Archive for July, 2010

Charlie & his friends

July 30th, 2010

Charlie

I had some visitors today while I ate my lunch on the deck.  Some Sulfur-crested Cockatoos dropped in.  Charlie and his friends.  They drop by from time to time, I think they find my antics in the garden quite amusing!  They love to sit up in the Chestnut tree at this time of the year as they eat the new buds growing on the tree.  I think they also like the vista they have from the tree while it has no leaves. 

one of Charlie's friends

Charlie & his friends are noisy neighbours and like nothing more than waking me up very early in the morning.  But you can’t help but like them.  They love to sweep across the sky and seem to love to have fun and play with each other.  They can get up to all sorts of trouble though and think nothing of chewing at the woodwork around my windows.  Naughty boys!

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July Plant

July 27th, 2010

 

The Meyer Lemon

Every garden large or small should have room for a lemon tree.  What would we do without a lemon?  Lemons are the hardist of all the citrus family and there are types to suit all areas and they are very good to grow in tubs!  Large tubs of course!  I love my little lemon tree.  I have a Meyer lemon tree.  The Meyer is an adaptable hybrid more tolerant of climate extremes and my little Meyer is full of lemons for me right now.

I usually leave the fruit on the tree until ripe and pick as I need to.  Lemons can be used to make pomanders – stuck with cloves, rolled in orris root powder (available from health food stores and placed in drawers or wordrobes to scent your clothes.  A lovely thing our grandmothers used to do.  Lemon juice is wonderful for making salad dressing too.  In fact there is heaps of things to do with lemons  – it is hard to understand why they call a dud car a lemon, for lemons are very useful!

The humble lemon tree does not demand much in the way of care, but it does enjoy the sun and is very grateful for a good dob of compost from time to time and a little light feed in the spring or autumn with some quality citrus food.  But the wonderful thing about the lemon is that even if you do nothing too it, it quite often not only survives but thrives.  It certainly deserves to be plant of the month.

Happy gardening!

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Winter Plants

July 25th, 2010

watching the shadows dance on the bark

In the deep depth of winter the garden can be an interesting place to be.  Some bulbs and tubers flower at this time of year and many shrubs have interesting leaves, flowers or catkins, don’t you just love catkins?  There is nothing quite so lovely as running your fingers along the pussy willow and feeling its little paws.   When all the leaves have fluttered to the ground leaving the large trees bare there is a certain beauty with coloured or twisted stems showing and attractive bark.  The patterns the shadows  spreads across the bare branches and along the trunk are magic!

”]At this time of year you can enjoy the pretty garden pansy and the Iris.  The cyclamen are in the shops right now and who can resist?  My Mahonia is flowering sending out its delicious scent and attracting the little birds.  The first of the snowdrops are out!  No winter garden should be complete without helleborus, those hardy uncomplaining perennials, which flower away and need very little looking after.

Of course we cannot forget the

sweet little violets

little violet!  The hyacinth I planted in a bowl are pushing up and will flower very shortly and the camellia is covered in delicious red flowers which brighten up any dull day!  Out in the nurseries and even to be found in supermarkets are the little primroses, very pretty indeed and available in so many different colours.  I haven’t any as yet but I am very tempted each time I see them.

There is much happening in the winter garden and much enjoyment to be had from the winter plants.

Happy gardening!

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Winter Portrait

July 21st, 2010

My lemon tree is heavy with fruit

Today I will paint a word portrait of my little winter garden.  The Daphne is covered in buds.  Soon the buds will open up into flowers and I can take a few inside to enjoy their scent.  The  pineapple sage is still flowering much to the pleasure of the little honey eaters that love to feed on its flowers.  If you brush up against the bush as you walk on by, or the native mint bush that grows near it you can enjoy their scent as it is only released when the leaves are crushed.  There is nothing so lovely than to pick a leaf, hold it up close and drink in the scent,  exquisite, against the cold, morning air!  One of the delights of an early morning wander about. 

Mahonia - a wrens' delight!

The sky this morning is blue again after days of grey.  Drifts of cloud streaking overhead.  My bowl of hyyacinth are almost flowering!  It is very still.

My lemon tree is heavy with lemons.  The little finches and honey eaters are very busy and so quick flitting about in the pineapple sage.  The ground is very wet, much to the ducks delight!  My red camelia is covered in flowers and a delight to see.  Over in the corner, close to the lemon tree is the Mahonia, also covered in the beautiful long yellow flowers.  These are scented and the birds love to visit this tree also.

my little winter retreat

My garden is not neat and tidy but it is a very busy place full of bird song and growing things.  You can hear the busy little finches and the tiny honeyeater and if you look carefully you can see the bush move, but you have to be patient and wait to catch a quick glimpse of the tiny bird visitors.

This is my winter garden.

PS.  The first of the jonquils are flowering…Spring is on its way!

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Magical Flowers

July 18th, 2010

Flowers cheer us

I love flowers!  They are truely magic!  Flowers are irresistible to birds, bees, butterflies and me!  Flowers make us think of love, passion, peace, beauty and harmony.  They are perhaps the most powerful of all human symbols.  We set off to visit friends in hospital with a bunch of flowers to cheer them.  Flowers are present at births and funerals.  No bride is complete without a garland of flowers in her hair or a bouquet and  nothing quite cheers a room like a few flowers placed lovingly into a vase.

Flowers smile at us as we pass

Flowers make the world a much more beautiful place to be.  They smell good and good smells make you feel happier.  You can tell the seasons from which flowers are in your garden or simply from the florist you pass on the way to work.  Daffodils in spring and roses in summer, chrysanthemums for Mother’s Day. 

If you want birds in your garden plant masses of flowers, especially the many grevilleas and sages.  They will attract the butterflies too. 

