I walked out of the laundry this morning to the sweet scent of the honeysuckle. If ever there was a flower more aptly named I am yet to find it. We rarely use the path down the side of the house in the winter. It's damp and dark then and the clothesline on the edge of the vegie patch right at the rear of the house doesn't get enough sun to dry the washing so I use the more winter friendly one out the back. As a consequence I haven't ventured along there for months. The result is a perfumed jungle of dark leaves, starred with cream and white blossoms. I have pushed the trailing swathes aside just enough to let me get through - and they were very obliging. No flicking back to hit me in the eye or stretching across the path to trip me. Even the ferns and a few hardy succulents, which pretty much look after themselves until it starts to dry out, are flourishing.
The bird's nest fern I inherited nearly thirty years ago is obviously happy. It's now large enough to be almost blocking access to mundane but useful equipment like the hot water system and air conditioner. I hate to disturb it but I will have to find some way of suspending it from the pergola although it's so heavy that it is going to be a challenge.
In among the honeysuckle there are Boston and fish bone ferns (my poor holly ferns and maidenhairs didn't survive last summer), strings of delicate chain of hearts succulents, a very tough aspidistra, a crown of thorns - vicious but lovely when it's in flower - and several cacti in the arid area where the sun bakes the only exposed part.
This little garden is one of the joys of summer. It takes the least work of all but it's cool and green and reminds me of the "ferned grot" of Victorian poet, Thomas Edward Brown, in his poem "My Garden".