Posts Tagged ‘bulbs’

The March Garden

March 13th, 2011

the exquisitely scented ginger lilies

March is the first month of autumn.   This summer has been very wet indeed!  Much of my back yard was under water for a day or so and a lot of my little plants, even some big ones either washed away or seem very unhappy and might well need to be replaced.  The soil might need a little bit of a helping hand as well, with forking it over and adding in some mulch, start to build it up again, it is in a pretty poor shape at present, so there will need to be some work done before replacing those plants.  The ginger lilies however are loving it!

Wick-Wick the duck, always ready to help inspect the garden!

 Autumn is a very good time to inspect the garden for plants that have not coped well and to replace them.  It is a chance to make some changes.   I used to be so afraid to rip things out when I first began to work in the garden.  If a plant was sick, I felt it my duty to do all in my power to nurse it back to health.  Even in the garden centres I was drawn to the sick plants on the ‘sale tray’ down the back.  Poor little things, they needed love and attention!  I had to take them home and plant them and look after them.  When they died I felt I had failed them in some way.  But, I am over that now.  I still tend to err on the side of ‘giving them a bit more of a go’ but now I am much more inclined to cut my losses and start all over again, and I avoid the ‘sale tray’ at garden centres altogether, it just isn’t worth the effort.

March is also the day- dreaming month!  It is time to get out the summer catalogues and dream of which bulbs to order for the spring flowering!  Of course, with the shady glade that is my garden I usually have to stick to the tried and true but one can dream…

Happy gardening!

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Some little pots I prepared earlier…

August 5th, 2010

Dpmt you just love tiny daffodils?

Remember that layer bulb pot I did way back in March?  Well, the little gems have all popped up and are doing their very best to brighten up dull winter days with their cheerful little yellow flowers!  Don’t you just love it when things work out?  Bulbs can be like that.  Plant and forget, then enjoy the surprise when they do their thing.  Spring really is on its way!

Someting for nothing!

The hydrangea cuttings I popped into a pot when I was cutting back my hydrangeas have all got leaves on them too.  So, plants for nothing!!!  Very pleased with that, if I do say so myself!  And I do!

Another surprise waited down in the back corner of the garden, the old potato pot.  The story here is that while cleaning out my pantry I came across an old potato beginning to sprout.  It was trying so  very hard I thought I would give it a hand and so put it into a big black pot and covered it with some old compost.  I have done this little trick before and it is always worth giving it a go. 

This potato plant will give me a pot of potatoes later

As the plant grows you just cover the poor little thing with soil or compost or hay until you get to the top of the pot.  The potato plant gets into the game by pushing up leaves and putting out roots into the new soil all the way to the top of the pot.  Then you have a potato plant to enjoy, and really they are pretty just like that.  But there is more.  Not at this stage but soon….The potato flowers in spring, spreading roots all the while then dies, and you are left with a pot of potatoes!  As well as the potatoes you get some super improved soil to use in the vege plot.  Talking of which, my broad beans have started getting flowers.  Very exciting!

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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A Blossom tale

June 23rd, 2010

meet the bulb

It is Winter now.  Cold and Grey.  But early in Autumn a small bulb, called Hyacinth was cradled neatly given a cool drink and a kiss for luck, then tucked away in a cool dark cupboard.  Time moved on as it always does.  Blossom thought she had been abandoned!  Poor wee little thing.

Behold- a green leaf!

The weeks past, and it was true that she had been forgotton.  But then….What is this?  Could it be a little green leaf?  Wonder of Wonders…Blossom had been found again.  ‘Out of the cupboard with you’, a voice cried.  And out she came.  She stood close to a window and grew and stretched towards the sun.

can this be a blue flower?

She began to shoot up a blue flower.  Yes, she was blue!  Indeed, she was a proud blue Hyacinthas, called Blossom, much loved and admired by all who passed her way.  Stop, she seemed to say, to anyone who would listen.  ‘Come close enjoy my fragrance’.  And that is just what we do!  Isn’t she lovely?  And becomming more lovely as each day passes. 

never mind the roses, smell me!

Blossom brightens up my winter days!

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Bulb madness

April 25th, 2010

My bulbs, waiting to be planted!

Well, here in Melbourne, the bulb season – the planting bulb season, is almost at an end!  Rushed up to my favourite bulb farm only to find that they had almost sold out!  There is a little debate between gardeners from whom I seek advice about final dates but they all agree I had better hurry and plant these bulbs I have just bought before it is too late!  It is kind of like a final exam!  The lady at the bulb farm fixed me with a steely eye and advised that I should definately plant before Mothers Day.  She had that sort of look that said, ‘Can I trust you with these bulbs?   Will they be going to a good home where they will be cared for and properly treated?’  I paid my money and brought my treasures home.  

