3S Landscape Design

Late Winter

Apologies to my readers who may have noticed a long gap between blogs. I have suffered a personal tragedy and been unable to function very well for the last few weeks.

During that time all I managed to do in the garden was a daily round to collect and kill the “woolly bear” caterpillars which are the larva of a tiger moth. They were particularly bad in my garden this year. I hate to kill any caterpillars in the garden (except those of the white cabbage moth) but I was forced to as the woolly bears are voracious and indiscriminate feeders, though they do seem to prefer hairy plants such as Echium, borage and foxgloves. Worst of all they love the flower buds of the Echium and threatened to prevent it flowering at all! It is now flowering but the caterpillar pruning throughout June (while I was away) and July and early August even though I removed caterpillars every day, means it is not as glorious as in other years.

  • Woolly bears Woolly bears One morning's collection
  • Eat anything! Eat anything! Woolly bears seem to eat just about all plants in the garden, though I haven't seen them on garlic, leeks or onions. This one is enjoying a tree fern frond.
  • Echium in flower Echium in flower The pink Echium is finally flowering
  • At last no caterpillars At last no caterpillars

Most of the plants in my perennial borders were sleeping through the winter but the Cherokee rose, Rosa laevigata, my favourite rose, started flowering in early July and is still going. It only flowers once a year and usually not over such a long period but I love its glossy foliage and open simple flowers.

  • Rosa laevigata Rosa laevigata
  • The Cherokee Rose The Cherokee Rose

The pink flowering Cestrum has flowered almost continuously since I planted it and is beloved by the honeyeaters which visit daily. I have wanted to replace this Cestrum with the purple flowering form almost since I planted it. Its name is Cestrum purpureum and I have seen a beautiful purple-flowered form so thought it would be perfect in my purple perennial border. Unfortunately the plant I bought has pink flowers and should be in the opposite pink border! It has taken several attempts but I have finally successfully struck cuttings and planted one in the pink border where it seems to be off to a good start. In the meantime I have found a purple flowering Cestrum purpureum and kept it in a pot until I can remove the now substantial original. Cestrum is a vigorous, hardy plant worthy of place in Perth gardens. I now also have a yellow night flowering Cestrum (in the yellow/orange border) and have successfully grown cuttings from this plant as well.

  • Cestrum purpureum Cestrum purpureum
  • Beautiful but pink! Beautiful but pink!

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