Ewen's garden

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

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fleeting Blue Beauties

As the Christmas lilies, Lilium longiflorum, fade, so to does this year draw to a close. This is not to say there are no scene stealers in the garden at the moment. The one to catch the eye at present is one I have written about before, but this season it is putting on a great display. The plant in question is Neomarica caerulea, an iris like plant with metre high sword like leaves and sky blue flowers. It is one of fifteen different species and comes from Brazil. The blue flowers, which the camera doesn’t do justice to, are centred with russet and cream tiger stripes and last only a day. Set up the garden steps, as mine is, it appears as if a flight of exotic blue butterflies are hovering, a fleeting but brilliant display, gone by day’s end. These flushes of blooms happen about every couple of days and it continues in this manner for most of the summer. The plant I have was given to me by a friend from Rocky Bay and has established itself happily in my garden on its rhizomatous roots. I pay it no special attention to it and it has slowly grown into a clump no more than 50cm at t he base, these are my kind of plants, the ones to delight with little effort on my part! Certainly my mother visiting for Christmas is envious. I may have to take a small piece off for her to take back to Masterton, but whether it will survive the rigours of a cold winter I don’t know. Although one of my books states they are cold hardy here, but ‘stove’ plants in Europe. (Stove meaning glasshouse) The book also states they are best increased by seed not division, it just goes to show it is worth trying anything to achieve such a wonderful display.
Elsewhere in the garden general maintenance has proceeded, weeds pulled, bamboo chopped and plants rediscovered. I always surprised at the tenacity of plants to survive, just waiting patiently for their owner to cast a little care their way, the rewards are certainly worth it. For example, Mum has just returned from a trek to the top of the garden, to pick some flowers and upon her return discovered a tweedia, Tweedia caerulea, another small plant with star shaped sky blue flowers. I a m sure it was well relieved when she cut away some of the over zealous sencio which was leaning all over it. I did know it was there, just I have been a little busy, like many of us at this time of year, to really look after it. I am sure now it will carry on with a thankful heart.
Well that about sews it up for this year, I hope everyone has a pleasant and happy New Year.

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