Here at Mudgee, winter definitely arrived on the first of June. I woke that morning to an icy wonderland, and we’ve had many frosts since then. My roses continued to bloom, through the winter solstice, warming the chilly air with a radiant orange-pink display, their tender petals delicately edged in frost. They’ve met their match recently, though- with recent temperatures as low as minus 6, the remaining blossoms are accepting their fate and their petals are falling.
Frosted rose petals on the winter solstice, 22nd of June.
From now until October there will be many subzero mornings. The bird baths will freeze solid overnight. I will keep a lookout for the blackbird emerging from his nightly refuge under the Japanese maple, as the morning sun begins to warm the air. Later in the winter, his appearances will cease, and, in the spring, I will find a clean, fine-boned skeleton, hidden away under the weeping bottlebrush tree, as I found his father’s, and his grandfather’s, in years past.
My midwinter garden is mostly bare, with a few standouts to keep the spirits up on the colder days. The redoubtable salvias, cheerfully blooming as they do almost year-round, make a welcoming display at my front door.
Cheery, cheeky magenta-and-white salvias with the magnificent winter roses, and pink-grey abelia.
Clumps of violets are in full flower, in various spots around the garden.
Violets greet the morning sun.
Tall-stemmed succulents have frozen and shrivelled, but I’ve found tiny new clumps of leaves at the base of each withered stem. They will survive winter at ground level, then shoot skyward in the spring.
Tiny new succulent buds wintering at the base of last summer’s stems.
I drive to work along misty roads edged with drifts of frosted grasses, the last scatterings of pale, dappled yellow foliage of wild fruit trees fading now, amongst the evergreen eucalypts and river oaks, along the creek lines.
Winter wonderland on my way to work.
For me, winter in the garden, and the countryside, with its quiet serenity, is as beautiful as any other time of year.
The top chores I’ll be attending to, on our cold but brilliantly sunny winter days, are:
- Feed and deadhead the sasanqua camellias.
- Top up my raised veggie garden beds with compost.
- Cut back the catmint for a springtime flourish.
- Obsessively check the hellebores for the first sign of buds!
To enhance the way my garden captures the seasons I will:
- Ask Michael to build me a trellis ready to plant the night-scented Moonflower, Ipomoea alba, outside the bedroom window, to perfume our summer evenings.
- Plant more hellebores! Their modestly lovely flowers are a late winter delight in cold climates, and their colours range from ice white, to almost black.
My Helleborus “Midnight” hiding its face and a beautiful pink Hellebore.
Please share with me, the things you love about winter in your dream garden!