Archive for February, 2011

The Last Days of Summer

February 28th, 2011

I love to stop to smell the alyssum

As the last day of summer approaches and I am busy in the garden giving the roses their summer clipping and feed I take time out to pop a chair near the alyssum growing in the tub with the rosemary and just sit for a minute or two to drink in the sweet honey scent these little white flowers provide.  The ducks are busy about their day and it is good to take a little time out from weeding and clipping just to sit.

under the net stands a fig tree...

I am thinking about gardens and gardening in general and it occured to me that one of the wonderful things about gardening is that it allows for different things for different people.  I think that if everybody was given a little plot all of their own the end products would all be completely different.  You see this as you walk along any suburban street, each garden is an individual being.  There is room for many approaches to gardening and they each give us the satisfaction of expressing ourselves.  Gardening, in its humble way, is an art as well as a craft.  At the same time it keeps us in touch with the earth, the seasons, and with that complex of interrelated forces which we call nature.

Gardening also teaches us about change.  It was a very long time before I realised that it was ok to dig out a plant that just refused to thrive and replace it with another which was much happier or looked better there.  I must admit to still feeling a little guilty, but I am learning that change is a good thing in a garden. 

under the net, the figs....

Well, it is time now to go out to get some more little jobs done here and there about the place, on the way I will just take a quick peep at the figs growing ripe and delicious under their veil.

Happy gardening!

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February Jobs

February 16th, 2011

a good time to repot cyclamens

This is the month to repot cyclamens, and my little white cyclamen would just love me to do just that, so this little job is first on my to do list for February.  The lemon tree also would be very pleased to get a little TLC.  It has had a very hard summer, even though it has had plenty of water.  In fact, the poor wee thing has been drowned in the flood.  It has suffered gore wasps, black sooty mould and all in all is not all that happy. So, this month is a good month to treat the lemon tree to some good citrus plant food, dig around the bottom and mulch.  Mr Lemon tree might just get a little trim to tidy him up again as well.

time for the summer prune

This is also the time to give the roses their ‘summer prune’ to produce better blooms and to keep the bushes young and productive.  I approach this a little like picking a bunch of long-stemmed roses, although the roses at the end are all dead.   Summer pruning ensures plenty of glorious flowers in approximately six weeks time and the beautiful roses will bring us into autumn with a flourish!

After pruning I like to give the roses some good fertiliser, some blood & bone perhaps, water it in, add perhaps a touch of mulch and then wait for the autumn flush of roses to appear. 

The wisteria needs to have all those long excess summer canes trimmed back, they just go a bit wild at this time of the summer, I guess you might think they were having a last fling at life before the dormant winter to come.  Apart from all these jobs there is always the weeds and the vege patch so plenty to do out there, I just have to get on out there and do it!

Happy gardening!

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A Gnome Adventure!

February 11th, 2011

Gimble & his friend

Well, this has been a very unusual summer down here in Melbourne.  Usually in February with only one more month of summer, gardeners are wondering about how to nurse their gardens along on little or no water.  But this year water has been a problem in a very different way.  With the little creek down the bottom of the garden growing to be a large and very fast moving river last weekend I find quite a few of my plants down that end of the garden have been drowned or washed away in the torrent of water.  But, this morning a little friend was returned – Gimble, my little garden gnome!  A neighbour brought him back, a little the worse for wear, and looking a little foolish [the gnome, not the neighbour]  Yes, Gimble had been on a grand adventure indeed! 

Waddles was unimpressed with Gimble's return

I must say that when I began my gardening adventures, quite a few years ago, I never thought I would become one of those gardeners that allowed gnomes into the garden.  A garden is a place for plants and maybe a few, only a few mind, ornaments.  But, never gnomes!  But, after a year or two of pottering about in the garden, my family began to notice.  Nothing was said exactly, but when the phone rang out with no one answering it, they began to look at each other in a knowing way and say, ‘She is probably out in the garden’  When sport activity forms needed to be signed and taken back to school, they began to look for me in the garden first.  So much so, that sometimes I would come strolling out from the kitchen to bring in the laundry and find an odd grumpy teen sort of person stomping about down the back, near the creek who on sighting me would yell, ‘What are you doing inside?  I have been looking for you all over the backyard!’ 

The kookaburras thought the whole thing a little weird

Yes, they had all begun to notice and at Christmas they pooled together, dear children that they are, and bought me -a gnome.  I was estatic!  Perhaps too estatic!  Because, the very next Christmas, another gnome was presented!  I was overwhelmed!  The third Christmas, yes, another gnome and I began to feel …well, my face must have told all because at that very moment every single one of my children looked at each other and laughed!  “We were wondering how many gnomes it would take!” they said.  So, that is the story of the 3 gnomes in my garden, and yes, I have given in and given them each a gnome name.  They live in the back yard and I hope they will never have any more friends although I must say I was quite pleased to see Gimble returned.  It was returned by my garden guru, that lovely man who helps out with advice from time to time and often laughs at my attempts in the garden.  When he knocked at my door to return the errant gnome I think he had a little bit of a glint in his eye as he handed him over. ‘I am sure you wouln’t want to loose such a handsome gnome!’ he said.  ‘I know how very fond you are of them.’  I thanked him very much and went out the back to put Gimble back in his now flattened garden bed.  He looked a little bit like he was laughing, but I am sure I was just imagining it!

Happy gardening!

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A Very Wet Day in the Garden…

February 6th, 2011

The ducks in my sunken garden 'pond'

Well, yesterday was a very good day for the ducks!  As we watched our tiny creek become a medium river, its edges creeping up our backyard and heading for the back door the ducks took full advantage of the situation!   They made us laugh while we made preparation to try to stop the water from coming into the house.

our tiny creek becomes a river

My sunken garden acted like a sort of levy bank and the water all poured into it, filling it quite quickly and lapping over the steps.  Wick-Wick launched herself into the large pond with a great deal of delight, but Waddles, the older duck was none too sure at first, and stood at the top of the step making, ‘Well, I’m not too certain of all this’ sort of noises.  But Wick-Wick was having much too much fun to bother to listen to such silly advice and was swimming round and round her little feet paddling away, stopping every now and then to stick her head under the rather dubious looking water to see what could be seen underneath.  Waddles decided that no one was listening to her and she might as well join in the fun, and so stepped carefully into the now quite deep pond.  As soon as she did Wick-Wick layed her head flat on the water and charged Waddles and the next 5 minutes or so there was much splashing and feathers flying as they both raced round and round at top speed in the pool.

The ducks swimming madly in circles in the new 'pond'

Meanwhile the water crept, well, it was quicker than crept really, it had waves in it!  I think the sunken garden saved us really, or more likely we were just lucky and had a narrow escape.  But it certainly makes you even more aware of the terrible plight of all those people in Queensland and here in Victoria who have not been so lucky with the floods.  Watching water rise so very quickly is very scary!  I can’t imagine how very terrible it must be for all those caught up in more serious flood events!

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