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How does my garden grow?

How does my garden grow?

Let’s take a break from exhibitions and stitching samplers and see what is happening in the garden in the almost-spring sunshine.

The long view (taken from the beginning of the front path ~ my front yard is only small!) shows the potatoes in the front. I planted them too early, and despaired about them coming up. However, eventually they did and are doing well. The striking purple plant is a mustard plant, which self seeds. The deep purple and lime green combo of the leaves is stunning.

Looking back the other way, from the front door, over the indigenous plants.

You might remember that I am growing indigenous native plants. They are doing really well. All the plants have survived, which is a success rate I have never achieved with exotic plants.

This grass clump was only a small tube stock a year ago. It has certainly bulked up.

In the photos above you might be able to see a pretty, pink flower. This delicate beauty is a thryptomene.

It is a native of Western Australia, so certainly not indigenous to my area of the grass plains of western Melbourne. I put it in a pot as the soils of Western Australia are generally much sandier than my heavy clays. It also allows me to move it around, as in flower it makes a stunning pot plant.

I am sure that these plants are unfamiliar to you, as they were to me not so long ago. So I want to introduce some to you.

Today I will show you one plant that I am delighted to have in the garden.

It is the murnong, Microseris sp., I think M. lanceolata.

Why am I delighted? Well, these little plants were extremely common across large parts of the plains. They are also called yam daisies, which tells you that the tubers can be eaten. These plants were part of the staple crop of many First Australians. Far from being gathered in an ad hoc fashion, Bruce Pascoe argues in his book “Dark Emu” that crops like the murnong were actively managed and cultivated. (There is on-going discussion about this.)

While I don’t intend to harvest the tuber ~ well, not until I have a number of plants ~ I am pleased to have them growing back where they belong.

Yes, they do look a bit like a dandelion. This link explains the difference.

An intriguing things about this little lovely is its flowers. They grow up on arching stems, and then open up to the sun. However, today is the first day that I have actually seen the flower.

I know there have been flowers, as there are at least four spent seed heads. You can see them in the photo above of the whole plant. And no, the plant hasn’t been hidden away. Not like the daffodils that I found when I weeded out the back. I go past this plant every time I walk out the front door. I have seen the buds and the spent seed head, but not, until today, the actual flower.

I was so excited! This is what it was like an hour or so ago. The photo above is of the same flower a couple of hours earlier.

It still has some opening to do. I also found a seed head. Hopefully these seeds will blow away to my garden, or someone else’s, and produce the next crop.

It is the little things that often bring us the most delight.


I respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land on which I live – the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People of the Kulin Nation, their spirits, ancestors, elders and community members past and emerging. They would have eaten many murnong where I now garden.

23 replies on “How does my garden grow?”

I love the way your native (or nearly) plants are thriving and taking less work than the exotics. It feels odd to be reading about Spring when we are heading into Autumn! I shall look forward to seeing more pictures when things have bulked out more over the summer. It should look glorious.

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I have planted some exotic annuals ~ foxgloves and cosmos ~ for their height and colour….and just ‘cos I can! I am pleased, and surprised at how well the natives are doing, and will certainly show you more over the coming months. I hope our Summer is not as disastrous as the northern hemisphere this year.

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I read a gardening book about a gardener in New England and was intrigued by what she had to do to ‘bed down’ her garden for Winter. Here we can garden all through Winter, although things grow more slowly, expect the weeds! What do you have to do to get ready for the cold?

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Although my series of Australian MasterChef is behind for this year – there is a lot of Native food/botanicals being use. Maybe that’s an area that will spark your interest, knowing how you’ve been involved in botanical ID. Or course, you probably know all this https://anfab.org.au/main.asp?_=SPECIES
But good to see, you’ve having some good results with the natives you have planted and indeed cultured…

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Rapid City is at the edge of the Black Hills and the Plains. We are in ranch country with thousands of acres of grazing lands that are probably half native and half reclaimed from the dust bowl. Lots and lots of native plants here, even though the no. Native species are present. There are still sections of untouched native prairie, especially north of us, and even a few pockets here in town.

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Your garden looks interesting and thoughtfully created in addition to my favoirite wildcard… .self seeded plants. How pretty is the thryptomene, and the yam daisy…. imo you can never have enough yellow flowers, the bees love them. I might add them to my garden wishlist 🌻

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Self-seeders are always welcome (with a very small number of exceptions!). My cornflowers are appearing for the third year. I am happy to let unfamiliar seedlings grow to see what they turn out to be.

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