Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Backyard babies

It's a lazy gardener's dream come true when you hear the rain on the roof in the morning. "Oh, good, I don't have to worry about watering the babies – thank you rain god." And so it was this morning. Nothing to set the weather bureau humming with excitement, but a couple of mills of rain nevertheless. And the cloudy weather makes everything look and smell so nice.

Even in their adult glory tiny alyssum flowers look like a cluster of so many babies, so I thought I'd start with them.

Sown as seed a few weeks back, this pot of chervil is enjoying its semi-shaded new home. I tried to grow it last year, presuming it was a typical sun-loving herb, and it didn't thrive. And then I discovered that it's a shy thing that likes its semi shade. Looks a lot like parsley (see the next pic) and it's said to be lovely with eggs. Will report back on this one later on. So far, so good.

And speaking of parsley, here's this year's seed-sown parsley border powering along. Parsley takes about three weeks just to sprout from seed, then another couple of weeks to get
serious about growing. But about 10 days ago it announced its adolescence and it's belting along. Four weeks from now it will probably want to leave home.

A free packet of tomato seeds with the latest gardening magazine: Grosse Lisse tomatoes. There are also Tiny Tim cherry tomatoes coming up well from seed, plus Roma egg tomatoes from seed, all side by side in the same little suburb of punnets.

An encouraging sight – new growth on the bay tree. At the very bottom left of this pic you can see a typically winter-blighted bay tree leaf with scale damage. I truly tried to be a diligent gardener and sprayed the thing with PestOil this winter, and still the relentless scale set up colonies. At least this new growth compensates for the lack of success with the pest prevention.

Roast chicken here I come! Oops, forgive me, I haven't made introductions. This is the 2008 spring crop of French tarragon, springing up and rapidly making headway. This herb dies back in winter and then bounces back in spring from the runners it sends out. It has a mildly aniseedy flavour that is just made for chicken (and French mustard, and garlic, but that's another posting). One of these days I'll get really adventurous and try it with something else...

I guess I'm stretching the concept of babies with these little winter-sown cherry tomatoes, but they changed colour from green to red the other day, and it at least they get a 'coming of age' award for doing that.

Raised from seed, this Zucchini 'Black Beauty' baby will soon become a tearaway teenager and then a hardworking, productive adult a few weeks after that. Hopefully there will be a full zucchini blog with recipes a few months from now. So far, the kid is doing fine!

And this large person is a baby, a newly planted big baby. My Pammy has always wanted a frangipani tree, and I love them, too (the classic one with white flowers with a yellow centre and a tropically sweet fragrance). A few years back one of my workmates, Krissy, decided to renovate her house, and the hardest thing for her was getting rid of her big, old frangipani tree to make way for the snazzy new building. So, all sorts of family and friends received cuttings from her tree, and they're growing well in several new homes, including ours. Last Sunday we decided the time was right for 'baby' to go into its new home in the garden, having spent two summers growing and developing nicely in a pot. One funny little thing is this: 'baby frangipani' looked like a whopper in the pot, but it looks just like a small but perfectly formed tree in the ground.

Babies might come in all shapes and sizes, but the nurturing instinct is blind to size.

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