News from the Moble garden…
I intended to open this missive with a description of the ornamental grapevine. However, while I was sitting here gazing out the window waiting for the computer to update, standby indeed, my thoughts turned for some reason to how the weather impacts on the wine you drink.
We are currently experiencing perfect Rosé weather here, a level of coolness up from Riesling or a beer for me. After the Anzac service in town, we arrived home to a splendid garden lunch and I enjoyed a delicious Pinot Noir with my jacket on. Just a bit too cool in the shade without. The fresher evenings are most certainly calling for a Shiraz now, so for me, the white wine weather is behind us for a while. I will light the sitting room fire tonight which signals an increased consumption of chocolate as well. Interestingly, the breakfast wines stay the same year-round.
I have so many things to tell you, I see this once-a-month gig has its drawbacks as I think I forget more than I remember by the time I sit down to write. As I alluded to before, the Ornamental grapes are about to swing into full- autumn, a claret dazzle we will enjoy now for some time and if I am constant, I will even collect some leaves to decorate the winter lunch tables with. Always the squirrel.
The Virginia Creeper started a little earlier actually, probably two weeks ago. I love this time of year and consider the days a gift for enduring January and February, which were actually not too bad this year, thanks be. As flowers are once again lasting more than a few hours after picking, I am enjoying filling vases and rooms with the outside. Picking the garden for the house is an excellent way to keep a weathered eye on what is what around the garden too, an extra Matron’s Round as such.
The Crepe Myrtles are forming their abundant seed heads, so decorative and wonderful in arrangements as well and the odd leaf is donning the russet colours. Another favourite tree of mine is the Chinese Elm, Ulmus parvifolia, in flower here at present and simply stunning in a vase for a filler or a stand-alone. Like many trees that thrive in the west, it may be a nuisance or pest somewhere else, but in the Moble garden it is a most welcome addition.
Quite fast growing and with a splendid spread for shade, this deciduous tree has excellent dark-green foliage for some cool relief in summer as well as an interesting, mottled trunk as it matures. A friend has some beauties in her garden in St. George and she is cleverly growing more from the offspring. They will sucker, so a degree of vigilance may be required should you live somewhere where such things are a problem. Here, I simply pull them out where they pop up or try and pot them on. I am unsure of their tolerance to bore water, but I would give them a try; why not? Remember to pick them for the house as well.
The Tasmanian rose bed is flourishing thus far, I think I lost two roses in the March shift, I had no expectations for them, so it was not surprising. I am planting out little slips of catmint, Nepeta faassenii, as a border, and even have the irrigation done and dusted which is a relief for the Impatient Gardener, who is always slightly anxious about her mother’s fast and loose watering system. I have spent some excellent time trawling through various rose websites; not nearly as satisfying as holding that glossy booklet in your hands, however I expect it is far better for the environment. I was surprised at how many roses were already stamped Sold Out, obviously most gardeners are far more organised than yours truly. I have done a preliminary order to secure a July drop and have also left a few spare spots for some compulsive additions, should I be passing one of those rose- trap laden tables somewhere this winter.
We have proudly produced our first successful load of compost out of a drum like, rotating contraption here that Mr. Moble gave me recently. Smelling good enough to eat, I am certain I can hear the little plants sighing with smug relief as I tickle it in around their feet. Or is that me? Either way, it is most satisfying though sadly not produced on a scale here to cover the size of the garden. To wit, I have rung our local hardware and they have provided a fine bulk solution which we will be trialling very soon, I hope. If you have a hankering for compost on a scale beyond your kitchen scraps, give them a call. Or perhaps you live near one of those incredible Landscape Supply Cathedrals, in which case you can enjoy feeling compost-smug on a regular basis. You know, perhaps smugness is not the right word? Satisfying may be better; who would not enjoy the satisfaction of recycling waste into something of such great garden value? I see one must be careful or it may sound like I have just run a marathon and not had a drink for a week. Slippery slope, satisfaction vs smugness.
The vegetables are romping away in the chook yard patch, though we have suffered a few chook infringements annoyingly. I have been clipping wings daily so must surely get through the mob soon. This morning they have made a job on my two rows of spinach, just popping through. I gave them my best banshee impression so hope it worked, the Jack Russell’s were excited anyway.
April is certainly a great month for grasses, and the Pennisetum and Miscanthus are stunning here and will continue to impress until they are cut back in July. Perfect for flower arrangements and great for background planting en masse, they are tough and undemanding once established. I am going to try the Calamagrostis this winter, I love the red tinges in the seed heads and its finer growth however am unsure how it will cope with the heat, so time will tell.
We are still enjoying the Impatient Gardner’s figs daily, though they are slowing down. She has passionfruit coming on and the vine is still flowering, so something to look forward to in the winter. Gardeners specialise in something to look forward to, hope springs eternal.
Lastly, the Garlic Vine, Mansoa alliacea, has been cloaking a northern fence in an ethereal purple haze these last weeks, quite sublime. Last year it flowered high up in the tree- tops, where it had romped quite soon after planting, so impossible to enjoy. In March, I simply cut it down to fence height and trained the new canes along the fence and it has been happily flowering away for us all to enjoy from the verandah. I have been picking it on stems about 12-15cm long, and it has lasted well in a vase for a few days. The scent of garlic is not overwhelming, probably more apparent in the evening and at quite close quarters, so do not be alarmed if you are wary of the garlic aroma. Naturally, I now wish to plant more so the entire fence might bloom in the autumn, though it may find tough competition with the antigonon further along.
Do enjoy your garden in this stunning weather and remember, if you want to enjoy trees and creepers for autumn colour, now is the perfect time to select and plant them,
The Moble Gardener.