Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

Enjoy your New Year's Eve and good gardening in 2014.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas 2013

I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas with all the best for 2014.  Sarah

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tidying for Christmas

I don't get a lot of time for proper gardening during December, what with Christmas preparations, parties and shopping on the cards. I do make time to trim back the beds, keep the weeds under control and garden furniture clean and cobweb free for the silly season.

Enjoy the season


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fertilise, water and weed

Although December is a month with little time for gardening it is important to remember to feed those summer crops. Water regularly, put done plenty of manure and use a good all round fertiliser like Seasol. 

Make sure those tomatoes are looking good for the new year. :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weeding and preparing the garden

Well after all of the heat and rain of late the garden has turned into a jungle.  Time to head out with my pith helmet and trusty machete and cut my way through the growth:)

Okay things aren't quite that bad, but there is certainly a lot of work to do before Christmas.  Time to get organised. Sarah

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Preparations

As regular readers of my blog know, I make preserves, jams, sauces out of my excess harvests.  At Christmas I make up hampers for my friends and relatives with the fruits of my labour.  I still have to finish off the spicy tomato relish and bake the gingerbreads, but here is how they look so far.  Large baskets contain (basket $4 from Masters) tea towel, plush decoration, lavender bag, bouquet garni, mint sauce, pickled onion relish, spicy tomato relish, zucchini relish, marmalade, and strawberry jam.
Recipes and instructions on how to make items are on the relevant fruit or veg page of this blog.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Summer is here!


What to plant:
Pretty much anything goes in Summer.  Growth is prolific.  Why not try:

Salad Vegetables: Asian Greens, Lettuce, Endive, Salad Greens, Silver Beet
Root Vegetables: Beetroot, Carrots, Parsnips 
Brassicas: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Mustard
Mediterranean Vegetables: Capsicum, Chilli, Tomatoes, Eggplants
Gourds and assorted: Pumpkins, Squash, Zucchini, Corn, Cucumber

What to harvest:
  • Lettuce, Asian Greens
  • Tomatoes, Zucchinis and Eggplants
  • Capsicum & Chillies (late Summer)
  • Potatoes (early Summer)
  • Berries, Stone Fruit and Figs
Jobs to do:
  • Weeding
  • Fertilise plants
  • Dead head flowers
  • Prune and shape hedge plants
  • Fertilise citrus (late Summer)
  • Clean BBQ
  • Clean outdoor furniture
  • Tidy old bulbs (do not cut off dead growth - it feeds the bulbs - just tie it up or hide amongst other plants)
Potential Problems:
Mould and mildew were my big problems last year.  There were a couple of weeks of humidity and rain and the peas were positively ruined. I had to regularly trim off the foliage on the zucchini too, as it was also a victim of mildew.

Humidity. Your lettuce and salad greens will bolt to seed with humid, hot and rainy weather.  Sometimes I just let them go and self seed the bed.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More rain

The rain has been wonderful for the garden, but not so good for gardening.  At this time of year my garden goals are to keep the summer fruit and veg in good form and get the garden tidy for Christmas.  The heavy rainfall has meant that my previous weeding efforts have come to nothing and every path is overgrown and bush in need of a prune.  I am having Christmas events at the house on 15th and 25th of December so I have a few weeks to prepare - not long now.


Sunday, November 24, 2013


Just a quick post to say that my baby corn seedlings are going well.  Corn takes 90 days from planting to harvest and this is about the 15 day mark.  This is the first time I have tried corn so I will update you as I go.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

A bush with two different coloured flowers?

