open garden weekend
It's over. The money's banked, signs taken down, plant labels removed. In all nearly $600 was raised for Bush Heritage Australia.
One of the visitors was blogger and cyberfriend Faisal, from the wonderful, aesthetically quirky blog Gardener in the Distance. Faisal stepped outside of cyberspace especially in order to visit my garden. It was great to meet him in person.
The garden performed brilliantly, responding to the special occasion and to perfect garden weather - a bit of heat followed by good rain. Dietes grandiflora metaphorically gave me the thumbs down by coming into flower today - too late for the visitors - but there were plenty of other flowers and it wasn't missed.
The group of Leptopsermums in front of the deck have never looked better and I should have known they would be a star attraction. Since I wasn't sure exactly what kind of tea trees they were, there was much debate about them. Some people thought they weren't a tea at all, but were a thryptomene. I said I thought they were tea tree flowers and thryptomene flowers were different. And I thought thryptomenes didn't grow so large. But several visitors were unconvinced.
Then I learned something very interesting. Everyone believes the person who sounds most authoritative. One visitor said it was a definitely a New Zealand Manuka and we all bowed to her authority. It was the next day that I trawled the net and discovered that Manuka is the genus name in New Zealand, as is Leptospermum here in Australia. So we still didn't know the species name.
I decided it must be L. laevigatum and labelled it as such. Now I was the one who assumed authority and no one challenged me. After the last person left, the phone rang and it was a Saturday visitor who had taken a sprig, showed it to her sister, an Australian native plant expert, who said it was without doubt L. brevipes. I'm inclined to believe her, so unless proved otherwise, that is what I shall call these graceful shrubs.
Many people wanted to know the names of plants, and mostly I could help. There is one unusual fern, however, that has been in the garden for at least 28 years, and the only other place I have seen it is in the Botanical Gardens. I don't know its name, and hadn't put in the work to identify it. It is a little clump quite tucked away, but at least 3 people noticed it and asked me what it was. If anyone knows that will be great, otherwise I will get onto it soon - when I recover my voice and my energy.