How does my garden grow?

Before I show you my garden, I just want to remind you of my tree painting giveaway. If you would like to be in the draw to win it, head to my last post to leave a comment. Hugs to those of you who have already entered.

Last year my veggie patch in the front yard looked like this

with the tomatoes still in their pots and the seeds in their packets.

img_5324

The tomatoes did okay, but the volunteer plants were much more prolific. Both varieties have given us rich red tomatoes, our best for quite a few years. I think a consistent amount of water was the key.

In the back patch near the rosemary hedge I planted Kipfler potatoes. They grew well. The potatoes are small, but tasty. Despite not planting them very deep, potatoes hide in the soil and reappear the next season. So, as well as the Kipflers we also harvested purple spuds that came up elsewhere.

The corn came up strong and tall. The cobs weren’t as good as last year. It may have been a different variety or maybe too much competition. Around it I planted silverbeet and beans, and the volunteer tomatoes flourished in amongst the corn. The silverbeet certainly suffered. Who knew that it wouldn’t flourish in all possible situations?!

I deliberately planted the beans at the base of the corn, hoping that the beans would curl up the stalk, giving back nitrogen for the corn to use. The beans loved climbing up the corn, but didn’t know what to do when they reached the top!

To solve the problem I have untangled the runners from the tomatoes, silverbeet and corn and let them ramble on the Aframe that the Fella made for me quite a few years ago.

img_5459

Yesterday I had one of those extremely satisfying gardening days. I pulled out the parsley plants that had gone to seed, the old tomato bushes, dug up volunteer potatoes and sweet potatoes and dug over a bed.

img_5458

As well I took time out to watch the bees in the oregano flowers. It is difficult to cut the flower heads because there are always bees there, sometimes butterflies too. Anything that brings in the bees and insects is welcome in my garden!

img_5443

I also harvested and cooked.

img_5457

Slow roasted tomatoes are my favourite at the moment. Pop the tomatoes into a dish (cut them or not, as you like), add some oil, balsamic vinegar, parsley or any other herb you fancy, salt and paper, and some garlic cloves. Put into a slow oven 150 degrees or so until they are cooked to your liking. Mine stayed in for about an hour. I will use them tonight, with slow roasted eggplant and peppers, bought today at a farmers’ market, as the basis of a pasta sauce. ~Sigh~

img_5456

Remember to head over to Time for a tree giveaway to enter my giveaway. This is the tree painting you could win.

scan-2
Copyright: Anne Lawson 2017

Sustainable watering

Lately I have been very busy with my job at the holiday programme. I had forgotten how tiring it is to get up with an alarm at 6:00 and then work the day. I know that most of you do it every week day for much of the year, but it is a few years since I have done it full time, and I enjoy my leisurely mornings. I enjoy my holiday programme work too and it is a great way to keep a connection to kids. We do fun things. Last Friday we had Butterfly Adventures come to visit. The kids were able to feed monarch butterflies and see them close up.

I was able to find out something about monarch butterflies that had been niggling away in my mind. Were they the same species as the monarchs in North America? Apparently they are. Sam, the Butterfly Man, told me that in the 1800’s individuals were blown across the Pacific during huge storms, and colonised here in Australia. Of course this would have been happening over the millennia. The difference was that Australia had recently been colonised by the British who also brought plants that the monarchs need to feed on. So when they were blown across in the 1800’s they had food sources and multiplied here. As they  haven’t adapted to feed from native plants, they have not displaced native butterflies. [Do you know any more? Have I got this right? Happy to discuss with you.]

When I haven’t been at work or recovering, I have been busy with new ink feather drawings in my Etsy shop, and then all the attendant social media that goes with it. (Sorry that I haven’t been dropping by your blog to see what you have been up to.)

So, it was great to do something completely different on Saturday. The Fella and I went to a sustainable watering workshop.

