Sunday, December 28, 2008

More Allotments

Should you wish to have the simple joy of looking at some wonderful photographs - especially sheds, and towards the end, the gardeners, go to

Leyton Allotment Society. It is in England, not sure where. But beautiful to look at, if you are a true gardener.

Which reminds me - have you ever been photographed at work in your garden? I haven't, as I hate being photographed, and I like taking them. I only have one of my father at work in his, unfortunately behind the rotary hoe - but I do treasure it, as it is him in his chosen environment.

Maybe we need to go out and do it - not that we have to post them. Just go out and do it though (or have it done, to be more correct). And archive it safely away.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Waiting on Galtonia


Waiting on Godot has nothing on waiting on Galtonias. The buds are just sitting there - I think they are one of my favourite flowers - you can see one on the top lefthand corner of this blog.

I love growing them from seed, which they do easily, but it takes them a couple of years to flower.

I have also been asked if I will share the seeds from the Blue Chinese Forget-Me-Not. So I have agreed in one case, but that is probably all the spare seed I will have this year, as I want to re-establish them fairly widely.

But I will have Galtonia seeds in a couple of months. All I ask is that you send me a stamped, self-addressed envelope. I will give out my e-mail address when they are available, write to me then off-blog, and I will give you an address to send it to.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tree Onions II


I have been harvesting the Tree Onions. It was supposed to happen on the longest day, but it is only a few days late.

It is always interesting to find out who is reading the blog - so if any of you anonymous readers out there would like a few to grow, drop me a line at kapana[at]netspace[dot]net[dot]au. The only caveat is that you have to be in Australia, and you have to be sure you are allowed to receive plant material from Victoria - I think that counts the Sandgrophers out, sorry.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, Everyone.

It is Christmas morning here, and in a quiet time, before anyone else is up, I have been out on the net looking at shed and garden photographs.

So, just to share a little beauty - have a look at THIS (I am off to the Op Shop, as soon as it re-opens, to see what I can find that will do something similar).

And, if you have the time, work through the photographs of the Liverpool Allotments. Especially if you are into sheds. I guess I am lucky, having my own "dirt" on which to garden. But I guess I would be lucky, too, if I was on an allotment and sharing with like-minded people.

And I used the word "dirt" in "talkies", as another thing my father would say was "Dirt gets on your face. You are working in SOIL"

May your Christmas be Joyous, Peaceful and Meaningful. Lots of fun. And full of food you have grown yourself. And maybe Santa brought you some new tools? He bought me some nice new pots yesterday. Thanks Santa!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chinese Forget-me-Not


I had Chinese Forget-me-Not years ago - Cynoglossum amabile. The blue is so intense it cannot be caught on camera. And then I lost it, in the weeds. Usually it is as hardy as it comes, but I lost it. I think I have seen it in pink and white too, but the blue is the common one, and would have to be my preferred one.

Then I found it growing out the front of one of the quirkier nurseries in a nearby town, but they didn't have it in stock. So out they went, and dug some up for me, and it transplanted well. And they didn't even charge.

Like other Forget-me-Nots, it has a really sticky seed - and I will be sticking these in everywhere, now that I have them again.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Flowers

I have been wandering around shops full of Poinsettias, where I am supposed to be convinced that they are the flowers of Christmas. Which got me thinking - what are the real flowers of Christmas in the southern hemisphere? Looking around my garden, there are four that are always there for me, but this year they are going a little slower due to the cool weather and the rain.


Lavender - I always have a drift along the front of the house, and some in the Kitchen Garden to attract bees.


Gladioli - I always have a sheaf inside for Christmas - I will probably just manage these two lemon ones peeping out, if I am lucky. Although I notice some out in full in nearby towns.


Agapanthus - they are out everywhere now. I don't grow the common one, but have a very dark one that is a stunning blue, although not as prolific. It will just make it out in time.


And Hydrangeas - when there is enough water (there has been plenty this year, but not enough time to re-pot the ones in pots), they are always at their peak.

There are, of course, lots of beautiful Australian natives that make wonderful Christmas flowers too - but these are the one I grew up with.

Garden Sheds


My garden shed is one of my greatest loves and luxuries. When I started this garden, I was working out of a corrugated iron tank on its side. You put a few boards on the "floor" and fit some across the end, and you have a shed. One of Australia's disappearing icons, the tank on its side.

Wish I had taken its photograph.

So, while I am out documenting the garden in December, I took a shot of the shed, just as it is. And because I love peering into other people's garden shed.

There are a few Flickr groups - A Gallery of Great Garden Sheds, Just Sheds (lots there) and, wait for it, Sheds!

Think I will go back there and play for a while. And dream.

Anyone else like to share theirs?

(And yes, that is the town Rabbit Suppression League poison cart lurking in the back of the shed. You just can't see it)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Garden Wisdom

If you could impart just one bit of garden wisdom to a gardener starting out, what would it be?

My late father was a wonderful gardener, and passed on all sorts of knowledge, like "get the soil right, the rest will look after itself".

An elderly gardening friend, now into her late eighties, would always say of the onions - plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest, so I need to get cracking.

I have also been digging into the The National Trust Calendar of Garden Lore by Julia Jones and Barbara Deer, which although northern-hemisphere oriented, is still a beautiful, beautiful book. I could kill the friend who borrowed it and left it where her children destroyed the cover. If anyone has it, and would be prepared to make a coloured photocopy of the cover, you can name your price.

