How does my garden grow?

How does my garden grow?

It’s quite a while since I have done a gardening post. But before I get to that, let me wish each of you the best for 2019. I hope it is a calm and healthy year for you. We can certainly do with both.

In my last post I spoke about my lack of New Year celebrations. Well, this year I did see some fireworks. The Fella and I walked to Footscray Park and watched them on the bridge over the Maribyrnong River, then walked home! Fireworks always make me smile.

The walk home was good too, because all the families were leaving the celebrations, and I could see how diverse my community is. We had all come together for this. That made me smile too.

Now on to the garden….with a slight detour to talk about the weather, like all good Melbournians love to do. It does affect the garden, so there is some connection.

Many parts of Australia, including my favourite arid inland place, Menindee, have been experiencing prolonged hot conditions, with many days well over 40 degrees C. Our Summer has been pretty mild. Then we copped the blast of heat yesterday.


But we were really lucky because the cool change came through mid-afternoon and the temperature plummeted, 10 or so degrees in about 20 minutes.


Melbourne can be like that. My Fella says “Melbourne doesn’t have weather, it has samples”. 😉

Today it is 18 degrees, with a misty rain, which my garden will be loving. Nice way to bring it back to the garden. But a little more weather…..Our Winter was dry, but we had some good Spring rains. I mention that because the garden loved the rain and flourished.

The garden has been something of a work in progress, as gardens usually are. Over the last couple of years some plants have gone and some planted. Then, in the lead up to my Open Studio, the Fella and I had a Big Clean Up. It helped that it was the annual council  hard rubbish collection. We got rid of buckets of unknown garden stuff ~ potting mix? worm castings? ash? We cleaned and cleared and weeded and swept. Very satisfying.

The other difference was the garden hose we bought this time last year. I have no connection to the company, but I am quite happy to spruik my Hoselink hose. It wasn’t the cheapest on the market, but it works wonderfully. It is a relief to not battle old bits of hose snaking the way through the garden. It retracts like a dream.


The fitting is brass, not plastic that breaks up in the sun. It has so many settings and a great feature that allows me to adjust the flow without having to go anywhere near the tap. That’s the yellow lever three quarters of the way down. My only slight criticism is that it is heavy, and might be an issue for someone with arthritis.


Now, let me show you some pretty pictures of how my garden is growing…..

The roses are abundant. I love salvias and this one is a stunner ~ dark blue and black. It looks great with the nasturtiums that are taking over. Nasturtiums make me smile!

Many of the plants have flourished with the Spring rains and repotting.

These plants (I forget what they are called) cause me grief, as they want to take over the garden. However, they fill in the area under the maple and I enjoy their flowers, and the bees love them. I am ruthless whenever I see a seedling trying to escape the strict boundaries I have set for it.


Our vine has featured in posts before. We don’t have air-conditioning, instead use the vine to shade the house. The pesky possums are still eating the new tips and slowing the growth. That makes the vine more determined to grow, and it is getting up over the supporting wires. In fact, I can see further growth when I compare these photos of a week ago to today. It might be there next time the really hot weather hits. Yay vine!

The front yard, where we grow the veggies is doing okay too. We have corn and beans powering along. The strawberries continue to be lush and have started to produce for the Summer.

[You will just have to imagine these photos, because the gremlins are in my WordPress photos and not allowing me to upload. Anyone else having problems?]

The marjoram is something else that the bees love. You wouldn’t think these flowers would be a bee magnet, would you? So it stays, even though it does get droopy (but then, don’t we all!)


While I haven’t been blogging much of late, I have been creating. I’m sewing more pumpkins (scroll down the page in the link to see a previous one) and creating landscape trees (again, scroll down). My Letter From the Studio will start up again for the new year soon. So, if you would like to keep in touch with my art work, sign up for the letter, or leave me a note in the comments and I can add your email address to the list.

27 replies on “How does my garden grow?”

I have abandoned gardening this year. We fried, and then we drowned and then we fried again, and now it looks as if TC Penny might give us a bit of a drubbing too. Despite the neglect, I got mangoes (whatever the rosellas and fruit bats left us), passionfruit (ditto) but was disappointed in my bananas and mandarins (see weather, above). Since we’re moving house shortly, I’m concentrating on getting the place looking tidy rather than beautiful, since my taste in gardens is probably not what other people want… Is that escapologist with the pinky-red flowers a penstemon?


I think miserable weather is part and parcel of living in the tropics. Paradise one week can become hell on wheels the next. Luckily it appears Tropical Cyclone Penny is losing steam and won’t be giving us a touch up this week after all 🙂


Every time I look at the weather map for wild weather in Queensland McKay seems to be in the thick of things. No wonder your garden has taken a pummelling, and no wonder that your enthusiasm for it has waned. What is your new garden like?

