Avoiding the Obvious, 28 March 2020.

I’m going to launch straight in today and try not to write about the one thing that is on the front page of every newspaper and heads every news item in all media: understandably so. But I’m determined not to mention it. I think we need a small respite from the saturation we’ve all been experiencing.

I’m starting my six this week with a photo of Achillea ‘lost the name‘ which has produced its dolly mixture flowers very happily after the recent rain. We had more this week, rain that is, and it’s been so uplifting.

Two: Mr MG took a photo of me taking advantage of the soft ground to dig out the dandelions that have flung themselves around this part of the back lawn. I was enjoying my new weeding stool which saved my knees from aching as I applied myself to the task. It’s advantageous to get weeding done before the ground turns to concrete gain.

Three: During the week I planted a few vegetable seeds: broad beans, broccoli (it was $11.50 a kilogram at the supermarket) and cabbages. If you look closely, you can see some seeds beginning to emerge, which is amazing, as they were a couple of years past their use-by date. At least. Bearing in mind that there’s a wait of a few months for anything to reach the picking stage, I thought I’d purchase a few seedlings for some variety and to hurry the process up. It seems that not only has there been a run on panic buying of toilet paper, but everyone else has had the same idea as me and the local supplier was stripped bare of both seedlings and seed packets. Perhaps there will be a new surge in the successful home growing of vegetables. Not a bad thing.

Four: Zinnias have been a constant source of enjoyment in the garden, having popped up everywhere including in the back lawn where they’re being allowed to remain. I love this one with its coronet of gold and liveried attendant.

Five: Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ is usually an upright bushy perennial full of flowers, but it has struggled a bit this summer. Perhaps I need to move it so it’s more in the open.

Six: The first Dahlia to flower this year. It comes from some seeds I planted some time ago, just a packet bought locally, so it doesn’t have a name.

Those are my six for this week. To join in or to see what other folk are growing in their gardens, pop over to the Propagator’s blog and join in. The Propagator keeps this community going through thick and thin, on holiday or preparing to run ridiculous distances and we are all indebted to him.

Weather today: Perfect Autumn. 11-23 degrees C and sunny.

Happy gardening everyone, and stay well.

48 Comments Add yours

  1. As I am in the middle of moving to my other place I decided to make the garden a bit more fuller. The place is new and while the builder did put in a considerable number of plants, it still looks a bit meagre. I bought some lavender and a couple of fast growing conifers. The Leylandii who gained some notoriety of taking over and shading neighbours houses.
    I put them on the side facing the road so, no worries there. I love zinnias. It will be next on my list.

    1. Jane says:

      Yes, do plant Zinnias, Gerard, they are such good value and the slugs and snails don’t seem to bother them either. Leylandii I am not sure about. They can be very big. I hope you enjoy gardening in your new place.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes,I I haven’t been able to buy any seeds on line at all. I have a kneeler which is fine so long as I am wearing knee pads too! That achillea, is a lovely colour.

    1. Jane says:

      My new seat saved my knees but transferred discomfort to my back. It seems there’s no getting away from it when you get older!

  3. June Girvin says:

    I have a little seat like that, you can turn it upside down and it becomes a kneeler with handy supports to help you get up again. Ah, the trials of gardening as the years creep on! Keep safe!

    1. Jane says:

      I can turn mine over to kneel on as well. It also has pockets for secateurs etc!

  4. Susan Hagen says:

    The zinnia with the bee is a great capture. I’m very late on planting seeds, but zinnias are a real favorite.

    1. Jane says:

      That’s Mr MG’s photo. They’re always point and hope for the best with me. The Zinnias have been giving endless delight in their variety of colours and shapes.

  5. I have the same stool! It is brilliant turned the other way for saving your back when planting seeds too .🌱🌞

    1. A lovely respite post indeed. My gardening endeavors are focused on raking and cleaning out flowerbeds in anticipation of daffodil and tulips opening very soon.

      1. Jane says:

        So much to look forward to with spring arriving!

    2. Jane says:

      I’ve yet to try mine the other way, but will do before long, I’m sure.

      1. It has saved my knees many times and the “legs” make it so much easier to get back up!

  6. Lis says:

    Thank you, Jane, it’s lovely to read something uplifting and positive in these tricky times. That zinnia is beautiful, I’m as fascinated as its visitor by that incredible centre. Isn’t planting seeds always such an optimistic thing to do? Thankfully, we are well-stocked here but I know some online companies in the UK are struggling to meet the increased demand. What a positive thing, though, if more people are encouraged to grow their own food now – and maybe some flowers for the soul, too? Stay safe and well. 🙂

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you, Lis. I gave up trying to grow veg a couple of years ago, as they seemed to get out of control if I went away anywhere but now that I won’t be going away for a while, I feel I can perhaps do better with them. If my very small stock of seedlings do ok, I might try some more, if I can get them. It means doing away with my cutting garden though.
      I’ve sent away for some knitting wool (I’m not into spinning although my mother was very good at it) which should arrive tomorrow so I’m looking forward to listening to books and keeping my mind and fingers occupied.

