Ewen's garden

A collection of columns, paintings and photographs about gardening on an offshore island in New Zealand.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Before the Spring

As happens in winter, I have harboured and nurtured an idea and now I can see how I can utilise yet another part of the garden. At the end of a long, narrow gravel path is a stand of bamboo, before which lies a pile of clay left over from recent landscaping. A recent trim, to counter its nature to over run the place, has left the stems exposed, Japanese in effect. Couple this with my poor neglected dwarf Norwegian spruce Picea aibes cv., suffering from the vagaries of the summer drought. Idea, a Japanese garden! Focus, one bonsai tree. Require, Appropriate container, rocks and some ground cover. The ground cover I imagine being the native Scleranthus uniflorus and Raoulia australis. The first plant forms mats of moss like hummocky greens swards, the R. australis forming similar mats of grey blue. The R.australis may struggle in the semi shade of this site, but worth a shot I think. Add in one or two grasses and that’s it.

My water feature adjacent to this spot has struck a wee problem, the liner has a leak! I mention this with a wry smile; it was all going too easily. Still I now have a bicycle repair kit and soon all will be on target again, always optimism!

Speaking of which, my first seedling are bursting forth from their wee tubs, sunflowers racing towards the prospect of sunny days. Amongst others, are seeds unearthed in envelopes from a box stored under the spare bed. These included lily seeds from Mother and seeds I have collected over the years, of which I am hopeful the Rhodochiton sp. is still viable. This is a small vine carrying delicate flowers of almost black tubular petals suspended beneath a purple umbrella of sepals. After the flowers finish the sepals remain for quite some time, a twiner to be grown in close proximity for ease of frequent admiration.

In the garden finally flowering is the shell ginger, Alpinia zerumbet a subtropical of wonderful impact. Mine has seen fit to bloom after years of what would seem ideal conditions, but now in light of being transplanted to a relatively dry location has conceded to drop its guard and produced a seductive, pendant spray of flowers. It always seems to happen when you least expect it in the garden and this I think is keeping me going. May be the warm dry days of late have helped too.


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