I am lucky because my local council takes sustainability seriously. It supports a programme aimed at gardeners who want to grow their own food, create water wise gardens and attract wild life. I found out about the workshop through their My Smart Garden Programme website.

The Workshop was held at the Avondale Heights Community Garden. Avondale Heights is a suburb about 20 minutes from me, and is perched on the edge of the Maribrynong River. Apparently the area was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and his intention was to have community spaces, where the houses faced inward to these reserves. Unfortunately this didn’t happen and the houses were built to face outward to the road. However behind some of the back fences are open spaces, including the one that the community gardeners use. It is a lively space, with a number of flourishing garden beds.

After an introduction we were spit into two groups. One went with Karen to see a hands on demonstration of setting up a drip watering system. She was using piping that had holes along it in 30 cm intervals. Apparently this product doesn’t clog up with dirt, and you don’t have to physically punch the holes. It does mean that plants need to be planted close to the holes. Each hole allows 2 litres of water though in an hour. That is a good amount for most vegetables. You would need a longer time for fruit trees.

Scroll over each photo to read the caption

The second group was with Scott, a passionate permaculturalist, who uses many permaculture principles in his garden. He was talking to us about using ‘free water’, such as the water that usually runs off drives when it rains or the overflow from the air conditioner. He advocated creating swales. A swale is a mound created to slow down the movement of water. Usually it is a mound of earth, but can also be branches or small rocks. The idea is that as the water is held behind the swale it soaks into the ground. It is stored there where you want it, rather than racing off into the storm water. They can be as simple or as complicated as you need. Suburban backyards probably only need simple designs. The trick is to understand where and how the water flows on your land.

A large soak was created at the end of the reserve. Scott explained how the depression and reed bed absorbed the water that would have run off down the drain behind. It had been planted it with plants indigenous to the area.

IMG_0703-1

I left with lots of information and lots to think about, especially how to preserve as much water as we can on our property. Grey water is something to consider. However there are health and safety issues involved with using this water, both for humans and the soil. While not the only issue for humans, it is important to remember to keep children and pets away from grey water. This link to lanfax labs has a lot of information.

Also it reminded me of watery habits I learnt and did during our long drought. There is still a need for those habits, such as using a bucket under taps for catching second hand water. We still do this in the kitchen to catch rinsing water, water from cooking vegetables etc. However I had stopped doing it in the shower. There is a good amount to catch while the water warms up.

What do you do to help keep your water on your property? Let the rest of us know in the comments.

Not only did we have two interesting speakers who willingly shared their knowledge and expertise, but we also got morning tea, with home made biscuits (!) and a BBQ at the end. As well we got a showbag to take home. Look at the goodies that were in the bag….

IMG_3778

How does my garden grow?

It is quite a while since I have talked to you about my garden (aside from reblogging an earlier post about the jacarandas in my street). That’s partly because I have had so many other things to write about, and partly because when I got home from the Flinders Ranges it was an overgrown jungle. How could there be so many weeds in such a small space?

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
How many weeds could there be? (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

Let me remind you that my vegetable patch is actually in my front yard, because that is the part of my garden that gets the most sun. It is a good size, about 3 x 2 metre. I have built up 4 beds and do my version of crop rotation. One of the advantages of veggies in the front yard is that you have all sorts of interesting conversations with the neighbours and people walking past. It makes it very easy to give away vegetables. I thrust broad beans on anyone who stopped for 2 seconds! 🙂 And we have had some generous donations in return, as you will see if you read on.

Once I conquered some of the weeds I found that I had a silver beet tower and a glut of  broad beans. I was forced to be inventive when cooking them, and wrote about some of the recipes here.

I thought we would have a break from silver beet…until a thoughtful  neighbour brought me some more seedlings. They could not be abandoned, so they have gone in, and are doing well.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2014)

I had some strawberry crowns that were past their best. So I dug them up and replanted them on the street front, where the non-existent fence is, as well as along the path to the front door. They are doing very well. I love strawberries so much that I bought 2 more plants, one is ‘Red Gauntlet’ and the other is ‘Bonnie’, a white strawberry. Such sweet little flowers and delicious fruit — if we can get to them before the snails!

