May the roof above us never fall in
And may we good companions beneath it never fall out.

~Irish blessing

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Green Tomatoes

While I'm still clinging to the last of my summer crops, my awesome neighbour brought over this beautiful bucket of green tomatoes - another reminder of why I love autumn.

And luckily the netting seems to have been successful and the winter crops are finally on their way.

In this corner...

The grapevine we planted 6 months ago in hopes it would grow up and cover the trellis has just buckled under the heat and humidity. Honestly, I was glad to get it out of the raised bed because it was interfering with the netting. We still wanted something for the pergola though, and the nice lady at Poynton's suggested this baby - Nellie Kelly panama red passionfruit that's grafted onto a rootstock for cooler southern climates. Fingers crossed x

Lips, Oranges and Limes

I've been meaning to snap this Australian Native Finger Lime we picked up at the Yarraville farmers market a few weeks ago. Needless to say it is a slow grower and looks much the same as when we bought it. It has a nice semi-shaded position in the front garden where it will hopefully thrive being a rainforest plant that likes a bit of cover.

Closeby, this is the Hot Lips salvia I also promised to take a photo of. I love love love these salvia greggis. This one's native to Mexico. Can you imagine coming across it in the desert?

And while we're talking about all this tropical paradise, the north facing side of the house has been like a sauna all summer so we planted some heat lovers over the weekend. Divine smelling madagascar jasmine above the seat there, and a blood orange tree in the pot under the window.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bee Successful

I spied a single bee on the sedum flowers this morning. Hope he tells his friends!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bringing Bees Back

Quite a few of the female Rond de Nice zucchini flowers have withered and dropped off after flowering. It occurred to me that they might need insect pollination and since we moved here 6 months ago I don't think I have seen a single bee in the back garden. So after a morning session of pollinating with a cotton bud I decided to think about bee attractants. We already have nasturtiums and borage out there, but not really in abundance, so after the amazing success of the hot lips salvia greggi out the front (I should take a photo, it's really amazing) I headed to the nursery to get another salvia. While we were there Tom spotted a tray of potted sedums that were covered in bees so we grabbed one of those too and have put a little potted flower garden beneath the zucchini bed.

Interestingly, later that day I spotted a native bee gathering pollen from the grevillea in the front garden. I think it might have been one of these guys:

We patted ourselves on the back for our native attractants, but then the next day I spotted one getting into the roses along the side of the house, so I guess they're not too fussy.

Anyway, it's been a few days and I haven't seen any bees in the back garden yet. I was wondering whether we are just too close to the flowerless CBD for most bees to bother, and my research led me to a newspaper article about these wonderful people who are setting up hives on rooftops around the city.

Apparently bees need a nearby water source so our little bird bath and other water filled dishes should help, and once our Silver Princess eucalypt matures we will hopefully have enough to tempt some bees into the inner west. Fingers crossed.

Coir Jiffy Pellets

So I've tried peat jiffy pellets, jiffy pots and toilet paper rolls in the past for raising seedlings and avoiding transplant shock. The Unintentional Peat Pot Experiment is an example of the sort of hurdles I've encountered, and the unsustainability of peat made me give up and go back to just reusing the plastic. After cutting a seedling out of a particularly skinny and annoying plastic tube the other day I decided to give these jiffy pellets from Diggers a go.

They're made from coconut coir instead of peat and so far so good, broccoli romanesco, wombok and brussel sprouts are coming up happily.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The best of times and the worst of times.

In late spring Tom said to me "Get out and take some photos of the garden, it's never looked so good."

Baby carrots and beetroot plump with promise...

Surely, with the new raised beds and a northern aspect it would continue to look good though right? Maybe I was busy with the rest of the painting, sanding and other duties associated with the new house, or maybe I hoped the new conditions would be different. Whatever the reason I left my bird netting, organic fungicides and insecticidal oils packed away and decided to just let it all fend for itself...

The carrots and beetroot were eaten in an overnight attack from what I'm guessing was possums, but could also have been rats or mice - I've seen both squeezing behind the trellis to inspect what's on offer.

White fly and some sort of mining insect (tomato caterpillar) dig some heavy damage to the tomatoes before I wised up and sprayed eco oil and dipel.

Rats, mice, possums? I know they have to eat too, but I wish they'd at least take one tomato and finish it!

In better news, the pond and fish are coming along well and provide a nitrate rich water for the veggies each week when I do the water change.

The quince tree has put on some growth, albeit a little lopsided.

The two side beds are netted now to discourage the critters.

And we might get a decent crop of Meyer lemons now that they're getting some decent sun.

A few new plants in the garden:

Tea (camelia sinensis)


Stevia (sugar plant)