Summer gardens update

I am worried about 2021. We all crossed our fingers that it would be better than 2020 but there was no radical change on January 1. The wall to wall Covid news coming out of the UK, Ireland, Europe and USA is unrelenting and disturbing. The trans-Tasman travel bubble so many of us are waiting for looks to be on hold with outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne. And the transition of power in USA looks more dangerously unstable than the usual peaceful and orderly process. My thoughts go out to those readers in more dangerous parts of the world.

All I have to offer is summer.

Looking through to the Court Garden on Christmas Eve.

All spring, it was the newest of the summer gardens, the Court Garden where the main plantings are grassy-themed, that brought me the most pleasure. As I walked out to do my morning rounds, it was there that I chose to linger the longest.

The borders yesterday morning, just before the onset of steady rain
The light levels were fairly low which gave a softer feel than the harsh glare of the mid-summer sun

As December progressed and now that we are into January, the borders have taken over pride of place on my morning perambulations. They bring me much delight and while I can see a couple of areas that I will tweak, overall, I am happy with them. The borders have the most complex plantings and that means there is more of a succession of blooms.

The first auratum lily has come into bloom

The auratum lily border is the only garden we have that is dedicated to a single plant genus. It only stars for one month of the year and that will happen soon. The entire length holds the promise of so much with the mass of buds fattening and starting to show colour.

Stokesia and hydrangeas in the wave garden

The Wave Garden has its good sections and the flowering of the blue bearded iris in early November was a delight. But I have been reworking some bays that I was not so happy with so it is a bit patchy overall at this stage.

The grass garden on January 2

The growth in the Court Garden is nothing short of phenomenal and I am looking nervously at the abundant Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ but thrilled at the flowering on Stipa gigantea this season. Being sterile, the flowering lasts a long time. It really is the immersive experience I planned for.

Flowery abandon in the Iolanthe Garden

The Iolanthe garden is very different with its casual wildness and mass of blooms both planted and self-seeded. I am doing a bit of maintenance – well, I say a bit, but really I am wheeling out barrow-loads of seeding forget-me not, parsley and spent foxglove flower spikes. Fortunately, the weed infestation is nowhere near as bad as I feared and it has the appeal of an artfully casual cottage garden, very different to the other summer gardens.

May you stay safe and find hope where you can.

27 thoughts on “Summer gardens update

  1. elainebolitho

    May the New Year bring more good things than you had ever dreamed possible Abbie and may your wonderful gardens bless

    you with much pleasure. Thank you for sharing these with your readers.

    Elaine Bolitho

  2. robynkiltygardensnz

    Lovely pics of your garden Abbie – perhaps mid-summer is the best time in the garden, as everything is at it s peak! Here in Canterbury we have had much more rain than usual so things look lush here too, for a change, instead of frizzled with hot dry winds

  3. Sue Dunbar Davis

    This is a great start to our summer — we have enjoyed some well need rain
    Your garden despite its size really encourages me to continue Thankyou!

  4. tonytomeo

    Summer is a delightful offering, especially while it is the middle of winter for so many. Our mild winter is finally getting started. I happen to like all seasons, but find the season that is opposite of ours to be amusing, such as summer in winter, or winter in summer.
    I made the same observation that so many of us expect that a new year will necessarily be better. I really do not know what is going on with the ‘situation’; but I get the impression that it is a long way from over. Nonetheless, it seems to be that many of us are doing well with it. I mean, we talk about it as if it is more dismal than it really is.

      1. tonytomeo

        In some ways, the Conference Center where I work for part of the week got it pretty bad. All events were cancelled. Without revenue, 90% of the staff was furloughed and then laid off. The remaining 10% maintained the unused facilities, and continued to maintain them as firefighters occupied the otherwise unused lodges during the CZU Fire. As firefighters and volunteers vacated the lodges, families who lost their homes to the fire occupied otherwise unused cabins. So many neighbors lost homes that they could not pay the mortgages on anyway. (I was already away during the fire, contending with something even more difficult personally.) To me, it all seems to be SO dismal. Yet, everyone I encounter is somehow making it work.

  5. Paddy Tobin

    The garden is looking stunningly beautiful, Abbie and a very welcome view on this very frosty morning here in Ireland.

    Yes, Covid news here in Ireland has gone beyond being scary. Government medical advisers have said that we are gone beyond the containment phase and are now simply into management of cases. It has got to the stage that those who are close contacts of identified cases are not being tested, simply being told to go into isolation, as the system simply cannot deal with the numbers. The system can’t even keep up with recording the numbers. We had 3,394 cases yesterday and about 1,700 the previous day with the comment that there are about 9,000 which haven’t been entered into the system yet – because the numbers were to great to process! As you can imagine, the doors are closed, the gate is locked and we are staying at home.

    Many thanks for the very enjoyable photographs from your garden, a great help.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      I started tracking Ireland’s numbers when you alerted me to how bad they are. And they are just going from bad to worse to beyond comprehension. All I can do is offer summer solace from afar.

      1. Paddy Tobin

        1 January: 1754 cases. 2 January: 3394 cases. 3 January: 4962 cases. It is very distressing.

  6. Iris Clarke

    What a fabulous garden Abbie. Such a joy to see .We are in the middle of winter in UK .Weather mixed but that doesn’t stop the bulbs from coming through. What is it like in your winter garden.?
    Have a great 2021.
    Iris Clarke

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Hello, Iris! Our winters here are very colourful because we are mild by comparison. The magnolias start flowering in June, camellias flower from autumn to spring and so do the evergreen azaleas. And the snowdrops and dwarf narcissi come early so as soon as we hit July, we feel spring is very already happening. May you continue to take pleasure in your impending spring.

  7. Robin Dowie

    Your garden is looking very beautiful. We have grasses on a much smaller scale and you give us inspiration. We all miss our children overseas and can’t wait to be able to see them again.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      So glad to hear you enjoy my posts. At least we are not back in the days of those wafer thin blue aerogrammes but yes, it is hard to feel so separated when we had grown accustomed to easy access to overseas family.

  8. Joan Minchin

    We came home to Motueka from our holiday to a garden shredded by the hail storm. But out in the garden this morning I noticed that some plants are sending out new shoots already. Signs of hope.
    We are very lucky here in NZ to have the freedom to have a holiday. Here’s hoping we can stay that way.
    I always enjoy your posts, thank you.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Oh, that was such a bad hailstorm. So sorry to hear your garden was also caught up in it.
      Thank you for saying you enjoy my posts – appreciated.

  9. Rachel McAlpine

    I especially love your grass garden, Abbie. When we got the Chaffers public garden in Wellington it was radically different—and truly wonderful. NZ grasses and rushes feature large!

  10. Jean Griffin

    Many thanks for an uplifting set of photographs, here in West Sussex we are in a complete lock down situation and the garden and a dog are making life bearable. I can still work from home for BBC Radio Kent Sunday Gardening and am warmed by the comments from the listeners who are so pleased to have gardening to release stresses and strains.
    When I am able to travel I hope to get up to your garden for a bit of R and R
    You may like to look at a blog done by friends of mine :

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Stay safe, Jean, and stay sane! Gardens are indeed a refuge. I had a look at the recommended blog – the reflections on the year past were interesting (and maybe even more relevant now with Brexit in the mix with possible supply chain issues). But I was more interested that Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ rarely flowers there! Such differences in plant performance in different climates.

  11. carolee

    So nice to see that beautiful gardens are blooming somewhere! It’s winter here, but we are all dreaming of a new growing season. I wish my gardens were as special as yours. What a lovely stroll you have.

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