Winter is not over yet. Although the days are becoming noticeably longer, it's still very chilly overnight, and I know from experience that it's quite possible for us to be faced with frost well into September before we can say for sure that the cold weather has finished for this year.
A large percentage of New South Wales is in severe drought, having received in some areas, less than half the average yearly rainfall to date, and the outlook for rain is grim. The State Government drought assistance package is now over $1 billion in an effort to bring drought relief to those on the land, and people from the city and the country have been donating money for feed. On our recent trip, we saw massive loads of hay bales being trucked from as far away as South Australia to needy farmers further north. The situation is dire.
Despite the cold and lack of decent rain, there are some signs of Spring and my post this Saturday is about those early stirrings in the garden beds.
One: Yellow Iris, given to me by a friend. I don't know its name, but I'm sure someone will be able to identify it. It isn't tall. Is it Iris lutescens? That's the closest I could find on Google.
Two: Two years ago, while visiting an open garden, I purchased a Galanthus (possibly nivali, I'm not sure) and two years later, this is how far it has grown. I bought only one (which is something I nearly always do with plant purchases) as I wasn't sure how it would cope in my garden, especially in the heat and dryness of summer, but I planted it under the silver birches, and whilst it couldn't be said that it has galloped away, it seems to be holding its own, albeit in a less than exuberant fashion.
Three: Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' is coming into flower. What a stayer this perennial wallflower is. It blooms for a very long time and although the shrub has a shortish life, it is easily propagated from cuttings.
Four: Scilla peruviana which, despite its name, comes from the Mediterranean area. I have never grown these before, so I'm looking forward to seeing the flowers emerge.
Five: Iberis sempervirens aka Candytuft. Another unpretentious and reliable early flowering plant. It isn’t fully out yet but in week or so it will be a mass of white flowers.
Six: These plants are much happier growing in our climate than Galanthus. They're Leucojum or snowflakes which are often confused with snowdrops. They're not nearly as desirable, but grow willingly and put on a good show. They're just appearing now.
And that's my rather humble, wintry six for this week. As always, more sixes are to be found on the Propagator's blog. Do drop over and have a look at what other people are doing in their gardens.
Weather here today: 4-16 C, partly sunny.