Well after seemingly endless weeks and weeks of rain during which I, along with half the nation, got thoroughly sick of puddling about in mud, we have had the most amazing week of SUNSHINE. And FROSTS! Woohoo…I know I sound ever so slightly nuts, especially given that some of the garden is looking a bit sad, with shrivelled up or blackened foliage on many plants, but frost kills bugs. And I love that.
I haven’t lost anything to frost damage that I can see, but I always find it quite intriguing to see some plants blackened while their immediate neighbours are sitting there looking remarkably cheerful and wondering what all the fuss is about. It reminds me to think about where I place things in the garden, and to think about where they naturally grow in the wild too, so I can try and replicate rather than manipulate nature within my own microclimate.
I am loving the sunshine though…a good dose of vitamin D cheers up the senses immensely. As I wrote on Facebook/Instagram the other day, there's something about winter sunshine that is so very different from its summer counterpart...the light is softer, cool but slightly faded around the edges...a bit like your favourite old pair of jeans...and then slanting in at just the right angle to bathe winter flowers and foliage in a warm glow...so that you can almost feel the promise of spring just around the corner. I had been for a wander around the garden in between jobs and found that the light was accentuating certain parts of the garden beautifully…the first Hellebores, one an amazing single picotee with an exquisite ruffled centre, the blue Omphalodes, the deep violet of that silly Geranium which insists on flowering in the middle of winter…even the Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii seedling looked nice…up until now it has looked like the flowerheads will be a distinctly uninteresting colour akin to dirty dishwater.
Today I’ve been out and admired the first flowers on Salvia univerticillata, which is making a wonderful job of sprawling in a nice mound next to one of those slightly variegated flax bushes in the garden. On its own the flax was on the ‘endangered’ list in my garden...it very nearly got the chop…but with the softly hairy bright green leaves of the Salvia next to it, it was spared…and now the Salvia is wending its way through the flax and it looks fabulous…I’m so glad I left it…and the birds get the benefit of the nectar from the flowers. Red is a colour that draws the eye in, creating a focal point or a 'pop' of colour in the garden...and if I had to have a favourite red Salvia then S. univerticillata would be it. The flowers are like gorgeous fuzzy red bumblebees...all soft and hairy and cute...born in whorls along the sprawling stems…the clusters of flowers held outwards, like a hand of chubby little fingers reaching out to say a warm hello. I must take some more cuttings now that it is well established again here, as it’s such a useful plant to have and unlike many Salvias does really well in light shade.
I’ve finally got the winter bulb list out to those customers that requested it. Just a small list of mostly Crocosmia…let me know if you’d like a copy emailed and I will send it through. Despite the cold weather and lack of actual gardening going on at this time of year, the nursery is in a constant state of production…everything that could be propagated is on the to-do list and there are pots of seedlings, cuttings and divisions everywhere…and the number is growing by the day. I almost feel like I have to run to keep up with everything at this time of year…like suddenly spring will be here and I won’t be ready! It’s so easy to look at the list of what I have to do yet and feel overwhelmed…but I just have to remind myself of everything I have done to date, and then tackle it all one job at a time.
There are of course a few plants that are ready to go now, so below is a list of plants freshly added to the website...you can find descriptions (and in most cases photos) of them on the website too. Please get in touch if you’d like to order something via email rather than purchasing online…which you can do here https://www.seaflowersnursery.co.nz/perennials.html#/
Digitalis purpurea ‘Dalmatian White’
Echinops sphaerocephalus ‘Arctic Glow’
Gaura ‘Cool Breeze’
I think we’re due for a bit of rain again this week, which I won’t mind after a week of fine weather…fingers crossed for some more of this sunshine after that though!
Happy gardening…or keeping warm inside 😊
Owner-operator of Seaflowers Nursery and serious plant addict!