Monday, 29 August 2011

spring in the garden

I think I can cautiously say that the back of winter has been broken.  We're getting more and more sunny days, and quite a few days of 19 or 20 degrees.  Here are a few photos of the garden's celebration of spring.

The hellebore bed has been going great guns all winter but I decided it was worth sharing again.
The geum are starting their spring flush too.  I'm liking this bed - geum and daffs for the spring, lavender and gaura for the summer.
Speaking of daffs - the first of my fancy daffs opened last weekend!  Sadly, something got to the petals before it opened and nibbled one of them off. But I absolutely adore them, I hope they like this spot so they thrive and multiply.
This isn't quite as pretty, it's more a monstrous triffid.  This is my colocasia I transplanted to the corner of the western garden.  It's now probably 5 or more years old, and look at how massive it's become!  That trunk is as big around as a human leg.
It's also putting out heaps of babies.  We'll see how long it can stay in there before it's just too big!

winter surprises

Last year I decided to try over-wintering my little firecracker chili plant.  Supposedly as long as they don't freeze they'll go ragged over winter but have a head start for the next summer.  Mine did better than that, it never slowed down!  I had to give away the last of the summer's chilies.  This weekend I trimmed off the last stragglers, replaced some of the potting soil and gave it a good feed.  Whilst doing that I was quite surprised to find that it not only put out new flowers, it actually set fruit!  Here are the little baby chilies already starting to come in.  The foliage is a bit yellow because it needs a feed.
I'm also pleasantly surprised to see my little twig still holding onto its off-season fruit.  Both the mandarin and tangelo grafts should have already fully fruited a while ago, but these fruit set after the first main flush (which the twig wasn't able to hold onto).  I think they're tangelos since they've got just a bit of a neck on them, but I can't remember which graft is which.
My worry is that they're already turning yellow, so I'm not sure if they'll keep growing before they ripen up.

edible favourites: peas, green onions and parsley

I have to gush about how much I love my Oregon spring snow peas.  They're super-sweet, not at all stringy, compact and do really well in pots.  Two plants is a great amount for the two of us - every week or so I get about this many.  Perfect mixed into a stir-fry, and really, you wouldn't want much more than this.
Spring onions are also a favourite of mine to grow.  You only ever need a few in a recipe and I got sick of buying a whole bunch and having to throw the extras away.  They're one of the first things I started growing and I'd hate to be without them.

Parsley is probably my favourite herb to grow.  It never thrived in a pot but ever since I started growing it in the ground it's done this - turned into a huge triffid!  You can also see the beetroot and kale in the background.
You never need very much in one go but I'd hate to be without it.  But as you can see it's starting to go to seed.  Many people let it seed and re-grow on its own but I don't have that kind of patience, I need to always have a supply.  So this weekend I ripped up half the triffid and planted a little seedling!
This is the first time I've tried this, but I'm hoping I'll be able to keep eating off the clump whilst the little seedling grows up.

What do you grow that you couldn't live without?

Monday, 8 August 2011

the pretty and the ugly

Took a few photos of this and that around the garden this weekend and things slowly awaken to spring.  This is in the big square raised bed (formerly goldfish pond) that holds a rapidly-growing vitex shrub.  I planted dichondra silver falls two years ago and it's spread beautifully (the light blue, small leaves).  This autumn I noticed some common violets coming up in the back corner of the bed and thought, why not?  They're a bit weedy but they love the shade and they're hardy.  So I let it grow, and got a surprise - it's a white violet!
Also in this corner of the world, the oakleaf hydrangeas are starting to wake up.  I love how they keep their burgundy leaves all winter long, only dropping when the new leaves emerge.  And the first flower heads are already starting to develop!
I've also seen the first flower heads forming on my new daffodils, I can't wait to see how they look!  And my good old clivia have put up their flower heads too (no photos yet though, there's not much to see).  Although our unseasonably warm week is over and it's back to winter temperatures, the plants are still gearing up for spring.

And so are the weeds, if they ever really stopped.  I'm sure every gardener has at least one "ugly corner", that bit they wish would go away, that bit they try not to look at.  This is my ugly corner.
Ever since last year's flooding I've had a lot harder time keeping the weeds down; the mud and debris from all my neighbours deposited weed seeds between every pebble.  And this part of the garden, next to the compost bin, hot water and clothes line, has never been very pretty.  First I let the self-seeding alyssum go because at least it was something pretty.  But now it's gone crazy and so have all the other weeds.  I don't like letting weeds go nuts, because once they seed they never stop coming.  I really need to spend the time to rip it all up.  Maybe next week...

tomato sprouts

Just reporting that my tomatoes have already germinated - took just about a week.  All three black cherries are up, only one Miel du Mexique.  Hopefully at least one more will be coming.
You can see how much they turn toward the light.  I really need to get a reflector screen made!  It gives them a bit more light and reduces their need to turn toward the window.