Summer Garden Blues

The talk for weeks in Australia has been about the heat. As we are in late summer that isn’t necessarily a surprise, but swathes of days of above average temperatures have captured the conversation of just about everyone. The heat is being felt even in the usually cooler upper Blue Mountains, with expected highs nearing forty degrees. Sustained hot weather and wind gusts lead to fire bans and warnings of catastrophic fire conditions.

There are signs of heat fatigue in the garden, but a few days of rain mid-week have helped and at present it is awash with purple and blue blooms. There are agapanthus, wisteria and petunias of a particularly deep, lush shade of purple. Hebe blossoms bristle in the breeze, a mix of magenta, bright pink and white flowers. A late blush of hibiscus blooms along the fence are a mixture of soft mauve and crimson. Tucked among dark green foliage, there is the tiny flash of purple and pink lobelia flowers.

Vincas offer up clean white petals, anchored by a deep pink centre. There are white and purple shades of alyssum, one of the favourite plants of my childhood. The odd pansy is still in flower, the self-sown plants lasting the longest. Bright pink and red fuchsia flowers abound with delicate bell-shaped blooms. The vivid green and purple of coleus leaves provide a contrast to the soft pink begonia plants set against brown foliage. The bright red petals of salvia, bookmarked along green spikes, draw the eye.

After the rain bright white daisy flowers appeared overnight. The gracious dark blue petals of an old hydrangea shrub nestle against the fence. Soft pink salmon petals of geranium plants, one of the hardiest plants I’ve had in several gardens in varying climates, endure through most conditions. And, a hidden gem, blue-studded blossoms on a plumbago variant. A constant delight.

What is blossoming in your garden?

[Photo of Chinese plumbago]


My I Spy: something beginning with ‘W’

Wintery thoughts are a distant memory as I write this on a warm summer’s day. The outside world is whirring with bird calls and distant traffic as I ponder on what I’ve spied beginning with W.

Whale tail at Victor Harbor, SA

Whale tail at Victor Harbor, SA


Lately I have come across several references to whales. On a documentary there was footage of a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bay in Tasmania where Southern Right whales congregated for their breeding season until the enthusiastic whaling economy of the 1800s nearly wiped them out entirely. Whaling stations are dotted around the coastline and a whaling museum I visited years ago at Albany at the bottom of Western Australia had a blubber tank that still exuded the scent of decades past. This whale tail was spotted in Victor Harbor in South Australia. There is an excellent overview of the history of whaling in Australia here.



‘Dancing, swaying, wattle’: it is hard for me to spot any of the many varieties of wattle without hearing my Mum sing this line in my head. These bright bursts were spied near an old gold mine shaft at Grenfell in the central west.


This bright flower is the floral emblem of New South Wales. The red blooms draw the eye even on a dull day in the mountains. There are white waratahs too, a rarer delight.

White waratah

White waratah

Wisteria at Camden Park House

Wisteria at Camden Park House


Stunning en masse, this wisteria was spotted just before reaching its peak wrapped around Camden Park House, part of the Macarthur family estate.

Whale hedge at Glenhaven, Leura

Whale hedge at Glenhaven, Leura

One More Whale

I laughed out loud when I first spotted an article in the Blue Mountains Gazette at the beginning of spring. There are many gardens open for viewing in Leura, and I had to admire the unconventional inclusion of large teeth and an eye to transform a large hedge into a whale in a beautiful garden called Glenhaven. Of course I had to track it down for a photo.

Have you spotted anything wonderful beginning with W this week?

Check out what Autumn has spied here, as well as on Instagram.