The first and most exciting is Iris pallida 'Argentea Variegata'. I first heard about this beautiful plant in the 1980s, and was mildly interested. But I began to read so many flattering references to it from so many gardening writers that it became one of the plants I kept in the back of my mind to buy if I ever saw it. I never did, and as the years passed and I began seeing photographs of this Iris as well as descriptions, I wanted it more and more. But as my enthusiasm increased and the possibility of aquiring it seemed to decrease, this plant took on a kind of mythical quality, as if it only existed in stories from far away. A fairytale plant. And then, I opened an email from Lambley Nursery that advertised some exciting new plants available in their winter catalogue this year, and there it was! I only bought one, in case it didn't do well, but when you've believed for years that something is out of reach, even one of them can seem like a lot. I dug in some organic matter to improve the drainage and give it the best chance, then planted it tenderly. I'm hoping for the best when spring comes, but even if something goes wrong, that won't take away the pleasure I'm feeling right now. It's a bit like suddenly finding a unicorn.
|Iris pallida 'Argentea Variegata' (photograph from http://www.lambley.com.au/)|
The second plant isn't a new aquaintance, but more like an old friend I'd lost touch with for a while. In the early days of this garden, when the soil was terrible, my gardening skills non-existent and the region in a seven-year drought, one of the few plants that consistently performed was Caryopteris x clandonensis. I loved the powdery blue flowers that appeared in late summer no matter what else was happening, and the neat round forms of the plants. They looked dull in winter and spring, but in my view they made up for it by not dying. And then, after several years, when the garden was looking a bit better, I just started to take them for granted. The plants became senile and I got rid of them and didn't replace them. Then late last year I decided to add more blue to some beds that were mainly pink and mauve in late summer and autumn. I saw a Caryopteris in a friend's garden and thought it would be just the thing. Time and absence had made my heart grow fonder again. So I went hunting. I found and bought an exciting new gold-variegated one called 'Summer Sorbet' but I also wanted a grey-green leafed version to remind me of my old friend, and I couldn't find one anywhere. Until the previously mentioned email from Lambley Nursery. There it was: Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Heavenly Blue'. A darker blue version of my original plants, and supposed to flower for longer. I didn't hesitate. And now it's in the same garden bed as the Iris, so I can keep an eye on both of them.
|Caryopteris x clandonensis 'Heavenly Blue' (photographs from http://www.lambley.com.au/)|
Both plants are small and not much to look at right now. They didn't cost a fortune. But every time I go outside I visit them and cheer them on. And every time I think about them, I smile. Thanks, Lambley Nursery.