Flowers in the Garden

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Most of my limited time and energy in the garden are directed to towards growing food.  However, that does not mean that I don’t love flowers or enjoy having them in the garden.

I don’t have a flower garden in the traditional sense where there were beds of seasonal flower displays such as snapdragons, sweet peas and my favourite, Iceland poppies.

We do have a number of native flowering shrubs which create a screening hedge on the verge but there are also some other gems tucked into various spots in the garden.

This is one of my newest hibiscus complete with a single flower.

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The lavender is thriving in this warm, dry corner of the front garden and has rewarded us with some flowers over the past couple of weeks.

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The marigolds brighten up the tubs on the front verandah.

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The vegetable garden is not devoid of flowers, either.  The rocket has gone to flower and is providing a pretty display.

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All of these flowers provide habitat for the bees and I am always looking to incorporate them wherever I can.

Garden Notes – Seedling Success

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It is 8 days since I planted the seeds which I wrote about in my previous post and I am pleased to report success, almost beyond my wildest dreams.

Here are the trays of cabbage and cauliflower.  It looks as though the germination rate was almost 100%.

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The cauliflower had begun to lean towards the sun so I brought them out from their sheltered spot and they are now in the full sun on some mesh which is covering one of the garden beds.  The mesh is to keep the scrub turkeys out of the sweet potato which I transplanted from the compost heap.

The broccoli seedlings are also looking good but a few days behind the others.

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The germination rate of these is also excellent as I think there were only 20 seeds in the packet – they are a hybrid bred specifically for our warmer sub-tropical climate.

The celery and spinach are still in the sheltered area and I continue to be hopeful.  I think I can see some celery just poking through the soil but the spinach are not showing any signs of life just yet.

The red cabbage seedlings have doubled in size in a week and the beans which I planted directly in the bed are growing at a rapid pace.

On another note, and related to the garden, I wanted to show you a bit of work we did last week.

When we fenced the area for the vegetable garden we installed a couple of gates.  Due to the slope of the land we set this timber sleeper beneath the wide gate.  It has stayed in position and works well.

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There did not seem to be a need under the standard width gate but over time we have noticed that the ground had settled and a few rocks were placed to thwart the efforts of the chickens to access the enclosed area.

So last weekend we found another sleeper and cut a piece for this gate.

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I need to encourage the grass to grow on this side of the gate.  I am not worried about the enclosed area as that will eventually all be mulched with no grass at all.

While we were doing this we decided to also do the gate for the chicken run which had the same problem.

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The gate is propped open as the girls were out free-ranging when I took this photo this afternoon.

Something Different

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We usually eat salmon once every fortnight.  It is cooked the same way each time – GMan grills it on the barbecue.  I vary the accompaniments – sometimes it is kale salad or coleslaw and sweet potato fries, other times it is a a bed of sweet potato mash or wilted bok choy plus other vegetables on the side.

The other day I came across this link on Facebook.  So, I decided that I would try one for a change from our normal grilled salmon.

I made the Tomato Pesto Salmon and this is what it looked like once I had assembled it.

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Cooked, served and ready to eat.

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Even better, was the fact that the basil, tomatoes, zucchini and sweet potato were all from the garden.

I know that fresh salmon is not exactly a budget meal but with almost everything else home-grown it means that we can splash out a little on good quality meat and fish.

What a Difference

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……a week makes!

These are the seedlings when I planted them a little over a week ago.

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And here they are a week later.

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The comparison is not entirely accurate as the photo is taken from the opposite end of the garden.

Everything has more than doubled in size but the zucchini have shown the most spectacular growth.

Unfortunately, something is having a munch on a couple of the bok choy – probably caterpillars from the white cabbage moth.  I could try covering them or I might try a tip I saw on ‘Gardening Australia’ last week.  Sophie has made fake white moths attached to small stakes in the garden because, apparently, the white moth is territorial and the fakes bluff the real moths into thinking they have to go somewhere else.  It would be wonderful if it really is that easy.

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The Gorgeous Garden

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This weekend GMan and I have had 3 days at home so finally managed to catch up on some much needed work in the garden.  We have had a combination of plenty of rain plus some hot, sunny days over the past few weeks which has been a recipe for everything to grow crazily – especially the weeds.

