Showing posts from June, 2011

Permaculture in the tropics

I believe that the permaculture design makes best use of the space you have and the available raw materials.  Here in the tropics we have different raw materials to use, and a lot of it can come from coconut trees.     I was fascinated to see this video on the Care2 website. The video was recorded at the Lung Mee Permaculture Garden in the Surat Thani province in Southern Thailand. coconut permaculture Read more: It is totally amazing what they have done with beach sand and the available raw materials.  I am going to see if I can incorporate some of these ideas into my garden.  The other day I was collecting coconut husks and used them around the ground orchids to support them.  I see that idea is here in the video. Before the wet season I think I am going to create a swale as there is an area that continuously holds water at the corner of the house.  I have been building up the grassy area so

One hundred percent

I have been bemoaning the fact that nothing in the vegetable garden seems to be taking off (compared to other bloggers who seem to be harvesting huge leafy greens).  I think it might be a bit cool for the tomatoes to ripen, and I am enjoying the rather rare cool weather.  Then I was putting together a salad for my lunch and realised it is totally harvested from my garden. 100%. I have lettuce, spring onion, parsley, cilantro, celery, dill, basil and even some nasturtiums.  Who needs tomatoes?

From a dizzy height

Recently a Florida blogger Meems, who I follow, (and aspire to have a garden like hers) posted some photos she took from the roof of her house. see the link here here   It gave an interesting perspective and when the bright sun kept upsetting my photos I climbed the ladder. No! I was not going to climb the roof! Does anyone else have trouble with bright sunlight and shady spots? I guess the answer is to only take photos in the early morning or late afternoon.    In the other direction you can see the lovely curve going around to the back.  You can also see how my grass is still not doing well after the bandicoot party.  and in the vegetable garden you can see how I have taken out all the bits of broken rotten wood and replaced the edges with flat stones.   I think I am just going to stick with the weed mat on the paths.  Right now it looks nice and clean and weed free.  I wonder how long it will stay like that? Since I had taken a photo from way up I decided to also take a photo fr

Harvesting ginger

Up until last year I was not very successful at growing ginger.  I don't know why exactly but feel I may have tried growing it at the wrong time of year.   It grows here during the wet season, and last wet season I managed to get some shoots going, and then more and more, and pretty soon I had a whole bed of ginger.  How marvelous!   I do use a lot of ginger and I figured that even if ginger was the only thing I harvest out of my garden it would make my vegetable gardening productive.  then it started to flower..  Two different kinds of flower.....this one didn't have the red edging Flowering means it is ready to harvest.  (I have been harvesting bits for quite a while already - ooops! ) The problem was - did I want to harvest it all at once or just store it in the ground until needed?  I asked a lot of other people, and mostly  decided that I was growing a lot more ginger than others and so the problem of too much ginger simply did not happen too often.  I have been lettin

Resisting the invasion

The bandicoots came back!   Some old gardeners around the area say that you shouldnt water in the afternoon as this brings the worms to the surface and attracts bandicoots.  Well, we have been trying to get the grass pieces that we added to grow, and so we have been watering.  One morning it looked as though fifty bandicoots had come in and dug it all up! Bandicoot party!  I didnt take photos as I was too sad. they totally ignored the trap that was set to catch them.  Too busy dancing around and digging up my grass! I carefully inspected the back fence and found that behind my archway was the area they had got in.  Out came all the messy cats whiskers - dont worry I saved a few and planted them off to to the side, so we will still have the honeyeaters visiting. Wow that really opened it up! This area does look a bit straggly and untidy now, I will have to work on that..    I moved the grow bag there in which I have been growing tomatoes and eggplants, and then added two other grow ba

Glasswing butterlfy

Another type of butterfly has been identified in our garden.  Not surprisingly its host is the passion fruit vine.  We have plenty of food for them - our passionfruit vine climbs high on the plant in the Telstra plot behind us. My hubby sent me the photo and I did a search for black and white butterflies... nothing,..... then I stumbled upon this and definitely it is right - the wing does look like glass, doesn't it? Look at this transparency!  So delicate.  I think I am getting a bit blaze about my hubby's butterflies because I was really taken with the cosmos bud in this photo....  Here is another one showing just how transparent those wings are.  Don't you find it just amazing that something so fine and delicate can flit around the garden and survive.  How awesome is the loving hand that that made this creature. I am so grateful for my flowers, my butterflies and most of all for you in my life, dear hubby. :) 


One of my finds in the big city were a couple of citrus trees marked down to 4.00 each!  wow!  Of course I had to buy them, and supposedly if kept in pots they will not grow too big.  They are called a lime mandarin, so I am sure will be a useful fruit, even if only for marmalade. I am thinking a bit ahead of myself though since they are not healthy looking specimens. I don't want to add too many things until see how they react to a bit of love and sunshine. Most of us do better with love and sunshine don't we? I have repotted one and then given them both a good drink of seaweed tea mixed with Epsom salts. I will see what that does before I try anything else.  The one that I re potted was not particularly root bound which is often a problem with clearance plants.  The other problem is often over fertilization, so I find the wait and see attitude sometimes pays off. I didn't find a plant to fill in the gap  in the front bed, so moved a greyvillea that had been right next