My nieces just love this geranium.  They think it is amazing that it has light and dark pink flowers in the one plant.  Haven't had the heart to tell them that it is two bushes which have grown in together.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weed central

After a week of record rain, and one day of reasonably warm temperatures I went into the garden to discover that it had become a weed jamboree.  The herb garden has also gone nuts.  Guess I have a week of weeding and pruning ahead of me :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Summer garden preparations

I was able to secure some time in the garden this week - the odd break in the rain, and warm parts of the day etc, so I took the opportunity to put liquid fertiliser (Seasol) on the garden, stake the tomatoes, plant more lettuce seeds and down some more sugar cane mulch.  Know I just have to wait for the warm weather to start.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Melbourne Cup Week

Well the Spring Racing carnival is on in Melbourne - although it feels more like the Winter Racing carnival on some days.  I went out to check on the garden this morning.  The sweet peas are starting to flower so there is a lovely smell in the back garden.  Also the zucchini seeds are sprouting - about half have germinated so far (which is more than enough seeing how prolific they are), and the peaches are developing nicely.  My lemon tree is rather sick looking and I am going to have to give that some thought. Also some pest (bird or snails) have eaten all of basil seedling - really cross.  I will spend the week fertilising the plants, replacing the basil and trimming back the vines.

Monday, October 28, 2013

More cold weather

After working hard to get my Summer crops started, I left them for a week (well I went to work and let the rain water them).  So this weekend I eagerly went out into the garden to see how they were doing.  A nasty week of cold, winter like weather and rain, meant that a grand total of nothing had happened.  At least they didn't whither and die I guess.  It looks like we will not see warm weather for the rest of the week.  Better come soon, or I won't see any tomatoes until March :).

Saturday, October 19, 2013


A number of folk have asked me if I have noticed a reduction in the number of bees visiting my garden. My answer - not in my garden. Bees are essential as they cross pollinate flowers, vital for the formation of fruits. I have loads of the big fat yellow bees, some of the smaller orange bees, and a few of the little black native bees.

Want to encourage more bees to visit? Grow flowering plants like lavender, rosemary, borage (yes this can be a pest - see herbs page), pineapple sage, let lettuces go to seed occasionally, and pop in so e native like bottlebrush if you can.

If you are interested in bees go to the directory page and follow the link to the book by Erik Berrevoets "The Wisdom of Bees".

Happy gardening


Photo: Borage

Planting Summer crops

Well enough mooning about holidays and formal gardens, it is time to get to the business end of the season once more.  

This weekend I am planting my tomato seedlings (I bought these from the Diggers Club - mail order - rather than grow from seed as I didn't have time this year), sewing the zucchini seeds, and planting the eggplant. I am putting these in pots this year, I always wind up a little short of space widen the zucchini takes off, and I have bought four eggplant seedlings this year and my need to one or two away. I had to get more of those wonderful purple and white stripe variety again - they were very popular among family and friends last year.  I am also going. To try my hand at corn this year.  I would have never grown corn in Queensland as it is one of those plants which looks like it would make a nice home for snakes and spiders, but time to get over that. I also hope to oil the deck and deck furniture - provided laziness doesn't set in. 

Have fun gardening - looks like good weather in Melbourne this weekend.

More soon


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Other Gardens - part 3

The photos below are two of many I took in St. James' Park, London.  It is a beautiful park and there are many open areas with colourful deck chairs placed around for people to use.

On the home front, which seems to be rather "low rent" in comparison to the grandeur of the gardens I have so recently seen, progress is slow.  I am putting in a minimum 30 mins a day to set the trellises, cut back the rather wild creepers, pull those unrelenting weeds, and fertilise and water in preparation for summer.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Other Gardens - Part 2

The next set of photos are from Hyde Park in London.  These are from "The Italian Gardens".

Still working on getting my garden up to scratch.  Loads of weeding, pruning, cleaning and clearing.  And loads more to do.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Other Gardens

I have had the good fortune to have been travelling overseas for the last couple of weeks, so I have loads of photos of wonderful gardens and alike.  My next few posts will feature some of my favourites.

To start here are two photos of the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.

My own garden is looking a little worse for wear. The mixed heat, cold and rain while I was away has meant that it has grown wild and will require significant effort (none of which is likely to be expended this week) to tidy it up and prepare the veg beds for the summer crops. Also that cat has had free reign of the space and will be difficult to move on now :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Spring Flowers

One of the things I love about spring is the number and range of wonderful flowers.  The Winter Jasmine and Daphne are still blooming, and the bulbs are coming out by the bunch.  And just to top it off the roses and creepers are all in flower too.  This will give me something wonderful to look at as I oil the deck in a few weeks time.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cat news

We have found out more about our little black and white cat.  Her name is Kitty and she lives over the road from us.  Vince (our neighbour) adopted her when her owner died suddenly.  When the house was cleared out, Kitty was forgotten (or not known about).  Vince noticed that no one had been feeding her so he adopted her.  She is very shy and doesn't like to be picked up.  So out sunny back deck suits her to the ground.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Spring has sprung

This is from the "Seasonal Guide" page.