The neighbour who gave me the silver beet also gave me lots of tomato seedlings which are powering along. In the photo you may see a pumpkin leaf or two. It has come up out of the compost. Pumpkins tend to take over, so if it wants to stay it must be well behaved. There are also photos of potatoes. Would you believe me if I said that they were free too? When I went to the nursery to buy seed potatoes they told me it was past the time to plant them. However, I could help myself to the bags over there, for no charge. I had nothing to loose if they didn’t come up, so I planted them out. They all sprouted and are growing very well.

Next time I will tell you how to plant potatoes the easy way. And remind me to tell you about the sweet potato too.

I love the flowers of the Solanaceae family — tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants. They look like very fancy turbans, and are great fun to draw!

So, from mayhem to order, with a little help from the compost bin and worm farm and a lot of help from the Under Gardener (aka My Fella 😉 )

How does my garden grow…….in late Autumn?

We have had some glorious weather over the last few days. After some rain the sun has been shining, encouraging quite a bit of growth. Gardening has been a pleasure, well, except for the weeds. But more of them later. Firstly, some of the pretty parts.

Like the crepe myrtle. It grows down in the back corner. I love it for its flowers in Spring and leaves in Autumn, as well as it’s bark and the shape of its branches. It really is a stunning tree through all the seasons. And it has needed nothing but admiration from me.

20140517-194031.jpg

20140517-194046.jpg

20140517-194058.jpg

20140517-194107.jpg

The correas are in flower.

20140517-194346.jpg

20140517-194356.jpg
The sedum has flowered and now the seed heads add an extra dimension to the garden beds.

20140517-194552.jpg
Is it time for orchids to flower? Apparently it is in my garden!20140517-202004.jpg

<a hr
And now for the weeds….
There is the old adage “A weed is just a plant in the wrong place”. That’s true, but they are also opportunistic plants. While they certainly grow in my garden beds, with regular maintenance I am able to keep them under control. However I have areas that are not beds, sort of biggish pathways, I guess. The weeds love to grow here, especially at the moment.

20140517-195538.jpg
I don’t want them growing there but I recognise that they have been able to harvest nutrients from the soil in these parts. This is especially true of stinging nettles. They have deep roots which are able to draw up minerals from deeper down than other weeds. I want to recycle those nutrients back to the plants I want to grow.

annelawson.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/20140517-203020.jpg”>20140517-203020.jpg
Composting is not really an option and poison is definitely not one. I use a cold composting system rather than hot. This means that while the matter decays, the seeds are not necessarily destroyed. Spreading more weed seeds around the garden is not my idea! I could just chuck them into the green bin and have the council take them away. Then the nutrients are taken away too.

My solution is to put the weeds into an old style rubbish bin and cover with water. (Remember those small, round plastic rubbish bins with lids!) The weeds will rot down, giving me some lovely Weed Tea to use as liquid fertiliser. The rotted material can then be put into the compost, without fear of seed germination.

20140517-200748.jpg

What do you do with your weeds?

How does my garden grow….in early Autumn? (Part 1)

Today is dull and rainy, perfect for staying inside to tell you about my Autumn garden.

We had a run of very hot days over Summer ~ 40 plus degrees. That knocked the garden around. In Spring last year I planted out a bed with annuals and over the Summer I learnt what survived and what didn’t. The lobelias didn’t make it through. The pansies were a mix. The first ones I put in as small seedlings in Spring limped along ~ a couple of plants have survived. Later in Summer I put in some larger pansies to add quick colour to the bed. (I was hosting a family BBQ.) They have done well. The wallflowers are now flourishing and the aquilegias have a second burst of leafy growth. They didn’t flower this year. Any thoughts on why?

