SoS: February 22nd 2020

It’s been a while since I posted. The summer has been trying, to say the least, but a couple of weeks ago we received some rain and it was remarkable the change that was wrought in the garden in a very short space of time. The lawn greened up as though it realised it had a lot of time to make up, although it’s very patchy, and the more hardy plants soon put out new shoots and flowers. When I say ‘some rain’ I mean exactly that. None of that 400 ml here (probably a good thing) but simply gentle soaking rain that sank into the gasping gardens without creating any runoff. We are still in drought. This is just a temporary reprieve.

I am joining in with Six on Saturday for the first time in ages. If you would like to peep over the garden walls of other gardens, do please visit The Propagator’s blog by clicking here

One: Portulaca. I love these little plants for the way they emerge at the beginning of each summer and flower until the first frosts arrive. This year the emergence didn’t happen until the rain arrived, but here they are, opening up as soon as the sun rises.

Two: After a first flush back in November there were very few roses, and those blooms that did dare to show their faces soon fried in in the relentless heat of a stream of 40 degree days. This unidentified gem is looking quite healthy now.

Three: Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) and Sedum make an appealing combination.

Four: Thuja occidentalis Smarajd. It looks very sad and I don’t know what has caused this browning of the leaves. Was it too much water (caused by anxious home gardeners), not enough water or far too much hot weather?

Five: Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) has also used the rain to put on a show. I planted hundreds of these, but many of them have failed to thrive, so it was with great pleasure that I noticed this clump make an appearance.

*It has been pointed out to me by an observant reader that these are not Autumn crocus, but Rain Lilies, Zephyranthes candida. They are often called Autumn crocus here, incorrectly, it seems.

Six: A corner of the garden, heavy on Alyssum but colourful nevertheless. It’s wonder anything survived our gruelling summer weather.

Those are my six for this week. I know that gardening has been stressful for so many: heat and drought here in Australia, copious amounts of rain in the northern hemisphere. Let’s hope that things begin to improve!

Weather today: Partly cloudy, 17-25 degrees C. Quite pleasant for summer.

50 Comments Add yours

  1. Tracy says:

    It looks lovely, Jane, no thanks to this terrible drought and heat. A little green grass and a few blooms lifts the spirits considerably. I hope autumn is mild and long. We need a break from extremes.

    1. Jane says:

      We do indeed, Tracy. I noticed that you received some rain also and hope it was a good amount. Temps here recently have been pleasant and the nights cooler. Beginning to need some more rain now, though. Back to watering. Sigh.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful array of colours. All pretty blooms. Hope you’ll get more rain. Enjoy your weekend.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you! 😊

  3. Your Portulaca is lovely……I’m sure you must be enjoying these flowers this year especially. I also like your autumn crocus, I think I’ll try those in my garden. My society garlic is okay, but, like yours, most of our plants are in a state of exhaustion after the dreadful heat, fires and smoke.
    We too, have had rain, which has helped, but we could do with steady consistent rain for a long time!

    1. Jane says:

      Thanks for your comment Gerrie. Autumn crocus multiply rapidly so they are a good addition to the garden. They can make a nice little border.
      We still need rain as the dams are very low, but in the nature of Australia only half and hours’s drive from us, people received more than they could handle in a single fall!
      ‘State of exhaustion’ is a great description!

  4. I’m pleased you are experiencing at least some recovery. When I attended my son’s wedding in Perth, arriving at Christmas Day 2007 at 2 in the morning the temperature even then was more than 40 degrees. The biggest shock was that Sam’ mother in law’s roses were all burnt.

    1. Jane says:

      Goodness Derrick, that’s a shocking temp, even worse than we’ve had. At least the nights cool down a bit here as we’re in the tablelands.
      My roses burnt too and are only just recovering.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good to see you back, Jane. I hope you are recovering from that dreadful, hot weather. Your garden is still looking good.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you. Yes, recovery is in full swing, but some more rain would be much appreciated!

  6. June says:

    Good to see the Mudge garden garden back here. In spite of drought you’ve got some colour and the corner with the alyssum looks lovely.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, June. Some plants keep on keeping on despite everything!

  7. Gill Heavens says:

    Lovely to have you back. Glad to hear that you have had at least some rain. The portulaca is one I have heard of but never grown, it is beautiful! Also that rose, no name, but wonderful. Could the conifer have wind burn? Wishing you gentle rain. x

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you Gil. We did have some hot dry wind so in 40 degrees it would be like being in an oven. I have noticed a few new shoots at the top of the tree, so perhaps it’s coming right. I hope so as it’s one of a pair.

  8. The portulaca really caught my eye today! Such a beautiful color combination. Glad you are doing well!

    1. Jane says:

      I was taken with the colours of the Portulaca. I wonder if some cross pollination has taken place to achieve that combination.