Thankfully, the weather was not too hot and mostly fine this weekend.  GMan ploughed through everything on the mower and now I can actually see the vegetable garden area again.

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We also had a blitz in this area in front of the verandah.  The hibiscus we planted last year are doing really well and I think we need about 3 more.

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The weeds were going mad and there were piles of branches waiting to be mulched.  The mulching has been done and weeds mostly pulled up and discarded in the compost heap up the back.  The thickly mulched area in the background of the photo with cardboard/newspaper underneath has very little weed so we definitely need to get more mulch and finish the whole area.

This afternoon GMan planted the capsicum plants we bought last weekend and the 4 shrubs we bought at a new native plant nursery in Maleny.

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The plant in the foreground was a Christmas gift and has more than doubled in size in the 6 weeks since we planted it.  The one up closer to the road was also planted towards the end of last year.  The new plants are barely visible in the photo but can be identified by the areas were the lawn has been dug up.

Although it is not clear in the photo, this is quite a steep embankment and difficult to mow.  So, we have decided to cover the entire area with native shrubs and groundcovers.  Nothing will be more than a couple of metres high and we hope to have it densely covered and eliminate the lawn in this area entirely.  It may seem like a vain hope when you look at it now but here is a reminder of what can be achieved.

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This planting is along the front boundary a provides privacy from the road.  The whole area was just a wide expanse of lawn when we came here 10 years ago.  It took about 4 – 5 years to get this level of screening.

We have many grand ideas for the garden and look forward to getting more done but in the meantime it is gratifying to see how much we have achieved.  The chicken run, vegetable gardens and fencing in the first photo have all been established since we came here, the area in front of the verandah has been completely revamped and the native screening grown.  Many other areas of the garden tell a similar story.

I hope you enjoy seeing some snippets of our garden.

The Garden Grows

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After being away for six weeks, the vegetable garden was in need of some attention.

I cleared out the remains of the broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower which had been harvested while we were away.  There are now corn, lettuce, radish and cucumber seeds planted in the spaces available.

The area inside the fence that I had earmarked for a herb garden is now sporting a couple of very healthy  parsley plants as well as several basil seedlings.  I planted these on the weekend as they were kindly left for us by the house sitters.  They commented that it was cheaper to buy a pot of seedlings than a bunch of parsley or basil.

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I have previously shown you here the netting that we bought at the Garden Show and we intended to ask the house sitters to put it on the peach tree as I felt it would need to be done while we were away.  That did not happen so now all of our small, green peaches are enclosed.  If this is successful, in a few months we will be harvesting luscious peaches that have not been stung by fruit fly. I can only hope!

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Before we went away we planted the asparagus and rhubarb in styrofoam boxes until I could prepare the areas where we wanted to plant them.  On the weekend we dug a trench and set the concrete blocks into the ground to form a border for the rhubarb.  I hope to plant some flowers in the small soil-filled pockets of the blocks.

I hope to prepare the bed for the asparagus in the coming weeks.

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We have a long weekend coming up and I am hoping to get some more done in the garden.

Weekend Work & Chicken Wings

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It is Wednesday already and it is nearly a week since my last post.  I have been busy doing things instead of writing and unfortunately have not always had the camera handy.  However, here are a few photos of some of the things we did on the weekend.

Bluberries
The existing blueberry bushes have been pruned, enclosed with wire surrounds and mulched thoroughly.  These bushes have been in for several years but are now in the wrong place as they are located within the new chicken run.  I previously had the entire area enclosed to prevent the chickens from digging around them and exposing the roots but I decided that individual enclosures were a better idea.

New garden
The fencing around the perimeter of the vegetable gardens is almost complete.  I the meantime I have temporarily closed off the last bit to exclude the chickens.  This meant that I was able to prepare a new garden bed and be safe in the knowledge that it would not be dug up immediately by the marauding feathered army.  The rock edging is made from some of the hundreds of rocks that litter our property.  The bed is inside the fence nearest to the house so I plan to make this into a herb garden.

Chickens
Finally, I clipped the wings of the chickens in order to make sure that they could not fly over the 1200mm fence into the vegie garden.  I had wanted to do this for ages but never felt quite brave enough.  With some advice from an online forum, a Youtube video and The Duke to hold the chicken I was able to clip the flight feathers on one wing of each chicken.  The exercise seems to have been successful as there has been no more instances of flying over fences.