And all of a sudden, our lives are filled with butterflies and budgies. This is not a euphemism for some sort of higher consciousness, I have not meditated myself away to a purer level of thought and understanding. I simply walked outside one morning this week and our world was filled with butterflies and the chit chat of budgies. Most welcome it was too.
This country never fails to thrill after rain, the sheer volume of its response in all manner is breathtaking. I cannot keep myself inside, the call of the green is so strong and so very good for the soul.
Of course, the garden feels the same way; new growth is impressive, and I can now see the benefits of all the manure and fertiliser as it romps away. The Antignon, Antigonon leptopus or Coral Creeper, a dazzle of tropical pink, is a particular butterfly magnet, as if it needed anymore adornment. Antignon is yet another contentious resident here. Personally, I love it for its cool green leaf, its showy pink froth of flowers in absolute abundance and its sheer tenacity to just keep living. However, I do concede that it rather takes over one’s life if allowed. I see when you look it up that there are words such as noxious and declared beside its name. Though not obnoxious which would be infinitely worse. You realise you have a rampant creeper on your hands when you “prune” it with fire, as I did with this one only yesterday.
I thought I might mention some stand outs from the summer, now we have passed the heated end of it. Firstly, there are some dear little bedding zinnias (punnets), in creams and pinks and pale yellow that The Impatient Gardener has grown now for two seasons in her garden. Not only do the butterflies love them, but so do we. There are a couple of orange ones in the mix that jar a little in the heat, so just pull them out I say, or avert your eyes. These little troopers carry on flowering right through the serious heat and dry; in the sort of weather that cracks your lips and makes your tongue swell. I am certain they would cut a dash under kinder conditions as well, so sweet and obliging are they. Add to this that they self-sow after the cold weather, so last year’s crop just keeps on giving. Their growth habit is to about 40cm in dense clumps and they will be a mainstay edging plant here hence forth.
The heather like little Cupheas are another heat-be-gone border star, I see weed is beside their name as well, though not in this garden. I have replaced some box hedging with them here; I love the box however it seems to turn it toes up here for reasons known only to itself, leaving frustrating gaps here and there. You do need to be firm with Cupheas though, they are the Kelpie of the plant world and can be a little strong willed at times. A good trim back with the hedgers after flowering by about half will keep them in shape and they do layer, so you can spread them along. (Possibly why they have earnt weed beside their name).
The grasses are also a great heat survivor, both the Miscanthus spp and the Pennisetum spp, they are such a relief to walk past and not be sagging and never whinge that it’s too hot and we are tired and thirsty. The grasses always have their shoulders back and stand tall, and we are grateful for that. Unless you have pendulous as a middle name, don’t. They are now thrusting their graceful seed heads up and calling in the change of season which I love, they wave to me in a soft breeze.
I am happy to report that the new packet of Zucchini seeds was a success, and the silverbeet, beans and beetroot are away as well. How lucky to have the rain on them and a week of low thirty temperatures, superb growing weather for all of us. I have popped in some early carrots in the hope that we won’t be sweltering again next week and have some garlic to go in soonish. I always seem to miss the jump with garlic, and it is out of stock by the time I remember it.
Meanwhile there are bulbs to dream about in a pile of catalogues beside my smoko chair and the Must Not Touch rose ones cannot be far away. Even more exciting than all of this, however, is the astonishing garden that is already blooming beyond the garden fence here. Every gully is a mass of lilies, the swamp lignum, Eremophila polyclada is a haze of white petals and butterflies and the trees are flowering with flocks of green budgies. Who could wish for more?
The Moble Gardener