SoS 12/12/20

It’s been an horrendous couple of weeks with the seasonal equinoxial gales. We live at 42 degrees south latitude, commonly known as the Roaring Forties, so gardening has been something we’ve done only if we really really have to. Best to stay indoors or find a stretch of the coast under the shelter of cliff.

Our house painter says the winds make him melancholy, the teachers all say the pupils develop a kind of madness; our Jack Russell certainly does. I have a balance issue and so the sound-buffeting and the visual disturbance of trees waving and gyrating can bring on an attack of vertigo. But the gales are abating now and I’m in clean-up mode. Masses of whippy branches from the two willows, cossetting the gardens with as much water as possible and starting to shovel mulch all around after much water, so that summer doesn’t dry everything out.

Here’s my lot for this week:

The berry house is busting out. In a short 20 minutes, I picked over 1 kg of loganberries (my 2.5 year old grandson calls them ‘lodabeddies’ and LOVES eating them) Many more to come, along with many other berries, so it’s good that husband is a great jam maker. The strawberries are struggling though. Not sure why – good soil, plenty of spring rains before the winds, but barely a blossom. I may pull them in autumn and begin again.

The area next to the fern garden was bare of anything until I began a remodel. I pulled up the token frog pond (it might only have encouraged blue tongue lizards or even snakes) and made a pseudo-cairn with the rocks that I’ve realised leans awfully. I’ve planted snow in summer and a white campanula to creep down to the drainage ditch, along with a few annuals – lobelia and impatiens, all white of course. (People ask why I choose white in the garden – it’s because it gleams at dusk and in the moonlight and is such a cool colour in the heat of summer. In winter, I can pretend it’s the snow we will never have.

And more by accident than design at the edge of the fern garden, white pulmonaria has appeared around the auriculas that spend summer in the lacy shade of the tree-ferns. The fern garden’s actually showing it might have potential. Time will tell.

The pachystigia insignis has thrown out 3 flowers but the wind has left them bedraggled and less than beautiful. I love this robust plant, not for its flowers but for it’s amazing leaves and flower buds.

The white penstemon is looking lovely in our small perennial bed. It’s backed by a white achillea, some euphorbias, spreads of stachys, and a few annuals like white cosmos, petunia and lobelia. This garden is gradually coming into its own but I often pull things and replace them with others. I haven’t found what’s perfect yet. But then that’s gardening, isn’t it?

Take care everyone. For what it’s worth, we’ve just had 100+ days with no Covid and then bingo, the minute the repatriation flights from overseas begin, we have 3 cases in the quarantine hotels! Ah well…