Sunday, 31 May 2009

dichondra silver falls

I managed to find some nice big pots of Dichondra "silver falls".  I turned two of these:
Into eight of these:
I really like how they look - the silver is a great contrast to all of that dark green foliage and the wine-red of the autumn hydrangeas.  With luck by mid-summer they'll have grown long and thick over the edge of the bed.  I'm also thinking of planting some flowers in the beds until the hydrangeas grow up a bit - I'm thinking violas or maybe forget-me-nots.  What do you think?

broccolini tried a new vegetable with dinner last night - broccoli raab / rabe / rapini / broccolini / broccolette, I'm really not sure of the name.  Basically it's a long, thin bunch of broccoli with lots of small heads instead of one giant, thick-stemmed clump.  I like normal broccoli too but Tom's not a fan, but he gave the broccolini a thumbs-up.  So I thought I'd try growing some since I had an empty pot.  It's the small seedlings on the bottom right corner.  I thought I'd also show off my young spinach (just sprouted, on the left), my spring onions and one of my pea plants.  All doing quite well methinks.

In the meantime, my normal broccoli out the back is just starting to form tiny heads.  I don't know how long it takes from here but I'm looking forward to some home-grown broccoli!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

potato harvest potatoes started dying back which meant they were ready for harvesting.  I didn't get very many spuds at all - just what you see in this photo plus two more little ones that fell off when I pulled the plants up.  I don't know why there were so few, my guess is not enough sunlight.  Oh well, if it was just sunlight than I'll have better luck over the summer when the sun is higher.  At this time of year the garage puts most of the yard in shade most of the day.

I'm just excited that it sort of worked!  I grew potatoes!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

no more rhodies

I gave up the battle to save my rhodies.  Two of them died outright and the other two are pathetic.  I couldn't stand the thought of another summer of desperately pampering them through the heat.  So I pulled them all out., compare the roots systems of these two.  The one on the right was one of the first to die, notice how its roots are pretty much in the same ball they were in the pot.  The one on the left was in the corner with the "magic fungus" mycchoriza.  The one on the left was by far the healthiest of the four.  I just hope that magic fungus keeps thriving!

It took me this long to pull out the rhodies because I was trying to decide what to replace them with.  It's a real puzzle because I have to find a shrub that will work in two beds, one of which is in a lot of shade and one gets hot sun for several hours in the summer.  I finally decided on oakleaf hydrangea, "Hydrangea quercifolia".  They take the dry, heat and sun a lot better than normal hydrangeas and certainly better than rhodies.  They'll need a bit of water in the hottest months but I think they'll thrive. they have "four seasons of interest" - fresh dark foliage in the spring, long spikes of white flowers in the summer, dark wine-red leaves almost until spring and interesting bark in between.  At the moment they have these lovely dark leaves. topped up the garden beds even more as the soil level was pretty low and planted them this weekend.  They'll have all winter to settle in and hopefully spread out some strong roots before the summer heat.  You can hardly see the little guys in this photo but I assure you after a few years they'll grow right into those beds, maybe even too big but hopefully the size of the bed will restrict their size a little.

I'm also planning another trick to help them along.  The bed on the left is the one that gets some hot sun in the summer, which also heats up the brick and the soil.  I'm planning on planting some Dichondra "silver falls" along the front, it's a silvery trailing plant with small leaves that loves the heat.  It should grow over the front and shade the brick, keeping the soil cooler in the summer.  Look here for what it should look like eventually. and I almost forgot.  I was happy to get rid of some more of my dirt pile to top up the beds.  It's up against some brick that edges a lawn.  Turns out worms in the lawn had figured out a way through the brick and into the bottom of the dirt pile.  Look at them all!  They made a fine addition to my garden beds.

geraniums and alyssum

I just wanted to post some pictures of my geranium beds.  The white alyssum has come in nicely.

