15 April 2015

Zelkova in autumn

Margret, whose garden Vizsla Lak, has been open for Gardens of Glenlyon, writes:

Daryl and I planted this tree, tube-stock from Bunnings, when we finished building the jetty in 2006. Red was his favourite colour, so that's why he chose the seedling.  I kept the label, which only had the botanical name, not the common name, Japanese elm.  I didn't know it was a Japanese elm till I looked it up recently.  It had grown to about a metre high by the time he died, but was quite lopsided.  It reminded me of ikebana when the branches were bare. So I pruned it every now and then to improve the balance. The notes say it is a medium to tall deciduous spreading tree with a rounded crown. Leaves turn bronze and red in autumn. Ornamental and shade tree - large gardens and parks.

When, in April, Zelkova serata blazes,
Flinging a scarlet cloak against the sky,
And, shrieking in the apple tree, cockatoos
Scatter fruit on the yellowing grass;
When cold stars blink between the clouds
And the Easter moon rises to silver the dam,
While kangaroos pause at the edge to drink,
Pressing footprints into the mud;
When chill air settles, weeping dew
To dampen daybreak's few falling leaves,
Swollen bean pods dry on the vine
And tomatoes linger in the weakening sun
Then the flame robin appears again
And wasps at last retreat from the rain.

8 April 2015

The Great Tornado of 28 February 2015 - or - It's an ill wind .......

We were in Christ Church, Daylesford, waiting for the Cologne Orchestra to perform when the Great Tornado raced through Daylesford, clattering the slates on the church roof and damaging the ridge capping. It was terrifying. After the concert we raced home to check for damage, peering around the garden by torchlight. Our worst suspicions were confirmed with two large trees down across the front garden beds and several massive manna gum branches across the fence near the creek - again.

We were devastated. This has happened so many times before, and our garden needed to be ready for Gardens of Glenlyon in August. So the next day, with helpers, son Josh and neighbour Mark, we rolled up our sleeves and cleaned up the mess. Plants were crushed, great yawning gaps left. What now?

Well, is it an ill wind that blows nobody any good? Because we suddenly saw new possibilities for the garden. The missing trees left views through the garden, opening it up. There were attractive things behind!

Ian made two rustic willow sculptures to "fill the gaps", one to be covered in sweet peas (please flower on time!), and one just abstract, built into the stump of the missing Robinia pseudoacacia.
When we moved the flamingo sculpture into that gap too, a kookaburra landed on its head and hunts worms from there now every night.

We then joyfully replanted the "gaps", necessitating many happy visits to nurseries and even the purchase of some bargain pots from a large chain store to create focal points in the garden ... more bird baths, happy birds!

Now we walk around the garden with new vision, reshaping old beds, joining others and having to plant even more areas.  I harvested bulbs to replant, scattered seeds with abandon and envisioned drifts of blooms where there had been only grass.
Who knows whether it will all grow as we imagine. It was probably time for a revamp after 12 years, but for the storm we may not have had the courage to be so radical.

In the end it has been heaps of fun.  Come along to Jenny and Ian's garden in Coomoora 29-30 August during Gardens of Glenlyon and see the results for yourself!