Archive for May, 2010

The Changing Seasons

May 24th, 2010

It is in the autumn, after summer drought,  that the yearly life cycle of plants in my garden begins anew.  It is like the awakening in spring that follows winter dormancy.    As I write, in late autumn, the day is radiant and warm, with a blue sky and garden work is a joy.  It is such a nice autumn. 

Winter is on is way with its periods of rain alternating with sunny if not really warm days.  There will be day after day of winds which will howl about outside making you want to close all the windows and turn inward.  This is the time you appreciate the solid walls of your house.  But most of the time winter here is no time to stay inside for more than a day or two.  You can rug up,  get outside and get stuck into raking up leaves for your compost.  My fingers do get a little chilly but on the whole I like working outside more at this time of the year than the summer.

The ducks & I were having fun under the lemon tree today.  They also love to help with raking up the leaves, you never know what may be under – maybe a juicy snail.

Happy gardening!

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May Jobs

May 17th, 2010

It is time to make an assault on weeds, for these will accelerate in growth at this time of the year with the rain!   My most invasive weed at the moment is oxalis!  I have known people to go mad at this time of year over this little plant!!  It is enough to drive you to the weed killer – but we won’t go there!  We want our garden to be free of all that!  No, it is best to remain calm and try to look positively at all that extra time spent in our garden bed pulling it out.  A dear friend of mine told me that if I could get all the oxalis out (including all the little bulbs) before it flowered I could be rid of it forever.   I have never succeded, but I live in hope. 

Another ongoing little chore is raking up all those lovely autumn leaves for the compost bins!  It is fun to do this – it keeps you warm and gives you exercise!  If you have too many leaves to fit into your compost bins you can spread them at the back of the flowerbeds  or under shrubs, whatever you do with those autumn leaves – don’t waste them by burning them!

The dahlias are all looking a bit sad now but it is important to let the foliage die back naturally to allow the tubers to take in food for the following year.  Around the end of the month they are usually ready for me to cut the stems of the plants to within 15 centimetres of the ground and leave the plants in the ground for a few more weeks to allow the tubers to mature.  At this point some people lift and store them for next year.  I have never had much success with lifting dahlias; inevitably they become too dry and shrivel or they fall prey to slaters, or I forget about where I put them and they die a sad death in the dark corners of the shed, alone and forgotten.  I find that my dahlias will usually suffer less by being left undisturbed – something I do very well – until it is time to divide and replant them around November.

While raking up the leaves I saw my little clump of violets – they will be flowering soon, so it is time to give them a little bit of TLC with some fertiliser and maybe tidy up the old leaves by giving them a little bit of a trim back.  Dear little things that they are!

Well, I am off out into that garden bed to pull out some more oxalis!  Happy gardening!

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Blue Autumn Skies

May 11th, 2010

A cheerful garden under the bluest of autumn skies has been begging for my attention.  So, for the past few days it has been me and the ducks pottering about.  It was wonderful to be outside and it occured to me, once again, that it is the garden that teaches me what ‘gardening’ is really all about.  A garden can help us to connect our dreams with the natural world around us.  Gardening connects us to the natural world and slows us down to the pace of life as it should be lived.  As you work away in your own little Eden the seasons become your teacher.  You get to know the plants more intimately and learn about their likes and dislikes, as you do with friends.

I like to feel that gardeners who live and work in harmony with their surroundings make a valuable investment in the living green mantle of Earth which sustains all life by providing shelter, food, and even the air we breathe.  I certainly feel more in harmony myself if I have had my ‘garden therapy’ for the week.

Autumn is a very busy planting time for me.   I have moved towards mediterranean, drought tolerant plants that need little water, and  I have found that these plants planted in autumn become established over winter, watered by the beneficial winter rains.  In the summer that follows, many are able to manage on their own, helped by ample mulch, while a few still need the bi-weekly water to survive the hottest summeer months. 

So, I have been away from the computer and busy as a bee out under the slowly changing colours of the autumn leaves.  Waddles and Hazel have been having heaps of fun in the puddles that have been abundant lately with the rain, and to make things even more exciting – we are beginning to find more …snails!  Well, I am off to rake up a few more leaves for the compost!

Happy gardening.

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The May Garden

May 2nd, 2010

My Canna Lily

I am finding my May garden a rather depressing and untidy sight – well, at the moment anyway, because it is still very dry and truth to be told I have not had as much time to get on out there as I would like.  At present I am very busy inside, stripping wallpaper and renovating the kitchen.  It all started with my window sill and grew somewhat!

My ginger rose

My sasanqua camellia continues to delight and add its bright colour to my front garden bed, which is good because while I am looking up at the flowers I can ignore the weeds, multiplying down below.  Out the back the pineapple sage is doing its best to cheer me up while feeding the visiting honey-eaters and my autumn leaves are beginning to cover the back garden, sometimes giving Waddles and Hazel a bit of a scare as one drops down near them.

first lemon of the season

My lemon tree has lemons for me to use to ward off the common colds of winter.  It is always good to have the lemon in production again.  The broad beans need me to tie them up rather urgently so that is one job I will have to find time to do.  Roses are blooming again which is rather lovely  and I have enjoyed my first hot chocolate day.  This is a tradition of my very own whereupon you make yourself a large mug of hot chocolate complete with marshmallows and take outside on a suitable grey cool to cold day.  Then you set yourself down in a comfortable spot in the garden.  In my case this is on my back porch.  You set yourself down as I said before and contemplate….This is a tradition I feel that many could perhaps begin to take as their own. Perhaps in times to come there will be a declared Hot Chocolate Day celebration!  But until the rest of society catches up with me, Hot Chocolate day remains my very own tradition and a very good one at that!

Happy gardening!

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