Friday, February 9, 2018

Summer holiday

Time does bounce along, doesn't it? It's been more than two months since I last posted anything here, and that's because I've been on a summer holiday of sorts.

No, we haven't been travelling much, apart from a short holiday break down on the NSW far South Coast. Instead, I just haven't felt like adding anything to my little gardening blog for these last 10 weeks. The garden is in summer mode, that is to say it's as thirsty as can be, every known pest and bug is doing its best work right now, and this little gardener is merely helping where he can, watching it all unfold.

So here's a little update on just a few things happening here, more for the record that any earth-shattering insights.

In its first full summer here, the baby frangipani which I've dubbed 'Serendipity' isn't breaking any records for speed of growth, but as you can see, it's a beautiful bambino.

Sometimes you have to measure success in terms of sheer survival, and this Pieris japonica is looking remarkably chipper despite having to spend summer in hot and humid Sydney. There's new growth everywhere, and last spring's dead bits, which I simply cut off, are well hidden by greenery. One secret to keeping this alive on scorching hot days when the temperatures reach into the high 30s and beyond, is that I have made a little shade cloth cover for it and pop it on whenever the weather forecast is unfriendly to delicate petals which would rather be under a cool forest canopy, if given the choice.

I'm not sure what the minimum allowable size is for a meadow, but I am hoping that four feet by four feet makes the cut. Even if not, I am also considering this a minor success, at least as a lesson in persistence, which I do believe is a close cousin of pig-headedness.
These simple little daisies are Zinnia linearis, grown from seed. I couldn't find the seed I wanted from any seed growers online, or in garden centres, so I bought a packet on eBay and they were complete duds. Hopeless. Nothing came up. So I tried online again, and second time round a grower in California came to the rescue, and her/his seeds sprouted well. I was hoping for yellow flowers as well, but I am OK with white and orange only.

I do love the way bromeliads quietly go about their business of producing outrageous flowers. This one is tucked behind the Thai lime tree and I like the way that it's in a "backstage" position in the garden and so very amazing when you finally discover it.

Meanwhile, in the vegie patch, all is quietly ticking over, and my only problem is the usual one of the backyard vegie gardener: Gluts.

This is far too much silver beet for two little people to eat. We've been harvesting lots, but that only makes it grow more, and quite frankly we're a bit silver beeted out. 

We also do not suffer from any shortages of purple/white striped/speckled eggplants.

I am currently fooling myself into believing that I've finally got on top of radish production, sowing just half a dozen seeds at a time, at spaced intervals of time.

However, I have saved the best for last. Well, it's not the "best" for everyone, but it is the one summertime gardening project which I've been most interested in. It's the little fern garden out in front of the house, sheltering under the dappled light of our wide-spreading Cootamundra wattle "ground cover" tree.

Last time I posted about this the begonia cuttings were just bare stalks stuck in the ground. Now they've sprouted their spotty leaves (which are a lovely deep red on the underside). The native violets are winding their flowery way here and there. All the ferns are well and truly alive and growing, and so too are the spidery trails of Spanish moss.

It's still quite hot and humid here in Sydney. In fact February is generally a rotten month to be a gardener here, so I don't expect to be very busy.

However, I was getting a minor sense of guilt over my slothful ways, and so by posting at least something, anything, I hereby announce that the 2018 garden blogging year has started, and all is well.