Two nights now of -6C which arrived all of a sudden but at least the freezing fog has gone and we have bright, even brilliant sunshine during the day. Our old house is not liking this, and it is back to bedsocks at night for the first time since February last year. I may have been a bit cavalier about the frost protection- we will see when the temperatures come back up a bit next week. But frost has its own beauty as Ali, the Mindful Gardener observed today. Rosa LD Braithwaite has taken quite a few years to decide that she likes me, and only this year has begun to resemble a rose bush more than just a twig. The very last rose wears the frost rather well, like a celebrity Chopard necklace.
I may end up rueing leaving Pelargonium sidoides outside- I do hope not, but I had forgotten that I had planted it in amongst two roses that I had submitted to intensive care in pots. If this is the end, it is looking very beautiful all the same.
My new Australian-inspired arrivals, still in their pots, Dianella caerulea ‘Cassa Blue’ and Callistemon sieberi ‘Widdicombe Gem’ are frozen solid, but foliage still looking good.
I have had this Tanacetum vulgare ‘Crispum’ since the first year we were here- and although it is not a looker in the flowering department, I love the crinkled leaves and the greenness of it- a really vivid emerald. Every time I think that I have lost it, it pops up somewhere else, so there is determination about this plant. With the frost, it is clearly impersonating a low-lying conifer.
The night is drawing in, as my mother used to say in August in Scotland, and this cold just has to be sat out- damage to be inspected later.
A few weeks ago, The Mindful Gardener posted about buying a macro lens- with some fantastic photographs to go with it. Not quite got the budget for that, and was also limping on with my much-loved Panasonic Lumix FX70, managing to dodge the dustspots that had started to gather at the back of the lens inside the camera. Overnight, one night, the dustspots got serious- and there wasn’t a bit of an image that you could fudge past them with. An attempt at microsurgery was made by Andy, but he retreated as the camera innards looked in peril, so I decided to bite the bullet and find a new-to-me camera that would shift me very slightly into a more sophisticated camera field.
I have been playing with my Nikon Coolpix P510 all week and enjoying it- whilst gradually trying to work my way through the extensive manual to the things that I want to be able to do, rather than everything that it can do- except cook my supper, apparently. It is a much bigger and more serious looking item than my old camera, and I do feel slightly fraudulent at slinging it round my neck as if I knew what I was doing. But it is fun.
As the heat is now in the late 30s for the next few days, I am retreating indoors and remaining there pretty much all day- I am not of a stern constitution when it comes to heat, too much sweating and pale skin- not an attractive combination!
Back in the garden, when the heat is hanging, a colour co-ordinated yellow spider has turned up on my adored Patrinia scabiosifolia. Talk about blending in. He should be working for MI5 or 6.
That spider is still there, 4 days later, simply getting fatter.
Crocosmia ‘Emily McKenzie’is not enjoying the heat. She always flowers a good month after the rest of the Crocosmia tribe, but is smaller in every way, except for the flowers which are a gorgeous jaffa orange, scarlet and yellow combination. I think she is probably at the limit of her endurance with us, especially this summer when the heat has suddenly really cranked up, but crocosmia are incredibly tough, and will battle on almost regardless of the circumstances.
Rudbeckias are part of the turning from mauve and blue to yellow and orange in the garden about this time of year. ‘Goldsturm’ is a really good plant, especially if their golden colour can be discovered accidentally mingled amongst other plants, and if the light is just right, there really is a flash of gold.
Another Rudbeckia that I love is Rudbeckia subtomentosa ‘Henry Eilers’. A taller (up to 2m this year), more graceful, refined fellow with multiple small, reflexed petals like quills. I have worried in the past that I have lost this plant, as it is slowish to get going in the spring, and can easily be mistaken for a regular, annoying old Helianthus- of which I have way too many. But, whatever is going on, except for monsoon conditions, he appears and gently spreads, drifting about through and amongst other plants.
And new to me this year, but I am already smitten, is Rudbeckia triloba ‘Prairie Glow’ which I bought from the excellent Bernard Lacrouts at Sanous. Multiple flowering goes on, up and down the branching upright stems, small flowers which dot about very gracefully. The jury is out, as yet, but the signs are good for a reliable, take what weather comes, kind of plant. The colour mutes a little in the heat, it was a bit brighter last week before the craziness started.
Time to hide away indoors now. Thank you so much to all who have commented in the last few weeks, I am sorry I haven’t replied to each one as per usual, just too much going on! The comments are wonderful and are very much appreciated.
We got back from our trip to Madrid and London on Saturday in sunshine and just a little warmth. Spirits were utterly lifted and the dog very puzzled, by the screams of joy as Scotland took the Calcutta Cup- a lot of Queen-type air punching accompanied the screaming from our sitting room. You must allow me this weakness. I am not a fan of nationalist politics, which, in general does not end well as history tells us. But I am just thrilled when small countries bite back. And Scotland deserved it in every way. My Dad would have loved it.
Meantime, Siberia was advancing…last night temperatures reached about -8C, and those parts of the garden not touched by the bright sunshine today are in a permafrost lockdown. But those hardy perennials can take it. The Anemone, which was a new and expensive purchase as three small corms early last Spring is sporting three flowers today, all of which were decked at first but have popped back up as their stems thaw out. The only bulb from the winter planting in a shallow bowl of Iris unguicularis ‘Mary Barnard’ to have flowered yesterday, has remained utterly unfazed.
The two rescued wild daffodils to have flowered are still lying down, but as we only have another day and a bit of these cold temperatures, I am hoping that the rest will just stay put and wait. They come out in different shapes and sizes, as you can see. A wide, almost peony-type flower turning up as well as a star-framed flower with internal hoops of yellow. I adore them, and look forward to the four small clumps gradually expanding in the future.