Tea Garden

there's always something to do

Darling buds of May


My projects for May were:

Plant bulbs – now getting increasingly urgent to get the last of them in

crocus in the Tea GardenI did manage to get the last of the bulbs in place. I’ve planted tulips (assorted), purple crocus, daffodils (assorted), dutch iris, cyclamen, muscari, blue hyacinth, gladiolus byzantium (the cerise ones), narcissi (assorted), and some white Amaryllis belladonna (not to be confused with Hippeastrum – the ‘amaryllis’ of the floral trade). The Tea Garden has rendered up a lawn of muscari, pink amaryllis (naked ladies), Nerine sarniensis (crimson) and swarms of freesia – possibly that most New Zealand of New Zealand – the sport, Freesia alba ‘Burtonii’. Time will tell. I had hoped the lawn of muscari might’ve been Narcissus obesus – but I don’t think so. Again, time will tell. It’s quite interesting to see what creeps out of the corners of the garden.

This crocus flower jumped out of the ground a week ago – we’re still waiting for the others. I love the soft mauve colours of the petals, and of course, the rich saffron stamens.

Trim back the dead and dying flowers

This has been the warmest May on record, so the ‘dead and dying flowers’ is more about dead-heading the roses and less about plants dying back as the Winter chill approaches. In many respects Autumn is evident more from day length than temperature – leaves are changing colour, the roses continue to bloom, camelias are starting to bud up, it’s all a bit confusing as to what the plants should do next. Meanwhile, the aphids are breeding and carrying on happily.

Make friends with the lawn
* level out some of the holes
* spread the topsoil to reinforce the thin topsoil layer
* sow grass seed
* groom up the lawn
* spray weeds

Photos to follow – the topsoil turned out to be terrific – more on this soon. Have yet to sow the grass seed.

Start planning the herbaceous border garden
Start planning the native garden
Trimming, trimming, trimming
If the leaves finally fall from the plum, prune it.

What would a list of things to do without a list to carry on to the next list? The leaves are still very firm fixed to the plum. It seems that rather than a day length trigger like the ornamental cherries, the plum might be more attuned to temperature. And it’s warm. Trimming – never stops – including a re-tune of the hedge to drop the height a little – it’s close to the house and a little less hedge lets in more light. A little lower is a relative term – I’m still standing well up on the ladder. I’ve started to form some ideas about the native garden – but much research is required. The herbaceous border garden – I’ve been reading anything by the goddess of herbaceous, Miss Gertrude Jekyll, and started to form a few designs. Keep it on the list, meanwhile, we’ve started weeding and looking at what is starting to show there already.

So, what do you think ?

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