What to plant:
Salad Vegetables: Asian Greens, Lettuce, Endive, Salad Greens, Silver Beet
Legumes: Beans, Peas
Root Vegetables: Beetroot, Carrots, Parsnips, Potatoes, Sweet Potato
Brassicas: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Mustard
Mediterranean Vegetables: Capsicum, Chilli, Tomatoes, Eggplants
Gourds and assorted: Pumpkins, Squash, Zucchini, Corn, Cucumber
Fruit: Melons, Citrus

What to harvest:
  • Salad greens, Lettuce, Herbs, Spinach
  • Onions, Garlic, Leeks, Spring Onions
  • Beetroots, Carrots, Artichokes, Parsnips, Turnips
  • Remaining Brassicas
  • Peas and Beans
Jobs to do:
  • Propagate Summer seeds
  • Order Summer seedlings 
  • Weeding
  • Clean BBQ
  • Oil Deck
  • Clean, repair and oil outdoor furniture
Potential Problems
Weeds! And more weeds.  The bursts of lovely weather, and reasonable rainfall are not only wonderful for the new seedling, but serve as a super growth environment for the weeds. 

Snails and slugs are also putting in a concerted efforts to eat as many of the new seedings as possible.

Unexpected cold snaps.  Sudden changes in the weather can kill of new seedlings and inhibit the growth of your plants. It is always a risk, and unless you cover your seedlings or plant them late in the season, this may be a problem.


Saturday, August 24, 2013


Yes I said weeding.  With Spring just around the corner (I know that it doesn't feel like it but it is) it is a good time to get those weeds out before the warmer weather and all of that wonderful August rain results in a weed explosion.  I have tons of pre-spring tasks to attend to:
- weeding
- checking on my trellises (they get blown about in winter and need to be re-secured)
- checking on the compost
- harvesting the last of the winter produce
- fertilising the fruit (especially the citrus)
- admiring the winter bulbs (snow drops, hyacinths, daffodils, and erlicheer)
- and preparing the beds 
Here is hoping that I actually do some of those :)
Enjoy your week.  Sarah

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Windy weather

What a windy night! Fortunately there was no damage to either the house or garden.  In fact the garden faired well.  I will need to secure the trellises and the garden as a whole needs a bit of attention but other than that things are looking good.  The new peach tree has started flowering and the winter bulbs have pushed through. More soon.  Sarah

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Winter is almost done!

As a friend pointed out yesterday "there are only a few weeks left before Spring start". A scary prospect indeed considering that I have been unable to complete even a third of the winter landscaping and paving I was hoping to get in.  I have recently had my gall bladder removed and have been unable (well not allowed) to do any heavy lifting - in fact with various events and alike on the cards, it doesn't look like I will be getting back into it until October.  On a positive note the broccoli is ready for picking, and the herb garden is looking good.  No cat news this week - the wet weather has keep the furry brigade indoors.  More soon.  Sarah

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cat update

Just when we thought that the property ownership had been won by the black and white dinner suit cats (older, thinner one with red collar gets the front yard and car, and the fatter fluffier, younger one with the blue collar gets the back yard) a new contender hits the scene.  And it is a monster - a huge white, short hair with a cute little blue bell (far to small for a cat the size of a small dog - like beagle small).

