Wednesday, 23 December 2015

I’m Dreaming of a White… Hydrangea

In Australia, December is the month when hydrangeas hit the shops along with the forced poinsettias. A white hydrangea has been on my Christmas wish list for a long time and this year, when I made a trip to Bunnings (a chain of large hardware stores), I remembered to check their stock and emerged (hours later) with this beauty.  It seemed everyone I passed in the store had something to say about its beauty and lushness and it is truly beautiful and the most healthy hydrangea I have ever seen. Gorgeous isn’t it?

May all your Christmases be white.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Sunflowers of Summers Past

Hi there and welcome to a look at some sunflowers of summers past. I recently went on holidays to Victoria to visit my sister and her family and managed to lose my camera on the way back. Thanks to the lady at the Qantas lost property office for her search and a big thanks to the Thrifty car hire office who found it and are posting it back!

In the meantime I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to show you some of the sunflowers I’ve grown in the past. When I first moved in I threw a bunch of seeds around in the spring hoping some would come up. Not much did. The successes were sunflowers, California poppies and nasturtiums. Every year I plant sunflower seeds in the spring but I’ve never had the successes that I had in those early years. Nor have I ever found the seeds for the first bronze shaded sunflowers again.

The next round of seeds were these ‘Giant Singles’.

The photos don’t do justice to the size of these, although you can see the bee on them.

They were about the size of dinner plates and truly fa-a-antastic.

And the last ones were these ‘Royal Velvet’ (I think). Great colours and loads of flowers on a mid-size shrub.

If you’ve got a sunny spot to brighten up give them a go!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween – the black cat edition

Earlier this week it suddenly occurred to me that Halloween is coming up this weekend. Maybe I could do a Halloween post I thought and as my brain ran through a list of Halloween themes (spiders seemed to have potential) it came to black cats – bingo! Black cats abound around here. My Gardening Neighbour has two and last weekend I spotted another black cat lurking around, this one wearing a collar – oh, a stranger…

Anyway, let me introduce you to Shadow, the share-cat. He is the most un-cat-like cat I have ever met with an extrovert personality and a great hunter of birds (bad cat) and rats (good cat).

He is the recognised ruler of my back yard (even though he is one of my neighbour’s cats) keeping it clear of other cats... well, as long as they are smaller. Prior to his arrival on the scene my backyard was like the neighbourhood cat super highway, being pretty much the only dog-free yard. Once he and his sister, Blackberry, grew out of kittenhood they joined forces and ran all the other cats off. Then Shadow staged a backyard coup and now even Blackberry only manages to sneak in from time to time when he is napping somewhere.

Happy Halloween all!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A Spring Quickie

Here’s a few quick shots of some roses that I have taken over the last week or so.

This one is Gertrude Jekyll which I have growing as a climber along the fence. It isn’t a prolific flowerer at other times of the year but it puts on a great show in spring.

It’s being a little swamped this year by Heritage, also grown as a climber next to it. That’s probably my fault since I tend to favour the Heritage over the Gertrude Jekyll when I’m pruning since GJ is so incredibly thorny. I will have to let it go a little more.

And finally a shot of Abraham Darby. This rose is taking a long time to grow for me but it is beautiful and superbly fragrant. I do what I can to encourage it – maybe it’s the spot, maybe it’s that particular plant.

Happy gardening!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Ahhhhh - Spring!

The leaves are fresh and green, the skies are deep blue and the temperatures are, for the most part, very reasonable. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the last couple of weeks off work to potter around the house – it’s been great!

The first week was all about spring blossom as all the peach and nectarine trees were out.

The bottle brush was out as well. I have three cream trees down the western side of the house.

Then some of the roses started blooming.

Pat Austin


Kathleen Harrop

And Seduction. This is my climbing one – after 4 years it still hasn’t got as big as a shrub of a similar age.

I spent part of the time building a couple of slightly dodgy structures to support my weeping standard roses.

Here’s one for the Lamarque.

I have my fingers crossed but it’s already leaning heavily towards the north with the back feet lifting. Time will tell, but I am making back up plans.

The other one is for the Red Pierre. I have a lot more confidence in this one.

Happy Spring!

Monday, 31 August 2015

Hello Little Weeeeeeed

Hello there and welcome to the post where, if you don’t know me apart from blogland, I give away my age with the “Bill and Ben, Flowerpot Men” reference in the title.

You can see here with this scratchy you-tube clip that my childhood was lived in the days before colour was invented.

Actually, my age was driven home to me last week when I read a blog post talking about how ‘Mom jeans’ are back in style. Imagine my surprise when, instead of seeing well pressed jeans with centre leg creases in the photo or the comfortable sort with elastic waists, there they were, Levi 501s – but they were fashionable only last decade… wait, no… oh, 20 years ago. Dammit! 

So what’s the point of all this blithering? Oh yes, the photos. This is the well-known and oh so lovely arum lily which is a declared weed here in Western Australia. So how can a gorgeous flower, best known for church floral arrangements for goodness’ sake, be a weed?  It “thrives on sandy soil with a periodic high water table. A serious weed along creek lines and in wet areas of south western Western Australia” (from this website). Here it is thriving in the local swamp which I note I wrote about at almost exactly the same time of year last year, mainly I guess because there’s really nothing happening in my own garden, although it’s full of the promise of spring.

I was going to try and get a little closer for some better shots but I was afraid of snakes, I’m sorry to say. My dedication to this blog doesn’t stretch to risking my life from death by snake bite. This makes the perfect segue to the photo of the very dead (good cat) highly venomous young dugite snake I found on my driveway around about last April (for scale, those are my shoes in the shot).

