Another first in this (formally, fingers crossed) wallaby-ravaged garden that I’ve tended, with virtually no success, for about 20 years.
This southern cut-flower bed (above) has blues and yellows (daffodils, Dutch iris, white lilium) so the central metal tripod – or octopod – has clematis in blues and white and a royal purple here, C. `Rhapsody’ (below) mingling with smoky blue-mauve sweetpeas and palest pearly-blue C. `Blue Angel’. Mauve-blue `General Sikorski’ is yet to flower.
My northern cut-flower bed of pink, mauve and white has an identical central octopod, also with 3 new clematis, these with smaller flowers, in the accompanying colours. Clematis venosa violacea has pretty flowers edged purple, centred white (above); C. viticella alba luxurians has little white flowers tipped green while C. v. `Emilia Platter’ has tiny flowers of pale mauve-pink. When the clematis are not blooming this bed is filled with white jonquils, belladonna lilies, lilum and ismene.
Some of these clematis are said to grow to 3m high while my tripod is nearer 2m high and no, I don’t want the plants waving gustily in the wind at the top – like a sail - whenever there is a tiny breeze. So I am winding them clockwise around the octopods; when they think they are 3m tall they will really be 2m high.
I sourced my Clematis from 2 specialist nurseries in winter and Alameda Homestead Nursery, in particular, stands out. Larger, more expensive plants, sure. But they took off like rockets and look like they have been in the ground for years, and are putting on a huge floral show.
A show not destroyed by Ms Wallaby, joey or teenager (as we call her - Joey + one year old – a cheeky macropod, very much at home), who seem to finally respect the garden fence.
So I am loving these flowers in my garden, thrilled, in an age of ipads and iphones, boredom and ennui. Is it gauche in a 51 year-old? Bad luck.
Jill Weatherhead is horticulturist, writer, garden designer and principal at Jill Weatherhead Garden Design who lives in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne, and works throughout Victoria (www.jillweatherheadgardendesign.com.au)