Friday, December 26, 2008

I Love Summer

So we survived Christmas. Yay. The big test for my garden is coming up. Every year on New Year's day my garden hosts a BBQ for all the family - about 12 adults and as many children. The adults perform the required oh-ing and ah-ing at the garden and the children do their best to destroy everything with the cricket ball. Usually in winter, once things have died back, I find all manner of toys nestled under the foliage. This year we have a badminton net set up which should do considerably less damage in the long run.

Some of the dahlias are just starting to open so hopefully by next week they will be in full bloom. And the Cosmos are just about there too. I've given up trying to control the tomatoes. In the first few weeks of growth they get a lot of attention - pinching out the side shoots, applying fertilizer, and carefully supporting them to the bamboo stakes. At this time though they get quite unruly and dense. So I just make sure they get enough nutrients and protection from the wind. I figure that as long as they are producing fruit then all is well.

The Monarch butterflies are finding the swan plants and laying their eggs. Two caterpillars (above) have already had their fill and wandered off to make their cocoon somewhere. I love summer.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What to grow over the arch

I am very excited.I have been given a garden arch.

I have it in place after extending a few beds but am now faced with the daunting task of deciding what to grow over it. Ideally I'd love to move a red climbing rose to it. The rose is currently going crazy on the fence beside the vegie garden. Although it is growing really well there I should use that space for more beans or Snow Peas. Anyway, moving the rose with the least amount of trauma should happen in winter so I'm still faced with a bare arch for summer.

So I need something quick growing and temporary. Sweet Peas? Beans?

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Things are humming along in the garden now. The warmer weather has brought on a wonderful flush of healthy blooms on the Iceberg Roses. I have these planted between pink bush roses which are covered in buds but not open yet. Hopefully the Icebergs will continue to flower for a few months yet.

The Tigridia (pictured) is popping up in great clusters. This is a delicate flower which only lasts about a day but I get 2 flowers per stem and they are quite amazing. I've never seen Tigridia growing anywhere else and it took a bit of research to discover what they were. They grow from little bulbs which must have been planted by the garden's previous caretaker. They are great multipliers so each year I get more and each year I give them to other keen gardeners to grow in their own gardens.

Spring work

So the wind has picked up again. The weather peeps call it Spring wind which leads me to hope that it will stop at the end of the season. But then again maybe after that they will call it Summer wind. Not much damage this time around. The tomatoes I planted a little too early are clinging on for dear life. One of the Zuchinni seedlings has been wrenched from the ground but I was being a bit unrealistic thinking they would last an early planting.

9th Nov. I've just dug a new garden bed around the base of a large old Plum tree. I have managed to create this without any expense just from transplanting a few things from other overcrowded beds - Shasta Daisies, Catmint and white Petunias should fill up the space quickly. On my photos page you will see a before and after photo. Hopefully in about a month I can show you the end result. The Catmint (Nepeta) has been grown from one tiny cutting I got last summer. This is one of the easiest things to grow. There are now at least 12 plants dotted around the beds all from the same cutting, which is just as well as our cat is completely addicted. Catmint tends to grow best in sandy soil.

Today's garden work also included fertilising all the garden. I make my own liquid fertiliser in a large lidded bucket with water and sheep pellets. Every week this gets stirred up and the pellets eventually break down. I dilute this mixture to a tea-like consistency to put on the garden. Any stronger and the plants could burn. In the growing season I fertilise every second week.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A garden in black and white

Imagine a world with no colour. Recently I read an article about some siblings who all suffered from a rare congenital disorder (I forget its name) which meant they could only see in black and white. One of the sisters was interviewed and she spoke of her garden. At the front of her house she has a large Rhododendron. She can’t discern the flowers from the leaves so it is only when the flower petals drop to the ground that she knows it is in flower. I look around my garden and delight at the colours which nature has produced and wonder if I would have that same pleasure if the colours weren’t there.

Is it the scent of the Sweet Peas, the form of the gnarly old plum tree, the activity of the insects and butterflies, the reward of a days weeding, the seven different shades of a fading rose, or all of these things put together which fuels my passion? Would taking one of these elements out of the equation lessen that desire?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Through the Arch

The arch is drowning in blossoms cascading down its limbs. The intoxicating scent lures me towards the promise of what lies beyond. I step through, tendrils brushing my arms in welcome. Petals drop at my feet like red carpet for the premier of it's timeless movie for which there is only one invitation. Mine.