My layer pot, doing its thing!

Other high authorities, the man at the end of the street my very own gardening guru, said I had better get my skates on and those bulbs need to be in the ground by Monday or the end of the month at the latest!  Otherwise, he said, I was just wasting my money.  A thing he has come to be used to with me and my gardening efforts.  So, this afternoon, armed with potting mix, pots and bulbs of course, I will head out into the garden.  My mission?  To put my little charges under the ground!  How deep?  Well, about twice the depth of the bulb itself.  I have heard different stories from different people but it all becomes a little confused and this basic bit of advice also came from my gardening guru, he also muttered that ‘I am 85 years old, but I have never seen anything like it’  – He was referring to my holding one of my smaller bulbs against my finger to see where double the bulb was measured against the lines on my fingers….my little finger is just right for freesias and my thumb, amazingly, is just right for hyacinths.  By this time my gardening guru had disappeared down his garden path.  A little habit he has. 

'Blossom'- my little hyacinth

I have planted some bulbs already of course, I did my layer bulb pot and I put a single hyacinth in a vase in a cupboard to do its thing and promptly forgot all about it!  Got a huge suprise the other day when I went to look for some undercoat to put on my kitchen window and there it was, having filled its little vase with roots, god bless it!  Well, I said to my little plant, look at you!  I shall call you Blossom, and you shall be mine!  It was a touching moment for us both!  So, you see, bulbs are magic!

Well, I am off out into the garden to indulge in a little bulb madness in a madcap, fun filled afternoon, just me and the ducks and my magic bulbs!

The ducks

Happy gardeining!

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April Jobs

April 10th, 2010

Correa, the native fuchsia

Correa, the native fuchsia

There are many little jobs awaiting me out in the garden this month.  Bulb season is still with us, and the time to plant spring flowering bulbs can slip away if you are not too careful.  Can’t let that pot wait too much longer before I fill it with some pretty spring flowering bulbs.  I have a particular pot I save just for Hyacinths, usually I plant them & pop them in the back of some garden bed & just forget all about them until they shoot up in spring.  Then I get all excited & bring them up on the balcony, where the ducks can’t eat them, and watch & wait.  This little task never fails to bring me a great deal of joy!  Simple pleasures!  It is always best to try to finish planting your bulbs by the end of April.  I will need to head out to the shops to purchase some spring excitment in the form of bulbs! 

Did anyone say 'snail'?

Did anyone say 'snail'?

Waddles & Hazel  are looking forward to the rain because they know that the slugs & snails begin to appear as the soft rains of autumn begin.  This is the best time to get on out there and get on top of the weeding for me, accompanied with my two slug & snail hunting ducks.  Of course, if you don’t have ducks you might have to head out late at night with a torch & a bucket to protect any new seedlings you might have that look like tasty treats for slugs & snails. 

This month is also a very good month for planting violas and pansy! 

 

Garden -Dec09 044Outside of my own garden, April is the perfect month to visit other gardens in the hills and enjoy the beauty of the autumn foliage.  In fact walks are best in autumn, the crisp cool air and the colours of the leaves as they turn.  A walk through a botanic garden is a wonderful treat at this time of the year.  You don’t have to be a small child to enjoy scrunching through autumn leaves, speaking of which, they will be starting to fall very soon, so I need to dust off my rake.

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The April Garden

April 4th, 2010

Dahlias still delight

Dahlias still delight

April is the perfect month for gardening, the days are long and mellow and the soil is still warm from the summer sun.  The days lately seem to be calling you outside to play.  But just lately I seem to be very busy and not have the long days to spend.  How frustrating!  But, you cannot deny that in the past week or two it has been beautiful gardening weather!

my red sasanqua camellia

my red sasanqua camellia

It is still bulb time, time to plant heaps of things!  I mean, when you think of it, doesn’t it make more sense to plant in the autumn?  If you plant in the spring, the little plant has only a couple of months growth and then its tiny root system has to cope with the heat of the summer.  But if you plant now they will have two good months of growing time before the winter cold sets in, then they may grow more slowly, of course, throughout winter and then put on a burst of growth when the spring comes.  All the more reason for getting out in that garden!!

Pineapple Sage, the honey eaters love it!

Pineapple Sage, the honey eaters love it!

One thing that is growing with abundance out there in my garden is weeds!!  So, have to get on to them pretty soon.  I plan to make myself real comfortable out there with a little pad for my knees or my bottom and just enjoy being out in the still warm weather!  In fact if you plant yourself in the centre of the garden and quietly work away the little finches dart about above sometimes and it can be a quite pleasant job.  Time seems to slow to a moderate pace and you can enjoy the garden from a different perspective. 