Memories are made of flowers!  The violets that grew in your mothers garden, the flowers you were given at your child’s birth, the rose bush you grew from a cutting given to you by a very dear friend.  Flowers make you smile!

Well, I am off out to bring in a bunch of flowers for my desk.

Happy gardening!

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Trouble in the duck house

July 16th, 2010

RIP -Hazel

Today I have to write a sad blog.  But I have waited to tell you all about it until the story had a happy ending.  Sadly, a few weeks ago my little Hazel Duck died.  We raised Hazel & Waddles from little day old ducklings and I have to say that there were quite a few tears shed by me that day!  Hazel had been the sweetest little duck you can imagine and when I was in the garden it was she who stayed closest to me as I did the weeding, she was always first to come when I called the ducks over to find a treat of a snail or slug. 

Waddles & Hazel, when they were little

But, if I was distressed and upset that was nothing compared to poor little Waddles.  Her whole world had come apart at the seams.  She was beside herself in grief!  When a duck like Waddles is upset she doesn’t take it quietly, oh no, she quacked  and hooted and didn’t want me to go out of her sight!  Every day she became more neurotic and more desperate!  Something had to be done, and that something needed to be a new companion duck.

Waddles meets her new buddy WickWick

After much searching, we were lucky to find a lovely fellow duck owner who was sympathetic to our needs and so we brought home little Wick Wick.  Waddles wasn’t too sure at first and it took a couple of weeks of calm on Wick Wicks’ behalf.  Little Wick Wick is the sweetest duck and now they are best of friends.  Wick Wick seems to be a very calm and gentle duck and we were very lucky to find her.

The gentle little Wick Wick

The gentle little Wick Wick

So, now I have Waddles & Wick Wick to keep me company in the garden as I potter about.  A sad story with a happy ending.

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July Jobs

July 13th, 2010

Lately the weather has been just wonderful to be outside and busy in the garden.  Of course the big job of the month is pruning the roses.  But, before I head out to do that I like to give a little attention to my tools.  Cleaning and sharpening helps a great deal to give good clean cuts.  I love cutting back roses.  It is always so very satisfying.  Neat and tidy!  It is always amazing to watch those little buds come out into leaves later in the spring. 

mini roses - mini joy!

Another little job I do at this time of the year is spread lime on the vege patch.  When you feed your garden regularly with compost, manure and all those yummy things that gardens love you will find that gradually the soil can become more acid.  So it is always a good idea to compensate for this by an application of lime.  Midwinter is a good time to do this for winter rains will leach the lime further into the soil.

ducks are expert at pottering

Some people fiddle about with the soil around the bottom of their hydrangeas round about now.  I am quite happy with my pink hydrangea, but I know that if I wanted blue, for a change, I could add aluminium sulphate to the soil: 1 heaped tablespoon per square measure and then watered in well.  I would need to repeat the whole application again in August and then in October.  But this sort of magic I can do without.  Pink is fine with me.

Other than the roses and cutting back some other little treasures that have overgrown their space,  I will just continue to potter happily.  July is a very good month to potter and ponder.

Happy gardening!

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Therapeutic Pottering

July 10th, 2010

The ducks love to potter

 

There is an art to pottering in the garden.  When you master this gentle art you will find that pottering can be very therapeutic!  Time slows down.  You slow down.  It can be very relaxing.  The first rule of pottering is that there is no rules at all.  No lists of work to be done.  In fact the very best sort of pottering happens when you just go outside and wander about, doing whatever comes to hand.  There should be no timetables, no particular project to complete. 

It helps to have a complete day ahead of you, but if you practice the art of pottering, it is possible to do it with whatever time you have to spare. 

I usually start a day of pottering with what I call ‘the garden walk’.  This is different from walking to get somewhere, or the early morning exercise walk.  This walk is more of a wander really.  You just wander about, and maybe sit down, if a seat is at hand and let your mind drift.  You will notice little things that need your attention.  Some little job that you might like to do.  A weed may need to be pulled out.  A rose cut back.  Before you know it your garden gloves are on and you are away.

The hours pass and you might find you  have got quite a lot done, but it doesn’t matter if you have or not.  A day spent pottering is not about ‘getting things done’ it is about time being spent pleasantly.  It is about listening to the birds and maybe sitting down and watching them for a while.  It is about not just smelling the roses but taking the time to touch their petals.  It is about slowing down.

Happy gardening!

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The July Garden

July 5th, 2010

 

my broadbeans are slowly getting taller

A lot of people think of July as a cold and horrible month, and with the cold days of late, I might just be beginning to agree with them.  But, if you rug up properly and wear sensible clothes, winter can be a wonderful time to be in the garden.  One of my little jobs for this month is to take myself off to a large department store, such as KMart, and get myself a good pair of stout boots!  Yes, folks, we have mud.  The ducks are most pleased.  We are having puddles too.   I am looking forward to jumping in puddles with my boots very soon! 

my mini crop of garlic

Overall, if your garden is sheltered form the wind, winter gardening can be an absolute joy!  There is nothing quite like jumping in puddles!  Not that that gets much serious gardening done , and there is plenty of serious gardening to be done this month, with at the very top of the list:  Pruning!

tiny red roses

When I first started ‘serious’ gardening, that is more than just pulling out the weeds, I used to get a bit muddled about just when to prune the various plants in my garden.  But now I have simplified it down to a general rule of thumb, which is to prune after the plant has flowered.  The exceptions to this rule are roses and hydrangeas.  Because they have such long flowering seasons, extending from spring and summer through to autumn, the best time to prune is when they are winter dormant and that is during July.

So, having wiped down my secateurs with a little meth. spirits, I am off out into the gentle winter sunshine to prune some roses!

Happy gardeining!

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