Monday, April 27, 2015

Flowers and birds enjoy the garden in April

For multiple reasons, I have not spent much time out in the garden lately.  Life sometimes takes over, but I am so lucky to live in a climate where the garden merrily keeps on growing, all by itself....The old gazebo trellis is where I tied up a bunch of Tilladsia (airplants)
 and placed a bunch of orchids in pots on the shelf below it - they are all badly in need of re-potting.
 I have been noticing a bit of colour in the area lately, and the Tillandsia are really putting on a  show.
 the tibouchina also love this time of year, and are continually covered in these lovely purple blooms.
 These angel wing begonia struggle through the heat and humidity of the summer, and then show all their glory as the weather cools down a bit.  Even the cordeline leaves seems more brilliant.
 I keep threatening to pull out all these tissue paper costus, until they flower that is......
 There are always lots of birds in my garden, but a  lot of them are small and flighty and very hard to photograph.  for some reason this sunbird stayed on the fence, sunning his brilliantly coloured blue throat, until I had managed to get a good shot.
 This is one of their favourite playgrounds - they love to hang onto the thinnest wire, and dart in and out, snapping up little insects.
Gosh what a glorious time it is in the garden lately.   I hope you too are finding lots to love in your garden.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Garden share collective April 7th

It is garden share collective time again!  I hope everyone had a very happy Easter, I had lots of fun with friends and family and even managed to fit some gardening into my four day weekend!  Link up here for this months gardens.

April is a busy time in our gardens up here in the tropics.  Of course we never know if we will get a late cyclone, or if the hot weather is going to hang on and fry everything before it gets established.  I had taken down the shaecloths, but then a dear friend gave me a vanilla plant, and I realized that my little perrenial bed really does need shade full time.  The pepper plant was also showing signs of distress from the hot sun.  The perfect spot for the little vanilla plant was chosen, with a nice trellis to climb.
 The small shade cloth was put back up again, and lots of lovely leaf mold and compost spread around.

The long green beans are suddenly taking off, but climbing right over the canopy of the barbados cherry.

I tied a few strings of rope out towards the back trellis so that maybe they would like to trail over there instead.  I might have to make that a bit more substantial.  They will shade that back area of the garden, but hopefully let in enough sunlight. I will plant bok choy, lettuces and other greens int hat area.  The grandkids wanted corn and  I planted a few more corn seeds, but think they might be old as nothing comes up.   Put in a few cucumbers, and tatsoi as well.  I had a rather meagre sweet potato harvest from that bed.

 I have okra!  The one plant has been doing amazingly well, and it is the plant right next to my in-ground worm bucket.  Is that the reason?  I have no idea, but I spread a bit of worm castings around the other okra just in case.
 the other okra plants are quite small and spindly.
 I cut back the mandevilla vine to get some light and sunshine into the herb spiral, and popped in a few beet and dill seeds.  Parsely has been started in little seedling pots as I find they take so long they often dry out in the garden before they get established.   I much prefer to plant in situ if I can.
 The barbadoes cherry is providing lovely filtered light and I planted rocket on one side and lettuce on the other.  The rocket has shot up, but I am still waiting for the lettuce.
 I tied the rosella back against the fence to make a clear path.  Once I have harvested the rosella I will move cherry tomatoes against that fence - I have lots of tomato volunteers all around the garden, and they dont mind being re-planted.   I just adore walking down this little shady path.  My food forest is looking good.  Further back the avocado is supposed to shade the back area, but it is still looking very sad and miserable.

Isnt the okra flower pretty? - hopefully by next month the other okra plants will have picked up as well.  I guess I planted them in the wrong season as they were dormant for a while.  I thought they would be a wet season vegetable.    They are supposed to be burgundy okra, so dont know what happened there.

I do so enjoy looking at everyones elses gardens at the beginning of every month - thanks so much Lizzie for organizing this collective!  

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ulysses butterfly visit for my birthday!

Once again the ulysses butterfly visits my garden - I hope she lays some eggs and we will have some baby ulysses on the way.
Once again my hubby is the one who took these awesome photos.  He has infinite patience - I suppose he has to - he puts up with me.

The same silly cyclone that bothered us last week has turned around and is heading back our way again!  I had a lovely dinner planned with friends, I am just hoping it is all a scam and the dinner will go ahead. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Blog hug quilt fabrics received.

I have received three sets of fabrics for my blog hug quilt:

Tracy from sunny-corner-farm - wow what wonderful fabrics that really showcase her lifestyle.
the farm animals and the flowers.  This selection really made me smile.

