Many might describe a garden as ‘still life’,but Julie Thomson calls it poetry in motion.
There’s plenty of running, jumping and climbing happening in my garden right now. It is pure poetry in motion The walking iris (Neomarica gracilis) are stepping out in fine form, looking a bit like a cross between an iris and an orchid (also called a poor man’s orchid). The graceful flowers don’t last long, but they continue through the spring and summer and are one of the least demanding beauties around.
Because of its habit of propagating itself, the iris appears to “walk” throughout the garden as it fills the area with additional plantlets. These little runners make great bedding or border plants,because they multiply of their own accord and are cast iron tough. Equally moving are the happy little violas or johnny jump ups, springing into life in colourful profusion. Sometimes called perennial violas, they look like a tiny pansy, purple on top and yellow on the bottom, and they have a weedy habit, that is, they seed and return year after year.A weekly feed of liquid seaweed and regular dead- heading will keep these jumping and jiving for attention in the sun for weeks.
And the lovely climbing mandevilla laxa, also known as the Chilean jasmine, is lifting hearts and minds. I made the mistake of putting it in too much sunshine where it struggled, labouring to push out leaves on one straggly stalk, but now in a shadier spot it’s shooting onwards and upwards. The white flowers are stunning but bolder effects come with the ruby red and scarlet varieties.
If you garden with your nose, sniff out this beauty – a row or cluster of daphne shrubs,either the daphne odora or the new “Eternal Fragrance” variety will really reward your senses with its elegant scent. British plant breeder, Robin White, is the wizard who came up with this pink-blushed-white variety:perfumed, sun hardy, dry-tolerant, frosttolerant,repeat flowering beauty that grows inacidic and alkaline soils.Plant it as a low hedge, in containers,perfumed borders and underneath tree canopies.Mix the white with the Spring Pink variety for a stunning effect.
Daphne grows to about 60cm and spreads to about 90cm. It will be the star turn in your courtyard or patio, but sometimes it sulks in a pot, and doesn’t like to be transplanted.Daphnes are evergreen, thicken up without much pruning and respond to just occasional fertilising and weekly summer watering. Mulching around their base keeps the roots cool.Just watch their sap, though, as it can irritate your skin.
The scarlet Peter Brock Foundation Rose, named after the motor racing legend, has won the 2013 National Rose Trial Gardens People’s Choice Award. Produced by South Australian rose gurus,Knight’s Roses, the bush is a great performer,vigorous and upright, producing masses of red hybrid tea blooms, slightly perfumed. It grows to 1.2m and is disease-resistant. “When I think of Peter Brock, I remember the famous number 05 and the unmistakable bright red Holden race cars,’’ says Knight’s Roses director Daniel Knight.