There’s something very comforting with the familiarity one receives from a garden – especially a garden that you’ve lived with for some time, it’s a part of you. In my own garden I see things flowering at the same time each year and it reassures me that all is on track and good – at least with my small part of the world. I see the same plants bursting into growth and flower regardless of the gloom or economic or climate change, I also se them defoliate and others collapse, slump and die down when it gets cold. We live with the vaguaries of the weather, some years it’s dry others it’s wet and sometimes it’s the average. The way I see it there is no such thing as normal, I can’t change it so I take it a day, a week, and a season at a time.
Lilies have always besotted me – yes they’re a bit of work but I enjoy the seasonal task of tying in the fast lengthening stems to stakes and canes as their blooms are irresistible. I tend to leave the corms in the soil from year to year but I’ve learnt over progressive years that lilies don’t like too much shade so as the garden grows and my trees grow creating more shade the lilies are best lifted and relocated to full sun locations which gives me the opportunity to experiment with colour combinations in plant `marriages’. I have rather a lot of lilies about the place but every year I scan the catalogues for new introductions and this year as with last year and the year before I added to my collection. Not all are successful for more than a few seasons and I can say that my lily addiction is a learning curve – that I will use the ones that delight me by performing well in the gardens we design, and that others benefit from my failures. I’m hoping that with ensuring years L. African Queen becomes a firm favourite because I’m loving its demure ripe mango coloured trumpets and the combination of this fruity coloured bloom with a dwarf crepe myrtle that I saved from a demolition site some years ago.
There’s another that I’ve had growing for maybe ten years and I know that it’s growth is in decline because of the shade and competition from an overhead liquidambar but so far I’ve been lazy and with a little luck I will find a fresh patch of soil at the very end of summer when the corms hit dormancy and finally relocate them. This liy is named `White Fox’ and I have really enjoyed its fragrance and the present combination of Peter Lundberg bronze sculpture and the curiously coloured Strobilanthes gossypinus ‘Persian Shield’ or pewter plant.
There are a sprinkling of deep red L. `Nightflyer’ are beginning to display their extraordinary colour and in the orchard Lilium `Leslie Woodriff’ are swelling in size daily and should be open by Christmas Day.
It’s early summer yet the bushfires have been especially frightening this year with much of our district charred and blackened, but thankfully, so far at least we have escaped without damage and with this we are blessed. Today I have some time away from my design work to write a rare post and in case I run out of time this year I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best for a prosperous New Year.