Monday, April 4, 2011

What was happening in the garden last week...

I have never been an avid gardener. It all began when I was a child.  My dad gave me a small plot to plant some things - little violets, some freesias and a cactus.  I soon lost interest in maintaining it so it became an overgrown space - mainly with the violets.  On the plus side is the fact that the cactus is still alive and well - but it's no secret that they thrive on neglect.

My new found interest started when we became home owners and we had a space that was ours (does anyone ever do more than the bare minimum to maintain a rental garden?).  Actually it was about a year after we moved in when we had all the fences put up and the garden beds edged.  I started doing a lot of research of low-maintenance and water-wise plants that would suit our locations.  I've always been a lover of nature though, so a native style garden appealed to me.  Considering we are on a compact block we can't exactly recreate a forest in the backyard, but we have selected plants that would be ok in our smallish space.  The main idea was that we have a "for looks" garden out from our sliding glass doors of the dining and family rooms, a screening garden down the side of the house to hide the fence, and an edible garden in between. 

Down the side of the house that faces east (and gets very little sunlight except midday) I planted some camellias and gardenias in the hope they would grow to make a screen of green to hide the fence.  I may have underestimated overestimated the growth time of camellias because a year on and they have only grown about 10cm from their tiny tubestock start.  Never mind, I'll focus on the positive that they are at least still alive.

The highlight was Thursday morning when I walked into the bathroom and noticed this beauty out the window.

Again, lets focus on the positive that it is a beautiful flower that is the first of the camellias to flower this year and it is right outside our bathroom window (rather than the fact that the camellias are all supposed to be pure white and all the others are white, making it the odd one out).

I have been totally blown away by our apricot tree.  We planted this back in November (spring) and it was half the height it currently is.  To be honest, I doubted that it would even grow where we live so it was a total shock when it started shooting new growth and it grew so much over summer that I tip pruned the taller branches on the weekend to try and maintain it's height to not much higher than the fence.  I wonder if we will get any fruit next season or if it is still too young?

Our veggie patch has had a slow start.  We planted our seeds for lettuce, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, pumpkin and corn.  All that remains is the corn.  The lettuce survived the longest (the seedlings got to about 5cm tall) but even that succumbed to whatever we have that mows then down overnight.  The corn currently looks like this:

I have scattered some slug/snail pellets in the hope that they may still be around and will pay the price for eating our vegetables before we did!  I will plant some more seed soon, but it is starting to cool down so it may be a bit slow in the veggie patch until spring returns.

We also have some interesting life appearing in our garden. We have left this guy alone in the hope he may eat all the little pesky bugs.  He is actually quite pretty.

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