December 14, 2018

Caroline’s Garden Diaries 9.11.13: First frost

Death of nasturtiums tells me we’ve had frost; could tell anyway from white grass but the nasturtiums keeling over is a give-away. Sad to see them go, although still a few hanging on in more sheltered bed. Confirms what I’ve been realizing over recent years, that certain beds are very exposed to weather – I’ve been trying to put in tougher small shrubs, but maybe the two hebes were a mistake since all hebes succumbed in the Awful Winter.

Nerines completely unfazed by approach of winter; despite looking so fragile they’re actually proverbial old boots. I was given a few bulbs years ago, and they’ve been marvellous, never failing to give weeks of colour, blocks of bright pink. Strange plants, they put on leaf early in the summer but then all vanish without trace leaving stumpy bulbs from which thick stalks emerge that then flower. I divide them occasionally, and try them in other places, but foot of walls seems to suit best.

Nerines in front garden are growing next to a golden fuchsia, another imperturbable grower. I tend to take it for granted but it is a treasure that never fails; gorgeous chartreuse-yellow foliage in young shoots with red veins, red stems, and then the buds you can pop open to find beautiful folded purple petals with long magenta pistil ending in its teardrop stigma. What a flower! Apparently liked by humming-birds; I did once see a humming-bird moth in that bed that maybe lived up to its name; well, someone’s pollinated flowers so there are a few dark purple fruits that Google tells me you can eat, just trying one now – quite nice but won’t bother to try fuchsia pie. Have enough apples to use up.

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