The garden is doing well (despite the cat activity) and the winter bulbs are starting to bloom.  The broccoli is coming on and should be ready for picking in two weeks.  The herbs are doing well and the mint has gone crazy.  I will be making a big batch of mint sauce shortly - watch for the recipe on the "herbs" page.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A wet weekend

It has been raining bucket loads today (and yesterday, and it looks like it is going to keep on raining until next weekend).  So no gardening or fence painting this weekend.  The rain is giving the ground a really good soaking and this should help establish the new plants I put in last week.  The rain is also keeping cat visits to a fleeting check for dry places to sit. Hopefully I will have some more exciting news next week.  Sarah

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A busy weekend

I have spent a little time this weekend planting and tidying.  I have planted a climbing rose in the front garden and have a planted a peach tree around the back. The winter bulbs have just started flowering so there are a couple of lovely looking bells on the snow drops, also the early Spring bulbs are starting to poke through the dirt. The garden is starting to look less bare but I need to get cracking so that it is all tidy for Spring.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Frosty Mornings

We are getting some hard frosts here in Melbourne this season.  The frozen white coating on all of the grass and plants looks lovely, but it is not great for the plants and can really damage the fruit and veg.  Ideally you could cover your plants , but with the necessity of full sun, covering and up-covering our plants is not practical.  So why is frost bad for your plants?  Well the ice on the surface is from water drawn from the plant.  Some of the water is returned when the frost melts, but not all of it.  The frost process is slowing drying out your plants.  Try and water the plants early in the morning so that you get moisture back into the garden.  Early morning no good - then water when ever you can.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A new ornament

I actually did some work in the garden today. I had to, the whole thing looked run down and a little sad.  So I raked up all of the leaves, trimmed all of the vines and shrubs and cleared away the last of dead plants. I also bought a new garden ornament - Gareth the Goat.  He is from the Northcote Nursery.  I saw him when I was riding my bike and had to strap him into the rear basket to get him home - so I looked totally nuts.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Still more cat news

This week I managed to hurt my back so the garden has to fend for itself for a week. We have had hard frosts here too so it is important to remember to water the garden. No new cat photos I'm afraid (well not of a different at). I worked out that we have 5 cat visitors:

1. Medium hair black dinner suit cat (white front) with white socks - blue collar
2. Short hair black dinner suit cat (older cat)
3. Short hair grey and white tabby - red colar
4. Short hair grey dinner suit cat (young cat)
5. White short hair with dark spots (older cat)

More cat and gardening news soon.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

More cats

Not much to report this week - the rain has kept me out of the garden.  I need to stop being so lazy and finish off the front fence and do some more paving. In the meantime I have been able to get a photo of cat two. I will post more as I capture more cats ( on film that is)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cat jamboree

My yard attracts a lot if cats...so many in fact that I am going to start photographing them and setting up a "wanted" poster.  Cats love my back garden because it is enclosed by a six foot high fence, is a dog free zone, gets full sun almost all day, and has loads of great smells - compost, seaweed fertiliser and chook poo.  The sugarcane mulch makes nice comfrey bedding too.  There are at least five different ones.  More photos to come...

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Rainy Day

Not much gardening happening today.  The rain has been so heavy I will be lucky to get any gardening or painting done at all this weekend. Still it is good for the garden and it certainly needed a good soak.  The spinach and broccoli are doing well, and the bulbs are all sprouting in preparation for late Winter/early Spring blooms.  Aside from on of the neighbourhood cats eating all of the fennel shoots (you know who you are!) everything is going well.  
Rainy Day

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lazy gardener

Well I have to admit to being a bit on the lazy this week.  I started to trim the rosemary into a reasonably tidy hedge, but had to give up because of the rain (not complaining about that of course) so now I have a slanty hedge. (Picture is pre-trim). I will make more of an effort tomorrow. Other than that, the painting of the front fence is progressing well, and the garden is looking good.
More soon. Sarah

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cooler weather

There is not terribly much going on in the garden at the moment.  I have pretty much done all I can to prepare for Winter - aside from trim the rosemary into a reasonable looking hedge shape.  I am between crops at the moment, with the lettuces being the next item to be ready for picking.  Usually I am better organised and have lettuce and greens on the go all year but the changeable weather (hot/cold/dry and wet occurring in no particular) has meant that I am buying all my veg at the moment.  While the actually gardening work is a little quiet I will take the opportunity to paint the front fence and set in more tiles.  Happy gardening!  Sarah