Wednesday, 26 September 2012

succulents get a work over

So I have a pile of pots around the pool (meant to be a spa but the bubbles have never worked) which are full of drought loving plants.  The hose doesn't quite reach as far unless I attach the dodgy hose which is not often so they need to love the dry.  Of course over winter they have not been attended as well as I would like and as a result they are quite weedy.

the Grevillea robusta has left it's mark as well
So I not only had to weed but re-pot, use up all my bags of potting mix in an attempt to get it looking a fraction happier.  I have got a few pots that need to be removed and divided such as my Aloe Vera (perfect for burns and bites and rashes) but have run out of mix

Here the results:

Had a few frangipani's so they were divided into the 2 monster square pots

Might take a while for the little babies to root up in the new pots

I even managed to clean the pool as well

The vegetable garden is getting bricked up so I patiently (toe tapping madly away) am waiting to get planting.    I really want the broad beans to have a chance to produce a good crop before that part of the garden is bricked up.  Here they are with the first of the sweet-peas.

Sweet-peas try to invade the shed (please).

Saturday, 22 September 2012

it's a big squeak this week

Spring is sooooo exciting isn't it?  Actually that isn't fair to all those other lovely seasons.  But after winter where there is much much less in bloom spring explodes with delights on every corner.  What has made it even better I guess is that we haven't had any rain to knock the petals off the plants.  Of course in Sydney at the moment we are in great need (again) on the up side at least the days are fabulous.

I am taking you to a clients garden today as she has quite a few pretties the first is Aleurites fordii (or Tung-Oil tree).  It originates from China and just loves a long humid summer. with a white flower with red center a bit like a hibiscus although it is about 3cm in diameter.

It is about 8m tall, deciduous tree with broad heart shaped leaves.  It is growing up above a couple of camellias so it's growth habit is a little scrappy.  Oil used to be collected from it's seed in days gone by but not so much now.

a young Aleurites

Aged seed pods 

Wisteria is growing around the tennis shed and is looking pretty nice.  I think it is Wisteria sinensis or Chinese wisteria .  I guess at least with the Tung-Oil tree nearby they both come from the same origin.

When I worked in the UK I worked as a florist and one of my favourite cut flowers was the Guelder Rose also known as Viburnum opulus.  Almost all the V. opulus grown in Sydney are sterile as far as I understand (it certainly doesn't get as cold as it does in Siberia to Algeria) so no berries develop for an autumn show.  However this week I passed this magnificent example and had to pull over to get a few shots so you to could smile with me.  Sigh....  What pretties have you seen this week where you are?

Viburnum opulus
 Last note they are quite fantastic cut flowers and will last in the vase for a long time.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Bloggers bloom day- September

Over view across the front garden with Salvia sp in foreground

So here we are again on Garden bloggers bloom day, and it is spring in my Sydney garden.  There is quite a lot of pretties in flower at the moment.  It is quite something how the colours of flowers change throughout the year.  There are a lot of blues, pinks and pastel colours around.  I guess that depends on what you put into the garden of course.

Here are some of the beauties:

Bees really do the bright blue of my Echium candicans (Pride of Maderia).  It does take up quite a bit of space in the front corner

The lonely whitebell in amongst the Hyacinthiodes hispanica.  While the bank of bluebells grows out the front it might be some time before it looks anything like the forests we see in the UK

Loropetalum chinese 'Plum Delight'

Ixia maculata (corn lily)

Arctotis 'Red Magic' and Geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw' are some of my new babies

This a Begonia that a client gave me not sure of the variety

This pot of Bletilla striata (Chinese ground orchid) is very cheerful at the front door

My lovely second cousin Alison kindly gave me this clump of Dendrobium speciosum (Sydney rock orchid) from her fathers garden.  Lucky me.

Thanks again to May at for hosting the bloom day

Monday, 10 September 2012

Spring comes with many eeks!

I forgot to post my squeaks about the place last week.  But fear not I have a couple and they are all bulbs that are well worth the view.  Enjoy

Freesia hybrid culivar

Ipheion uniforum 

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Admiralty and Kirrabilli Houses

Have you ever been to Sydney and caught the ferry across to Manly? You pass the Opera House on your right and the on the left is a fabulous sandstone building with an expanse of lawn out the front.  When Mr R first arrived in Sydney his first question was 'Who lives in that house'?