Defining the edges of garden beds

One of my favourite areas of the garden is where I have created the stone path, but somehow the edges of the garden on the one side always looked messy.  I had rhoeo growing there, mainly because that is what I had handy when I started the bed.  When we went into town over the weekend I got a couple of pots of variegated mondo grass, and divided them up into many separate little plants, so that I now have a more well defined edge to the bed.  I topped up the stones close to the edge, so they look different, but that is just because they are new.  The left side has regular green mondo, but I thought the variegated would be good in the more shady area.  I am liking the way this area is filling in.  I have lots of ferns there, and have kept my maidenhair in a pot, simply because I cannot believe that what I knew as a very sensitive plant is growing outside in my garden.  I have a few other ferns, and am hoping this variegated fern will fill in a bit.  There is a another fern that I have

Critters on the cosmos

Over the weekend the veggie garden was just alive with buzzing, swooping and darting.  Do those butterflies know that the mosaic butterfly/birdbath is busy curing, waiting to be filled with sparkling water?  I hope they like it.  I feel as though I have a present waiting - wrapped and ready to be opened and admired, and used.  I wonder if this little sweetie thought we couldn't see her - what  a match! The sun was bright, but it didn't keep them away - zinnias and the basil are also flowering, but cosmos seems to be the big draw card.  Even ONE  in Malaysia has commented on that in her garden.  I was doing the backbreaking work of re-doing the edges of the vegetable beds with stone (more user friendly in the tropics than wood )  Every time I would stretch to relieve my aching back my hubby would say - stay still, don't move..... so I feel I had something to do with these lovely photos, even if it was just staying still.  These little cassia are very common in the garden.

Mosiac butterfly bath

I set out on Saturday with intentions to get the supplies to make a mosaic bath for the small birds and butterflies.  I have a big bird bath, but notice that the smaller birds and butterflies are a bit timid to go there.  I have some quite aggresive birds called friarbirds that chase them away. There was a homewares shop having a huge sale and I wandered in there and discovered the most amazing array of beautiful mosiac bowls.  They are made for inside and the bottom surface was dull. It reminded me of the pottery from Mexico. The lady said they would have to be sealed to go outside and be filled with water.  It was hard to choose, but I thought this looked just right for a garden. Next stop was the hardware shop where I found a sealer for trerracotta pots. It is suitable for birds and butterflies, so after about four layers I am good to go - It needs to cure for 48 hours before buing filled with water. If anyone is looking for this type of sealer look in the garden ponds section -

Who needs a worm bin?

I am growing celery!  This is quite unusual for this area - we have a little cooler weather lately and that seems to have made all the difference.  I laid out some empty eggshells around the veggies.  This is supposed to keep the white moths away -  they think there is a bigger moth than them there already.  I wonder who asked them what they think?  anyway I have given it a try - I had some empty eggshells handy. I am not saying it worked - but there dont seem to be as many white moths in the area. I have talked about how I stir my compost up quite regularly , and then the bottom quarter seems to sit maturing until I need it.  Sometimes I pull it out when it is not properly matured, and evidently that is OK in this hot and humid climate as things deteriorate quite quickly here.  I make sure not to put it right up close to the stems of plants.  I always dig it out of the front, and this week the wheelie bin (that is the cute Australian  name for a trash bin) was out on the kerb for p

Different butterfly varieties

Kiasu' is a Chinese Dialect which means the fear of losing, and ONE , a fellow blogger in Malaysia has tempted me to post yet more butterfly photos.  Andrea  in the Philipines has also joined in.  Gosh I wonder how far this Kiasu will go! I hope everyone is not tired of the butterflies yet.... this is supposed to be a gardening blog, but then again I suppose it is my garden that is attracting them, and my dear hubby that keeps taking gorgeous photos. This is called the Cassia butterfly or lemon migrant. This is the called the Union Jack - I have no idea how that name came about because the last time I saw the Union Jack there was no yellow in it.  still it is a pretty little thing and quite common in our garden. Their larval food is mistletoe according to information online, but they do hang around the passion fruit a lot.  I really like the Common Eggfly butterfly photo here. See the spider and his web? and here... Shame, its wings seem quite battered - I am sure it must be

This and that

This is a  little bit of this and that, so forgive me as I seem to jump from one plant to the other.... firstly my lipstick plant has seeded!  I heard that they could be propagated by cuttings and have started some off quite successfully, and then noticed these long dangling strips where the flowers had died off.  Well now I noticed they had opened up - I am probably going to have hundreds of tiny lipsticks plants growing up around the hanging basket now.  These cosmos sure attract the butterflies, but I want the zinnia to bloom as well - soon the vegetable garden will be bright with color and that should bring on some pollinators.  I am also letting some of the basil flower for the same reason.  The amazon lily flowers intermittently through the year - I still cant figure out when is the "right" season for it to flower.  Celery, bok choy and lettuces are slowly getting a little bigger every day, and I am continually fighting the pests.  I thought I would leave the big h