Sometimes you have to wait…

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Cytisus battandieri, Tostat, May 2017

The rain is lashing down.  Just as well, as everything was looking a bit stressed, and some of the new roses venturing out have very miniature flowers, quite sweet, but an indication of water shortage.  However, this is the first year that Cytisus battandieri, the Pineapple Broom, has produced more than one flower, and also has not had to fight World War 3 with the slugs and snails.  It has had a tough fight to get to where it is- a rather lean and lanky 1.75m tall and a bit on the floppy side, but I think that it is just how it is.  Most years, from when I got it about five years ago, it has been a case of crushing more than 12 snails a day that seemed to hop up and down its slender branches basically eating everything in sight.  The poor thing was exhausted with producing the same meagre supply of leaves over and over until the hotter weather drove the slugs and snails for cover.

In fact, there are 2 plants here.  My mistake, I had planted it and it was eaten to the ground and so I bought another small one, only to find the following year that they were twinning up.  I like the rather lax habit, now that I have found ways of giving it a bit of support from our westerlies, and it makes a delicate, small tree/bush shape with olive-green leaves as well as the startling flowers.  And with the dryness, the snails and slugs have left it alone pretty much this year.  So this may be its breakthrough year.

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Penstemon grandiflorus ‘War Axe’, Tostat, May 2017

This Penstemon grandiflorus ‘War Axe’ has come through a lot.  It does like it hot and dry, but last year was too much for the other 2 plants, and I thought I had lost the lot, so have some seed waiting to have a go in the winter.  But up this popped.  And I think it will make it.  It has big glaucous green leaves, which make a sort of basal group, and then up comes the dark stem and pale lilac-blue flowers, speckled on the inside.  Very very pretty in a restrained Scandi-sort of way.  Right now, it is looking pretty tough so let’s hope year 3 will be a success too. And that the seed germinate in the winter sowing, as I would like some more…

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Callistemon viminalis ‘Hannah Ray’, Tostat, July 2017

Callistemon viminalis ‘Hannah Ray’ is just a toddler, but I have high hopes.  Callistemon work well for me in the hot, dry parts of the garden once you get them through the first year, so it is always best to buy them small, and do some waiting.  I read about this in an Australian nursery mailing, it was probably Lamley Gardens Nursery in Victoria, whose mailing list I am on.  Hooked.  It should make a good sized 3-4m big shrub with these enormous brush flowers in the most shocking red.  I love it.  And it will distract wonderfully from the more weedy state that the dry garden gets into, as it gets too dry to pull anything out at all.

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Geranium ‘Catherine Deneuve’, Tostat, May 2017

At the subtler end of things, Geranium ‘Catherine Deneuve’ will be really enjoying the rain today.  It is a really difficult plant to photograph! It bobs about on long, rangy stems which show up the pstilemon parentage, and the flowers are very delicate, so liable to be bashed by the dog or any passing bird.  But it is slowly but surely bulking up and just needs a bit more cover from the evening sun tan it has currently to be really happy. Need to fix that.

But, earlier in the week, the garden was touched by some mellow evening sunshine and I was ready to try and capture it.  So, here are a couple of views…

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Looking north with sun flecking the Phormium, Tostat, May 2017

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Looking South through the gravel section, Tostat, May 2017

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