Time to grow new plants

Time to grow new plants

Life & Style

You never know what you might find in your garden if you know what you are looking for.

South African Honey Bush (Melianthus major) is a vigorous perennial with glaucous leaves smelling strongly of peanut butter.

South African Honey Bush (Melianthus major) is a vigorous perennial with glaucous leaves smelling strongly of peanut butter.

A decision I make every morning before walking round the garden is whether or not to take secateurs.

Something always needs snipping, but if I’m carrying secateurs I never get further than about ten feet.

Maybe I should take the secateurs but start each day in a different part of the garden. 

Today I got as far as a Lamarque rose planted on a house corner where it’s connected to our entrance pergola by an overhead beam.

A branch of Lamarque, covered in scented creamy flowers, has been hanging across the path beneath the beam for days, so after collecting steps, scissors and string, I tied it up. 

Returning to my stroll, I came across the sweet peas adorning the garage and since I had the secateurs, naturally I picked some.

This involved trampling over sweet pea plants while worrying about a potential unwelcome visitor in the undergrowth.

Note to self: put stepping stones in flower beds next winter, so I can pick flowers or remove weeds more safely.

I finally got back to the front garden where I saw the pretty prostrate spurge that grows on either side of our front steps, Euphorbia myrsinites, was covered in rapidly ripening seeds. 

It urgently needed cutting back before my garden became a heaving sea of prostrate euphorbia.

Nothing for it, I settled down and did it, but it took half an hour.

Several visitors to our recent open weekend asked the names of two plants in this part of the garden.

On the left, half way down, the perennial with large, oak-leaf shaped, matt grey leaves is Plume Poppy or Macleaya cordata (don’t confuse with its thuggish relation, M. macrocarpa).

At the bottom of the garden, the shoulder-height clumps of a flowering perennial with ginormous, serrated, glaucous leaves and burgundy flower spikes are South African honey bush (Melianthus major).

Luckily no-one asked me the name of a plant through the arch and around the corner, a carroty looking biennial with ferny leaves and white flower umbels that I’d previously thought was either cow parsley (Anthriscus), Queen Anne’s lace (Amni majus) or possibly angelica 


Deciding to nail it, I took a piece indoors where I was appalled to discover it was hemlock (Comium maculatum).

It had the distinctive hollow stems with pink streaks at the base.

Goodness knows where it came from.

Birds? Wind?

Hemlock is seriously poisonous, every part of it is deadly.

Its lethal properties have been known for centuries - it took almost no time to kill Socrates.

It’s an excellent example of the great danger of foraging for food unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. 

So part of the garden now has a gap - and I have a golden opportunity to try something new.

Woo hoo! And Bill is happy to see the back of the carroty looking weed.

Do it now: dead head roses.

Heads up: Hillandale (www.hillandalegardenandnursery.com.au/) 287 Eusdale Road, Yetholme is open on the weekend of November 23 and 24, 9am to 5pm. Details phone 0407 082 672 or landline (02) 6337 5234. 


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