), Chinese pistachio (Pistachia chinensis), and an unknown ash variety that was here when I moved in.  

I was also surprised by the delicate beauty of that ubiquitous bush, Viburnum Tinus 'Laurustinus'.  In my garden, these viburnums are wonderful, somewhat unappreciated work horses that cope with drought and shade, screen fences and add shape and structure without detracting from feature trees.  I recently discovered that Viburnums are also quite fire resistant, as my viburnum hedge recently prevented by house going up in smoke when my neighbours' garage burned down and took half the fence with it.  I lost two viburnums in the blaze, but the rest of the hedge, while singed badly, has come back better than ever.  They are no longer taken for granted!

Today, my viburnums were celebrating their understated gorgeousness.  

The cerise bud clusters open into dainty white flowers . . .

 . . . and, on the same bush as the flowers, were these deep blue berries.  What a remarkable plant.  

Elsewhere in my garden I have a glut of tomatoes - the last of the Tommy Toes and - finally! - the Romas are coming all in a rush.  

The ones in the yellow colander are today's crop.  I am picking the Romas as soon as they start to change colour and bringing them inside to ripen, as I am worried I will lose them if the cold weather comes to stay.  (It would be annoying to have a glut of green tomatoes: there's only so much green tomato pickle a girl can eat!)

And the old man Banksia has put out a prodigious amount of its bottle-brush flowers . . .

Every winter the black cockatoos come and there is usually a family of wattle birds residing there.

What a lovely rewarding thing is a garden.  That deep connection, so hard to describe, between human beings and the land, touches the very soul.  Have a happy day.


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