Backyard

This photo is a long shot of the garden, down to the shed and the back fence. The annuals are to the left ~ you can just see the pansies and wallflowers. The verbena, at the bottom left corner, also did very well over Summer. The bush in the centre is a correa and you can just pick out its long red and cream flowers.

The next 3 photos are of the grapevine being cut back. We don’t have air conditioning in our house so our back living area relies on the cool shade of this vine. It works remarkably well. Come Autumn though, it needs to be cut back. Now the sunlight streams through the windows.

IMG_9446 IMG_9441

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_9442

There is a lot of green waste. We filled up our green bin, as well as the neighbours’. The bins are collected fortnightly. The waste is used composted and used on Council garden beds. It is good to know that if we can’t use it it is not going to landfill.

I also added leaves to the worm farm and the compost.

IMG_9447 IMG_9449IMG_9448

I am always fascinated with the small things in the garden. These pelargonium seed pods intrigued me.

IMG_9543 IMG_9544

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, for this post, is the beautiful nerine that is in flower at the moment. Tough as old boots, but always comes up trumps.

I have been working in the front yard, and will show you what I have been up to next time.

IMG_9541

 

February Books — a classic, a mapmaker and some gardeners

Firstly, the classic

The Chrysalids ~ John Wyndham

I first read this when I was a teenager. I had always had a longing to be telepathic, so this book resonated with me. I reread it quite a few years later and while I still enjoyed the telepathy aspect, I was fascinated with the post-nuclear society that Wyndham creates. But let me tell you about the plot, before I go on about what I enjoyed reading in it this time.

David, the narrator, is a teenager, growing up in a post~apocalypse world. The devastating event happened hundreds of years ago, so the rigid society David lives in has developed strong laws about deviations away from the norm. The norm is based upon the Bible, the only book to have survived. (Why is it always the Bible? Why not The Origin of the Species or an Agatha Christie novel?! 🙂  ) Deviant crops are burnt  and animals slaughtered. Babies are checked at birth. Any deviations and the baby is sent to the Fringes, an area between the ‘civilised’ world and the Badlands.

David has first hand experience of this when, as a young boy, he makes friends with Sophie. Sophie has grown up with her parents, away from mainstream society. She has six toes. Events happen that cause the family to flee to the Fringes and David sees how dangerous deviations can be.

Because while his physical body is normal, he is a telepath, able to send mind pictures to a group of others in the area. The group was safe until the birth of David’s sister, Petra. She was a very powerful sender, which lead to their unmasking as well as their rescue.

The copy I read this time had an introduction (sorry, I have forgotten who wrote it). The Chrysalids was written in Britain in the 1950s and this introduction placed the story into the social context of that time. There were still resonances in Britain from the Second World War ~ effects of rationing, the destruction of industries, the loss of the empire. It was interesting to reread it with that in mind.

However the most potent influence on Wyndham seems to have been the nuclear issue. The atom bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, causing outrage and concern about a nuclear future. Fears were heightened by the impact of the Cold War. It became the dominating theme in The Chrysalids.

As for the writing….It must be a difficult task to write in the first person, especially when describing a new world. The narrator can only tell what he/she knows. Wyndham is able to build up our understanding of the society David lives in with a lightness of touch.

For example, David overhears a conversation between his mother and her sister. The sister has given birth to a baby with a defect, and is asking for help from David’s mother. The defect is not spelt out. From this incident we learn about how babies with deformities, and their mothers (but of course not fathers) are dealt with. David’s mother and father are fleshed out and it allows David’s compassion and growing concern to come through.

However, Wyndham’s writing does become more ponderous when he fills the reader in on the Badlands, a world that David could not know about. David’s sympathetic uncle has been a sailor, and travelled past these areas, with all their grotesque plants and devastation. He tells David what these areas are like, but it comes across more as a lecture than a conversation.

