Monday, May 6, 2013

Mulch, propagating and gifts from neighbours

My favorite gardening show Gardening Australia talked about growing plants solely for mulch.   A waste of space I thought while watching it.  I recently cut back my lemongrass for mulch, but still harvest it for cooking and tea.  One plant that has not been used for much is the cardamom.  I was so excited  upon finding my first plant.  Gosh I could grow my own cardamom seeds ... but no!  It seems that the only cardamom I can grow here is called false cardamom.  The leaves have a very strong smell, and I suppose you could use them in cooking, but mostly the plant gets overgrown and I eventually cut it back and use it as mulch!  I set some aside to see if any of my neighbors want some.  I have the idea (totally un-supported) that strong smelling leaves such as lemongrass and cardamom used as mulch will chase away bugs.
 I planted a clump behind the pawpaw and comfrey,  and then I moved my little "potting bench" out into the garden.  I started off some cuttings of plants that I particularly like that I was trimming back.   No reason - I just wanted to sit out in the garden in my folding chair and it kept my hands busy.  I sat there way, way longer than the time the job required.  Such a  pleasant pastime -  sitting in the garden, admiring it, and reflecting on how blessed I am.
I planted another block of corn further in than the first block, and lay down some mulch as the weeds between them were going crazy.  Against the fence I planted some more green beans - my corn does not look strong enough to support beans, so the three sisters will be neighbours but not right on top of each other.... the squash to come later.  I also planted sweet peas (the flowers) along this fence.  I just adore sweet peas and I got some seeds from MrFothergills in my package.  I know they like a colder climate, but if I could grow some I would be very, very happy.  These are a high scent variety - Oh gosh I can almost smell them. :)  I remember as I child being thrilled with flowers that loved to be picked and put into vases in every room of the house.  The next day the plants would be filled again with lovely sweet smelling bounty.
 This caladium is one of my favourites - it looks paint spattered.
Butterfly season!  I have some caterpillars on my lime tree - it also looks as though there are some bugs or disease on the leaves? - anyone know what I should do about those spots on the leaves?  What are they from?

 I gave my new neighbour some plants and lent her some tools, and she showed up with this for me!
Isn't this a pretty little flower?  this little pot is quite cheery next to the front door.


  1. Not only is your caladium paint spattered, but the caterpillar too! The bromeliad is lovely. I used to have acres and acres of them, but none now. I just can't imagine how it can become extinct in my garden.

  2. We have the same little visitors here at the moment hmmm...
    You may just love the giveaway I have on at the moment xxx

  3. Your neighbour has gifted you with a tillandsia air plant. I had mine planted in a pot too until I saw them growing in trees. I now have mine in the Japanese fern tree with lots of my seems to like it there.
    You will be rewarded with some beautiful purple flowers which will appear in each fold of the large pink bract.
    Your garden is looking quite lovely.

  4. Oh our gardens have something in common! I have a small patch of lemon grass... love the aroma! Actually the small patch seems to double each time I see it. Need to find more recipes to use it.

  5. You have a great neighbour. It really sounds like you live in a nice community. Between sweet neighbours and those sweet smelling sweet peas I predict a very pleasant dry season is coming.

  6. This caladium looks incredible! Like a piece of art! :)

  7. Oh, your photos are Great! Love the caterpillar!
    Now if I could Only acquire a Green thumb instead of the black one I now have... :o}

  8. Stiletto, You are right the caterpillar also looks paint spattered!
    Amber, I think the change of seasons brings them on.
    Virginia, I wondered if it was a tillandsia - although all of the ones I see here have grey leaves.
    Carolyn I never thought you would be able to grow lemongrass in your climate. I wonder if it is a different type.
    we are very lucky with the neigbours we have here.
    Dewberry, it does doesn't it?
    Oh i don't have a green thumb - I just live in a climate where it is so easy to grow these plants.

  9. oh wow Africanaussie, your new neighbour is so sweet and that is a really pretty pink tillandsia. I have always wanted add this into my garden. With those black spots on the leaves, I noticed them on my shrubs as well. My last rose bush had this. I discarded the affected foliage but still, the plant just didn't bounce back :-( I think it is one of those wet weather problems. Anyway, good luck with those sweet pea seeds :-D Have a great week.

  10. I have a tillandsia right by my front door. It's mounted behind a little ceramic turtle and has been there for years. Along with the dog, it's my official greeter---the dog barks at everyone and the plant seems to always be in bloom. What nice neighbors you two are!

    I bought growing caladium today for our shade garden. I love your paint-spattered looking one and hope I can find one nearly as pretty when the bulbs are for sale in the catalogs. I know I "need" more caladiums, especially after seeing your beautiful one.

    Can you tell I've missed seeing your blog? I'm catching up!


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