A water meadow! I was delighted at the sight in our park this afternoon. We stopped regular mowing of our park two years ago when we first closed our garden to the public. We were keen to see how far we could push the meadow effect in our climate and also concerned at our heavy dependence on internal combustion engines to maintain the garden. Long grass and flowers are far more ecologically friendly than mown grass.
Mark took note of my request that we mow double width paths through the grass this year. A single mower width looked a bit mean to my eyes. I commented to him earlier this week that my only worry was the abundance of buttercup that we now have. He wryly pointed out that it has always been that way. His childhood memories are of the yellow buttercups and dandelions and white daisies throughout the park. We have just returned to that, though not to grazing with sheep.
The higo irises are delightful. They started flowering in the second half of November and are still putting up plenty of blooms a good month later. Generally they flower in succession down the stem. The tall yellow spires are Wachendorfia thyrsifolia – a perennial plant for boggy conditions that needs quite a bit of space. And a willingness to accept that some plants are just not designed to be tidy, neat little things.
Before the thunder storm hit this afternoon, the sheer size of the Cycas revoluta finally got to me. It had become far too large for the rockery and was encroaching ever more onto both the narrow paths of the rockery and our adjacent outdoor dining area. I have removed A Lot but there is still a substantial plant remaining. The pups (some are more like overgrown wolfhounds than pups in size!) should grow but I will leave that up to Mark. As far as I understand, his technique is largely comprised of cutting off all the leaves and leaving the pups in some hospitable, shady area to push out fresh growth including roots – a very slow process.
News from Australia that Mark’s new Daphne Perfume Princess has been shortlisted as one of only two contenders for the Plant of the Year. That is a meteoric rise and vote of confidence for a new release. We have to wait until February before the winner gets announced, but it is pretty encouraging. We are quite proud of this particular plant and have high hopes for it. It was delightful to see a native tui coming in every day to feed from it in winter. Daphnes are not renowned as sources of nectar for birds.