It is often the smallest things in life which give the most pleasure: a sunny day, the voice of a friend, a smile from a stranger, a tiny flower. And I was reminded of this as I grappled with my obsessive desire to weed every last cape weed out of my garden, but no not just my garden, my paddocks too. Who does that? Well me it seems. Whilst having an aching back and stiff hands I was suddenly noticing the small things, which I might not have otherwise seen, as I crouched down low amongst the native grasses: a frog, disturbed no doubt by my digging nearby, a tiny native orchid, Diuris chryseopsis, brightest yellow Hypoxis hygrometrica, and Wurmbea dioica (commonly known as Early Nancy). It was early in the morning and the native ducks were calling from the trees and the Rosellas chattering nineteen to the dozen. The magpies were following behind me searching for breakfast in the newly disturbed ground. All this made me so glad that I am obsessive about eradicating cape weed from my patch!
That was in the paddock where things are encouraged to be ‘au naturel’ but I have found equal delight in my garden. I have quite suddenly seen an explosion in numbers of brightest red lady birds. These tiny busy bodies are definitely welcome in my garden where they will quickly snaffle up any aphids silly enough to hang about for long. I’m so excited to see my plants delighting in the moist, warming ground and showing it by growing apace: an early abundance of flowers, fresh leaves and new growth.
We have had good rain this last month but never the less I have been putting in new irrigation lines where I have done new plantings so that I can put drippers to the youngest of plants. I seriously do not want to be hand watering these young plants weekly through summer. The weeks go way too quickly if I do that. At the same time this year I’m planning to turn off more drippers to the larger of my plants which should by now have put down deep, deep roots.
At the nursery we have a couple of welcome additions to our Correa collection: Correa ‘Pink Frost’ and Correa ‘Lemon Twist’. ‘Pink Frost’ is a small pretty Correa, 0.5mH x 0.5mW, with pink bell flowers and unusual crinkly leaves which give the look of being frosted with icing sugar. ‘Lemon Twist’ is a vigorous ground cover Correa, 0.2mH x 1.1mW, with relatively large creamy green bell flowers. In my garden both are growing in full sun. Both these Correa have recently come out of the cutting bed and are currently growing into their pots…..keep an eye out for them at the nursery in the next few weeks.
We hope to see you up at the nursery this season but in the mean time get in amongst it all and enjoy the small things in life.
We are just heading into another run of frosty mornings….perhaps a sign that winter has finally set in? Leuchochrysum albicans and Xerochrysum viscosum have continued to flower profusely in my garden until now. I wonder if they will finally pack a sad and slink away until warmer days arrive. Surely they will! In the garden and at the nursery we have had aphids being a nuisance too. Hopefully they too will freeze and drop dead this week.
Although we have just had some good rain fall this last week, don’t forget to check soil moisture around your young plants at this time of year. The soil most often looks moist on the surface but is often dry in the root zone because of so little rain and because frost can draw moisture from the soil. Whilst your plants will not need nearly as much water in winter as they do in summer some of your young plants will still need a little extra water. People often think their plants have died of the cold, Im sure I would if I had to survive out there, but so often it is another factor all together such as being too dry when they are already stressed by the cold.
As I said in my last blog there will be no Australian Native Plant Society plant sale at the Botanic Gardens this spring and it is also unlikely that the Markets, normally held at Cool Country Natives in Pialligo from Spring through to Autumn, will be able to go ahead this year so we will be selling plants from the nursery again. For the whole of August we are having an early bird special of 10% off the total price of your purchase of plants. You are more than welcome to put in an order via email. We require a 50% deposit for the plants but are then happy to hold till beginning of spring for you if you would like.
There have been three changes at the nursery in the last couple of weeks. We know that sometimes the nursery is a little hard to find along the Murrumbateman road, especially for first time visitors, so these last few weeks I have been busy in my garage painting a new sign for the nursery. This sign will help to direct traffic coming from the Gundaroo/Sutton direction to the location of the nursery.
You may have noticed my advertisement on Facebook, some weeks ago, for second hand gazebos. 9 of these have been set up and covered with wire mesh to provide a larger more easily negotiated outdoor selling area for plants which is safe from marauding possums and parrots and satisfies Covid 19 safety guidelines.
