Showing posts from May, 2010

in flower in may in my garden


Mushroom compost as a mulch

One thing on my list when we went into the city this weekend was to get some mulch.  The garden bed outside the bedroom window has been sprouting weeds like crazy since I dug up the sweet potatoes and started planting flowers there.   My idea was if I mulched it that would stop the weeds growing.   Of course the first place I always stop is the clearance trolley and I stocked up there on flats of flowering annuals for .50 and 1.00.  My plan changed....  a womans perogative.  Instead of lots of mulch I would have lots of flowers. In between the flowers I have dressed the soil with mushroom compost which is reccomended as a mulch, but then also is a fantastic fertilizer (and organic) as it breaks down.  By then the bed should be well covered in flowers.  I have found that weeds like open spaces, so my plan is just to crowd out the weeds, and what better way than with flowers.  At that price I didnt really care what flowers they were, but I got a six pack of yellow snapdragons, a 10 pac

Now the sun is shining, we need to filter some of it!

The venue for the gardening group last weekend was about 6 times the size of my yard, where we last met.  An acre and a half around the house planted with tropical fruit trees on one side, then a section for tropical flowers and another for vegetables.  A lovely creek runs behind the house, and beyond that they have converted the rest of the property back to rainforest - it was a sugar cane farm at one time.  I was a slight bit envious at all the fruit she is growing, that I just do not have room for, but I love my garden just the way it is and would never want to change it.  Well, of course I do have dreams.......  one of the dreams was to create some sort of pond but the conversation on Saturday made me once again aware of how much work a pond can be.  Then again - they always seem to attract cane toads, so in fact I came away most pleasantly fulfilled and happy with my own little corner of paradise.  I also came away with armloads of cuttings and small plants.  I got a little wayla

The ever changing sweet potato bed, then rose garden, now amaryllis

You know my sweet potato bed, that my hubby said he wanted to turn into a rose garden?  Well, it seems he didn't really want roses.  He just didn't want sweet potatoes!  I had planted a row of salvia (well the label said salvia , but they don't look like salvia to me) and strewn a few zinnia and nasturtiums seeds around.  The continual rain was a bit disheartening, and the entire bed was fast being overtaken by weeds.  My grandson had grabbed the rose bush on Saturday morning and it had "bitten" him, so I have really been cooling over the rose bush idea anyway. What to do, what to do. At the same time my helconias have been taking over and suffocating the amaryllis.  I do love those heleconias , so decided to give them free reign of that bed and move the amaryllis (called hippeastrum more commonly here) over to the sweet potato bed. It was quite dark by the time I had finished and found the camera to take  a photo, but I am sure you get the idea.   T ime f

Surprise heleconia

Over the weekend I decided that I had to clear the pathway behind the back of the garden.  It started out with the visit to the gardening group on Saturday where I came back with a bunch of cuttings and small plants - yeah!   I got some growing galangal and ginger roots.  The ginger I tried to grow from the supermarket ginger always rots away.  This is the ginger, it grows up to about 2ft high and has very spindly leaves. This is the galangal - it grows very tall, and I planted it just behind the costus, close to the lychee tree.  While digging around there I discovered that the costus is flowering right at the base.  No-one can see the flowers there unless you go bundu-bashing, so if the glalangal takes off that costus will just have to go.   I have seen the costus that I want to grow there, it is lower with little orangy bud type flowers on the tips.  I guess when I pinched this plant, I must have got the plant next to the one I wanted! Oh dear, but on  the other hand, when I

Pollinators need the sun

With lots of rain and lack of sunshine, most of the plants in my vegetable garden are not doing that great.  I am not sure that we are getting enough pollinators, but maybe they are also waiting for the sun to come out.  The eggplant that volunteered in the front garden is my most prolific, maybe because it has full sun when it does come out.  I pick the eggplant as soon as they are ready! I do see lots of butterflies, and honeyeater birds around, but not so many bees.  I wish I could photograph a ulysses butterfly, but they are so fast, and the brilliant colour is only on the back side of their wings.  I am getting a new camera though so am pretty excited about the feature where you can take a series of photos very fast.  I am getting the Fujifilm S1500SD - I wonder if anyone else is using that same camera?  These butterflies sometimes sit and sip very slowly so are easier to capture on film. This geisha girl normally attracts lots of bees, so maybe it is just the sunshine we are mi

What is my Passionfruit telling me?

My passionfruit vine took off like greased lightening when I first planted it 14 months ago.  It has climbed about 60ft up a happy plant in one of the neighbours yard.  It has also wandered about 20ft in each direction along our own fence, and also over the arch, although that is not really its preffered route.  It definitely likes to climb up more than anything! I estimate that we (and our neighbours who share the fences) must have had about 500 passionfruit off that vine so far, and it is not about to stop any time soon..  We wait until the fruit drops and then pick them up. Perfectly ripened, and they can stay in the refigerator for at least a couple of weeks until quite wrinkled, but are still very tasty.  I have frozen some pulp but cant imagine a time I will use it, as there is never a time I do not have fresh passionfruit. The base of the vine has woody passionfruit virus, but it is still going strong, covering over the old dead wood with new branches.  What a tangle!  The roo

Orchid show

I wandered in to the local orchid show over the weekend, with my grandson.  It was hard keeping him in the stroller, and telling him the signs said "don't touch!"  So beautiful, I just wonder how they get them all to flower at the same time?  How do these orchids know this is the time to be at their best?  I suspect orchid gardeners are different to me.  I like to give the plants  the control.  I try to make them as happy as they can be on natural soil building nutrients, certainly none of my plants get any chemical fertilizers.  Orchids are native to this climate and get their nutrients in the wild from fallen rotting leaves and so grow best in old bark, with lots of drainage, which means that if it doesn't rain they need a sprinkle over their leaves every couple of days.  they do like a foliar feed of seaweed tea. This bat plant was first in the arrangements section at the show - I have just the spot to plant one of these - they do require deep shade - aren't

It is compost awareness week!

I have just discovered that this week is a very special week!  Compost awareness week!  How did I miss that?  How did I not anticipate its arrival - warn everyone, send out flyers, give all my friends little compost bins to perch on the side of their sinks......   I truly credit compost with  the turnaround in my garden soil.  I had never used  a bin before, and had heard that they were not so effective, and that the compost could get wet, or dry and difficult to manage etc. etc.  Looking back on past gardens, I have had more success with a bin than I ever did with an open compost heap. Some pointers that I think really help: 1. Leaves . you need leaves, and if you can shred them, so much the better.  2. Air.   I try to turn the compost at least once a week, and it doesn't matter if I don't get all the way down to the bottom, as that bottom layer can just sit there maturing, and if  the bin starts to get too full, I can empty some out of th