Sunday, 1 March 2009

getting busy ... with flowers

I realized when I got back to Melbourne how much my garden keeps me grounded.  I feel unsettled if I don't know what the weather is going to be, if I don't know how my plants are doing, if I don't know what's starting to ripen.  So the first day back from two weeks overseas and I was getting busy.

I'd decided not long before the trip that I wanted to plant more flowers in the garden.  Veggies and fruit are still my first priority, but flowers not only add pizazz but attract all-important pollinators.

My first project which I'd decided on before I left was a row of vinca along the front path.  As you can see here (first photo), there aren't any flowers at all, and for this project I was focusing on the bed next to the garage.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/vinca1.JPGI decided on vinca because it looks almost exactly like impatiens.  I adore impatiens, and they just bloom and bloom from the end of summer through much of winter.  But they love their water, and I just couldn't bring myself to plant them.  But vinca, on the other hand, is much hardier and shouldn't need much water at all.  You're meant to plant them in the hot sun but I've heard they don't mind shade so I thought I'd give it a shot.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/vinca2.JPGIt ended up being quite a workout, and it felt good to get the exercise (though my muscles are killing me today!).  I had to dig into the rock-hard, chalk-dry clay along the front of that bed, then try to soften the soil by adding some home-made compost.  They got a good deep watering with seasol then the return of the mulch.

Now instead of a plain path, it looks like this!  And with any luck they'll keep blooming for months yet.  This is now the first thing you see when you walk up.  A nice welcoming sight if I do say so myself.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/vinca3.JPG

But I wasn't finished yet, I continued my rampage of flowers. 

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/porchsalvia.JPGI so loved having poinsettias outside the front door during Christmas, I decided I'd plant feature pots of flowers year-round, changing them up every few months.  For the autumn I chose salvia (blue) and alyssum (white).  My next project, when I get around to it, will be to find matching plant stands so they're a little bit off the ground.  By the way, no sooner had I planted them when a bee buzzed up to the salvia!  It flew away before I could snap a picture but it made me happy to see it.  I also saw a bee the next day in one of the pumpkin flowers - the first time I've seen one back there.  Might just be coincidence, but again I took it as a good sign.

Finally, the garden centre I frequent had some geraniums that were outgrowing their tiny punnets so they marked them down to $3 for three of them.  As you can see here, my geraniums on one side have been suffering in the heat as they get the brunt of the afternoon sun.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/geraniumreplant1.JPG

So I replaced the three tiniest, most struggling plants with these seedlings to give them a bit more of a head-start.  I'm hoping the whole row takes off over the winter and will be much stronger in next summer's heat.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/geraniumreplant2.JPG

I was exhausted after all this, but in a good way, and mightily proud of myself!  By the way I've also ordered some spring bulbs (miniature iris, species tulips, and snowdrops) which should arrive in a few weeks, as well as planting out a bunch of spring stars my mother-in-law gave me.  Flowers, flower everywhere!


2 comments:

Mari said...

And pansies for winter, right? :)

Alexa said...

Yep, definitely pansies this winter. :)