And finally, and a big hurrah for this, we have a new driveway in the making. Not quite finished yet but already so much easier to navigate.
As usual we have seedlings popping up all over the show, and cuttings rooting at a rate of knots too. If they are not ready for spring they will be ready for Autumn as we strive to provide a selection of plants to complete any garden.
Changes in the garden can happen so surreptitiously one is barely aware of them especially in our harsh climate. This season Cape weed is the exception to this and don’t we have an inundation of that everywhere at the moment?!
Every day I walk around my garden talking to my plants, pulling a weed here or there, looking for leaf growth or flower buds, and keeping an eye on bugs to make sure they don’t think they have free reign. In the last couple of weeks I have had several surprises, free gifts, pop up unexpectedly in little clusters. The excitement of seeing the miracle of new plants pushing through the soil never palls for me.
This week I found seedlings of Derwentia arenaria blue emerging where a plant had died, and further along masses of Xerochrysum viscosum pushing up firmly and briskly to fill every last bit of space under one of my plum trees. I’m also hoping that some of the seedlings I have seen are clones of my Ammobium alatum because I have found it nigh on impossible to get this plant to produce babies. In the pebble path I have Leuchochrysum albicans making itself at home and Craspedia variabilis naturalising. The wonderful thing about all this is that whilst I place plants ever so carefully how I think they should look, nature seems to have a way of making it all look so much more happily casual.
Bulbine glauca, Solanum linearifolium, Poa labillardieri, Swainsonia galegifolia have all sent seedlings up recently, despite the bitter cold nights. These wonderful gifts can be seen as weediness, and definitely one needs to pull a few out where they are going to encroach on other plants, but I like to see them as the free gift that they are to fill in those empty spots and make the garden lush and full.
Up at the nursery, production of plants is going full steam ahead too. There are seeds of all sorts sprouting, and cuttings growing roots quietly unseen. There are trays and trays of tiny new plants enjoying the warmth, for now, of the green house.
On another note………..just when we thought COVID was nearly over and things might get back to some semblance of normality we have new outbreaks of infection in some communities. For some people this means back into lockdown and for the rest of us a general unease of not knowing what is coming next. What we do already know is that the Australian Native Plant Society spring plant sale at the Australian National Botanic Gardens has been regretfully cancelled again. Although we thought this was a distinct possibility we had been gearing up toward it anyway. So, as we did in autumn, we will have a plant sale at the nursery of all the plants we would have taken to the Botanic garden sale and more. We will let you know details of this sale closer to the time. Until then keep an eye on the plant lists on our website. I update these as new plants become ready for sale.
This last week Iris and I have decided to commit to being ‘open’ at regular times. For now, Tuesday and Friday between 9am and 3pm I will be in attendance at the nursery. On Saturday and Sunday between 9am and 3pm Iris will be available to sell plants. Outside of these hours it is likely that we will be available too but best to call first before coming out just to make sure. And be aware that these hours are likely to change as we come into spring but I will advertise any changes on Facebook or Google maps and/or you are always welcome to call me on my mobile or Iris on her landline to make sure.
And now that all that Autumn planting is done, done, done it is time for me to be slowing down. My poor old arthritic hands have taken such a beating in the last couple of months as I have frantically improved my soil, planted, and mulched. Most nights I have fallen into bed almost too tired to sleep but I tell you what, every minute of it was worth it. The garden is looking fuller than it was and I know that these lovely plants will settle their roots in over winter and be more likely to survive next summer because of it.
No doubt I will find a few more plants to pop in over winter because I never actually stop but now is the time to dream and scheme about spring planting. It is time to stand back to view the garden with a quieter eye trying to imagine how that plant would look amassed in a swirl or would that area look better with something taller as a backdrop, is this plant in the right place, is that plant past its best and need to come out.
With plenty of time over the cold months to dream and scheme it is no wonder we are all raring to go at the first sign of warm weather. I for one will be waiting!
These fabulous plants (below) are all flowering in my garden at the moment. I cant get enough of the glorious colours.