Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My reds

Since I showcased the pinks over the weekends I thought I better show you where the red Kalanchoe went....   I did tell you it was red!
  I planted them just below the poinsettia which is showing its colors right now as well.  Unfortunately the Poinsettia is always plagued by white flies when it starts to color up.  I have not had any success with strong water pressure, or garlic chili spray.  My hubby got out the fly spray and thought he had eradicated them but even that did not work.  After it has finished flowering I will cut it right back, and if the white flies come back the whole plant might have to go.  I do love the red color they add for months to this area of the garden though, so if anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
 The coleus in this area tends towards the red and yellows, with the new leaves being the most colorful.


The stars in this garden are the crotons, they are pretty slow growing, but I have quite a variety, and with their curly variegated leaves they are a lovely filler plant, and look so good at this time of year. 

In the long view you don't really see all the color, but there are more kalanchoe buds about to burst open any day.  


Monday, July 18, 2011

My pinks

Hot pink is the order of the day out in the front yard.   With the bouganvilla on the left side of the gate and this bed off to the right, I think it was a good choice to remove the red Kalanchoe to the back.
 
 Definitely sunshine and the drier weather is what brings out the pink in the Cordelines.  Look how colorful the new leaves are!

 Then the iresine too is definitely happier with this weather.  This is spreading all around the base of the bouganvilla.
I love the frilly pink edges of this coleus.  I will be rooting some more of this lovely and spreading it around the front of the bed.  It is so easy just to cut off a little piece, dip it in rooting hormone and then plant it out. It survives here year round, but becomes more colorful at this time of year.

.Funny that I have been feeling that the garden doesn't have  much impact at this time of year, but when you get up close you can really see the color.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A writing blog

Some bloggers put little tabs on the top of their blog and have sections.  well maybe I am not smart enough to figure out how to do that, but I kinda like the idea of having a separate blog for my recipes.
africanaussie-recipes
  It is sooo useful to point someone to the blog when they want a recipe of yours.   Or to have your whole recipe box available at the touch of a button when you are travelling and someone says could you make milk tart  tonight.  You always think you know those recipes off my heart, but it is nice just to be able to double check.  I have lots of recipes in draft, but only post them once I have tried them and confirmed they are really tried and tested.  I don't have photos because for some reason my photos of food never come out looking as tasty as they should.
One thing led to another and pretty soon I had a craft blog.
africanaussiecrafts
 I notice that it is not chock a block full of things, (I am getting ready to take a silk painting course so watch this space!) and this became more noticeable to me when I was browsing though the list of goals I had set myself for the year in Google docs.  If you haven't used Google docs it is worth looking at...  anyway procrastination is one of my downfalls.  I noticed on my goals I had written "do more writing".  My half yearly comment on that was "no status!"   A year ago I was so excited about starting a writing course, - gung ho -  I did my assignments each week, then I left on holiday....  the course finished and I had not completed my assignments.
I began to think about this blog, and how much inspiration and support I have got from my readers, and from reading other blogs.
Mmmm I wondered ..... should I put my writing out there for all the world to see?  could I do that?  should I do that?   If nothing else it might egg me on to finish the novel.  I also have the other "book " that I have been lugging around now for 13 years (is it really that long since I stepped off the boat?).  "Come sail with me" is  a compilation of stories, recipes and memories as we sailed around the world.  Parts of it were sold as stories to fund the voyage, but it has never been published as a whole.  Maybe if I do this I will become a better writer.  I have definitely become a better gardener through this blog :)
so.... a new blog, with stories, no photos, just my words.
africanaussie-puttingpentopaper

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Color coding flowers

For a while now I have been waiting for the kalanchoe to bloom.  They just love this time of year,and bloom for extended periods throughout the dry season. One of my favorite plants.  So easy to propagate too, and I often will break up a  big clump and fill in empty areas.  without much thought so it seems.....
As I have happily been adding more and more pink tinged plants to the front garden, the kalanchoe has been waiting silently in the background to pounce.  Oh dear, that red just does not go with any of the other colors around there.  Some of the reds I have out in the front seem to do OK with the pinks, but not that one.
I did take photos, but the light was very bright and quite honestly I didn't want to share as they really clashed.....   But they are lovely long flowering plants and they attract .... butterflies:)
so out they came, and have now got a new home in the butterfly garden which in actual fact is turning out to have more reds and yellows.  With a bit of blue, and of course green, but no Pink!
  I have the flu, so my sense of smell and taste is compromised - is my sense of color gone as well?  
   The cannas are gone too - they are moved to the swale area, more coming soon on that.
Does anyone else move their plants around as much as I do?  Does anyone else make mistakes by not thinking of the colors they are planting and how they will look alongside other colors?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Blogaversary 2 on July 5th

My first blogaversary occurred when I was visiting my daughters in New York.   While it is the 5th here it is the 4th there, July 4th is American Independence day and so I was sitting with millions of others along the banks of the Hudson River watching fireworks.   Actually it was only months later that I realized I had missed my blogaversary!  To all the Americans out there - Happy July 4th, and may your day be filled with blueberries, strawberries and ice cream, and of course happy time spent with your loved ones.
This is what I started with two years ago..........  a big lychee tree and lots of grass, which I immediately starting working on..
 The other side was a nice sunny area for my proposed vegetable patch.

