Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hello 2010!!
Christmas is over and the new year is 6 days old. It's been a busy time and will continue to be for the next month. We get visitors nearly every weekend this time of year, and BBQs are a regular event.
The weather has been fairy kind to us, with only the occasional hot day, and some rain too. Humidity has been high and the fungal diseases in the garden have thrived. My roses have every disease except tinea!
The fruit bushes are doing OK, the mulberry has healthy foliage and BIG fruit which we're sharing with the birds because the tree is too tall to net now.
The tomatoes continue to grow in all directions and we've had a few ripe fruit, Stupice and Principe Borghese were first.
I have spent 3 days cleaning up the roses and spraying with milk and Eco-oil to try to contain the blackspot and mildew. They're looking better but some are almost defoliated. I fed them with a Liquified Sudden Impact and Charlie Carp and Seagold cocktail.
The main vegie bed is a utter disgrace, it's full of weeds. There are also a lot of carrots and a few leeks so I'm still watering it. That will be my next project to clear it and build it up with compost again.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

This might be the only chance I get to add to my blog before Christmas so I'd better get going!
The weather has been quite cool and we've had some rain too, which has been good for the tomatoes and also for the blackspot on the roses! We had one hot day which threw me into a panic thinking that the tomatoes would get burnt, so we quickly assembled a shadecloth roof for them. This was not easy as some of them are over 6 ft high now! Plenty of fruit forming and more flowers too. If they stay healthy and pest free I can see me having trouble getting rid of them all.
We harvested the cherries 3 weeks ago, 8 1/2 kilos of gorgeous luscious juicy fruit! We shared some, ate some, froze some and made 8 jars of jam! The trouble with cherries is that they have to be used within a few days or they go bad.
I planted out the currants in the side bed, along with the raspberries, youngberry, pepino, blueberries and jostaberry. I think we can safely say that is no longer a vegie bed!
I'm amazed at how much fruit we got from 1 raspberry cane! Can't wait till next year when all the canes will fruit!
The roses are starting their Christmas flush now, and the blackspot is the worst it's ever been. I've given up spraying, it does nothing. I just go around with a bucket and pick off as many diseased leaves as I can every day or so.
The new roses this year are delightful - Summersong is an intense orange, Darcy Bussell is a vibrant cerise, Rose of Narromine is just so pretty in yellow and orange. I'm waiting for the Lilac Rose to bloom now. Oh yes, I've ended up with 3 William Shakespeare 2000. The old one who looks like a standard with one cane, is totally defoliated now :( Maurice Utrillo is an amazing rose, brilliant red and yellow and BIG blooms in sprays. Beautiful.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Well December's here already!
The garden is still looking green and lush from all the rain we've had lately. Fortunately yesterday was a perfect day for a garden party for a garden club I belong to. I was freaking out last week because the lawns were desperate for a cut and the rain kept on and on.........
The roses are having a break mostly, getting ready for their Christmas flush. Blackspot, dieback and powdery mildew are thriving of course!
The tomatoes are going nuts, I decided not to trim the side shoots off in the beginning but now I'm thinking I should have done - it's a jungle there!
I have caterpillars in my strawberries :( :( . I sprayed them with Dipel last week but they're still destroying foliage and getting into the fruit. I'll pull all the pots out and examine them closely tomorrow and keep them away from the undamaged ones.
The cherries are looking very tempting now, bright red and shiny! The birds share my admiration of course and have been getting the ones near the edge of the netting.
My next job will be to harvest the garlic so that I can plant the blackcurrants, whitecurrants and redcurrants. Oh, and the Pepino.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More hot weather followed the days since my last post, and it persisted until 2 days ago. We have had lots of lovely rain since then. 35mm so far.
The roses are hanging their heads with the weight of water but they'll recover. A new rose opened yesterday, Darcy Bussell, a bright red DA, lovely!!
The surviving Rugosa rose has a bud!!!