GardenApril10 020My red sasanqua camellia is covered with blooms and out the back the pineapple sage is beginning to send out its red flowers that the honey eaters love so much.  My pineapple sage is just where I can view the little honey eaters from my kitchen window, so this time of year, I enjoy watching them flit about while I wash up.  My new fig tree has figs!! They are slowly ripening.  Hopefully my possum wont know what they are.  But a friend of mine says I should cover them just in case!  Molly, my possum, is a funny creature, a lady of very particular taste.  Last year I planted out a pot of pansies, yellow, orange and blue.  I had bought ones already flowering from the nursery for a quick colour lift!  They looked a picture!  Very pleased with myself I went to bed only to find that Molly the possum had eaten all the yellow & orange ones.  Apparently blue ones do not appeal. Or, perhaps Molly couldn’t see them in the night being a dark colour.  Who can tell, not me.  But  now I only plant blue ones and never do they get eaten!  Molly also likes yellow roses but lucky for me not red ones!  My neighbours possum does like red ones and thinks I am very lucky with Molly.

Now I must away to plant myself amongst the weeds and start to make a difference!

Happy gardening!

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Layer up

March 13th, 2010

bulbs ready for planting

bulbs ready for planting

Bulb season is here folks and bulbs mean garden fun!  The great thing about bulbs is, that no matter how full your garden appears to be, there is always space for a few bulbs. If you have no garden at all there is always pots, and bulbs are great for these.  There is nothing quite as lovely when spring comes around the corner than to find the new green shoots springing up! 

layer 1: mini daffodils

layer 1: mini daffodils

This year I am trying some layered gardening!  It is great fun!  It is all about placing different bulb types in layers from the base of the pot to the top.  You start with a small layer of soil at the base, and between each layer.  The big bulbs go down below and smaller bulbs on top.  So, layer of soil, then bulbs, then layer of soil, then smaller bulbs, then more soil.  Just like a lasagne!  You can do as many layers as you can fit into your chosen pot!  As long as you remember to put larger bulbs down lower.

 

next layer of mascari, then top off with soil!

next layer of mascari, then top off with soil!

The flower shoots from each of the bulbs will find their way to the top and flower at the appropriate time.  It is easy and fun!  I have chosen mini daffodils (bottom) and then a layer of soil and tiny mascari.

Now I just have to find a spot for the pot where Waddles and Hazel won’t dig around in it and then when spring comes….

Well, I am off to plant a few more bulbs.  Happy gardening.

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March Jobs

March 9th, 2010

GardenMarch10 029

March is the month for planting sweetpea seed!  St. Patricks day is said to be the best day for that – so I need to look about for a likely place where the sweet little peas will get plenty of sunshine!  I have never planted them before but I might just give them a go! 

GardenFeb2010 028In the vege patch the tomatoes are nearly finished and in the next week or two I will be pulling out the old plants and getting the patch cleaned up and ready for planting out some broad beans and swiss chard etc.  Last year I tried pulling the plants before all the tomatoes had finished and hung the plant upside down over the fence, the tomatoes continued growing red and juicy and I was able to dig about and do what needed to be done to prepare for the next winter crop, it worked very well, so I might just do that this year too.  Then  the compost must be put on and  all compost bins emptied ready for the autumn leaves to fall and me to pick them up and have somewhere to put them.  I have a few other plans for the vege patch as well.  But I will let you know how I get along.

GardenMarch10 028March is also the beginning of the big bulb planting madness!!  One that I love to indulge in!  I have big plans to head out and get some bulbs very soon!  It is a tough job – but someone has to do it!  So, a busy month ahead, and the month is almost half way through already, I had better get going!!

Well, happy gardening!

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The March Garden

March 1st, 2010

GardenMarch10 002

March is the first month of autumn, and here the nights are getting cooler.  But you have to watch out because even though it is cooler it is still very dry and the wind drys things out even more.  Although March is the first month of autumn you can still get some very hot dry days and very little rain.  It is not really until April that we can begin to feel that the summer is over and can relax on the watering side of things. 

Queen Cleopatra, what a girl!

Queen Cleopatra, what a girl!

There are still a good number of flowers blooming in the garden.  The roses have started to flower again, after their summer pruning, and autumn bulbs, asters and dahlias are at their best.  I have bought myself a beautiful orange-flowered canna, with the romantic name of Queen Cleopatra.  How regal!  I am dreaming of a large clump in a few years time.

Summer is officially over and, although any ground that is not a garden bed is far too hard to dig yet, and even some garden beds are getting a little tricky, it is time to be peeping through the summer catalogues at the spring-flowering bulbs.  Very exciting!

So, another happy month in the garden awaits….

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