Friday, May 30, 2014

I caved in

I bought a climbing 'Dainty Bess' rose. It's early to be planting roses here, and I can find no information at all about the growth habit of the plant (eg best for pillar, arch, shed, or fence). I can only find masses of photos of this particularly pretty single pink rose. It's a terrible picture of the rose here, but a rather accurate picture of the label. I don't know who would ever chose this variety based on this particular label, which, incidentally, says 'climbing' on the front, and then 'grows to 1m' on the back. Hmmm. Anyway, I hope to be adding my own beautiful Dainty Bess pictures to the hundreds already online within a few years, and all things being even, I'll let you know if it's an appropriate climber for a west-facing fence, or a flop, or if I've planted a fence-swamping monster.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A sucker for a bargain

I was looking for a small plastic rectangular planter to grow cress in for the kitchen bench. I seem to have bought myself a 'Minigarden Vertical' instead. What can I say? $30 a kit, marked down from $99 (or $79, depending on where I look). Sold! I'll take two, please.

I have been interested in green walls for a long time, but most things I've seen for sale are not aesthetically pleasing (and neither is this, to be honest, not to me anyway, a bit too Plastic Fantastic), and would rapidly become outrageously expensive to do anything more than piddly, but for this price I'll happily give it a whirl. 

Why so cheap? Well, it looked like it might have fallen off the back of a truck... Literally, boxes ripped and squashed and barely containing their contents. I should have had 18 of the little round doflickies to hold it together, and there was 22, and one box had a mysterious set of screws and hooks in it (for...?) but hey, it's all fine with me because, as I said, I can't resist a gardening bargain. 

It's much too big to put in the kitchen. I am considering the laundry, but I think it will end up by the back door along with the rest of my potted plants where it will get sufficient sunshine (it's UV stabilised material). I'll be planting cress, water cress, lettuce and various other salad greens in it for now, mostly from seed. 

I'll update as I go along :)

Monday, May 26, 2014


In amongst the weeds, a little forest of self-sown coriander seedlings; brilliant!

And if I knew for sure this was edible, I'd totally eat it (but I don't, so I won't!)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Seed sowing

I certainly don't find seed-sowing fool-proof, and I don't have a fabulous success rate, but I keep trying because it's just so cool to see something I planted sprout and grow xx

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

More on my idea

So, this idea, sprung upon while watching Miss 4 playing in the fallen leaves of the beautiful Japanese weeping cherry trees in the Mt a Lofty Botanic Gardens, is to plant a weeping grafted standard tree in the backyard which will eventually grow into a living cubby house for the kidlets. 

I've been researching all sorts of options, and talking to people in a couple of specialist tree nurseries around Adelaide. A weeping cherry would have been perfect, except I'm told they are very slow growing (damn) and would probably hate my hot-spot hilltop (double damn). Most other options (eg weeping crabapple, weeping apple, Japanese maple etc) would also be too slow, or too narrow etc etc. I have reluctantly settled on a weeping (grafted) mulberry. My reservations are two-fold: Firstly, I'm just in the process of taking out the black mulberry I planted three years ago because the fruit was rubbish and not at all like the mulberries I remember, and because the yard has evolved and there is no longer room for such a potentially large tree (especially one with tasteless fruit), and secondly I'm a little concerned that this eventual cubby will look like the Tombliboos house from that kids' TV show Miss 4 insists on subjecting us to every evening. 

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Mulberry trees do tick quite a few of the required boxes: they are comparatively fast growing, suitable for our dry climate, and have edible fruit (yes, even the white mulberry I plan on planting... fingers crossed). 
So worth a punt, I think. And I wish I'd thought of it three years ago when I first planted that mulberry. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

A wacky idea

...for a bit of whimsy...
Clue: today's inspiration comes from our wander around the Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens this morning.

(Prunus serrulata "Ukon")

Monday, May 12, 2014

This autumn's obsessions

I have recently been obsessing over (reading about, buying, planting...) Penstemons of all varieties, Cosmos atrosanguineus (Chocolate cosmos), Nepeta spp., Salvia spp (including, but not limited to, Salvia leucantha, Salvia nemerosa, and Salvia discolor), Agastache spp, Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage). I seem to be creating a perfect hummingbird-attracting backyard; shame we live on the wrong continent. Let's hope honeyeaters will enjoy these plants just as much. 
Pictured below are  just a few of my newest acquisitions. I might have bought out most of Adelaide of the supply of smaller (read: cheaper) Chocolate Cosmos... 

Edit: forgive the strange bold/not-bolded text. Sometimes technology will not cooperate with me. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rose List 2014

Something different to previous years: Not a rose wish-list, but a roses-ordered list, mostly as an aide-memoir for myself. Places picked out in the garden for about 80% of these... the other 20%, well... I'll figure it out in June when I get my new babies.

These are not my pictures, but web-sourced images. Each image chosen because it's the one which convinced me to put place the plant on my final list (the original list was over 30 varieties strong, I have done well to narrow it down to 15 plants I think). Calling them tea vs hybrid tea or whatnot is according to the catalogue of the [local] place I have ordered them from. I am certainly no expert about rose nomenclature, though have been obsessively reading my wee head off about them over the last few months. I was trying to stick to a theme, but in the end the theme is 'I think it's beautiful.'

1.  Mutabilis, meaning 'changeable'
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2. Cramoisi superieur
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3. White Wings
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4. Mme Barade
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5. Raubritter
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6. Buff Beauty
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7. Golden Wings
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8. Sunny June
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9. Monsieur Tillier
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10. Devoniensis
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11. Gruss an Aachen
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12. Skylark
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13. Teasing Georgia
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14. Pretty Jessica
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15. Sharifa Asma (pale pink)
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Friday, May 2, 2014

More storms

A smattering of vivid yellow leaves can make even the daggiest building site backyard shine in the breaks in the clouds.