We have eaten more artichokes and still can't see what all the fuss is about!. Our first strawberries and raspberries were delicious though! I'm going to harvest the garlic as soon as it gets dry again outside as I have all the berry bushes to plant in that area. This will make the whole strip bed a fruit bed with Blueberries, Jostaberry, Raspberries, Blackcurrants, Redcurrants, Whitecurrants and a Pepino. There's also a Rhubarb plot at the end. A Salad Burnet and 2 Lebanese cucumbers and a fennel are there too.
The tomatoes are going great, and a few little green Kermits are already there. The lettuce etc is also doing well.
I bought a bag of Dutch Cream spuds last week and when I went to cook them I found they had all sprouted! So I've cut them and planted them in the 60 lt bins again.
We still have the little ducks visiting us for a feed and a dip in the pond :) The drake is rather less friendly than the duck still. She gets so desperate for food she quivers with the effort of getting it down quickly! She almost eats out of my hand too. It's so cute to see her asking for a meal at the door, and following me like a little puppy when I take the food down to the area where I feed them.
I'm annoyed with myself for forgetting to cover 2 of the compost bays before the rain soaked them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In the last couple of weeks Summer has struck us early. We've had a few days in the 30s which is not conducive to gardening! Yesterday I had 2 barrowloads of deadhead material from the roses. They had been gorgeous up to 3 days ago, but they got really crisp! I'm hoping there will be some blooms on Dec 2nd when the U3A garden club has its Christmas break - up here.
We have been adopted by 2 little Pacific Black Ducks. They came wandering through the garden while I was out there weeding. They are wild birds but obviously accustomed to humans as they have been here ever since. We buy duck pellets for them and give them a clean "pondie" at least once a day. They are incredibly messy and smelly so we had to locate heir feeding and watering station half way down the garden. They started off nearer the house but PHEW!! I have named them Jeremy and Jemima Puddleduck. Jemima laid an egg in the garage one night, we had shut them in there for their own safety as they seemed settled in the middle of the lawn for the night. The foxes are numerous round here and I didn't want to find a pile of feathers next morning! They disappear at night now, roosting in trees probably. Jemima may be sitting on eggs , as they rarely appear together now.
We have harvested and cooked our first artichokes, and I have to admit we weren't all that impressed. Perhaps they will get more fleshy later in the season. Perhaps I have grown the wrong variety!!!
I have some Cardoon seeds from a friend in NZ to grow, they are related to the artichoke. At the weekend we saw Cardoons in 2 open gardens and they get HUGE! Don't know where I'll grow mine!
We're also eating the carrots, broad beans, lettuce, mustard greens, rocket and basil now. The new bed I made for the tomatoes and salad greens seems to be a success.
I went to the Iris show in Mount Waverley on Nov 1st. Needless to say I came home with a lot - 14 for me and 2 for a friend. Amazingly one has now got a bud about to open! Speaking of buds, I thought I had lost all my Hippeastrum buds with the big rain we had, 4 of them rotted and dropped off. Surprise surprise a late one has appeared, and the flower is opening today!!
I went to a Cup Day party with some of my internet gardening friends, had a great day and came home with some plants. Red, black and white currants, youngberries, 2 irises, a Pepino, an Epiphyllum and a Bromeliad. Oh, and a little rose that a friend in Mudgee sent down for me. (Duchesse de Brabant)
I have done a strawberry makeover, weeded and fed them, moved some into empty spaces from other pots and mulched them. Also bought 3 more from a roadside stall.
We have been to 2 open gardens in this area, one of which was wonderful, called Girrawheen.
The highlight of this week was a bus trip to Mt Macedon. We visited Stephen Ryan's garden, he is the host of the Gardening Australia TV programme now, he replaced Peter Cundall. He greeted us there and gave us the history of his home and was very nice indeed. He was filming that day so we had to do a self guided tour but that was fine. he has a lovely garden, full of trees and shrubs underplanted with rare plants. Also there's a pond and a vegie garden, we all really enjoyed it.
We visited another open garden later on which again was really worth the visit. We went to the top of Mt Macedon to The Cross which is a huge war memorial in lovely grounds.