Before we close up the house I grab my iPad and make a quick tour of the garden. In truth I have not carried out quite as much taming as I had hoped. Where the time has gone, well it just has. So how does our garden grow and what is showing its floral head?
We are coming to terms with the loss of the major part of our largest Mimosa tree. When Nick ‘phoned me from France to tell me what had happened I imagined a yawning space on the lawn with a clear view from the house to the little wooden shed at the end of the ornamental area of our garden. In truth, the small part of the trunk/branch which survived does offer some screening. If it survives and flourishes, and this is not a given since some of the rootstock was wrenched to the surface where the tree listed to the point that it hit the garden wall, then it will gradually expand to fill the gap. And there are one or two Mimosa saplings who may have been given their chance too. One determining factor will be the presence of the fungus that infested the fallen tree. If the mycorrhizae are still in the ground……..
The other victim to that extreme bout of frosts and cold high winds was our much loved lemon tree. Since we moved to the house in 2005 it has yielded lemons continuously. The fruits mature over a longer interval than one year, it is not seasonal and at any one time we have buds, blossom, baby lemons, green bullets and mature yellow fruits. We have to pick the lemons and keep them for at least 3 weeks before we could consider them ripe, that is when the skin is pliable and the flesh inside is juicy. Only then are they user-friendly.
Two shrubs have given great cause for delight. The Chaenomeles japonica which I planted in the early days has put on a reasonable display this year. When I planted it I knew that it was going into very poor ground. The soil was very rubbly and reflected the fact that much of the back garden was given over to carparking and general neglect when our house functioned as the premises for an insurance company.
The other shrub is a triumph however and I think that it has and will continue to benefit from the opening up of its local environment as a result of the tumbled tree. I planted three Camellia bushes and they have had mixed fortunes. Soil type is, of course, critical but I think I haven’t always kept the ground around the plants clear of encroaching ground cover which is one of my good friends, except when it does what is meant to, to excess! I lifted one very sick, yellow-leaved plant and put it in a pot. It has recovered well. The raspberry ripple variety is covered in flowers and the red one which was completely overshadowed by the Mimosa has more flowers than I have ever seen. I’ve still a way to go with my Camellia but I see they are cause worth fighting for.
Apart from these individuals whom I have singled out for mention all the usual suspects are doing well. The daffodils, the Helleborus, my good friend Daphne odora, can be relied upon to give pleasure.
At the front of the house my various pots and containers are showing flashes of colour. One little group of plants is doing particularly well. Tucked behind the woodpile I have a pot with a rather spindly conifer. I cannot bring myself to dispense with it because it brings a bit of height to my plantings and I am sentimental about plants and why put a living plant down unnecessarily? So this small conifer with various sparse foliage lives on, a remnant of the plants we inherited when we bought the house in 2005. At that time it was planted in the small, raised pie segment of a bed in the corner underneath the Trachelospermum which clads the southwest wall of our façade. Beneath the naked stem of this conifer there is carpet of blue Chionodoxa and I love them.