  7. Noelle says:

    Bringing gardeners from different countries for me is interesting. Your zinnias are beautiful..

    1. Jane says:

      It’s fascinating to see what others are doing, and I’ve learnt rather a lot along the way.

  8. Joshua says:

    Nice to have the stool to take the strain away. I’ve ended up with a number of kneelers over the years but find them more of a pain moving them round. Pretty little dahlia. I’m set for getting my seed started next month.

    1. Jane says:

      Being in your recent line of work you were probably able to organise everything you need for both vegetables and flowers. I expect to see many punnets of seedlings on your posts soon!

  9. Tracy says:

    Love those little yellow flower bits (technical term) within the zinnia, Jane. Your garden is looking quite delightful. I hope we will get some more rain this week.

    1. Jane says:

      I’ve just been on a little internet journey to discover just what those yellow flower bits are, and it seems that they’re miniature flowers called florets. I didn’t know that myself, which is partly why I described them as a coronet of gold.
      We have more rain forecast in the coming week, and I hope you do too. Take care.

  10. Jude says:

    I know what you mean about kneeling! Having just done that yesterday using a piece of cardboard and an old T-shirt to protect my knees – a bit! The stool looks like it might save the knees, but ouch on the back! Never an easy answer when you become ancient like me! Love your Zinnias. You say the S&S leave them alone, but I thought they loved them? Mmm… maybe next year I shall give them a try. This year I am going to refrain from buying any more plants (I have some Cosmos and rockery plants on order) and let the ones I have bought over the last couple of years settle in and spread out a bit. Nice to see your flowers again 🙂

    1. Jane says:

      There has been no sign of S&S on the zinnias, but maybe our ferocious summer stopped them from breeding to the same extent as they have before. I know there are a few around because I can see where they’ve been, but so far no damage.
      I’m not buying any more plants either, except perhaps a few veg seedlings if I can get them. I’ve been transplanting volunteers and that will do for me.

  11. Kris P says:

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve had more rain, Jane! My guess is that our season is now over but a little more in early April is possible, even if there’s nothing showing in the 10-day forecast at present. I should follow your example while the soil is still soft here and spend more time weeding – the Mexican feather grass has seeded itself densely between my paving stones and it may be a nightmare if I don’t get to it. I’m looking to get an early start on my summer cutting garden with dahlias and zinnias but I’ve also been thinking of planting a tomato plant or two. Best wishes!

    1. Jane says:

      I’m unfamiliar with Mexican feather grass, so did a bit of research and discovered it’s a noxious weed here. I can see how it would be a problem. I do hope you get some more rain, Kris. Planting a cutting garden sounds like an enjoyable thing to be doing!

  12. bonnie groves poppe says:

    Always enjoy your posts from the other side of the world! Trapped at home here in the south of France, but its okay. Big garden (3000 sq. meters), lots to catch up on, and we can go to the grocery and other essential businesses as long as we take our paperwork with us that says what we are up to. Never been asked for it or even seen a policeman. We can get around on very tiny roads through the vines where there would never be anyone to check on you. Today’s important trip was to the winery, which is considered an essential business. I love France. By the time this confinement is over our garden will be a weedless showplace.
    bonnie in the vaucluse (the one in france not australia)

    1. Jane says:

      I’m glad you are feeling at ease with the lockdown, Bonnie. The situation in Europe is terrible and I do feel so sorry when I read about what’s happening.
      I agree about the wineries though. It’s a wine producing area where I live too, but all the wineries are closed down for now. There’s still the supermarket though!

  13. Gill Heavens says:

    Sounds just lovely where you are (except for the stuff). Love the achillea, that is my kind of colour. The dahlia is lovely, in fact it is all pretty good. Stay safe and well x

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you Gill. I’ve had quite a bit of trouble getting Achilleas to grow in my garden and now they seem like they’re taking over. I don’t mind though. You take care too.

  14. John says:

    I just love the bee on the Zinnia. An exquisite photograph.

    1. Jane says:

      I have to confess that MR MG took that photo…he’s better at it than me. Mine are all accidental!

