I’ve written earlier about the thrush nesting in the camellia outside my bedroom window. Earlier today I saw an aerial dogfight out there. A tui landed on a hebe bough not far from the camellia. Immediately, both thrushes dive-bombed it from different directions and the tui left. Shortly afterwards he returned with a mate. Battle was resumed. One thrush was grounded and I feared for its safety. Triumphant the tui departed. I was delighted later to see the thrush glide back into the shrub.
It’s raining heavily. Yesterday I had lunch outside on the deck for the first time this spring. Everywhere there was the promise of summer’s fecundity. Next door’s two large kowhai have almost finished flowering. Last week there were six tuis in them. Now, only one, seeking nectar from the last blossoms. Beside them the copper beech has burst into new leaf, a dramatic explosion of colour. Their large snowball bush is a mass of incipient blooms.
In our own garden the orange abutilon (Chinese bells) is looking very sick. A shame. Last autumn it was vigorously healthy and covered in flowers. Bruce, our lawn mower man and heavy gardener thinks it has a virus. Sad, if so, we’ll have to get rid of it. Which leaves the question, do we plant another abutilon there?
When we throw bread out the sparrows don’t worry about the health of the abutilon. They crowd its branches deliberating whether it’s safe to land on the lawn. Sooner or later one brave soul ventures down. Straight away its mates join the fray.
Everything else looks healthy. The roses all have fresh shoots and new buds though the equinox winds have done damage. The lovely-scented Jude the Obscure has had its main new shoot broken off. As the camellias finish flowering new shoots galore emerge.
Inside, the potted plant that Amy and Tom gave me for my 75th birthday is in magnificent bloom – two stalks with six large striking raspberry pink flowers on each. Visitors assume artificial flowers and are astounded to find the blooms are natural. I thought it was an amaryllis but research on the net revealed it is a hippeastrum. It is the same family, belladonna lilies, but amaryllis are South African and this is South American.
Helen, our school girl gardener has been spending her fortnightly time here helping us shift books as part of the switch of rooms. There is plenty of work looming outside for her. Rocket, coriander and parsley have all gone to seed. She has taken out the tulip bulbs and the pots that contained them are empty waiting for tomatoes and courgettes - an annual Labour Day weekend task.
The Bookman is away
3 days ago