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

~Irish blessing

Monday, November 14, 2011

We're in the garden

Although plasterboarding was on the books for this weekend, we spent much of it at the nursery and in the garden making the most of the the mild temperatures and consistent rain we've been getting - great for transplanting and establishing new plants before the hot dry weather hits.

Working around the pre-existing palm trees in the back has been a bit of a challenge - their roots are thick and mean business. Initially we considered having them pulled out, but a tropical getaway in Mission Beach last year made us keen to retain them so we've been trialing and erroring our little piece of Melbourne-Queensland fusion ever since. This weekend Tom took on the heat, humidity and palm tree roots like a champion to make way for the arrival of a strelizia nicolai or Giant Bird or Paradise which we'd been eyeing off at the nursery for some time. Here's a photo of one I simply had to share despite the copyright warnings.


Some plants such as the ornamental ginger are thriving with almost zero care while others like the rhododendron need regular root-soaking or they flop under the competition. The New Zealand 'Renga Renga' lillies have been fantastic around the base of the palm trees, are so easy to divide and are flowering in profusion right now. Slugs and snails seem to be their only enemy so I spent some time yesterday on the hunt with a bucket of soapy water to drop them into. I've had pretty good success with beer traps in the past too but will hang out until someone leaves some cheap tinnies of Melbourne Bitter or something similar in the fridge. The snails aren't fussy.

The rest of the spring garden is booming so I gave the beds are good feed with buckets or worm wee, seaweed and fish emulsion. David Austin Comte de Champagne, fashionably late, has emerged beautifully,

and the apricot foxgloves are so so pretty. Such shame they are only short-lived annuals. Should I have sown more seed or will these self-seed? 

I've noticed weeding is getting harder as I start to expand around the middle. Tom installed this retractable hose to make things easier for me this summer.

I love love love it but will use it mindfully, I promise, and will be keeping my fingers crossed for all those hoping and praying for rain for their farms, animals and families in the hot months ahead.


  1. Congrats on the half way and thanks for the damson sleuthing! Foxgloves should self-seed if you leave the flowers to go to seed or for more surety you could let them go to seed and save them for sowing in autumn. I've never had any luck but you probably don't have the extreme cold we do! Enjoy the watering 30+ here today with a hot 45km wind yuck!

  2. Thanks Alison - hope you get a good damson crop :) I think I'll try a bit of both with the foxgloves, collect some and let the rest scatter where they please. No, not much cold and never any frosts here in the concrete jungle. Good for sensitive plants but my UK born husband thinks it's pretty pitiful indeed!

  3. I'm so happy to have stumbled across your blog!

    The murals in the kids rooms are incredible, and those foxgloves in the garden (I didn't even know that's what they're called, so I'm sorry but I have no idea about seeding) couldn't be more stunningly perfect in a simple jar on the kitchen table... if you can stand to cut your own garden blooms!

    It's a pleasure to *meet* your blog!

    - Catherine @ The Spring (in Brisbane)

    p.s. I'm running a giveaway on The Spring right now that I think you'd really like... it's all about mason jars, cast iron skillets, and all kinds of traditional, wonderful, kitchenwares!

  4. Thanks Catherine,

    that's lovely of you to say. Those foxgloves would make a beautiful vase flower wouldn't they but I don't think I could bear to cut them. Perhaps one day when I have a big garden and enormous supply.

    And thanks to the link to your gorgeous blog. I've entered one of your give aways :)

  5. Basil flowers are clipped. :) Thank you for the tip. Your garden is inspiring! I love the baby pink of the fox gloves. Just noticed this morning that my peace lily has another flower starting! I've been watching the Italian series of Monty too. Swoon. I've watched little bits at a time, there is just so much beauty to take in in those estates. Wow. And I've got a couple of episodes of the Around the World in 80 Gardens series to watch now. Hope you're staying cool!