  9. Sounds like it has been a hellish summer with all that heat. We have hot summers here, but nothing that hot. I can’t even imagine that kind of heat without rain. I wish we could give you some of the excessive rain we have had here in the states this winter. Almost no snow, just endless rain and dreary days. It doesn’t seem fair that some should be dying of thirst while others are drowning.
    I lose that society garlic and will have to go on a hunt for plants or seeds. I love little plants like that, that are low, colorful, and spread themselves around naturally, filling in gaps in the garden.
    Of course we’ve all been following the fires in Australia. I was so pleased to see on Instagram that most of the Brumbys somehow survived and are thriving now on the new green grass that is emerging after the fire.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you for your comment, Cindy. Everyone seems to be experiencing hard weather one way or another. An excess of everything! I wonder why you lose Society garlic as it’s an amazingly tough plant. Perhaps the ground is too wet with all the rain you’ve had.
      The Brumby situation is a contentious issue here in Australia. There are so many of them and some people think they should be culled as their hard hooves damage the ground. They also eat a lot of native plants and grasses. I hate to think of them being culled.

  10. Susurrus says:

    Your pretty Portulaca puzzled me as I thought it was a very, very unusual type of double daffodil (I must have them on my mind today). I’m glad the rain has made such a difference. It has been very troubling to watch the effects of the weather Australia has been having from the other side of the world.

    1. Jane says:

      In reality, the Portulaca is a much smaller flower, so no wonder you were puzzled. Someone else mistook it for a peony which is also understandable. Our weather has been terrible as has yours with all the rain you’ve received.

  11. Jude says:

    All looking good apart from the conifer. In the garden walk that I recorded throughout last year I noticed Sweet Alyssum flowering every month, rain or shine. I’m glad you have had some respite from the heat, we just need some respite from the wind and rain. Be nice if we could both have a happy medium. ☔🍃💐

    1. Jane says:

      It sure would, Jude. I’ve been watching the news about the terrible storms in the UK and seeing people’s flooded houses and waterlogged gardens.
      I’m grateful for both the Alyssum and the Portulaca as they have provided colour when others have simply given up.

  12. Catherine says:

    Your garden is looking lovely – and I’m intrigued by your Portulaca, they look beautiful – especially the yellow.

    I hope you get some much-needed rain soon, and that your temperatures ease off. I’ve spent the last few weeks complaining about our weather in Scotland which is the exact opposite of yours, but I know from conversations over the past few weeks, with my daughter in Perth, just how difficult it is to live with the high temperatures you’ve been experiencing.

    The sedum and society garlic look great, as do the Autumn crocus! My conifers suffer damage in much the same way as your Thuja, but in my case, it tends to be caused by strong, cold winds in winter.

    1. Jane says:

      Thanks for your comment, Catherine and for the suggestion about the Thuja. I think it now has a few tiny little shoots at the top, so maybe it’s coming out of its sulk!
      Our temps have eased significantly, thank goodness, and I hope they have in Perth too. They had their share of summer horrors as well.
      The Portulaca is really quite a small flower and I enlarged it for the post. They do have an abundance of flowers though, and for a very long time, so they are certainly good value.

  13. I’m glad things are beginning to recover. Lots of lovely colour. I grew Alyssum for the first time last year and I’m hoping it might have seeded itself around a bit. Those Autumn crocus  are beautiful. I think I may have to add them to the list.

    1. Jane says:

      Your Alyssum will most certainly have self seeded, though I suspect the new plants will be more white than anything. I’m not complaining though as I’m grateful for their tenacity.

    2. Jane says:

      It has been brought to my attention that my Autumn Crocus ID is incorrect. In fact, the plant in my photo is a Rain Lily, but they are called Autumn Crocus here. Sorry if I misled you.

      1. No problem at all. I’ll google it later. Nice name and very apt.

  14. Kris P says:

    I took your Portulaca for a peony at first, Jane! I was happy to see your post. The challenges your continent has had this summer are regularly on my mind and, as Southern California moves back in the direction of drought (rain predicted for today has once again failed to materialize), the prospects for a fiery summer/fall here are already in the news.

    1. Jane says:

      Oh I hope you have a gentle summer Kris. I have to confess that the Portulaca is much magnified and it does look quite like a Peony, I agree. I wish I could have such success with my Peony which hasn’t flowered in the five years that I’ve had it!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Your garden is looking surprisingly well, Jane. Love that Portulaca (which I’ve never heard of before).

    My thyme went downhill after the red dust storm a few weeks ago. Despite sprinkling lots of water on the leaves to get the dust off my herbs, the dust on the thyme (tomatoes and blueberry) leaves got suffocated I think. The leaves couldn’t breathe. The heavy rain about 4-5 days after the dust storm brought another layer of red dust, so some of the plants just didn’t have a chance.

