Friday, July 31, 2009

One More Month of Winter...How's Are Some of My Potted Ones?

Guess what? I really took a break from my garden this week since giving them charlie carp and seasol last week. Did not bother to open up the covers for my oriental radishes or buk choy. Did not bother to even inspect my plants. It was a rather nice feeling to take a break and let go sometimes. And there is a reward - they are all doing fine! No pests, no night looters. Well, everybody out there in the backyard is doing fine. The only exceptions are those on the frontyard -my lavendar bee pretty is fully infested with green aphids and my nasturtiums which have flowered so much but blown down by the strong winds as if it has a bad hair day. The planted daffodil bulbs have sprouted in the pot. Yippee! At least I can bring this pot to my new house at the end of the month.
Kaffir lime and a small pot of mint are doing fine surrounded by the plastic protection.
Chilli padis growing quite well though very slow. It should take off once spring arrives.
Puzzling to see the tips of aloe vera turning brown but new pups are emerging from the potting mix.
The vietnamese mint/laksa plant is growing from glory to glory...surprisingly able to take the cold winter without any will look very pretty on my patio (minus the water feeder haha)
Plants are really very affected by strong winds. A week ago, things look bad...My common mint in this large pot is flourishing! Harvest is round the corner.
This pot which almost died in the strong winds and minor aphid attack is back strong and healthy.
After being trimmed because of aphids attack, the lemon verbena is putting on new shoots. Hope the irritating aphids will not return!!! I am not going to bring a aphid-infested plant to my new house. Have to closely supervise and treat it first.
Same goes for this curry plant.
Spring onions sown from seeds still look rather skinny.
Spring onions from bulbs...fat and growing well...this is going to be the 5th or 6th harvest.
Mosquito plant growing well despite ants making its potting mix their home. I am thinking of planting it into the ground at the new house.
This pot should win the championship! Thyme...ever so gorgeous and growing so fine.
Not so the rosemary babies...growing fine but still struggling with powdery mildew. How am I going to stop this powerful powder?!
The mother rosemary has been dumped to one corner of the garden where it can get some sunshine and rain and cold. I am just leaving it to the hands of nature to treat the powdery mildew.
The snow pea seedlings are growing great. Good to invest in mildew-resistant breeds...can grow them in plastic covers without worry of mildew.
My calamondin/calamasi...the prettiest and largest fruit on the mini tree.
My neighbour Jenny came over with a bunch of gorgeous-smelling Daphne flowers. Really strong heavenly perfume.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I wish I have a huge greenhouse for my gardening. Melbourne's notorious weather is wearing me down as I scampered about trying to salvage my plants. I was even on the verge of giving up...first such thought since I started gardening seriously last winter. Today's wind speed went beyond 45km/h and mercilessly beating my plants in all directions. Potting mixes on the surface were being blown away. Plastic protection beaten left right centre. Some of my plants (especially my lavendar and mint at the frontyard) were obviously dehydrated as the wind carried whatever moisture the potting mix had. They looked limp. The first thing I did was to take cuttings of vietnamese mint and common mint to propagate new plants just in case the existing ones die or be destroyed.
This pot (above) of common mint was limp and terrible-looking (did not take pic). After some deep watering (plus standing on a tray of water), the leaves came back looking well. Fewh! I just lost one pot to possums, not another one!
The lavendar came back alive after watering. You should have seen the plant before watering (which I did not have time to take) It does not need water most of the time but the winds are too much for it to bear. I shifted it away from the windy front patio to a more shelthered area.
I think the only potted plant that is still thriving is my thyme!
I re-did the protection around my snow pea plants because the guard sleeves were bashed by the horrible wind. This protection should be better off. My original rosemary plant was in bad shape again - attacked by another round of powdery mildew - the recent dry windy weather provides very good condition for mildew growth.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Culprit Struck Again!

Middle of the week, we decided that we would move into our new property beginning of September rather than December. I am feeling excited about moving in earlier as I look forward to doing work in the new garden. At the same time, feeling a bit stressed with the impending packing to be done. Also, I will have to abandon the plants at the vege patch (daffodils, snow peas, oriental radishes and purple buk choy). They are growing fine but really really slowly due to the short sunshine now in winter. I know by the time we move, there wont be any harvest of any sort.
Snow pea seedlings at vege patch.
Purple buk choy seedling (above) and oriental radish seedling (below) at vege patch.
I have left my pot of common mint (recently trimmed) out in the open back garden with the other pots of plants and the next day I saw that they have been eaten up. By that same culprit again! Clueless again as to what has done it. Possum? Bat?
Pot of common mint eaten up.
Pot of common mint before the disaster.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Daffodils Pushing Out of Soil.

