New Life

The garden is a much quieter place since my winter visitors left. My permanent residents make themselves known, but can’t compete with large flocks of chattering sparrows and greenfinches. I miss the chatter of all the birds, but the resident robins are making up for the loss. They still follow me about the garden despite the fact that I am no longer feeding them and seem quite happy to pose for a photograph.

Originally, I only planted a couple of rhododendrons as I was unsure as to how they would fare here on such an exposed site. In fact, they have done very well as the hedgerows and shrubberies mature so I have now started to buy more.

My double flowering tulips continue to flourish and most have been flowering for almost a month. They even survived Storm Catherine. Another long-lasting tulip. I am definitely converted.

The metamorphoses of plants fascinate me. This flower bud reminds me of a Middle Eastern minaret and the expectation is that the flower will be equally graceful. A pink, paper fried egg is not quite what you would expect.

Cistus purpureus or rock rose.

Cistus purpureus ‘Alan Fradd’ has an even closer resemblance to a fried egg. Although the flowers only last a day here the shrub produces a daily supply for months on end.

I have mixed feelings about Libertia. They have many good characteristics. The flower is stunning and the shrub can form a small hedge that is a good break from the salt winds. However, they spread with the speed of lightning and are very difficult to remove. Every year I painstakingly remove each seed head as soon as the flower disappears. In spite of my efforts, new plants spring up all over the garden and I have to be extra vigilant to make sure that I get them all in time.

My second rhododendron plant flowering next to the last of the camellias. Between the two species they provide at least five months of continuous colour.

I had to move this Azalea as it was getting swamped by other plants. I like the contrast with the green shed and the evening scent makes my late-night stroll with the dogs all the more enjoyable.

Not all Geum do well in the garden here, but this pink Avens is a roaring success. It likes the shaded areas at the edge of shrubberies and tolerates me splitting and moving it at will.

This Phlomis (Jerusalem Sage) is also in full bloom at the moment. Like most grey leaved plants, it seems very happy in a coastal climate. I have recently bought a deep pink variety Phlomis purpurea and am keeping my fingers crossed that it is equally robust.

My first Shield Bug of 2024 enjoying a rest on the Jerusalem Sage. It seems rather early but I will now be alert for any others.

Finally, my first glimpse of a young Robin in the garden. Like its parents it seems happy to spend time with me although the possibility of getting food from the area that I am working is the most likely explanation.


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