Thursday, 20 November 2008

In the garden

Or, mostly, in pots!

I'm finally getting my act together around here and trying to get a bit of a garden going. We've always had a mandarin tree and two passionfruit vines, but they're no work at all really, apart from a bit of watering and fertilising whenever the fancy strikes us. I bought Noel a Wollemi Pine last Christmas, because he grew up very close to, and loves, the area to which they are native. Plus, we just love the whole "living fossil" aspect of having one of those beautiful trees... even though ours is in a pot, so very small.

Apart from those, though, the garden has been languishing for a while, with overgrown lavender bushes, sparse daisies, and a few native bushes in annoying spots.

I'm keeping the lavender, for now, because I will use the flowers to make smelly things for Christmas presents. But last week, I pulled out the daisies, chopped back a couple of the natives, hacked into the soil with a mattock, and dug some blood-and-bone into the soil. This week I'll add in some manure and in a couple of weeks I'll sow some carrot seeds, as well as plant out these:

On the left there are fresh new tomato plants, just springing their way up. I'm pretty late to start planting from seed, but in this area tomatoes grow pretty much all year so it shouldn't matter. These sprouted only a few days after I sowed them and they're growing happily on my kitchen window sill, alongside some random flower seeds and those two pots of parsley my mum gave me (with stern instructions to "keep them alive!").

Another happy tale of seed germination lies in these strawberry plants:

The seeds from these came from store-bought strawberries which were made into a smoothie, which, when drunk, left hundreds of those tiny seeds in the bottoms of our cups. "Aha!" I thought. "I see fresher strawberries in our future!" So I fished them all up, dried them out and sowed them in some wet cotton wool. They took a few weeks to sprout but they're doing well now. Hopefully at least a few of them will last the distance and we'll get some yummy fresh berries in summer!

One passionfruit vine is going "gangbusters", as Noel would say. A few days ago I counted 33 fruit on there, not including the tiny ones with flowers still attached. I'm hoping they all ripen around the same time so that I can make some passionfruit jam for Christmas pressies.
I'm loving the idea of using our own plants and bit of my own effort to make useful gifts for people I love!

More passionfruit flowers. Aren't they lovely? I'm finding it fascinating to watch the progess of our vines. They are little hubs of activity, with insects all over and flowers in different stages. I've been taking photos every few days of two specific flowers, to track their progress and observe the process they go through.

I've also filled up a whole bunch of pots on my front verandah with seeds of various flowering plants. Useful plants are great, but flowers are wonderful too! I'm looking forward to a big bright show of colour next to my front door. Just look at these little guys reaching out to find the light...


HayleyB said...

Well done on getting properly started with the garden Sumara! You're doing well so far. I hope I have a garden I can plant things in one day too. I like the idea of a passionfruit vine and a lemon tree. Would love to grow some fresh herbs like basil and rosemary as well. Strawberries would be great as well. You'll have to let us know how your strawberry plants go! That was some dedication to dry out those seeds you had! Good luck with the growing!

Sumara said...

Oh yes, Hayley, a lemon tree would be great! We've been meaning to get an apple tree, too, ever since Charlie was born, but we haven't managed to actually get it, yet. One day!

I really hope the strawberries grow! I've just discovered today that the darn cat belonging to the new neighbours has been digging in our pots and garden - grrr. It already killed one of our birds, it's not getting my fruit and veggies, too! I'll have to speak to the neighbour about it.

You could easily grow some herbs in your place. Especially next to all those windows. herbs grow very happily on windowsills.

HayleyB said...

Oh no, not one of Beryl's birthday birds?? It's really annoying when you can't keep other people's pets out of your yard, especially when they are causing destruction! I hope the cat hasn't ruined the chances for your plants!

You know, I hadn't even considered trying to grow herbs here. I always just thought it would be better if they were on a balcony. Well, if they can grow on a windowsill, I might have to give it a go. If only for the basil (oh how I love basil!).

Sumara said...

Yep. The cage was knocked to the ground, broken, and the birds were gone. One of them came back an hour or two later and we caught him, but the other was gone. Noel found it under the vines out the back but we didn't tell the girls that. It probably would have been interesting for Talitha, but Beryl would have been upset. She just thinks "Sam" has gone away to find his family.

Connor said...

Oh, now I want to start a garden! The passionfruit is lovely.