Morning weather is good and I did some work in the garden before loads of chores in the house when the forecast afternoon rain comes. Four of the many daffodil bulbs have pushed through the soil at the vege patch. :)
I trimmed all the spent flowers and yellowing leaves of the nasturtiums, added fertiliser and some new potting mix to the top of the existing potting mix. The three pots (lavender bee pretty, nasturtiums, common mint) are bathing in the morning sun on the frontyard. I read that good air circulation and morning sunshine help prevent powdery mildew (which my common mint and rosemary are very susceptible to).
Yesterday, I trimmed off three large bunches of common mint from this pot (below). The bunches were all growing out of the pot and down to the ground.
I put the three pots of propagated rosemary (below) out in the open garden last night. It could be a better idea to do this than to have them under the garage shelther where they kept developing powdery mildew.
Left : Latest pot of propagated rosemary. Middle and Right : Propagated rosemary growing well but treated with fungicide (hence whitish appearance) because powdery mildew developed on their leaves.
The original pot of rosemary seems to respond well to fungicide treatment and now looks healthier than some weeks ago, putting new green shoots.
The three snow pea seedlings which I repotted on 9 July are doing well so far. They look unfazed from the repotting and root-chopping. Hope they will continue to grow well and produce crops of snow peas. :)
For the several snow pea seedlings at the vege patch, I found and bought plastic guard sleeves and used them for protection. So far so good. Several nights have gone by and they are still there, not chopped or stolen by some mysterious visitor.
The 'love birds' are coming regularly now :) thanks to my bird seeds. So pleased to see them coming for the food.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Making Way for Pittosporum Golden Sheens

A cool morning with weather forecast for showers and possible thunderstorm but none happened. Hubby, myself, Samuel and our church-mate Robert went over to our new property to get some work done after our church service. We have ordered our 24 pots of Pittosporum Golden Sheen and we planned to plant them in two weeks' time, so we needed to make way for them.
Work done : 1. Cleared all existing mulching and weed mats and all the roses and small bushes. 2. Chopped down the oleander shrub (which was huge) and camelia with a chain saw.
Mulching, roses, shrubs and weed mats cleared.
Oleander sawn down to stump.
I was very pleased to spot a huge arum lily flower (above) along the fence. If not for the flower, I would have pulled all the 'unknown plants' up!!! I realised that they are all arum lillies of my favourite flowers which I had used for my wedding.
Another lot of arum lily plants which I have to either remove or replant them as they are in the way of the Pittosporum Golden Sheen.
Camelia sawn down as well.
  1. All the branches of the oleander stacked up at another two stretches of mulching, waiting to be slowly cleared.
    Now we have to just wait for the professional we have hired to poison the stump and dig them up and of course, to dig holes and plant the pittosporum hedge. How exciting to see my hedge up! It will be a very different scenery.
    Follow up work that we have to do soon :
    1. Raking up the fallen plum leaves. 2. Weeding the growing dandelions and lamb's tongue (as usual sprouting up everywhere) 3. Figuring out how to remove a few existing calla lillies and replant them somewhere else as they are growing on the area where the pittosporum golden sheens are to be planted. 4. Chopping and gathering useful straight stems from the oleander for use as stakes. 5. Pruning the large plum tree (paying a professional to do that).

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Some Gardening Work and a Lovely Feathered Couple.

After several days of rain (free watering for the garden + free water for the containers), days of sunshine was really welcomed and appreciated. I had been quite busy with other things this week and it is nice to spend almost the whole of today doing things in the garden (including playing hide-and-seek with Samuel and playing fetch with Marco). Finally I tested putting the three pots of fruit trees under the garage shelther without any form of protection and it is good! The possums did not come disturb my trees or make a meal out of them. Perhaps I was worrying too much.
The pot of lavendar bee pretty has been pruned quite a lot at the lower sides as the shoots were infested with green aphids. I have killed many of them using pyrethrum. This afternoon, I found a drowning ladybug in the pail and took it to the lavendar, hoping that it can feed on the aphids.
The dwarf orange tree on this rental property has been fruiting and flowering. I think this year the oranges will be likely sour again since I did not really bother about this tree very much. Nice citrus flower smells.
The citronella geranium (mosquito plant) has grown much more despite neglect and several broken lower branches. I should repotting it but am running out of larger pots.
The chilli padi seedlings (below) are suddenly growing a bit more since I gave it some vermicompost.
My kaffir lime has been growing a tiny branch? Sucker? Maybe I should pull it out.
Today, I repotted the aloe vera (once again!!!). I bought a new bag of potting mix just for succulents/cacti (Brand : Debco) and think it would love this mix better. Found another new pup growing. Yeah!!!
I also divided the pot of 3 dwarf snow pea seedlings into three pots. Hmmm...customer service at Diggers told me they grow to 60cm tall and a 30cm diameter pot is fine but I found that the seedlings' roots have developed quite extensively. I soaked the seedlings with seasol and hope they will manage alright.
I also pruned the lemon verbena (below) again to cause more bushy development. Looking forward to have more shoots for tea. Yum yum!

This large pot of mint is growing fantastically well. I trimmed off any runners and see if this will channel the plant's energy to producing larger leaves. I have a feeling it would.
I also for the first time after several weeks, removed the netting and plastic covering for my cayenne pepper (below), and pruned it to open up the plant. I have harvested most chillies. Only one is left to ripen.
I have erected some plastic protection for the few dwarf snow pea seedlings at the vege patch. So far so good, havent seen any destruction by pests yet.
I have been noticing this pair of love birds (spotted neck pigeons) frequenting my garden. Very loving couple...preening each other feathers and parking in the sunshine. Marco barks at them to chase them away. I have sprinkled some bird seeds around the area and hope they keep coming. So sweet!
"All that mankind needs for good health and healing is provided by God in nature...the challenge of Science is to find it." - Paracelcus, the father of Pharmcology, 1493 - 1541