Saturday, February 19, 2011

Plugging the gaps


Well, hello everyone. I've been away from blogging about gardens for a month and a day, although I don't think anyone actually noticed. The odd thing about being absent from my blog for this short period is that during that time, the number of hits on my blog slowly but steadily increased. If I stay away forever I might eventually have a hit on my hands...

I don't think so, and so let's get down to the business of today's topic: plugging the gaps. In this case, it's a fairly big gap. Let me explain.

Now, this is not a recent photo of my front garden. It was taken back in April 2009, when everything was going well with these outrageously healthy and vigorous natives. The blue-grey thing spilling over the front fence is an alleged 'groundcover' version of the Cootamundra wattle, according to the plant label. It's a monster, but it is a beautiful monster. But see the big grey plant behind it, in the centre of the photo? That's now the gap in question. It has carked it. Died. It is an ex Correa alba. It started to get the wobbles this time last year, and for a while I thought it had survived, courtesy of my nursing talents. But this summer I lost my grey native patient and it just faded and faded, and so this morning I pulled it out.

Now I have a very large gap to fill. That's a big gap, isn't it! I could do nothing and just let the monster wattle fill the whole area, and that's not a bad plan at all. We might do that. But Pam and I just can't help discussing alternatives. We could plant a dwarf gum tree there, the one with the lurid vermilion flowers, for example. Not sure what we'll do, but there's no rush. February is a stinker of a time to plant anything in Sydney. I regard February as the one true "killer" month we have here in Sydney each year. Hot and humid, it gets at plants' roots, gives them diseases, and pests are everywhere. I've attended more plant funerals in February than at any other time of year. So I'll wait till it cools down, late March or April, before I plug the 'gap' with something else.

Right now, I've also been filling a few other gaps in the backyard in a very stop-gap way. To other Sydney gardeners, all you have to say is "that hot Saturday" and they all know what I mean. On that unbelievably hot day in early February, the temperature went past 40°C everywhere, and my little digital thermometer in the shade peaked at 41.5C (which is 106.7°F). And it wasn't dry heat either, it was humid heat, awful debilitating heat.

Fortunately, all the major plants here survived, the goldfish in the water garden even made it through (thanks to some timely shadecloth cover), but all the annual flowers which were past the half-way point of their short seasonal lives suddenly heard the referee blow "full time, game over" and down they slumped, deep-fried by sunshine.

So this is the scene this morning in the backyard. Mulcherama. Everything was pulled out, the soil has been dug, composted, limed, watered and mulched. And I'm not planting nuthin until March. I don't trust this weather. It's deadly. What little gardening I'm doing is happening before 9am, or after 6pm. When March comes I'll be planting vegies and flowers again, as I always like to, but until then I'm cruising, watching mulch break down.

So there's not really all that much to blog about here at Amateur Land at the moment. When the weather cools down next month there'll be all sorts of things to post about, so I might just wander off for another month and a day, and watch my web stats keep on mysteriously rising.


22 comments:

lotusleaf said...

I understand how you feel, because we too have a long, hot season when no gardening is possible.

Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

Welcome back to blogging land Jamie! I noticed that you weren't around. It's been a killer February hasn't it? As I write this it is still 28 degrees (82.4F) and it is almost midnight. I'm with you - next month is definitely a better gardening month.

Sunray Gardening said...

Absolutely beautiful photos and lovely gardens. I am following your blog now, be sure to come by my new one and watch progress.
Cher
Goldenray Yorkies

patientgardener said...

I noticed you hadnt blog and was wondering if you were alright. I suspect hits increase during periods of non-blogging because people are wondering if you are OK.

There certainly is a gap to fill but so many possibilities - quite exciting really

Alexa said...

We've had the opposite in Melbourne this February - it's usually hot and dry with deep-fried crispy plants. This year it's been middling-warmish and damp, damp, damp. I've already got powdery mildew creeping onto my zucchini and melons which is very unusual this early in the year.

Jamie said...

Well, hello everyone, and thanks for your comments. Just taking a holiday from garden blogging. I'd pretty well run out of things to say after 290 long-winded posts!

Alexa: I've had great results using that new Eco-Fungicide on my cucumbers, it seems to be much better than the milk spray I used in previous years.

Sue O said...

I missed you! Still planning your US trip? Me, I'm heading back to NZ for a couple of weeks in April. Swapping cool Oregon weather for cool Waikato weather.
I think blogging statistics are a mystery. I wrote a post on sinkholes a few months ago and it gets hit regularly from exotic locations all over the world. It's a total mystery to me!

Jamie said...

Hi Sue
Yep, the US trip has reached the 'commitment" phase. Plane tickets bought, hotel reservations made, etc. We're doing it!

And I know what you mean about site stats. My all-time most popular posting, double the number of the second-placed posting, is one about the humble little herb, thyme.

Melinda said...

I noticed and missed your updates.

Chookie said...

I knew exactly which Saturday you meant! Isn't it fun working out what to put in the space? Looking forward to whatever you come up with.

academic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hello
i recently stumbled across your blog and I have had a very enjoyable read and look around. I chuckled to myself when I read that you have been gardening for 20 years and you still call yourself "garden amateur" .... as I REALLY am an amateur gardener having only been actively gardening for the last year! But it is like a drug- I'm hooked!!!
Can't wait for the next installment

Shivangni said...

Hi, hadn't checked in for a long time and was surprised to see only one update since my last visit.

So happy that I was absent from the space otherwise would have missed the blogs badly

Mrs Bok - The Bok Flock said...

A flowering eucalypt!
Down south in Melbourne it hasn't felt like much of a summer :( Whenever I'm up your way for work I'm always taken by how much warmer it is!

Garden Forum said...

Well how's the weather today? I'm just new in planting and gardening just want to ask question and hope I can get an answer, my question is when is the best time to do gardening? Thanks!

Jamie said...

When is the best time to gardening?

Whenever you feel the urge to breathe, do some gardening!

hearts_in_asia said...

I have just found your blog and I love it! Clearly a gardener after my own heart :)

Ami said...

Welcome back Jamie. I'm sure you can think of something to say! I enjoyed your 290 long winded posts! Keep blogging. On the garden front, we've just dug a couple of new garden beds for winter vegies and have topped all the garden beds with a good smelly load of mushroom compost. The tomatoes are coming to an end. I am sick of the scraggly plants and want to pull them out but they're still fruiting. When do they stop!

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

I'm still noticing you're not around - when are you coming back to us??

Chandramouli S said...

Oh those poor annuals! It's sad, because annuals are great exhibitors! Hope you can starting planting again soon. I was away from blogosphere for really long - almost a year! Coming back from hibernation, I am catching up with all the blogs...

Elephant's Eye said...

Tomorrow we are going to get some plugs for our gaps. The weather was turning graciously autumnal, but has swung back to hot. And we wait, for rain ... then the new plants can go in!

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