And the ending is literally the God-In-The-Machine technique, which was sort of annoying. But it did give the novel hope, which, given the horror of the world that Wyndham created, was a relief.

The Cartographer ~ Peter Twohig

This is also narrated by a young boy of about 11, who is growing up in the 1950s in the working class Melbourne suburb of Richmond. We never know his name. The only clue is that it starts with T. He assumes different personas, the Outlaw, the Train driver but mostly, the Cartographer.

He is still reeling from the accidental death of his twin brother Tom. The underlying story in the novel is the narrator coming to terms with his guilt; he tried to help, but could not save Tom. He reinvents himself as a superhero, who would have been able to rescue his brother.

He takes on the persona of the Cartographer as he makes a map of his journeys around Richmond. The map is meant to protect him from dangerous places, such as the playground where Tom died. It doesn’t work, because he finds danger everywhere he goes. But then he goes into some pretty amazing places. Backyards and lane ways are only some of them. Down drains, along train tunnels, into houses, even ending up in the cellars underneath Government House.

In the early chapters he climbs a ladder and witnesses a murder in the upstairs room. He confronts a kidnapper down one tunnel and, while creeping through a house, watches an ugly confrontation between a mother and child.

It sounds rather grim, and you watch the boy with amazement as he dives down another drain or investigates another house. But somehow it is quite a funny novel. The boy’s relationship with his dog, Biscuit, is gently amusing. He has a great relationship with his grandfather, a shady character who knows which horse will win and when something will fall off the back of a truck. His grandfather is one of the few stable influences in the boy’s life and Grandad helps to sort out some of the mayhem that coalesces around him.

The boy is an engaging character. He doesn’t quite take himself seriously. He is resilient,  intelligent and such a risk taker that you worry for him. There were times when I thought “Oh no, not another drain”. But then who knew that there were so many dodgy characters down in that subterranean world! It reminded me of Extremely loud and incredibly close by Jonathan Safran Foer although this book is less sentimental and not as quirky.

And now to the gardeners:

The brother gardeners: Botany, empire and the birth of an obsession ~ Andrea Wulf

This fabulously researched book explores the identities of the men who “made Britain a nation of gardeners and the epicentre of horticultural and botanical expertise.” Wulf wanted to answer the question of why the English garden had its roots in America. While her book talks about a number of interesting characters, such as Daniel Solander, Linnaeus’ apprentice who later worked with Joseph Banks, it is Peter Collinson and John Bartram who are the central characters.

In the mid 1700s Collinson was a wealthy English merchant who had a passion for gardening. Collinson asked his overseas contacts to send him seeds and cuttings for his garden, but it was his developing friendship with Bartram that would be the most productive. Bartram was an American farmer who went on extensive seed collecting trips through the still wild parts of America. He sent Collinson the seeds and cuttings he had collected. Over time many boxes of seeds were sent to Collinson and his friends. They were paid for by subscription. Collison sent back books on botany and natural history so that Bartram could build up his library.

American plants had become very fashionable after Mark Catesby’s return from Virginia and Carolina. He published a book of engravings of his plant paintings and the British fell in love with his magnolias, wisteria and callicarpa. Bartram’s seeds would eventually allow grand landscapes to be planted with native birches, American sycamores,  rhododendrons and many more.

Until Bartram began sending his boxes, autumn in England had been a fairly lacklustre affair. Now the falling of leaves was preceded by an extraordinary show. At Thorndon scarlet oak and white ash competed with the bloodied foliage of tupelo, and the glowing reds and oranges of the large fluttering maple leaves with the aubergine of liquidambar.

It is a fascinating time in history. There was an explosion of unknown plants and animals coming into European consciousness. Many of these new discoveries were to the detriment of the native peoples around the world and often fuelled imperialist desires. However, scientific theory was also expanding to make sense of all the new knowledge. Carl Linnaeus, for example, created the binomial nomenclature to enable uniform species identification. Wulf’s book has some interesting insights into the cranky arrogance of Linnaeus.

