Archive | February 2019

Progress: SoS February 16 2019

We bought our present house four and a half years ago, and as so many friends told us, we had a ‘blank canvas’ to work with. My SoS this week chronicles the progress we’ve made in the garden since we moved here. All the before photos were taken by an agent, so have a professional quality about them that I am unable to achieve.

One: The view of the back garden as it was in July 2014. Behind our back fence is a paddock occupied by a lonely but rather lovely chestnut mare called Cleo. She often whinnies at the fence, being very much enamoured of the apples MrMG gives her.

Two: The back garden looking towards Cleo’s paddock now.

Three: Cleo’s view in 2014

Four: Cleo’s view now. Several mistakes were made in planting trees, including the decision to plant silver birches. I planted three: one died and the other two are finding life a bit of a struggle. As is the lawn.

Five: Front view in 2014.

Six: Front view today. Mr MG and I gathered all the rocks from a friend’s farm and built the wall ourselves. You can see the octopus tentacles of the Malus floribunda on the right. It has been in our garden for at least three years, has made very little progress and reminds me of one of those plastic air-filled madmen one sees at car yards or service stations, arms up in the air and a manic expression on the face. On the left, the more polite Snow Pear, Pyrus nivalis is growing beautifully.

That’s my six this week. For more sixes, visit The Propagator’s site.

Weather today: Sunny and 17-34. No rain in sight.

Harbourside Gardens

Along with the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, the Royal Sydney Botanical Garden is a jewel in the tiara that forms the city of Sydney’s foreshore. Glimpses of the city buildings in one direction and the harbour in the other create a perfect setting for a floral visit. On a hot day a zephyr brings with it coolness and the sounds of a busy harbourside city. Mr MG and I paid a visit to the gardens last October and found a great deal to enjoy. It would make an extremely long post to show everything, so here is a selection of the parts of the garden we enjoyed the most.

The Wurrungwuri sculpture, a giant sandstone waveform representing the geological history was surrounded with Australian native plantings.

On the dragon tree lawn Dracena draco and Echium candicans from the Canary islands competed for attention, the Echium spikes providing a magnet for thousands of bees.

A green wall in the exhibition area called ‘The Calyx’ dominated a display of insect eating plants, all of it kept moist and humid with a spray mist.

A wildflower meadow of everlasting daises (Rodanthe chlorocephala) and young Boab trees (Adansonia gregorii) with tantalising glimpses of the Harbour Bridge received much admiration from us and provided a swathe of pink and yellow flowers.

For me, however, the Australian Rockery contained the biggest range of delights in many colours. Unfortunately it was difficult to find plant names, so many of these gems are unidentified, but that doesn’t alter my appreciation of them. Perhaps some identification will come from other bloggers – please feel free to comment.

One of Australia’s most iconic flowers, the Flannel Flower, Actinous helianthi

We spent a delightful morning wandering the gardens and there’s a lot more I could include, of course. Perhaps in another post I’ll cover the venerable trees, the original farm planted by the first settlers and the Wollemi Pine, a prehistoric tree discovered in a secret valley in NSW in 1994.

On another matter, I apologise to my readers that anyone commenting on my posts had to go through the tedious process of adding a name and email address. I’ve only recently discovered that this was the case, and I hope I’ve remedied it.

Farewell January-thank goodness! February 2, 2019

Throughout January the heat continued unabated. Although we got off lightly compared to others in Australia, several days in a row of 40 degrees, and many in excess of 36 made gardening not an option. In Mudgee, our maximum temperature for the whole month was 4.9 degrees above average, making it the hottest January ever. That makes the Paris Agreement to keep global warming to less than two degrees look shaky to say the least, in my opinion. Something climate change deniers should contemplate.

We have been lucky to have some rain. Last Tuesday a wildly clamorous and exhilarating storm with thunder and lightning that made us feel as though we were under siege, brought us 33mm for which we were exceedingly grateful.

After a few week’s absence, I am joining in with Six on Saturday, hosted by the Propagator. If you would like to either join in or see what other gardeners are experiencing, , follow this link.

My first photo (above) is of Tulbaghia or Society Garlic, a redoubtable garden member, reliable always no matter how hot the weather.

Two: A new Lagerstroemia ‘Tonto’, still only small, is enjoying the heat and growing well. Some people aren’t keen on crepe myrtles, but they grow so well in our climate and are colourful for so long, I think they’re a very worthwhile addition to the garden.

Three: White Vinca makes a sweet frill around the base of these compact Raphiolepis.

Four: Ceratostigma also known as Chinese Plumbago has a small flower, but the strength of its blue colouring makes up for its lack of size. I’m looking forward to this plant spreading itself around as it makes a pretty groundcover with leaves colouring beautifully during autumn.

Five: Once again, Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ is preparing to flower, even though there’s easily a month of summer left.

Six: Finally, a new pair of gardening shoes, my favourites already, a Christmas present from Mr MG.

That’s my six for this week. All the hedges need cutting, there’s weeding to be done and there have been deaths in the garden which need to be dealt with, but it’s still way too hot, so a siesta is the go, I think for the rest of the afternoon, and several cool drinks tinkling with ice.

Happy gardening everyone.