    1. Jane says:

      Thanks for your comment. It’s strange that you are described as ‘Someone’ although I can hazard a guess at who you are!
      We had several dust (I think we should really call it topsoil, because that is what it is) storms and that red dust gets in everywhere. We even had soot once, when the wind was coming from the south. The plants really need good rain to wash all that stuff away.

  16. Pauline says:

    Good to see you back Jane and what a relief for you to get some rain, fingers crossed for more. What great little survivors allysum are, I love their perfume. I must try portulaca in my patch, so colourful. We were lucky with the rain, plenty of it a week ago, but no floods around our suburb, and now more forecast for this week. Hope you get some more and we all have a gentle autumn

    1. Jane says:

      A gentle autumn sounds like just the ticket, Pauline. You’re right about Alyssum, although the colours I prefer (not white) seem much harder to grow. It’s always the white ones that spread themselves around. I’m not complaining though, any kind of flower is welcome. Great that you received lovely rain and no flooding.

  17. Lis says:

    So lovely to be sharing your garden again, Jane, and that the rain has brought some welcome relief and recovery. The ever more extreme climate certainly makes for difficult gardening but you never fail to have a selection of inspiring plants to share. I think that portulaca is a real beauty, all peaches and cream! Fingers crossed for a kind and gentle autumn. 🙂

    1. Jane says:

      Thanks so much Lis. Extreme is exactly the word to describe our climate these days. Places on the coast received almost 400 ml in a weekend, and we were on the edge of that system. And of course the terrible storm events that occurred in the UK recently.
      Portulacas come in such a range of colours. I think there might be a bit of cross pollination going on!

  18. hb says:

    We were horrified to see what happened in Australia–so much lost by so many. Best wishes from California for recovery–our fires were bad but nothing by comparison.

    The Portulaca is beautiful–the Thujas do that here, too. I think they don’t handle heat all that well.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, hb. We were very lucky not to be affected directly by the fires apart from days of smoke. It will take a long time for recovery from the devastation, although the amazing eucalyptus trees have already put out new shoots.

  19. @cavershamjj says:

    You’d be welcome to some of our rain, we have had rather an excess of it recently. Glad to see your garden has been receptive to the little you have had.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, Prop, please send the rain ASAP!

  20. Hi jane! Now I need to figure out where Mudgee is. Your Arborvitae might have Botrytis, I had some problems with that in the past. Love Portulacas too and wishing you a gentle soaking rain. Amelia, theshrubqueen in Florida.

    1. Jane says:

      Thanks for the info about Botrytis, Amelia. Mudgee is in the Central Tablelands of NSW about three and a half hours by road nw of Sydney.

  21. Lora Hughes says:

    I love that portulaca, & the sedum/society garlic look great together. The alyssum bring out the pink colour of the shrub blooms really well. Doesn’t hurt they survive the drought.

    1. Jane says:

      I’m ever grateful to them for being such stalwart members of the garden community. Thanks, Lora.

  22. It’s nice to hear your rain was gentle and soaking and the plants are enjoying a revival. It was much the same here. We got around 200mm over several days. My roses are celebrating with their first blooms of the summer, but sadly only one of my Michaelmas daisies seems to have survived. None of the others are showing signs of life yet.

    1. Jane says:

      Goodness, 200 ml was a lot! I think we received about 40, but it came in bits and pieces so we lost count a bit. We had a small storm this afternoon bringing us another 14 which was a surprise. It must be looking lovely and green up your way and surely all the dams are full now.
      I find Michaelmas daisies run under the ground a great deal, so perhaps some more will appear.

  23. Anna K says:

    I do hope you get some more rain soon. We had a very dry winter up here in Oregon, but all of a sudden, a few weeks ago, it started coming down, thankfully. Love the yellow Portulaca – I’ve had a thing for buttery yellows lately. Another intriguing one is the Society Garlic. I had no idea it is such a tough plant as to withstand your climate. Sorry about your Thuja – I have no idea, either. I doubt it would be *too* much water, though.

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Anna. The Thuja is showing some very slight signs of recovery, so I have my fingers crossed.

  24. The white flowers are lovely, but are you sure they are colchicum, and not rain lilies (Zephyranthes)? They look like Z. candidum of a hybrid thereof, to me. The linear foliage is right, and appearing soon after rain is something a rain lily would do.

    1. Jane says:

      I think you are correct, and thank you for pointing out my error. A search tells me that colchicum are often called autumn crocus, even in nurseries, and certainly many people use that name here. Because the person who originally gave me the bulbs called them autumn crocus, I didn’t think to check the name with any online photo. Lesson learned!

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