Wednesday, 11 January 2012

wrap up

It's a bit hard to believe I started this blog in 2008! It's been a real joy to keep track of how my garden has evolved in that time. I love looking back and reminding myself how far it's come. But I've decided to make a clean break in 2012 and to stop updating this blog. So as my last post, here's a reminder of how my little garden has evolved over the last three years.

It has made it through drought...

...and hail...

...and flood.

It began as an almost random collection of soulless "low maintenance" plants jammed haphazardly into sandy, cheap soil.

But I'd like to think it's filled out a bit since then.

And I'm particularly happy with the evolution of the patio from sun-exposed, boxed in by overgrown trees to a relaxing, sheltered paradise.

Of course nothing is ever finished in a garden, nothing ever stands still. My little garden will continue to bring joy and frustration for years to come. Thank you for reading, and happy gardening!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

a few more december flowers

A few more flowers in the garden at this time of year.  I bought a lovely cultivar of verbena today.  It was so strikingly brought and reminded me of candy canes - perfect over Christmas!
I also planted a few small blue salvia annuals next to the lobelia.  The lobelia are looking great and I thought the salvia would be a nice backdrop.  They're just seedlings as of yet though.
And then there are my little drimiopsis.  They started flowering about a month ago.  The flowers aren't very striking but still sweet.

mmmmm beans

My beans have started ripening.  They're so tasty!  The ones on the right are from the garden and the ones on the left are from the shops.  It probably helped that this batch of store-bought beans were a it over-sized and stringy, but my garden's beans are crisp and tender.
I'm only getting a small handful at a time as of yet, but when the second bean plant starts to get going (it's covered in flowers) I should start to see bigger harvests.  Yum!


There's a plant from New Zealand called arthropodium cirratum, or renga renga lily.  I've seen it around in people's gardens a lot in the last few years - it loves shade, it's drought-tolerant and it has gorgeous little white flowers in the spring.  I've been thinking about getting a few for a while and finally decided to put a few of the miniature version (te puna) under my vitex.  The vitex has gotten big enough that it should provide a decent amount of shade.  I can't believe how quickly it's grown, actually - look how tall and full it is!  The arthropodium are the grass-like clumps in the dichondra.  I also ripped out the wild violet that was in the back of the bed.  Yes it's a nice hardy clump, but it quickly became a messy mass with almost no flowers.  Some "weeds" have their uses but this one looked likely to get out of hand.
I think it might be too late to see these ones blossom this year, but if they do I'll post an update!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

december flowers

My laxa vine is in full bloom!  It's a bit hard to tell from this photo but they're along the top of the fence.  I wish the vine covered the fence a bit more fully, but the flowers look and smell lovely.
My new calla lily has flowered.  It was from a random colour mix and I was hoping it would be a tropical orange, but instead it's the standard yellow.  Actually I think it's a slightly softer shade of yellow than the standard colour, and I like it nonetheless.
Finally, my space race orchid has opened all four flower spikes!  They look so festive at this time of year with my Christmas decorations.
The spikes are a lot shorter than last year, when they were well higher than the foliage.  I wonder if it gets more light in my house than where they were grown.  Next year I'll keep them in a darker part of the house when the spikes are forming and see if that encourages longer spikes.

tangelos struggling along

Once again this year my designer twig has put out lots of flowers and set lots of fruit but most of them have dropped.  This year a few of them became a bit warped before falling off.  No idea what that's about!
Last year's tangelos are still hanging in there but they've been struck for the first time by gall wasps.  You can just see the stems start to swell.  Just my luck, BOTH branches with fruit have galls now and I think it's forcing the fruit to ripen early, as you can see by the yellow flush.  I just hope they ripen fully unlike the first fruit that dropped whilst still bitter.
My mature lemon tree just gives and gives, but my little twig has been picky from the start.  Young citrus trees are notoriously fussy, and growing it in a pot doesn't help!

first beans and slow melons

The first beans have formed!  Once they get started they sure form quickly.  Since I took this photo yesterday, the long bean is now thick enough to pick.  Not much point eating a single bean but it's in the fridge for when a few of its buddies ripen.
It sure is exciting when you grow a vegetable for the first time and things work out.  On the other hand, my melons aren't doing so well this year.  You can just see that little dash of green in the bed.  I think it's being shaded a bit by the massive triffid taro in the corner.  Of course, last year the melons were also pretty small at this time of year.  But not quite this small!
I do have one more melon seedling on the porch that I kept back in case the cats or possums dug up the first one.  It's actually a wee bit bigger and has a few flowers already, so I might transplant it in and see which one grows faster!

Monday, 28 November 2011

bean flowers!

My beans are flowering!  It's still quite a small plant but these are the first blossoms.  I wonder how long it takes the beans to form?  I'll find out soon enough!

happy toms

My tomatoes are going gangbusters, probably from all this rain and a fairly warm spring.  They're about as tall right now as they were in January last year!  That's not really a good thing if you're just getting leaves and little fruit.  But I don't think that will be a worry.
The black cherry did have a bit of a setback when its main leader broke but it's now got heaps of flower clusters.  And what clusters!  I counted 16 flowers in this photo but there may be some hidden ones.
The honey of Mexico are a bit more advanced and already have several ripening clusters.  This one has 9 fruit on it, it would have 11 but two blossoms rubbed off against that leaf.
I think I made a good choice this year to grow two cherry types instead of a mid-sized.  They ripen faster and seem to be hardier.  Or maybe they just seem hardier because they spend less time ripening on the plant, open to bugs and diseases.  In any case, I'm hoping to taste my first toms soon!

happy orchid, sad orchid

Well my space race topaz gold orchid is happy as a clam.  Since this photo it's opened up two and a half sprays of blooms with a fourth one not far behind.  It should be flowering for about two months, plus it's already putting out new pseudobulbs.  I love this little trooper!
However my wildcat isn't doing so well.  I put it on the front porch but completely forgot to harden it off, that is, get it used to the sun and weather.  I'm 90% sure it was shocked by the direct sunlight and badly sunburned.  One of its leaves already fell off and a second one is on its way out.  However its new pseudobulb is still coming in strong and green, so I'm hoping it will pull through this setback and bloom again next year.  I haven't done well by this one, i only got one flower to open on one spike and now I've almost killed it!