Welcome to my playground, my garden.

It occurred to me that nearly every satisfying conversation I have these days includes some reference to growing things. It  reveals so much about the people I meet and mix with. There are many many garden geeks out there!

So to enlarge this conversation, let’s swap garden yarns. Whingeing about the carbon tax and price of electricity is one sort of water cooler talk, but much less edifying than how good the eggplants are looking or what roses are blooming and why.

The garden is where I spend the bulk of my time and gives me back more than I can measure.  So I hope you’ll join me here as I continue to grow it and if you also love your garden, we can share stories of our successes and failures along the way.

I am not a professional, nor have any formal training in horticulture or landscape. I’ve just watched enviously and closely as green-thumbed friends and family members  turned ordinary blocks and and bushes into things of beauty. I decided I wanted what they had. ( You know who you are, Jo, Auntie Deb, Marg, Phil, Marie, Trish.)

Back breaking barrows of manure and compost have turned our rural clay pan into arable ground. Exhausting – but so  exhilarating. What gets me out of bed in the morning is a curiosity to see how everything is going and what new bud or shoot awaits me.  I lose hours in the pleasure of planning, digging, planting, mulching, potting and watering.

I want to cultivate – pardon the pun-  a garden online chat between friends – and friends I have yet to meet.

This is an I’ll-show-you-mine and you-show-me-yours deal, ok?

And if you have a hint, a suggestion or a question, send it here. I won’t necessarily know the answer, but hopefully someone reading it will  – and act on it accordingly.

I play on a small acreage in sub tropical climate. Your garden might be in a temperate valley or on a chilly hillside. It might be a windy balcony or a dusty plain. Perhaps you share a growing space with a neighbour or even a whole community?

Come walk around mine and show and tell me your interesting garden tales and let’s grow and enrich this garden club thus.


7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    leafydreams said,

    I received some wise words from some experienced gardeners in my district (Ridgewood) this week to put my vegie garden “to bed” for all of January and February .So I am going to give it some dinner ( cow manure) , a bath (liquid seaweed ),and put a cover (mulch) on it and resist the temptation to disturb it until March the 1st . Waiting is going to be hard , but already my attention is focussing on creating a “wall” of green to hide a messy alley between sheds .Trouble with clay there so all suggestions welcome !!!

  2. 2

    I can second that suggestion, Leafydreams. Between the dry heat and the grasshoppers, my vegie bed has been a bit of a no-show in the past couple of months. But the recent rain has saved the lettuces. My challenge is NOT to put in too much. Be content to buy just two or three seedlings of lettuce, beetroot, beans, cucumbers or whatever is in season and then top up planings each week with another two or three so the crop lasts . And if it all goes pear-shaped, you haven’t lost a big investment. The hibernation idea is a good one.

  3. 3

    chrissienick said,

    Hi Julie
    What a lovely idea to start this blog.
    Paul and I are extremely lazy gardeners (prefer to play golf) and the garden in our new home was landscape designed and is very stark and drought-proofed. Lots of stones, yukkas and other spikey things. However we have planted some iceberg roses because Paul has said that he wants to have a rose garden when he retires – one day. We have since given the roses the occasional dead heading but no fertilizer or much care. They seem to get a lot of black spots on the leaves. We try to remove all the affected leaves but now the (topiary) plants are sort of spindly.. Don’t know whether to prune radically even though that is normally a winter activity. Will send some photos for you advice.

    • 4

      Stones, yukkas and spikey things were the last men standing in the big dry, so they have their merits in the garden, Chris. They belong to the classic “less is more” school of design. I have spikeys at my letterbox, to scare away unwelcome mail and wandering dogs. That black spot on roses is prevalent when there’s a lot of humidity. Queenslanders know it well. Taking the affected leaves away is smart and spraying with white oil is also recommended. Some people grow roses without a hiccup. I earn every bloom with an unreasonable amount of feed, water and care. It’s about the sun and soil they grow in. But the sight and smell of a gorgeous blood red tea rose makes it all worthwhile. Would love to see a pic of your topiary plants that need pruning. I’d be inclined to wait til at least March/April, but someone else might be expert on this?

  4. 5

    Joneen Smith said,

    Great to read your blog Julie. We are in the process of building a garden which had not been touched in 33 years by previous owners. A friend has just boxed in the whole of our back fence and Ray has unloaded about 50 bags of compost/soil to fill it. We are now eating lettuce, cucumber, spinach, first tomatoes just coming on, beetroot, carrots,peas, celery, spring onions and aubergine all coming along nicely. The roses are in their second bloom after a very wet late December/January and after giving the delphiniums a huge haircut after first flowering, the whole lot are at it again – beautiful. The first thing Ray does on arriving home every night is walk around the garden to see what has grown overnight. We are eating our first black figs – delicious and grown from a cutting from friend’s orchard. So good to be working in the soil and eating our own produce. Talking of agapanthus – they are speaking of declaring them a noxious weed in NZ – how daft is that. They line our driveway in full bloom at present and keep weeds down in awkward spots in the garden.

  5. 6

    Mmmmm, I can almost taste your vegies, Jon. Figs! Lucky ducks! No wonder you’re both so hale and hearty, all that great, home-grown produce for fuel. Can’t believe aggies are under threat over the ditch. NZ should save its ire for truly rampant pests like our lantana, camphor laurels or trumpet vines. The upside of it is that there must be tonnes and tonnes of them all around the country. Vive les aggies , I say. Whenever I hear about delphiniums, I think about that AA Milne poem, “The Doctor and The Doormouse” and smile. http://www.poetryconnection.net/poets/A.A._Milne/14279

  6. 7

    Jan King said,

    Julie, the gorgeous white plant you liked on my facebook site is called Zephryanthes candida or rain lily.

    Congratulations on your blog. Such interesting reading.


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