I of course got it wrong and said it is the house the Prime Minister uses when he/she is in town.  It is actually used by the Governor-General (who is appointed by the Queen on the advise of the Prime Minister to represent Her Majesty in the Commonwealth of Australia).  She has the power to dismiss the PM if he/she has lost confidence (such as poor ol Gough Whitlam found out the hard way).  But this is about the house and grounds rather than politics.

the front entrance
I couldn't get photos inside I did get some of the garden and views out.  I have to confess I was hoping to see a weed or two in the garden just to make me not feel so bad I wasn't out there in my garden on such a fine day.

Sydney rock orchids, Dendrobium speciosum happily growing on the rocks

Admiralty House on a splendid spring day

This must be a tough view to get used to everyday
I like the fact that in the front of the house (which is really the rear) they have used mostly natives.  While Mr R and friends joked that the huge Morton Bay Fig should go so they have a better view, I think it does a perfect job frame the vista.

So around the corner the plant varieties change to drought tolerant

To shade lovers.

Then you walk a little further and you get to Kirrabilli House which is where the Prime Minister stays while they are in Sydney.  It is a small three bedroom place (and when I say small, it is in relation to Admiralty House).  The view is not quite as stunning but the lawn sweeps down encouraging quite a number of children to partake in a good rolling down the slope.  

It is a tempting slope

The Echiums sure do add colour to the entrance
And with a slight bit of surprise we came across the vegetable patch.  But don't get yourselves too excited here as I can say there is much much more in my vegetable garden and I have been empting it out so it can have a refit.

Yeap a few chillis, broccoli, chervil and a curry plant that might not be used a great deal . 

I did say...  Do you ever use Curry plant?  I know it smells of curry but I am not sure it should be given space in a produce garden.

Anyway there were a few more pretties about the place.  And looking at the plant choices I expect it gets quite hot in this garden.  What do you think?

The walkway looks like it might be covered with wisteria but nothing in sight at the moment

Loving the Loropetalum and Euphorbia combination

A great day and so happy to have finally had a visit to such an iconic house of Sydney at last.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Terrorist in the garden

Here is a picture (copied from google, thanks google) of a look-a-like 'Bob the Bush Turkey' as i didn't quite manage to get one myself.  He has been hard at work on a clients garden this week.  And not work that is particularly helpful to all of the work I have put in!  For those who don't know of the work 'Bob' or his bush turkey mates do in spring let me explain...

It would seem in the world of bush turkey the male is responsible for looking after the eggs and young turkeys.  So they spend quite some effort scraping general bush debris into an enormous big pile that they turn (a bit like we do with the compost heap) and get nice and hot.  Then they go off to find 'Bernadette' so she can decide if the said pile is worthy of her eggs and potentially mating with 'Bob'.  If 'Bob' is successful he helps create some eggs that he carefully places in his hot pile to keep them warm.  'Bernadette' who has finished her work gets to go back to eating and cruising the bush. Poor ol 'Bob' has to keep the pile turning so that the micro-organisms that do a fabulous job breaking down our composts get all worked up and carry on keeping those eggs warm until they are hatched.

Now that is all very well and good I am all for nature doing it's thing but 'Bob' never bothers to spread that lovely compost around in the appropriate spots.  And to make matters worse he decided that the vegetable patch was where he would start his pile.  See Exhibit A:

Bob's ramp into the vegie patch
And now he starts with the mulch

So not only has he dug soil from the other 2 beds next to this one to start his pile he dug up all of these gorgeous carrots!

Got a great range of colours with this lot
It took me a while as I had tomatoes to protect and a bean frame to create but I am ever hopeful I have 'Bob' proofed the vegie patches.  
Fingers crossed all that wire netting, pots and almost every tool in the place might just stop those turkey legs 
The tomatoes might well be safe now with the bird netting
I am crossing fingers and toes all those new seeds I have planted are safe and that 'Bernadette' finds love with 'Bruce' who has a better pile down the road.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Biennale of Sydney

I love living in Sydney for lots of reasons and today is no exception.  Biennale of Sydney is on at the moment which is basically a free art show at five locations around Sydney.  We choose Cockatoo Island which is in the middle of the harbour and in the past has been a convict prison and old shipyard.  There are heaps of great things to see and do without having the art show as a bonus.

So armed with picnic basket we caught the free ferry at 9.30. It was a gorgeous day out there but then we are now out of winter and into spring so things will be warming up.  Here are some of the things we found

And old crane to help build big ships

the cafe decorated the tables/ pallets with a cute succulent

smile and the world smiles with you

a screen of feathers

Love old draws

birds always get the good views

These were paper guns and and bullets that opened out to make great displays 

old Convict Chapel

Echium looking fabulous

Ark in progress?

Fake mist was quite cool

What have you done on the first weekend of the season?