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!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

a few flowers at last

Really starting to get some late spring flowers coming in.  The lavender is looking great and the bees are already enjoying it.
I've decided on this summer's annual for the west bed - lobelia this year, a mix of mostly dark blues with a bit of light blue and pink.  They don't look like much now but they should become little thick cushions of colour eventually.
And most excitingly, my Chilean jasmine (mandevilla laxa) is starting to bloom!  I love the crisp, white flowers.  They've got a very delicate scent.

chilies n' beans

Just a small update.  My chili plant is going super-strong but it seems a bit confused about what shape to grow.  In this photo you can see the little mini-chilies that came in over the winter.  My guess is because it didn't get as much sun over the winter.  The thing green chili is the "normal" shape from last season.  And above it are some of the thick stumpies; really fat but short ones.  There are even a few coming in fat but long.  Not sure what it'll settle down into this year!
The beans are still pretty small, I reckon I could have gotten them started a month earlier.  Oh well, they're healthy and I'm sure they'll pick up soon enough.

brunnera update

Two months ago this week I made cuttings of my brunnera Jack Frost.  Of the four cuttings, two of them now have long healthy roots and the other two rotted and died.  Look at those roots!  So I can officially report that brunnera will take from cuttings.
So today I moved them into their own punnets.  The leaves sure don't look like much but if I don't manage to kill them now they should start settling in and put out now growth.  Hopefully by the autumn they'll be big enough to plant out.  I just have to figure out where to plant them...

quiet sunday project

I had a very quiet Sunday and finally got around to a little project that was niggling at me.  As I just recently mentioned, that gaura this year is getting very lanky and covering the guem.
I've tried tying it back with string on a stake but it never lasts - the string moves and the stake leans.  So I got out the drill and put a few screws into the brick, which let me secure the string firmly into the wall.  As you can see, it pulled the gaura back into a more compact shape.  The geum actually gets a bit of sunlight now.  The lavender is leggy as it is every year but the daffodils have started to die back under them so it shouldn't matter.  It is satisfying to get little projects done.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

november in the western bed

Things were looking pretty dull back here for a few weeks, but the lavender is picking up as the geum is finishing.  The gaura is also starting to come in too but it's a lot taller this year.  I've had to trim back the farther bush and keep tying it back.
The oakleaf hydrangea is also starting to come into bloom.  Those flower caps are looking great and they'll be developing long into the summer.
And under the second hydrangea, Thatcher was having a snooze.  That dichondra must be a nice soft bed.

november on the patio

The patio plants are slowly but surely filling out.  The cannas are starting to put out a few leaves and the annuals are really showing off.
The gingers are putting out lots of sprouts of new growth.  I hope the grow a lot taller than the older foliage.
And I did succumb to temptation and got a calla lily.  It's a lucky dip so I don't actually know what colour it will be.  But I love the speckled leaves.  It'll die down over the winter but I've tucked it into a corner so it won't be a bit gap in the winter.
And one afternoon I had a surprise.  I though there was an ugly bird poo on the new couch, then had a close look and realised it was a moth just trying to blend in.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

late spring in the garden

Just a few snaps of what's blooming in some of the beds I haven't visited in a while whilst I've been focused on the front yard.  Here's the corner eastern bed near the bird bath.  The salvia is just starting to bloom and it will continue to do so until next winter.  It's also a lot taller and more vigorous this year, even after a decent cut-back.  I've had to tie it against the fence.  It's practically swamping the magnolia tree now.
And here's the back western bed.  It's actually a fairly bland corner at this time of year.  The brunnera's still blooming (just to the right of this photo) but that's about it.  But the hydrangeas are covered in long cones of buds and the vitex has grown so much in two years.  Remember when it arrived in June 2010 it was this big!
I thought I'd also show you a picture of my sad little maple - not so sad these days!  The newest growth is still lovely and bright.  It really seems to love its new home so hopefully it will continue to slowly grow and thrive this summer.