Scary isn’t it? ‘Where’s its mother’ is my question!

May all your jeans be comfortable.


Friday, 7 August 2015

Pushing up daffodils

Back in early April I read an article about forcing spring flowering bulbs indoors accompanied by photos which made them look like the next trend in home accessories. At work I sit next to a north facing window (think south if you’re in the northern hemisphere) which seemed to me to be the perfect spot for such a project. With visions of me stunning my work colleagues with masses of flowering plants on the window sill I put in an order for some daffodil and tulip bulbs. When they arrived a couple of weeks later I put them in the fridge to chill for the allotted time frame – 8 weeks for the daffodils, and 12 for the tulips.

I’ve tried growing daffodils before with extremely limited success and only in the first season. I’ve never bothered to attempt tulips - they are nothing but a pipe dream with our warm winters. The successful bulbs that stay in the ground year round in my garden are Dutch iris (still to come) and the lovely delicate Snowflake (flowering now and strangely next to impossible to get a clear shot of).

Sometime, while the bulbs were chilling, I rethought my original plan of growing them in my office. There were a lot of bulbs for one thing. And even though I’d ordered up some miniature daffodils for the purpose of filling a pot that had been lying fallow next to my desk since the languishing plant in it had finally turned its toes up a couple of years ago, the bulbs weren’t actually smaller than normal. I resigned myself to the fact that my amazing home dec accessory was not going to happen.

Not to worry, I planted three straggling fronds of Boston fern I dug up from the garden into the planter on my desk and made fun of them before anyone else had a chance to. Fingers crossed they will thrive and prove my credentials as a gardener after all.

Traditional wisdom has that spring flowering bulbs should be planted in May. I fretted that the chill time would mean they would go in the ground too late to produce. I needn’t have worried. They grew like topsy and five weeks later they were flowering – superb!

In my daily inspection of their progress I note that these may be only a portion of the bulbs that were planted. There is actually another batch coming through now, so these are the early season varieties, the miniatures and the ‘Harbingers of Spring’, with the Langley daffodil still to come. I have only just planted the tulip bulbs but I note one has some growth poking up. Fingers crossed… although I’m not very confident of them – they were looking a little waxy by the time they were planted.

As a note: I highly recommend the miniature daffodils. They are prolific flowerers and would do really well as a part of your interior d├ęcor *wink*.

Happy gardening

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hello Polly!

This bird, gallivanting around in my backyard is my gardening neighbour’s escaped, caught and then set free King Parrot.

He has been living the semi-free life for around a year now I think and comes in to be hand fed on a daily basis. He wolf whistles which pretty much sets him apart from the rest of the birds in the neighbourhood.

And I am including my attempt at a bit of artistic photography in today’s post. This is the fountain head in my fish pond. I spotted this view from the kitchen window and thought maybe I could capture it. It’s not too bad for a point and shoot camera.

Happy gardening!

Thursday, 16 July 2015

GBB Day Number 1

Hello and welcome to my garden blog if you’re new here. Please feel free to have a look around. In Australia it’s winter and finally the weather has cooled down (like right down to nearly freezing in the morning) here in Perth. We still haven’t had much rain but we have two desalination plants and are now pumping recycled water back into the aquifers to boost supplies so we’re a little less reliant on rainfall nowadays. It doesn’t help the native forests though and we lose a few more trees every year to dry winters.

Anyway, enough of my rainfall anxiety and on to what I want to show you from my garden…

This time round I’ve got a few more photos of the last of the roses. First up there’s this, the most perfect ‘Moonbeam’ bloom ever! Being right next to the front gate it’s something I see on a daily basis, so I didn’t miss its single day of perfection.

The Lamarque put on a stunning display with a final flush of blooms. I absolutely adore this rose. The pole I have supporting the stem has been developing a lean over this last season and I have been slightly panicked that the whole thing’s going to topple and crash to the ground in the next storm so I have pruned it hard and I have a plan to build a support for it that will hopefully take the weight of the top.

And my final bloom for the day is this lovely Pat Austin.

Enjoy your gardening

Friday, 26 June 2015

Late Autumn in the Swan Valley

During the cooler months, because I live so close to work, I need to take my car for a regular drive to get rid of any condensation that’s collected under the oil cap. One of my favourites is a circuit I do from work out through Guildford and the Swan Valley. The vines pick up the late afternoon sunshine and the leaves glow. This week I stopped the car and took some photos.

Along one of the boundary fences to this paddock the grape grower has mass planted what look like ‘Zepherine Drouhin’. They’re extremely thornless and have a strong fragrance. When I went past last time they were in full flush, unfortunately there’s a big difference between then and this week.

Enjoy the weather wherever you are


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The end of Autumn

Depending on how you count these things we are either at the start of winter now or coming to the end of autumn.

The Crimson Glory Vine has great autumn colours even in Perth

And it’s been a warm dry autumn here in Perth with the temperatures only now starting to drop, along with the leaves.

I can’t rave enough about the performance of Duchesse de Brabant

I got my camera out and have taken some photos of what’s in bloom around the garden.

A Darcey Bussel bud starts to open

With the warmth the roses are still blooming well

My Camellia in flower

William Shakespeare

Iceberg with a few hips

Young Lycidas, still only a young plant, is putting on a good display

My new rose, St Cecilia

The truly gorgeous Abraham Darby

Floribunda Bridal Pink in bud

And full flower

And that’s it – happy gardening!