Every little thing's gonna be all white

Last night we were all out in the garden, the kids 'riding' their bikes (my youngest clings like a monkey to a whatever you put him on, so 'riding' is a very loose term). I was pottering about, putting on sprinklers, picking the daily batch of cucumbers and zucchinis, feeding the chooks... The light was magical, the garden was glowing and it suddenly occurred to me that most everything in flower in our garden at the moment is white. Sure, there are a few pops of purple (there shall always be purple in my garden!) and a smattering of pink, but it was pretty much a white-out. So, in this instalment of 'Around here', everything's gonna be all white.

Around here, the dahlia 'Bounty' is flowering so abundantly. Bounty is one of my absolute favourites (although, if I am completely honest, all the dahlias get that award when they are in bloom):

Around here, the carpet roses have been wonderfully prolific this year. Honestly, if I could recommend one plant for fairly dry gardens to fill gaps and give you sooooo many beautiful blooms, it is a carpet rose! I will be putting in many more of these in the years to come.

Around here, there are blooming clumps of Gaura lindheimeri - guara (pronounced gore-a), also commonly known as bee blossom. I thought this was an Australian native until I googled it today... nope, it is actually a prairie plant from Texas. Regardless, it is doing so well in our front garden and receives very little water. A great one for pollinators too, as you can probably guess from its common name.

Around here, we have two giant mint bushes in our front garden, neither of which we planted. They both popped up from imported mulch, and have been such a pleasure all summer. The bees cover them all day long, enjoying the fluffy white flowers that have emerged as they headed to seed.

Around here, the Choisya ternata (commonly known as Mexican orange blossom) is finally in flower! Mexican orange blossom prefers temperate climates, however it seems they can survive in areas that receive heavy frosts and some snow... but goodness they are slow to grow. In areas that get down below -3°C they should be planted in a sheltered position. If you are in Canberra, I definitely suggest popping to Glebe Park to see the amazing choisya bushes tucked under some big trees there. They would all be in flower right now too and should smell divine!

Around here, the light catches so beautifully on Scaevola aemula 'Bondi white', also known as fairy fan flower. Now this one is definitely a native (I just double checked to make sure I'm not making that up!) and it's doing wonderfully well as a ground cover. The honey bees don't seem to be very attracted to it, but the native bees absolutely love it and it was on the fairy fan flower that I saw my one and only blue-banded bee (a sighting that has not been repeated, despite spending an inordinate amount of time just quietly sitting and waiting out there).

Around here, the Euphorbia hypericifolia 'Star Dust' has become my favourite of the euphorbias for its daintiness and absolute ease to grow. It requires basically no care, very little water and pretties up the garden in a very non-flashy way.

Around here, we finally have a salvia growing, the Salvia microphylla 'Heatwave Glimmer'. Every cottage-style garden needs a salvia (also known as the perennial sages) but it took a while for me to find one that I really liked. I would also like to put in some Salvia × sylvestnis 'May Night' variety... perhaps that can be a goal for next spring!

Around here we have one tiny plant of white Digitalis purpurea, which everyone knows as foxglove. This one has been overshadowed by a much more vigorous clump of purple variety, but it's had lots of flowers so far this year. The nectar guide of purple dots is beautiful, and works as intended to attract bees right up into it.

Around here, the ever productive Convolvulus 'Silvery moon' still has a few flowers on it - gosh it is proving to be a hardy groundcover! 

And around here, the newest addition to our garden is a white buddleja (or buddleia), picked up from the local nursery yesterday. Buddleja davidii is proving to be one of the very best shrubs in our garden - we already have several 'Black knight' (deep incandescent purple) and 'Pink delight' (a dusty pink variety). Buddleja is commonly known as butterfly bush and summer lilac, and both names are perfectly apt. They don't require any love and attention, and very little water, so they are perfect for a rural Australian garden. And the pollinators LOVE them!!!!

Around here we also have a whole lot of white in The Coopermarket, where lots of things have bolted and gone to seed for the summer. I've been very lax about letting things flower this year because I figure it makes our bees happy and will help them get their hives all set up for winter... It's a good excuse anyway!

What's been happening around your garden?

Around here...

It's been a funny old start to the year... My husband is still on holidays, which makes it the longest holiday he has had since, um, in fact the longest stretch of time I think he has had off since I met him all those years ago. And being in holiday mode, I am struggling to find my footing this early into the new year. Routines and good habits have gone out the window - temporarily I hope (otherwise it is going to be a wildly unproductive year!).

