Saturday, August 4, 2012

Waking from slumber



Yawn, stretch, roll over, back to sleep... who, what... what time is it? 
Oh, that's right, I'm a blogger, and I'm meant to do some blogging, at least occasionally. Been a while, hasn't it? Nuffink in July, and only one bread-baking post in June, and rainbow watching in May. Not much gardening at all. That's what life has been like for us, too. Not much gardening at all, despite life being busy.
Well, like my garden, which is slowly waking up now after a very quiet winter, I too am waking up from a long blogging snooze – and a long gardening snooze. So here's a little update on the astonishing lack of progress here in Amateur Land. 


Posting this photo almost feels like cheating, but
not quite. This is a freebie plant given to us recently
at a gardening function. It's from PGA and is called
'The Princess Lavender'. We brought it home already
in flower and since then it has started to bloom even
 more. While we can hardly take any credit for growing
it, at least we haven't killed it in the three weeks
it has been with us! That's a minor achievement.
You don't actually need to do any
 gardening to make a nasturtium flower.
The main job is regularly pulling out lots
of it to stop it taking over. Alas,
Pam likes nasturtiums, and every now
and then, in a moment of weakness,
so do I, but I am sure that's only because
I like Pam so much.

This is a bit more my pace at the moment: a
self-seeding, flowering weed. We only bought
one punnet of primulas, back in 1990 when we

started out gardening here. We were just foolish
kids, your honour – no-one told us not to do it! 
They've been weedily with us ever since. I stopped
trying to pull the seedlings out about 10 years ago
when I realised they had me beaten. And I don't
like pink, either. My little punishment, these guys.

Again, without any help from Mr Slacker, the
scadoxus bulbs are slowly coming up again.
Pictured below is what we're looking forward to
in late August or early September, which is
when this photo was taken two years ago.

A dazzling sight in bloom, these scadoxus flowers sit on
stalks about 18 inches (40cm) high and last for three
or four weeks. They look especially aflame in the late
afternoon light, they're the most radiant blooms I know.
But that's it for the flower show at the moment, not really all that much happening, apart from some tibouchinas which I am holding onto for a few photos later on.


The last time I did any 'real' garden blogging I was talking about garden makeovers and grand plans last autumn. Let's just say we're still in the planning stage... But last weekend I became fed-up with the relatively decrepit state of everything, especially the kitchen garden side of things, and so I actually made some progress there: ie, did some work

First of all I repotted our Thai makrut lime tree. It has
been in constant trouble all year, attacked by the dreaded
citrus leafminer insect, and so I've gone back to basics:
fresh potting mix, cut off the ugly bits, water and Seasol,
plus the magic ingredient – fingers crossed!

All my parsley had gone to seed and we barely had any, so buying a punnet of seedlings solved that shortage.

That same gardening function where they
handed out the lavender freebies also
yielded a Yates Roma tomato seedling,
so it is chilling out in midwinter in
the sunniest spot I can give it, waiting
for things to warm up in spring.
So far, so good, so here's hoping.

This strawberry patch is a self-seeded,
delicious event. It came up all by itself
from compost I had spread around this
area. We eat a lot of fresh strawberries
bought at the fruit shops, and so I can
only presume that one or two of the
hulled sections tossed into the compost
bin are responsible for this patch.
Like the tomatoes, so far so good. 
Self-sown herbs, too! This is a little patch
of chervil that has come up on its own.

The chervil is a potential weed, I suspect.
Pictured here it's at the base of one of
the birdbaths (guarded by Bartholemew,
our skateboarding gnome) and has been
in almost complete shade all winter.
Worst spot in the garden and it's happy.
Must be a weed!

The hellebores have all survived the disaster of the
total collapse of a wall-full of climbing fig on top of them 

(during a storm last February). I was unable to clear
the wreckage for about a week, and yet the tough
old hellebores survived this indignity. As for flowering
this winter, sorry, they're sulking, flowerless, once more.
Next to the hellebores a bird's nest fern seems to have
taken to its new spot, having been dug up and replanted
last autumn. I didn't expect it to live, but it's obviously
much tougher than I imagined.

