Look out! Triffids!

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My favourite tool is my hoe. After 30 years of loyal service it needed a new handle, which I’d loosely put on just before heading off for the weekend.

The bright new handle showed up how poorly I’d treated the hoe head and I vowed to give it a good sand and oil before it went back out on duty.

I left it leaning aginst a chair on the verandah, to remind myself to do so.

In those two days the Chilean Jasmine sent up a tendril between the boards, found the hoe and claimed it, looping around the handle and heading for the sky.

You’d swear it had an intelligence to do so: as always, I think of John Wyndham’s triffids.

Summer whites

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Not cricket apparel or cool clothes, but flowers: free gifts that appear each summer to brighten my days and my by-then mostly green garden.

They all receive my admiration but none of them need or receive any attention in between.

The Spider Lilies are extraordinary, delicate space age creatures that prance and arabesque from fleshy  bulbs and leaves. Beside them flower the herbs yarrow and meadowsweet; the nearby oregano is about to burst into white flower spikes too.

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Twining daintily along my verandah and perfuming my evenings is the Mandevilla laxa, commonly called Chilean Jasmine, although it isn’t a jasmine at all.

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And the shed is being overwhelmed by a rioting fountain of Chinese Star Jasmine.

The scent of these flowers comes to me separately and together at different spots in the garden.

Sweet summer whites.

Hardy and rewarding lavenders


While the forest flashes purple, the tough garden lavenders are blooming too. Some lavenders do well here, beautiful to see and to smell, needing little attention beyond the occasional prune, appealing to neither possums nor horses, but adored by bees.

My most prolific is the French Lavender, Angustifolia dentata (see the finely ‘toothed’ leaves), which grows very easily from cuttings and doesn’t care how poor the soil I stick it in. The colour of the small flowers on the spikes is truly lavender, not purple.


The other one that flourishes here is the Italian Lavender, Lavendula stoechas, much darker and stranger in shape.

The petals on the spikes are very small, very deep purple, but the the tall lavender bracts on top remain like feather head-dresses even after the petals are finished. It makes a most impressive bush.

How generous such plants are, to flower like this every year and demand so little of me.