Saturday, December 20, 2014

Frangipani dreaming

Some excellent news for frangipani growers here in Sydney: don't lift a finger! That's right, don't do anything. Don't water them, don't feed them, just get up close every now and then to inhale the flowers' oh-so-sweet perfume (just to show you care) but that's about it for frangipani-growing tips in Sydney.

I'm a classicist. White frangipani with a yellow centre for me.
Others go for the red 'Rubra' variety but there are many others
to choose from. I just like the yellow one.

No, it's not a cake decoration, it's just perfection doing its thing.

Grown from a cutting (thanks Krissy!) taken earlier this
century, our frangipani tree was a slow grower for the first
few years, but it's now settled in to its new home, and
is growing better than ever, thanks to a judicious lack of
'helpful' interference from me.

The same growing tips of "do nothing at all" apply equally to the
other champion plant of Sydney gardens: Murraya paniculata.
However, the murraya's scent is nothing like the sweet
frangipani's, so getting up close isn't something a lot of people
like to do. In fact the murraya's scent comes over to you, it
seeks you out whether you want its company or not.
And right now, here in Garden Amateur land, the murrayas are flowering and so too the frangipanis, and I didn't lift a finger to make it happen. They did it on their own.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pots & rain, a handy tip

All Sydney gardeners don't need to be told about the weather right now, but for those of you elsewhere on the planet, we are living through a stormy, tropical style summer this year. Hot, humid days, with violent thunderstorms every afternoon and evening. 

And that's the kind of weather which can kill a lot of potted plants, for the simple reason that gardeners think there's no need to water their potted plants, as Huey the weather god has that job covered. And that's my handy tip: go check your potted plants. There's a good chance the soil could be dry (amazingly enough), and so you should still think about watering your potted plants, crazy as it sounds. I checked my potted plants this morning, and they all needed watering. Here's why...

This potted cherry tomato's leaves form a virtual
umbrella over the top of the pot, and the "catchment
area" of potted soil for water from that violent
10-minute downpour of rain is no bigger than
a handkerchief. When I checked this morning, the
intense heat of yesterday had dried out the pot,
and the downpour of rain hadn't made up the
shortfall of moisture. So I watered it.
It was the same story with my potted fig tree, and
right now, as those delicious fruits are forming, this
little Turkish Brown fig tree loves water.
The Thai Lime is also forming fruits galore, and
even though it is in a big pot (as is the fig), it
still needed watering this morning.
So this is an old gardener's tip that is well worth repeating. Never take it for granted that last night's shower of rain has properly watered your pots. Check them the next morning, and you could save a life — a precious, delicious, fruit-bearing life!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pure Gold

For we humans those age milestones of 21, 30, 40, 50, 60, etc, all the way up to 100 are all special occasions... and one of the most endearing little people we know, our outdoor water bowl's resident goldfish, Paul, has clocked up his own biggie: he's five years old. Happy Birthday Paul! As you can see in the photo below, he pigged out on extra goldfish flakes that day.

Regular readers of this blog will probably know the story behind
Paul's name. We started out with four goldfish – John, Paul,
George and Ringo – and five years later Paul is our survivor. He's
been through 45°C summer scorchers, survived every attempt
by the local pussy cats to turn him into a midnight snack,
and he just comes up looking for food each and every morning.
Having a name drawn from music legend, it probably comes
as no surprise to discover that Paul can sing. Here he is
belting out "Back in the USSR" on one of his rowdy days.
And Paul has even been immortalised in a painting by
Pam (this was part of her '31 Days' exhibition this year,
at Gallery Red in Leichhardt). It's beautiful, Pammy. 
© Pamela Horsnell 2014

So, happy birthday little buddy. I'm looking forward to celebrating your 10th, because it means I'll still be around in 2019, too!

And to our blog readers, if you're wondering how goldfish go as backyard pond, or potted pond, people, they're as tough as can be, and they're always very pretty to look at, with their snazzy gold colourings flashing under the water. And if you're really lucky you might get one who sings, but there's no promises on that one ...