  15. Pauline says:

    Well I can relate to most of this post Jane. I almost lost my Achillea, it is a creamy white, love the colour of yours, but I took cuttings just before it collapsed, too much rain I think, and the cuttings have survived. My zinnias have self seeded everywhere too. And I tried getting seedlings and seeds from Bunnings last week to be face with empty shelves☹️. So have now sown seeds from old packets I had in the shed!!! That stool looks a good idea. I’ve seem them and considered buying but so far I am struggling on… pleased you’ve had rain it is perfect weather at the moment, loving it.

    1. Jane says:

      It was hard to get the Achillea to establish but finally it is flowering nicely. I have a couple of other colours too, and maybe they’ll have enough flower to post about eventually. Isn’t the weather gorgeous? I hope it lasts a bit longer.
      Good luck with the old packets of seeds. I was amazed when mine germinated.

  16. What is it with weeds? Nothing seems to deter them and I have been waging war on ours recently. Mr ET went to buy his usual supply of vege seedlings last week and they were sold out. Luckily he was able to get some the next time he went. We also had out of date seeds and they’ve all sprouted too so we’re looking forward to a harvest in the future.

    1. Jane says:

      My worst weed is a Euphorbia, Spotted Spurge which spreads itself around everywhere and takes up a lot of my time. Sigh.
      Do you mean you grew actual mini date palms? That’s exciting!

  17. What a relief and joy to have rain! It makes everything possible again. I can’t get over how quickly things grow when we do get rain. I like your weeding stool, perhaps I should get one. At the moment I do have knee pads that strap to my knees with Velcro… but works well. I realised I was avoiding kneeing down ..very hard to do in a garden! My daughter calls my knee pads my ”Extreme garden outfit”..and says they are not a good look!
    I am also thinking of zinnias this year, but am already late in planting my sweet peas and bulbs.. Hope you can stay well and happy in the garden..

    1. Jane says:

      I hope you had plenty of rain too, Gerrie. I like the extreme garden outfit description. But it doesn’t matter, who sees? Happy planting.😊

  18. Lovely to see you out weeding Jane. After a very wet winter we’ve had no rain for a while and I’m beginning to want some! Lovely 6 but my favourite is definitely the Zinnia – what a beautiful soft colour.

  19. hb says:

    The “pull the weeds before the ground turns back into concrete” is going on in my garden as well. Happy you got rain!

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you hb. I have been enjoying seeing photos of the progress in your garden. You have some magnificent dry climate species.

  20. Cindy says:

    So pretty see flowers in full bloom as we are no where near that here at this point in spring. I love your zinnia with the bee, and I have started my seedlings (a little to early I am afraid), but looking forward to May, when I can plant them out in their summer home.

    1. Jane says:

      Spring will be glorious when it finally arrives at your place Cindy! My seedlings have grown a bit since I posted, but I sprinkled them so closely together they are going to need some serious thinning out.

  21. Catherine says:

    Here’s another one who uses a kneeler/stool. I kneel on it and use the legs to get me up again. I’ve gardened like that for umpteen years.

    Nice to see your Zinnias – I have seeds ready to sow, hopefully in a couple of days and it’s good to hear you say that the S&S’s don’t touch them. Your Achillea is lovely – it looks a lot like my ‘Cerise Queen’.

    1. Jane says:

      I think I have to revise what I said about zinnias, as I’ve been told snails do eat them. I think that there aren’t many snails in my garden just now and perhaps that’s due to the ferocious Summer we had and maybe there wasn’t much breeding going on. We’ve had quite a bit of rain in this week and normally I’d see snails everywhere, but there were few to be found early this morning.
      I think my Achillea might be ‘Cerise Queen’, it certainly is a similar colour. Except that I thought I purchased a terracotta coloured one!

  22. Veg gardening seems to have taken off in a big way and I’m another one who is planting more this year. We usually go away on holiday just as the plants are ready to harvest, but not this year. I’ll be here to make the most of everything I grow.

    1. Jane says:

      Gardening generally and growing veg specifically seem like excellent activities to be undertaking at the present time. Enjoy your vegetables!

  23. Lora Hughes says:

    I love that zinnia (as does the bee)! Is it another Lost its Name or do you know it personally? I do so love broccoli – such a versatile veg – but the dread white moth caterpillar plunders them & other things here. Are there similar broccoli pests in Australia?

    1. Jane says:

      Hi Lora, I planted zinnias from a seed packet last year and all of this year’s are plants that have come back under their own steam, so I have no idea of their names.
      I love broccoli too and yes, we get caterpillars on ours, and they make a dreadful mess of the plant. Last time I planted veg, I used a net to keep local cats out of the garden and it also did a magnificent job of keeping the white butterflies off the vegetables. I’ll be getting that net out again!

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