Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Work Work Work!

I cant believe I can get that busy once I sink into gardening again! The tasks are never-ending! I even woke up in the night with ideas of what I am going to do!!! So far the autumn tasks have been moving steadily. I have :
  • cleared the compost bin for its first time and
  • fertilised the lemon tree, calamondin citrus tree, dwarf peach tree, two fig trees, chillies, herbs...with the fresh compost.
  • pruned my lemon verbena, diosma sunset red, eggplant floriana.
  • housekept the worm farm
  • winter-protect several of my frost tender plants
  • mulched some plants
  • put up a support for my thriving passionfruit panama red.
  • divided two large pots of strawberry delight into 11 pots.
  • aerated my back lawn (still have the large front lawn to do!)
  • sprayed my carolina black rose grape vine with fungicide yet another time
The two Clementis The President have transplanted very well. I mulched them today with oops! Uncomposted pine bark chips. Not sure if the leaves will turn yellow due to nitrogen draw-down. Have to keep an eye. Mulch is so essential esp in hot or windy situation as evaporation rate is very high. Cannot keep up with watering so best way to conserve water in the potting mix is by mulching or using water crystals.
Here's a not so well-taken picture of my red cyclamen. It is flowering like mad now in autumn. What a strange sight.
How winter protection on my property looks like. I use strong plastic sheets around stakes driven into the ground. And then peg them. The pegs must be really strong ones that wont come apart when strong winds blow. This protection is half-done. My chilli padis, thai basil, capsicum are going to take shelther here. Last year the chillies were well taken care of in this manner.
One lemongrass clump fully covered. Last year I did not do protection for my lemongrass and they looked really bad when spring came. They took a long time to revive and grew. So this year I am not taking chances.
11 pots of strawberry delight plants after dividing. I read that dividing should happen in winter but I decided to do it now. Let's see if they survive. So far not bad.
Giant leaves. Burdock in the raised vege patch. Hope to harvest soon.
The mother kalanchoe plant. Why? Because I have successfully propagated a baby plant from its cutting! Hooray for me!
The baby's looking not bad at all. It has put on a lot of growth from a tiny cutting. Looking forward to red bell-like flowers in winter.
I planted this whole clove of garlic in a pot of compost cum premium potting mix cum bulb fertiliser. Hope it will work to produce more garlic cloves. Fun! And a BSF friend gave some large chilli padis (the left is hers and the right is mine! See the size difference.) I planted the seeds of her chilli and shall see if I have any chance of growing this chilli in my garden.
That's the back sapphire lawn which I have sort of aerated. It looks a bit patchy because doggy uses it to pee and poo and this burns the grass!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Both Clementis The President Flower...Yummy Brown Turkey Figs...

On the fifth day after transplanting into a larger pot, both my newly acquired Clementis The President have their single flower buds open. Such a beautiful colour. It reminds me of both my blue Senetti which sadly died after planting into the ground.
Out of the all the figs (brown turkey) that I have picked this season, these two have those 'scar-like' marks on them. I believe this is known as 'split fruits'. Too much watering can cause this. Fortunately they have not split open yet and we still could enjoy eating them!
I am obviously not looking forward to finishing my figs on both trees. They are so delicious I wish I have more. Hopefully next year. I shall give the two trees a good fertilising with compost soon. By the way, we have decided to name one fig tree 'Figgy' and the shorter Flemings fig tree 'Big Fig'. The former is named by me and the latter is by my son.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rare Plant Expo and Some Others

On Saturday, our family attended the Rare Plant Expo. Samuel was very excited about the lily pad. It's huge!
Hubby and I almost bought one of these plants. The pitcher plant is the most attractive. But when he told me he would like to put it in the bathroom, I said 'No thanks.' Imagine a meat-eating plant in our bathroom...I am not in for it.
My brave boy went forward to say 'Hello' to Mr Stephen Ryan, the host of Gardening Australia. Mr Ryan even gave him a card with his autograph on it. Samuel was so happy.
My new aquisition - Water Chestnut! I have been wanting to buy this a long time but did due to various reasons. Since it was in front of me at the Expo, I could not resist and bought a pot.
We bought two pots of Clemetis "The President" to replace the juvenile ivy growing on the fence fledging my small gate. I decided that I would pull the ivy out because it is very invasive, despite loving its gorgeous green and white leaves. The Clementis is a perenial but most time of the year, it would be green and flowering. I love the large deep purple flowers.
I also bought two pots of Hellebore Double Red. I have planted them under the Plum tree out of my son's window. Next winter, it will produce pretty red flowers. Hellebores are also called Winter Roses.
Some more yummy strawberries, not many to go.
Harvested a large bowl of red skin potatoes I believe called Desiree potatoes. They came from a single potato. Cooked a pot chicken curry with them.
My 3 Cyclamens decided to green up and flower at this time, just right after they died. I thought they are spring flowering???
This patch of kang kong or water spinach is ready to be cut.
Those in the bed are almost ready too.
Look at my aloe vera. They are growing so well. Better check up recipes on how to boil them for a drink.
A few brown turkey figs are ripening. Can't wait to eat them.
My tomato Silvery Fir plants are having new leaves and flowers. I could not bear to pull them up even though the new fruits probably wont ripen now in autumn.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's Been A While.

It's been a long while since I last updated my blog. I have been rather ill-motivated recently due to some incidents regarding a neighbour who was renting the next house. It's nothing to do with gardening, just really affected by her character especially when we treated her like a sister. Anyway, she has moved out and our lives' sort of back to normal except some losses we have suffered. I had been doing a little here and there whenever necessary. I finally went back to my garden in full swing yesterday. I have been waiting for these two larger strawberries to ripen under the bare sunshine we were receiving lately. Finally my boy and I harvested them and each of us had one. So sweet having sun-ripened strawberries. The thought of it makes me drool!
I do have more strawberry flowers blooming. Such dainty flowers, so sweet and pretty as usual. One of the tasks for winter would be to divide all my strawberry clumps up. I have 8 pots to do and that's a big job! But if I dont divide the plants up, I wont get big berries next season.
My 5 Stringless Pioneer bean plants are fruiting, beaning?! These bean plants take up very little space. They dont need staking because they are dwarf and dont climb.
A plateful for lunch today.
I was extremely excited discovering a few of my fig (brown turkey) swollen and ripening two weeks ago. Since then my boy and I have eaten 3. This tree is in a large pot out of my dining window and it is in its 2nd summer. Last summer I had figs from this tree but they were dry and yukky. As this tree has a really tall and slender trunk, I chopped it down but it regrew in spring 2010. (See )This summer, with ample watering, I have managed to eat some yummy, sweet and juicy figs. There is another fig (brown turkey) in my front garden, also confined to a pot, and is having figs that are also swelling. Can't wait to eat off that tree because this one was bought from Flemings Nursery!
There were some days when it was quite cold. My water spinach (kang kong) and Thai Basil suffered some 'burns' to their leaves and I had to resort to covering them with fleece. I expect to do a lot of frost protection this coming winter and have already starting work now in early autumn, driving stakes into the ground where frost-tender plants are.
This pest is the caterpillar of the grapevine moth. I have had quite a number eating the leaves of my Carolina Black Rose. Squashing them is the only way and I had to reach the leaves by climbing the ladder. The leaves are also having mild Downy Mildew which I need to treat with fungicide again.
The grapevine is doing very well growing everywhere on my back pergola roof. I had to add new strings across to support all the new growth. Soon the leaves will turn an autumny colour before shedding. Meanwhile I am enjoying this living green frame out of my kitchen window.
"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