So in the spirit of just trying to make a start, this first blog post of 2016 is going to be brief, quick and dirty.

We have had the most lovely stretch of rain recently but the sun was shining today and the garden beckoned. It was nice to take a moment to potter with the camera and see what's what, and jot a few notes about what needs doing (A few, ha! Many many things need doing, but all in good time....!)

Around here, the drumstick alliums are all in bloom or already on the way to seed. The bees have been so happy feasting on these beauties and I will miss seeing them pop up outside the bathroom window during the kids' bath time.

Around here we have already harvested a kilogram of blueberries, but we have more to get in this week... Harvesting blueberries is slow work but very much worth it. Delicious!

Around here the fairy fan flower (Scaevola aemula) is doing so well in the back garden bed. It's exactly what I'd hoped for as a groundcover, filling in a lot of the gaps and attracting loads of bees.

Around here the agapanthus are all in bloom! I know that in many parts of the country they are considered a weed, but they are far less likely to take off uncontrollably in our cooler climate and frankly, I don't mind if we get these popping up around the property!

Around here the gleditsia is looking so wonderful this year. It has been slow to get going and is much shorter than all the other trees we planted around the same time, but what it lacks in growth it is making up for in colour and interesting foliage. In fact, so much so that both hubby and I would like to put in another this year.

Around here the orchard is all in fruit (except those pesky pears...). Everything is netted and the garden looks shabbier for it, but we know from the past that we will lose all of our fruit to the cockatoos and lorikeets if we don't net them. In a few months, all going well, we will be enjoying homegrown peaches, apples, nectarines, plums, apricots and almonds. Almonds on the tree always make me smile.

Around here the hebes are still one of my favourite shrubs. They attract so many bees and just look so darn beautiful in their fluffy flower form.

Around here we have the first blooms on our David Austin 'Strawberry Hill' rose! She is a beauty and smells incredible to boot. 

Around here we are having a second flush of foxglove flowers. I'm very grateful for it because they are one of my favourites. 

Around here The Coopermarket is being wonderfully productive. We will have a lot of food to harvest over the rest of summer and autumn, but right now the greens bed is the star of the show. Some of the rocket has gone to seed but that's okay - good for the bees, good to save, and pretty to look at.

That's it for now... Happy New Year everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful start to the year, wherever you may be!

Around the garden today (and some updates)

Around the garden today I realised that our weeds are embarrassingly out-of-control. I mean, I was actually truly embarrassed to have our friends see our garden. I guess that at this stage in our lives I just have to accept that I can't keep on top of it all. Hopefully one day we will get there but for now I have to live with the embarrassment I guess.

Around the garden today I noticed lots and lots of things in bloom. If you can turn a blind eye to the weeds (which is tricky... try that technique of looking at the 3D art from the 90s... really defocus and it just looks lush and green ;) there are heaps of beautiful things to see. Our carpet roses are starting to bloom in the top terrace and the banksia roses are going nuts in the back garden:

Around the garden today it was hard not to notice the lilacs, or to smell their incredible fragrance:

Around the garden today I saw crabapple, port-wine magnolia, deutzia and may bush all blooming like crazy:

Around the garden today I noticed that the almond trees are laden with nuts and will need to be netted soon to keep them safe from the cockatoos:

Around the garden today I heavily pruned the polygalas and even had to pull one or two out. Unfortunately something caused around half of them to die. In one case only half the actual plant died. I have no idea why this has happened, and why the other half are still happy... I'll leave the happy ones and find other things to replace the miserable or dead ones in due course.

Around the garden today I saw the last of our apple blossoms and it made me realise that an update to this post was in order. Let me share with you my newfound knowledge of all things apple and pear!

Turns out that there is a very old saying: "Plant apples for your retirement, plant pears for your heirs." In other words, apples take a really long time to come into fruit, but pears take even longer. It used to be said that the person who planted a pear tree would never live to see it fruit. These days apples and pears are grafted onto rootstocks that have overcome that somewhat. Most pears are grafted onto quince rootstock which has allowed them to come into fruit much sooner than in the past (and also helps them to tolerate poorer growing conditions). The variety of pear that is grafted onto the rootstock can also make a difference to how long it will take to crop, so much so that some can actually crop in their first or second year. 

After over four years in the ground (from bare-root), it looks like we might get our first crop from the apples in our orchard. And now that we have learnt about the old lore about pears, we will wait patiently for a few (or many) more years until we can eat their offerings. If only all that old knowledge was still being passed down - let's try to make sure that our kids grow up knowing how things grow!