Here's the left-hand bed; unfortunately the alyssum under the bigger geraniums died, maybe competing for water with the geranium?
And here's the left-hand bed.  I had to replace some of the geraniums after the summer heat so the ones on the left are quite small still.
Pretty, huh?

update on the side yard

I'm making serious progress on the side yard project.  Not long ago it looked like this.
And now it looks like this!
I have Tom to thank for the latest flurry of activity.  It took me forever to try to shovel out the first third of dirt to make it level; those buckets were heavy!  He finished the rest in about 10 minutes.

I already have the weed-mat and the pebbles.  Next step is to buy some step-stones, then lay them all down and we're done! 

about those chillies... whodathunkit.  I picked all those chillies green and looky here.  The smaller ones ripened up!  I wonder if the bigger ones will too.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

snowdrops and spinach lovely, crisp, sunny day after a rainy Saturday.  I discovered this little beauty under the fig tree, which is just starting to shed its leaves.  I didn't think snowdrops bloomed this early, at the end of autumn.  I just hope they keep up their show during the winter or else by the time the fig leaves fall there won't be anything blooming underneath! also decided to harvest the last of my chillies and put the plant in the compost to make way for some winter spinach.  I was disappointed that it turned cold before the bulk of the chilli harvest ripened to red, but you an still eat them green.  They're just not as sweet.  But I certainly wasn't going to waste all of these beauties just because they were still green!  The black on some of them shows that they were just about to turn red before the cold stopped them in their tracks.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

what a funny weed keep finding these funny little weed sprouts around the garden.  They're one long stiff blade and when you pull them up, they look like they're sprouting from a coffee bean!

It turns out after a bit of help I learned that they're baby Canary Island palm trees.  There are a few nearby so the birds must be carrying them into the yard on occasion.  Who would have imagined I would one day live in a town where weeds include palm trees?

the back veggie patch thought I'd give an update on the back veggie patch which I planted a month ago.  As you can see the broccoli is doing well so far (dark green leaves on the left).  I had to brush a lot of butterfly eggs off the leaves early in the autumn when the weather was warm but it seems to have kept the caterpillars away.  The lettuce at the front (light green leaves) is doing OK but the leaves are a bit soft and limp, I don't think they're getting as much sun as they want.  The rocket's doing OK though (two patches of bright green on the right) even though the right-hand side of this patch is pretty shady.  But the peas are doing horribly!  Those little scraps of green at the base of the canes are meant to be peas, but they're tiny.'s compare those peas to the ones I've planted on the front porch.  This is one of my two pots, with four seeds per pot.  Look at how lush and tall it's growing already, because it's got full sun.  I don't think the peas at the back are going to make it ... but hopefully at least their roots are still putting a lot of nitrogen into the soil.

I can't wait for the peas on the porch to start flowering!

new plants in flower new taro and camellia must be happy because they're blossoming!  I don't usually get to see my camellias blossom because the possums eat the buds, but maybe because these bushes are new they didn't get nibbled.  What a lovely blossom!  "Paradise blush" is an appropriate name indeed.'ve never had any of my other taros put out a flower before.  And to be honest they're not exactly a stunning flower, but it's interesting to look at.  I wonder if it blossomed because it was slightly stressed by moving; it did go from a pond to the dirt.  Sometimes plants won't flower unless they're stressed slightly.  But otherwise it looks like a healthy plant so I'm not worried about it carking it. finally, an old plant in flower.  I planted these marigolds back in January to add some colour and attract bees to the back veggie patch.  I thought they'd have died out by now but they just keep flowering and flowering!  I just love them.  Oh and if you look carefully in the top-right corner of this photo, you'll see little sprouts.  It turns out the marigolds are self-seeding; we'll see if they survive the winter but they may be spreading on their own.  I have a feeling it's because I try to pluck off the dead flowerheads to encourage them to keep flowering ... except I can't always be bothered to throw the flowerheads into the compost and so I just drop them on the barkdust.  Surprise!  Some of those flowerheads had seeds in them!

more autumn in the garden

My sad little maple doesn't have many leaves to turn colour, but it's doing its best.
And here's the progression of the grape vine over the last week or two.
And finally, a close-up that I've now set as my computer's desktop background.