The rosa variabilis has grown into a huge healthy bush but unfortunately it’s encroaching on the gap past the corner of the elephant house (block enclosure round the blue elephant water tank).
I refuse to cut back those beautiful blooms and buds just yet.
‘Orange pom-pom bush’ was our name for this shrub as children, which describes it very well. I came to know the name Jew’s Mallow much later.
I thought the bush might have died in the drought last year so I was pleased to find it in flower.
The oleander season is just beginning; this is one of the first blooms to open.
The altitude we’re at is a bit too high for oleanders to flourish because every year the frost battens them back, killing some.
But they still make a display, with colours ranging from pure white through ivory, apricot-and-cream, shell pink and pink to deep red.
Their smell seems to vary according to colour and even individual bush, but this pink one has a sweet, light perfume of vanilla and rose with a hint of coconut.
They don’t need much watering (although they appreciate it) and since the winter prunes them anyway, I don’t need to!
Yesterday, taking advantage of an overcast sky rather than blazing sun to pick gooseberries and white currants, I became aware that a storm was coming.
First there was a riffle of wind and a distant grumble of thunder.
A few minutes later a flash of lightning and a loud rip of thunder.
At this point I still thought it might be a dry storm, but on the heels of another gust of wind came the first heavy drops of rain.
The rain didn’t amount to much all told, but at least I was excused watering for one evening!
Passing by a rose bush, I noticed that some of the buds had white fly on them.
A squirt in time saves nine, I thought, so I fetched the insecticide.
As I stood there with the canister poised, a ladybird caught my eye on one of the buds.
As far as I could see, it was eating the white fly. In other words, doing the job for me.
It was mighty slow about it, though. As dusk fell it was still on the same bud; in fact still on the same side of the same bud.
Well, they say eating slowly is good for you – I hope it enjoyed its meal!
I’m not a great one for what’s called ‘winter interest’ in shrubs.
I prefer plants to go nuts in summer and supply a visual feast that lasts all year in the memory.
This evergreen bush was sited in order to eventually, partially, conceal the blue pig water tank which isn’t exactly an aesthetic feature.
It rather gets in the way for putting the winter tarpaulin on.
But when I re-fixed the tarpaulin after the high winds, I noticed how lovely it is.
Round about now I would normally cut the long rose sprays which will be whipped around by the winter winds.
If they’re long enough, they might even destabilise the roots of the bush itself as they lash wildly back and forth.
As it is, I have to pick them gently out of the way as I go down the path and sometimes they’re dripping wet.
But I haven’t got the heart to cut them back just yet.
The tips of many of the sprays are covered in buds yet to open.