greatest hits of summer


It’s been a while since my last entry and as a recent visitor observed, the garden has been going sick.

Here are some of my favourite moments in the garden this summer.

The fairy’s fishing rods flowered for the first time. This beautiful deep reddish purple one is dierama pulcherrimum ‘raven’.


I also grew some pale pink ones, which flowered a bit later.


Here they are glistening in some of that good rain we had in early summer.


The long arching stems sway in the faintest whisper of a breeze, setting the little strings of bell shaped flowers bouncing – hours of entertainment for Newt.


The christmas lilies I planted in two big pots outside the dining room opened just in time for us to go on our summer holiday.


Their delicious scent is less cloying than the funereal perfume of other lilies, and we enjoyed it wafting in through the open windows for a few days before we left.


I hope the teenager feeding our cats enjoyed them for the rest of their flowering period.


Also planted outside the dining room window is a small stand of lilium ‘silk road’, which never fails to impress.


Despite being completely ignored it comes back stronger every year.


The plants grew over 2 metres tall this season, towering above their neighbour, hydrangea arborescens ‘annabelle’.


A dainty little meadow rue is growing happily in a sheltered spot at the foot of the brick wall on our northern fence line. Until our apple trees put on some serious growth this is about as close to a shady microclimate as you get round here.


Dahlia ‘cafe au lait’ is the biggest, blowsiest flower in the garden.


The vibe is kind of bridal. Almost too much.


But the subtlety of its colouring compensates for its frankly obscene size. The flowers are cream with the gentlest blush of pink, most visible on the backs of the petals.


I can’t stop taking photos of the helenium in the front garden. The flowers are so photogenic with their reflexed petals and spherical chocolate brown centres embroidered with gold pollen. This one is helenium ‘dark beauty’. It’s just hitting its stride now, in early February.


The flowers glow burnt orange – a welcome clashy antidote to the preponderance of tasteful pinks and purples in the front garden.


Red hot pokers. Or in this case, cool lime pokers. The night we returned from our holiday I could see them glowing in the dark as we pulled up in the driveway.


I’m growing a mixture of kniphofia ‘percy’s pride’ and kniphofia ‘lime glow’ and am no longer quite sure which is which.


Our resident honeyeaters, the acrobatic red wattle birds, are often to be found suspended upside down from the flower spires drinking nectar from the little tubes as they open.


The clump of calamagrostis ‘karl foerster’ I planted 2 springs ago is starting to come into its own. As well as looking lovely in flower – especially when backlit, this grass has the great virtue of being impervious to weather – unlike my miscanthus sinensis ‘variegatus’ which is flattened at the merest whiff of rain. I planted it along the western fence in front of the feijoas where it catches the low afternoon sunlight.