How does my garden grow?

Today thousands of people around the country are marching to demand safer places for women to work, walk and live in, demanding that we be listened to and that things change. Revelations of rapes and sexual assaults in our federal parliament have, rightly, dominated discussions everywhere, except, it appears, in the Cabinet rooms of the Prime Minister and other Ministers.

I do not want to trivialise this issue by talking about my garden. However, the right of all women to feel safe and blossom is such an important issue that I can’t do it justice at the moment, but I am standing alongside of all those who are marching. I may write more later.

If you are interested in knowing more, you can read here.


So, how does my garden grow? Last time I wrote about it I described it as ‘floriferous’; today my adjective would be ‘bedraggled’. I can’t even blame a blistering Summer, as it is has been the coolest Summer for 17 years. So, let’s put it down to not being able to move as easily as I have in the past. Over the past few months I have been doing what I can, and accepting that I can’t do everything. I am moving more freely now and able to do more, so Autumn should see good results.

Things have survived in the front yard. Do I remember me telling you how I was changing to native plants? They seem to have survived, and will hopefully bulk up more over time. I have planted a couple more plants, and started to put some in pots. The pots have the added bonus of giving height to the ‘design’ (😂🤣😂) as the other things are rather low growing.

(Would you like to know why I have a pot of feathers there too? Well, I will tell you all about it in the next Letter from My Studio. Sign up for it here.)

I planted out some petunias, hoping they would take over the front of the front. Instead I have this stunted little thing. 😩 The flower is almost bigger than the plant!

Some parts still happily do their own thing, with only a little repotting and cutting back from me. And the bees love the salvia.

We are changing our composting system. We have been using those round compost bins that lurk at the bottom of many people’s gardens. In it I would put bigger kitchen scraps, garden clippings and Autumn leaves. Maintaining the bins (ie stirring them) has been at the bottom of my To Do List for quite a while, leading me to shut the lid very quickly every time I would dump the kitchen waste.

We also have a worm farm. And a council green bin that takes food scraps.

It’s obvious that the new plan is to ditch the compost bins, use the worm farm for smaller kitchen waste and put the rest into the green bin. We can get compost from the council when we need it.

Today I gave the worm farm a much needed clean out. I now have a couple of tubs of well developed castings to be spread around the garden…..so that maybe the adjective I will use next time to describe my garden will be ‘floriferous’ again! 😊

How does my garden grow….in early Autumn (Part 2)

Our front yard faces north. That is the direction that captures most of the sun in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a reasonable size, about 3 x 2 metres. So it is the perfect spot in my garden for growing veggies. Unfortunately, last year it was simply a pile of dirt, even though I tried to trick myself into believing that it was left deliberately as fallow ground! All that grew were untended parsley and strawberry plants.

This Autumn the time had come for an upgrade . My Fella grabbed the fork and turned over the soil. After some lovely soaking rain I added compost and lightly forked it again. Then I mounded it into “beds”. Two of them are finished; the other half is still to be worked.

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I planted out the silverbeet that had been growing in a pot. I rummaged through my old seed packets and found broad beans, radishes and beetroot. They weren’t too far out-of-date, so in they went too. All enjoying today’s lovely soaking rain, no doubt.

I planted the silverbeet with a dollop of worm castings. This is an amazing, magical ingredient, which you get free from the worms. It is surprisingly soft, rather like chocolate mousse ~ and I am sorry if that image has put some of you off chocolate mousse for life!

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I also use the worm juice (the dark liquid that comes out of the worm farm into the square bucket). Diluted down it makes excellent liquid fertiliser and helps plants get established.

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There are some of my little beauties, munching their way through the kitchen scraps and leaf litter. Remember though, worms for the compost and worm farms are not the same as worms found in the garden. If you wish to set up a worm farm (and it is very easy), you will need to get the appropriate worms. That could be from someone else’s farm or compost. If you live in Melbourne, come and visit and I will give you some.

I mentioned parsley before. It loves my garden and all my plants are self sown. During the front garden’s “fallow” period it grew like topsy and set more seed.

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An avenue of parsley!

Just look at all the parsley seedlings we have growing ~ and this is only a small number of them!

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I have also planted out sweet pea seeds in the back garden. I quietly picked these seeds from one of my very favourite gardens in the neighbourhood. The gardener had mass planted the sweet peas so that they tumbled down her fence. It was a riot of flowers and colour and perfume. So I only quietly picked a few pods from the mass, and they were on the street side of the fence ~ and I am sure she wouldn’t have minded!

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Last thing to tell you about is my hellebore. Once I planted about half a dozen bushes under my maple tree. Only one survived. Imagine my delight when I looked the other day and saw that it had had babies!

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When I looked further I saw that one little leaflet was growing up between the bricks in the paving, surrounded by weeds. (Brick paving is rather grandiose, but that’s a story for another day.) Not the best spot, so I dug it out. I thought it would be a seedling. Instead it had this strong root system that made me think it was a runner rather than a seedling. Does any one know? This is the root system.

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It is replanted nearer the parent plant. I hope it will have a long and happy life! It may be sharing its life with sweet peas, because I sowed the seeds around there too.

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