It was a good read, fleshing out aspects of that time. I had read about Bartram’s expeditions, especially those with his son. However I didn’t know of his importance to modern gardens, and I was interested to read about the British gardeners.

What have you been reading? Anything that you think I might like? As you can see, my tastes are very broad. Let me know.  😀

How does my garden grow?

My Fella went to WA for a week, coming back last Monday. So I had a week to myself. By Friday I realised that I was on Holiday. Now some of you must think that, as a semi-retired person, I am on permanent holiday. (A big part of me agrees)! I didn’t go anywhere, except the movies, and some days I only ventured as far as the backyard. But interestingly I didn’t go into the Playroom, the room where the computer is, as well as my painting things. I seemed to be on holiday from Etsy shop, my painting and my blog (sorry about that).

I was also on holiday from Getting Ready For Christmas. You haven’t received my Christmas card in the mail because I haven’t sent it. The tree has just been decorated. Unlike last year, there are no tasty treats. But I may get around to them…..just not today, because it is 40 degrees C!

However, I came out of slothfulness to do some gardening. The last time I wrote about the garden it looked like this

The garden bed that is in the process of ungrowing. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013
August 2013: The garden bed that is in the process of ungrowing. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

Now I can proudly unveil the same bed, which looks like this:

December 2013 (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
December 2013 (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)

Because of a prolonged drought in Victoria — over 10 years — I couldn’t justify water for annuals. Now I have lobelias and pansies flowering, the foxgloves just budding and the  aquilegias putting forth their light foliage. The fern like leaf in the foreground is from the prostrate banksia, and the flower cone is in the bottom right corner.

Another view, because I am so happy with the way it looks. This time I took the photo over the pot plants. My garden is not big. Keeping some in pots, like the chives, is a good use of space.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)

The chives up close

IMG_8914The salvia and fox glove buds up close

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)

And what is a garden bed without a rose? This one is something like Spirit of Peace.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)

I have also carved some space out of the former jungle to put up the birdbath. It was a Christmas present from my Mum last year. I finally have it in a spot where the birds are happy to use it and where I can keep it topped up. I have planted some impatiens, which should look good. Fingers crossed that they grow!

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)

I can see the birdbath from my window and know that it is used a lot. Where did the birds go before?

View from the window -- sneaking a peek at the sparrows! (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
View from the window — sneaking a peek at the sparrow! (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)

And lastly (well done if you have got this far!), the hydrangea my sister gave me. I have always wanted one. As I was not sure where it should go, it went into a pot. The photo shows how cleverly I have been able to crop the other photos to not show the mess and raggedy bits of the garden, like the hose, bricks, leaf litter and weed mat!

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2013)

Unfortunately the hydrangea is struggling today. It doesn’t like 40 degrees, but then not many of us do.

I am sure you are thinking “But where are the veggies?” How astute of you. Unfortunately, they are something else growing in pots this year. Our Veggie Patch, otherwise known as the Front Yard is a fallow wasteland at the moment. Enough said about it, as today I am enjoying the colours and pleasures of the back. I might have a moan to you about it next time.

Enjoy your gardening, wherever you are. If your world is too cold to garden at the moment, I hope that my flowers have given you some extra warmth. 🙂

How does my garden grow?

Well, it is ungrowing at the moment. That may not be a real term, but it sums up what I am doing.

I had a bed that was annoying me. It had my two rose bushes in the middle of it, an impossible position to easily to pick flowers and deadhead. I had planted two pear trees, with the (as it turns out) grandiose idea of espaliering them. One died. The other flourished. It has produced a couple of odd shaped pears and was regularly attacked by slugs. Again, I couldn’t get to it easily. Other things were overgrown and tangled. Time for a clean out — or an ungrowing time.