As for the escapologist, Dale has identified it in her comment below as an alstroemeria. I would much prefer penstemons!


Yes, Mackay does cop a fair bit of heavy weather…. The new garden is much smaller and quite mature, with less grass and some lovely mature shrubs and an orchid shade house. It remains to be seen whether there’ll still be any orchids in it by the time I get there!


I don’t think there’s a mango, but there is a mandarin… and yes, there should be space for vegies, so long as I choose the right varieties to cope with the climate – and the bugs!


The hot weather has knocked some of the plants around, but fortunately it was only one day (for us) and they will bounce back. Isn’t verdant a wonderful word? Thanks for using it to describe my garden ☺️

Liked by 1 person

Your garden looks fabulous. You’ve done well considering the weather challenges. Salvias ans nasturtiums arw among my favourites and grow well here. Have you tried makimg nasturtium pesto? The marjoram flowers are wonderful, I have such an affection for vege & herb plants that go to flower which the bees loves that much of the time our garden looks a mess… but there’s a method to the madness not just laziness. Those plants that cause you grief are ie New Zealand Christmas Bells. We have them too. An oldie timey garden plant now considered invasive, we got them and many other similarly in the garden along with the house. Their habit is very successful as they not only propogate via the seed head post flowering but set white nodules in the soil which are not easy to eradicate. After several years ongoing efforts, after rain when the soil is damp, we’ve managed to thin ours out. Like you I don’t mind a few, they are hardy and pretty but great opportunists.


Thanks for the identification, Dale. I can understand why they are considered invasive. I am now in the process of dead heading, so that the seeds don’t fly off. As for those nodules, they come out easily, but you have to get all of them or the plant regrows from what is left. “Great opportunists” indeed!

I love looking at your garden on Instagram. There is something special about plants that are allowed to ramble. The bees must have regular parties there! (Although I suspect bees are too hard working to be frivolous enough to party!)


It’s just as well gardeners love a challenge! I remember reading the correspondence between two gardeners, one in London and the other in New England. Reading about what had to be done for gardens that face really cold weather, like your frosts, was an eye opener.


-grin- as another Melburnite, I totally understood your weather segment, esp. your fella’s comment about samples. We rarely get enough of anything to be bored. 😉
I wish my garden were as lush as yours, but my fruit trees are doing well. Been harvesting the apricots the last 3 days to save them from the birds? feral possums? I have some plumcots, peaches and quinces coming along too. My favourite time of day is first thing in the morning when I go out to visit my plants, coffee in hand and pets in tow.
Happy 2019, Anne & Fella!


That’s a lovely image of you drinking coffee visiting the plants and pets trailing around, gathering the energy for the day. There is nothing better than homegrown apricots, but having fruit trees seems to be a continual battle against all sorts of critters that want to ‘share’ the bounty.


lol – you got it in one, Anne. I have two peach trees that start out full of fruit every year. So far, I have not tastes even ONE of those peaches. Cockies seem to love knocking the off while still green. Possums and smaller birds eat the half ripe fruit that’s left.
For some reason, the apricot tree and the fejoias manage to deliver fruit despite the critters. Some years I may get a quince or two as well, but this year is looking grim.
We’ve tried humming tape [but it doesn’t seem to work] and netting ‘sleeves’, but the cockies just rip it to shreds. Trying to work out how to use large sheets of netting. Problem is the trees are not too tall to just throw the net over.
I wouldn’t mind sharing, but these little buggers don’t seem to want to share back. :/


How frustrating to put in some much effort, and not to say water, over the year, and then see all the fruit eaten, not by you. I understand that the cockies will take a bite, drop it, take a bite from another, drop it, and work their way over the tree. As you say, they don’t know how to share.


Happy New Year, Anne. I’m glad you got to enjoy the fireworks, especially since you could walk to and from. That’s terrific. They are spectacular and festive, aren’t they? I’m sorry to read about that dreadful heat, and I can certainly relate to the misery of those hot, oppressive days. I’m glad your temps came back down quickly. I like your fella’s description of “samples” of weather. Clever! Your garden is so pretty. We’re in early winter here, so it’s fun to experience your garden on the other side of the globe. Enjoy!


Happy New Year to you, Alys! The fireworks were delightful, although the Fella did struggle with the walk.
Your garden would be glad of some respite from the Summer heat. California is another part of the world that has taken a real battering this year, so I wish you a little calm from the weather (and politics, but let’s not go there) in 2019.


Thanks Dawn. I was inspired to show the garden because it is actually looking rather good at the moment. There have been times when I just close my eyes and hope that someone else will wave the magic wand over the messy, overgrown, weedy bits. And apparently they did wave the wand!


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