So, what is my bit of Garden Lore?


If you are going to make a kitchen garden by just putting down bricks to make raised beds, make sure the paths are wide enough for your favourite barrow to fit its legs between them!

Here it is, in all its weedy glory. My beloved is examining ways of belting the struts on which the barrow stands just a little bit closer to each other.

I have another, smaller barrow with narrower struts, but it is a shallow apology for a barrow.

If you are trying the work out the large-leaved plant front left, it is Horseradish.

Anyone got any spare Garden Lore as a Christmas present for other gardeners? If it is on your own blog, please leave a link in the comments, so we can all grow in Wisdom.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Thing in the Compost Bin


A THING has suddenly appeared in the Compost Bin.

It is about 12 inches across, and appeared a few days ago. It was sort of gooey and moist then - now it is dry and brittle.

I know it is the fruiting body for what must be a lot of nice, beneficial fungus - but it looks like something from Planet X. Or like someone has mixed a sloppy dough of flour and water and poured it on there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fairy Fishing Rods

Fairy Fishing Rods

Fairy Fishing Rods are one of my favourite flowers.

I have grown the pink for many years, and had a good clump of white going - we were using them as a wind indicator in the fires a few years ago. Unfortunately I moved them, and they take a while to get going again.

This one is a deep pink/purple - hard to describe the colour, and much darker than it shows up here.

I put in it about two years ago, and it has only just come into flower now.

I don't see them without thinking of the fires again, but we are okay at the minute - the suggestion is that we might get floods in the next couple of days!

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Colour


There has been another colour added to the stakes in the Kitchen Garden - and it sure is bright!

One design fault is that as I walk towards the garden, inside, all I see through the glass door is a red stake. Sure is bright!


Sure wish I had taken the box off the chair in the background - you only see things like that when you download the photos!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tree Onions

Tree onions

The Tree Onions are just coming to maturity. I love these, and have carried them around for years. The onions themselves are not much chop, sort of small and finicky, but I plant these bulblets and use the young ones as spring onions.

Kids love them, and they get results with them every time.

I follow the advice I was given by an old gardener. Sort of. You are supposed to plant the offsets one year, and the mature onions the next year, to keep them vigourous. I just plant a bit of each each years.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Good Books


Chookie has been writing about her favourite book, which is Joy Larkom's Creative Vegetable Gardening: Growing vegetables with flowers in the classic tradition. I am fortunate to have a copy. It is a wonderful post by Chookie - do drop over. She explains it so well - I have to admit I don't write detailed blog posts - I am more likely to throw up a picture with a long caption.

The other one I have is:


This is Diana Anthony's The Ornamental Vegetable Garden. This is a book by a New Zealand author and a New Zealand photographer, so the conditions are very similar to our own Australian climate - well, where I am, anyway.

I have to admit I spend a lot of time just dreaming over the photographs in both.

For those looking for them:

Joy Larkom's Creative Vegetable Gardening: Growing vegetables with flowers in the classic tradition was published 1997 (my copy), by Mitchell Beazley, an imprint of Reed International. ISBN 1 85732 805 1

Diana Anthony's The Ornamental Vegetable Garden was first published in Australia in 1997 by University of New South Wales Press, ISBN 0 86840 568 X

I have some herb books I love, must dig them out. Anyone got any others??? I am sure there is another ornamental veggies book somewhere on my shelves.

Pruning Tree Dahlias

Tree dahlia

I have been out pruning the Tree Dahlia. This is something I do about two or three times, as it is growing. I just take the tip out (you can see it best on the righthand side), and it branches out. Take it out again, and again. It doubles the number of flowers each time, and makes sure the plant is not just long, spindly, and blown over in the first wind. They make a lovely, dense tree canopy.

Trouble is, Tree Dahlias coming out in flower at my place mean the first frost is due. It usually kills them off just as they come out.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Plaiting Garlic

I have something to confess. You, Dear reader, probably think I am writing this blog just so you can read it. Wrong! Well, partially wrong.

Just sometimes, I write this so that when I go looking for something, I can find it again.

And, in this case, it applies to plaiting garlic.


All of the garlic has been lifted, and we only got two plaits - it wasn't in early enough this year.

Memo to Me: Start with three garlic, tie together if necessary. Add one garlic as each outside plait comes in. Make sure you twist that plait so the new garlic is in the inside.

Simple. But I only worked the last bit out halfway through. And didn't have time to go back to replait.

I have just been out for a lovely afternoon visit.

Guess what my hostess received???


But she understands me.

I hope.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Biodegradble Pots

I thought I had posted about this here - but find I haven't.

Around October I bought some biodegrable pots, which were a very flexible green plastic - thinking they would break down in the garden - but they don't. Hence my moving to toilet roll inners - which are going well, except the water needs to be kept up to them.

Biodegradable pots

This is one of them on the left. They have been through at least three different lots of seedlings so far. However I was just potting some stuff up, and find the one on the right is also supposed to be biodegradable, according to the label on the base. It is from Oasis, and we have been using it for at least a year. Doesn't show much sign of bio-degrading.

Maybe it means they only take fifty years to break down in landfill, rather than five thousand???


Friday, December 05, 2008

New Stakes

New stakes

My beloved has decided I need some colour in the garden. So he has been painting stakes. We are rather limited in the colours we can get that he will use, so there is still red and blue to come. The red are ready to go in - the blue have not been started.