The garden bed that is in the process of ungrowing. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013
The garden bed that is in the process of ungrowing. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013

I have cut back both roses and moved one out. If it survives I will replant it back in the bed, but closer to the edge.

One of the roses. This is the Red Cross rose. Believe it or not, the flowers are red! (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
One of the roses. This is the Red Cross rose — believe it or not, the flowers are red! (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

During the clean out I found a correa that was lingering under another correa. So that came out. Again, if it survives, I will plant it back there, but with more room and light.

The 'half correa, and it is still alive! (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
The ‘half correa, and it is still alive! (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

[By the way, correas are one of my favourite plants. They so hardy. I have four and a half (the half being the one I found!) and they all came through 10 years of drought. They got little extra water during that time.]

In the large photo above you can see a tufty thing up the back. That was the next to get a hair cut. I don’t know what it is, but it has rather vicious spikes and it too was very drought tolerant. As I was cutting back the strappy leaves I was thinking about keeping them to make into baskets. I don’t basket weave but if I did, these would have been perfect.

In need of a hair cut. Behind is another correa, called Chef's Cap. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
In need of a hair cut. Behind is another correa, called Chef’s Cap. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

Then we took out the pear tree. “We” is probably definitely the wrong pronoun! I stood and watched as my Fella used a block and tackle to drag it out.

Using a block and tackle to heave out the pear tree. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Using a block and tackle to heave out the pear tree. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Close up (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Close up (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

I have also found a number of bulbs, quite possibly snow flakes and nerines, as well as neglected iris rhizomes. I will spread blood and bone and compost. Then I will leave it, while I think about what I am going to put where. We have had some frosty mornings lately so it is too cold to plant anything yet. Any suggestions? Especially for something that might grow along a fence, need no looking after but will not be too vigorous.

In the meantime I will keep reading the gardening blogs of those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere, and will enjoy your luscious photos of flowers blooming in  Summer’s warmth. Like these

My Botanical Garden

Gwennies Garden

Dandelion House

Chris Condello  (I love his tag — plant petunias and question everything!)

Cheers!

How does my garden grow?

It’s the end of day light savings today. I love the feeling of adding an extra hour to my life. (I know, I know, it is just reclaiming it from last year, but it feels like a bonus!) It was also time to start to chop back the vine. I have mentioned before how useful our vine is to keep the house cooler in Summer. However, soon we will need the Autumn and Winter sun to come streaming in. So, the big chop has begun.

Chopping up the vine and into the green waste
Chopping up the vine and into the green waste (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)

This photo makes it look like the vine prunings are tumbling into the green waste bin. (Our council collects this green waste for mulching and composting.) However, to fit it in we needed to chop it into smaller pieces. We have filled our bin, and our neighbour’s, and intend to ask the other neighbours if we can use their bin too!

Nothing to stop the sunlight streaming in now. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
Nothing to stop the sunlight streaming in now.
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)

The down side of clearing the windows? I can see how grotty they are. The next task was to give them a good clean.

You may be wondering why I didn’t put the prunings into the compost bin. Firstly, they would have overwhelmed the bin. And secondly, I am having trouble with the compost bin at the moment. It has been invaded by thousands of grubs, which I think they are black soldier fly larvae. They are consuming all the matter I put into the bin, especially the kitchen scraps. And consuming it at a great rate. Can anyone help me? Metan? Is my identification correct?

Inside the compost bin (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
Inside the compost bin (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)

It’s not easy to see all the larvae, but you can see see the ones on the sides. That onion peel was actually moving as the critters were munching it!

So we put in a small amount of the vine clippings and added some sugar cane mulch. They are buried under about 60 cm of material now. But I will certainly keep my eye on them! And please, any more suggestions?!

On a different note…..Last Spring I posted these photos of my ornamental garlics.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is what they look like at the end, just before I cut them down:

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)

And these are big the cloves:

The cloves of the ornamental garlic (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
The cloves of the ornamental garlic (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)