 For ideas I had been browsing the web and found these things called blogs. Wow!  like an online gardening diary,  I thought.  If I did something like that I could also follow my gardens progress and anticipate when something would next be flowering, or see how fast something had grown (or how slow).
 I thought that since all my newsletters to friends and family around the world were filled with gardening stories and photos, this might relieve some of them of the duty of reading all about my garden if they did not want to. I had got some comments such as "OK I see how your garden is doing, but how about you? Out there in that foreign land".  Maybe my newsletters had to get more personal and the garden info had to move to a blog.  It was a total learning experience, but Blogger led me through step by step until Africanaussie blogspot was born on July 5th 2009.
 Now two years later, I can compare the same area and see the difference side by side.



 Then other gardeners started following me, and I started following others, and pretty soon there was this whole little Africanaussie community. It was like having gardening friends popping around for tea every day.  What fun!

    I wanted to keep my gardening blog separate but thought that a blog might also be a good place to sort my recipes and so my recipe blog was formed....http://africanaussie-recipes.blogspot.com/
Then I made a  duvet cover with some fabric I bought in New York with my daughter and instead of just e-mailing her a photo - voila! my craft blog was born.......http://africanaussiecrafts.blogspot.com/
So many visitors to our beautiful part of the world wanted to know what to do once they got here, that I thought, oh gosh! why not a blog to showcase the wonderful area around where we live, and so yet another blog was formed.....http://explorethetropics.blogspot.com/
Then I decided to add an amazon search box.....any time you want to buy something from amazon and you start the search from my blog I will get credit.   Any credit is used to send presents to my daughters from their far away mother, and they thank you in advance. 
Who would have known how that one little decision to start a blog would have snowballed like this?
This time I  want to make sure that I properly thank all my loyal readers.  You have added a new dimension to my gardening.  You keep me going; to pull up that last weed, or make that nice curvy edge. 
 I love the compliments, suggestions and advice.  When I am in a quandary as to which way to go on something and I put out a question I get suggestions that I wouldn't have thought of on my own.   I enjoy reading what other bloggers are doing and have taken suggestions, ideas and advice from all over the world.  I have a long list of things I would love to do but really don't have the room.  My water feature has to be the inside of a bromeliad.

My permaculture vegetables encroach up into the neighbors tree
So......... a giveaway, but I don't really want to make it a competition, since I would like to to give each one of you a present.  My yellow cosmos that attracts so many butterflies is going to seed,


 and so if you e-mail your name and address to vemvaan@gmail.com I will send you a packet of seeds in response. Each seed is guaranteed to have been kissed by a butterfly, and I cant wait to see all the butterfly photos that are going to start appearing on everyone's blog.
Unfortunately since we can't send seeds overseas this is only available to my Australian readers, but if you would like the excel template for making these cute little seed packages, just let me know and I can e-mail it to you. You can personalize them with your very own photo and they fold together in a flash.  I think they are rather nice don't you?


 To all my loyal followers and avid supporters, I would like to send a very big thank you for making my gardening adventure such a joy!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hay mulch

You know you live in a rural area when you call up one of the neighboring farms inquiring after some mulch.  "Sure I will pop some over this afternoon, I am going past there anyway, and you don't want to get your car all dirty.  Pay me when you see me....."
At 5.50/bale this is pretty inexpensive mulch, and the public areas have been really needing some mulch.  I did sprinkle some slow release fertilizer around and watered it in well.  Those areas have been depleted for so long that I think they need a pick-me-up.  I don't use chemical fertilizers in my own garden so it will be interesting to see the difference.   I hope that with continual adding of mulch and natural amendments that I will be able to forgo the chemicals.


I like to use a variety of different mulches over time, and while this hay can look a bit untidy until it has broken down, it does add different nutrients to the soil, and does not pull nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes, the way the freshly fallen leaves do.  I always have lots of fallen leaves, and often go right through the garden mulching up as many as I can to put into the compost.   If the leaves are not broken down they can actually form a barrier that stops water penetrating down into the ground.  It is more work to mulch them up and then compost them, but ultimately better for the soil.

We are due to have some major tree trimming on the property and so the mulched up material will be placed in a heap with some seaweed and coffee grounds added to spur decomposition. After a couple of months we should have some good compost for the next layer of mulch. I have not done this type of mulch on the garden here before, but understand that it is better to cure it before placing it on the garden, and adding an accelerator and turning it will speed it up.

Later on in the year the council has a day where homeowners can collect free mulch from the landscaping dump. That often has a lot of coconut fibers and coir in it. Along with my own compost which I add in pockets wherever I feel it is needed, my garden is pretty well fed almost continuously.

That is what nutritionists recommend for us. A variety of different foods, in small quantities.

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e-mail me at vemvaan@gmail.com