Next was Annette from Knettycraft - she lives in Essen, Germany - I love the tape she included with the name of her city.

Next was Nanette from Stitch and sow.  She lives in   Murwillumbah, NSW, now that is a mouthful.

I will post this on my craft tab, and add to it as I receive more, since here they will get lost amongst all my gardening updates!  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Desert rose

The extreme heat forced all my desert roses to send out lots of seed pods.  I have never seen so many seed pods!

Look at these little babies!  Arent they cute with their fat bellies?

 I kept the white ones separate as they are prime and very hard to get, we will see what happens when they flower.  Here is an empty pod - they explode with seeds and feathery wings which scatter with the wind.

This is the pink one, I also have red and white.  They flower for most of the year, and dont need much care at all.  

One of my favourites.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Garden share collective, heading into March

 February was a very short month, and with the heat and humidity here, I have really only ventured out into the garden when absolutely necessary.  It is time to catch up with Lizzie at the Garden share collective, and see how everyone fared with huge amounts of rain - normally it is us that have huge amounts of rain!
 We normally dont have to water at all at this time of year, but I have been giving the garden a  good drink once or twice a week, if we havn't had any rain.  I want my plants to develop deep roots.  I keep spreading out compost as a mulch so that will keep the moisture in the soil as it breaks down.  The shade cloths also keep the garden soil cooler.
The main purpose during the wet season is to make sure that the soil is covered and the plants that grow now get the moisture they need.  This is also the season where there are lots of bugs, some I dont even see, but I certainly see the chewed holes in the leaves.
 My red papaya is showing signs of flowering.  It is supposed to be a bisexual plant, I have never had one before so am interested to see what happens. I think it will have both male and female flowers.  I have lots of the common yellow papaya coming up everywhere.  I wait until they flower to see if they are male or female.  You only need one male for a whole yard of female plants.
 Ginger is popping up everywhere, and I dont mind - Once the weather cools down I can harvest it and grow cherry tomatoes in that area, although I still keep a small bed of ginger growing year round.   Any extra carboard get placed over the ground.  Anything to stop the insiduous weeds taking over, and try to keep the moisture in the soil.

Eggplant and green beans are doing well right next to each other, although I still havent seen any beans, so not sure what is going on there.  I have been spraying with seaweed and a little sulphate of potash over the whole garden to see if this spurs on a bit of production. 
The back part of this bed, around the avocado tree was taken up by sweet potato, I have not grown sweet potato for a few years as it needs to be grown in a different area each time.   I am not sure when I will be able to start harvesting it - I vaguely remember the potatoes popping up out of the ground - is that how you know when to harvest?  I dont want to harvest them all at once.  We call it bandicooting when you scratch around and harvest as needed.  I asked a friend and she said sometimes it takes a year before you get sweet potatoes.   So out into the garden I went, and dug up half the bed, laid down a bit of chicken manure (also added a few bits of charcoal), then covered it with cardboard.    The grandkids want to grow corn,   Since corn needs sunshine and is wind fertilized this might be the best area for the corn.  We might make seed tape as they really enjoyed doing that, and it keeps the corn evenly spread out.  No I did not spend hundreds of dollars on a new food processor - I found one at the market - previously loved :)  
 When I was working on lowering the level on my paths I discovered the roots of the asparagus going right into the path, so I extended that bed out a bit, and widened the path on the opposite edge.  It really just neatened things up a bit.  The asparagus was cut back, a couple moved because of overcrowding, and some cardboard laid down.  This will be mulched with seaweed.
 The avocado is still not happy - it looks as though the leaves are wilting, but it has been getting water, maybe not enough?  Are they water hungry?
 The okra has gone crazy since I moved a worm bucket over there next to it!    So far I have only had one measly little okra.  I just took a quick peek at Lizzies post and her okra looks awesome!  It must be all the rain she has been having!
 A good spot for greens might be under the barbadoes cherry as that has grown a lot this last year, providing lots of shade, and I know lettuces do better in the shade.  I have enjoyed a few cherries, but they are few and far between.  Arent the blossoms pretty?  I might be getting a few more as every day I see more and more blossoms. 

I noticed a blurry spot on these photos - it was probably a drop of sweat!   


March is still technically the hot and humid wet season so I will plant some corn mid to the end of the month.  I will also try some bok choy and rocket under the cherry tree and see how it goes.
It is a big month for me - on the 19th I turn the big 60!  A friend said this is referred to as old age, so I guess I am moving out of middle age.  I just hope all the gardening keeps me younger than my years .


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