However, the sad truth of our garden is that a lot of
it is still bare. This is the site of the future makeover,
and the only thing there at the moment is mulch, lots
of mulch. We still haven't really figured out what we
want to do with it, and so it's just $30 worth of mulch

keeping the weeds unhappy. The worms are loving it!

Meanwhile, across the path the succulents
are waiting for their assignments in this
much-promised, but not-happening, makeover.
They're all getting out of their pots and going
into the ground, one of these days. As soon
as we come up with a plan we both like.

There's all sorts of colourful foliage soaking up the sun.

Including these cute little munchkins.

A while ago Pam bought home a potted
Tibouchina 'Jules', and it has been flowering
its head off ever since. I think she has subtly
laid claim to having a good purple presence
in our made-over garden, as we already
have another, smaller-growing, Tibouchina
called 'Groovy Baby', coming into purple
flower as well. I can take a hint.
There are all sorts of reasons behind our lack of progress on the garden makeover, several out of our control, but one of them is very happily of our own doing. Pam is flat out painting right now. 


She has two exhibitions coming up in the second half of this year. In October she's repeating her successful solo art exhibition in the art gallery at the Eden Gardens complex in Sydney's North Ryde. She sold stacks of paintings first time round last year, and you can count on me to promote it here when we get closer to the date.


But before that she is taking part in a group exhibition at Gallery Red in Glebe. It's called '31 Days', and for this Pam and five other artists have each done 31 paintings in the 31 days of July. (And that's a lot of work!) The theme for the whole exhibition is 'The Space Between', which is broad, really broad, but who wants to hem in the creative spirit too tight? Not me. 


For 'the space between' theme Pam is using our travels across the United States last year, and so to sign off today I think a bit of shameless self-promotion is in order. So here's one of Pam's images from the 31 Days exhibition. 
You can pop over to visit Gallery Red's
Facebook page to find out more about
the 31 Days exhibition. It begins in late
August, and anyone can pop in to visit.
Here's a link to the Facebook page:
http://on.fb.me/MVH41Y
And here's a link to the 31 Days preview
http://on.fb.me/QAKZ5K

9 comments:

Vinyl Garden Sheds said...

They are really beautiful, it is heartbreaking. Thanks a lot for the share. I really love those blooms.

Millsy said...

Thanks for your post, it reminds me of my own lack of action in my garden, probly get more done now Uni starts and i have a good reason to procrastinate lol. What was the very first Succulent you posted a photo of? the green and Pink upright one after the bare ground pic?
Thanks,
Happy Gardening
Gareth.

Min said...

I was glad to see your blog post pop up in my feed. I always enjoy seeing what's happening in your plot. Pam's painting is beautiful. Congratulations on the exhibitions. Did you see the botanical art earlier in the year at the Sydney Botanical Gardens? Watercolour painting is such a wonderful skill.

patientgardener said...

Love Pam's painting.
Your scardoxus bulbs are quite strange looking but wonderful flowers.

Jamie said...

Gareth
That green and pink succulent is Senecio amaniensis. The label says it grows to 40cm tall and is frost-sensitive. Apparently it shows this strong colouring best right now, in winter.

Min: Pam never misses out on the botanical gardens art exhibitions.

Helen: I'm reading your blog every day, enjoying it always, but I'm not much of a commenter, am I? Loved all your Barcelona holiday pix and notes, by the way.

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merewether life said...

Love primulas, remind me of my grandmother...

Ambra said...

Really impressed by the scadoxus - I've never seen them before but they look lovely. I think a winter garden is delightful and ours is looking great, especially the clivias, calla lilies and irises, so much so that I've written about it in my latest post on my blog The Good, the Bad and the Italian'. Now I really feel productive!

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