Winter flowers and vegetables

It’s always nice to have flowers in the garden but especially at this time of the year; the maroon pansies haven’t stopped flowering for months and the vibrantly coloured cinerarias are in full bloom. There’s also camellias, grevillias, some roses, wattles and the lovely ornamental quince blossoms.

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The broad beans are looking good, they have a long growing season and we won’t be eating them for a while yet, the celery can be seen poking out of the milk cartons – they don’t seem to mind the cool weather. I’m still picking beetroots and a variety of greens and not a lot else. We’ve been resting and building up the main garden beds, preparing them for the growing season, thankfully we live in a temperate zone and can grow some food all year round. The garlic, shallots, purple cabbages and romanesco broccoli plants are slowly growing, I bet they’ll take off when the weather warms up a bit. There is so much parsley growing – I really should use it more – I put it in everything already – so versatile and good for us too! Until next we meet…..

The floral garden

A couple of years ago I noticed a spectacular climbing plant growing over the wall of the old Geelong gaol and grabbed a piece to identify it. I couldn’t find it in any of my books or on the internet but the local nurserywoman named it “Russian Lady’s Slipper”. She thought it looked easy enough to grow from a cutting (it looks like a succulent) so I did just that, one little cutting and now it has taken over a large part of the fence and will climb into all the neighbouring plants and across the ground if we let it. I wonder what I have introduced into  our garden it is so vigorous, I imagine that if left alone it would eventually cover up the whole block, house and all. It has a tendency to damage the fence too so I think eventually it will have to go or at least have a massive regular prune. When flowering it is absolutely amazing as you can see in the photos….

I’ve spent a couple of hours in the garden this morning and now it is raining, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome! I just wish I had planted the broad beans, peas and spinach seeds, it would have been perfect timing. I did plant 3 punnets of flowers (mixed coloured hollyhocks, red pansies and white cinerarias) and a french tarragon plant to add to the herb collection. I found a lovely curry leaf tree at Van Loons yesterday and had to buy it, our last one died while we were on holidays last year and I’ve missed the convenience of being able to pick the delightfully fragrant leaves to use in cooking. We decided to plant it in the bank of shrubs that are growing to form a colourful screen or hedge dividing the lower garden and the newer top garden and helping to create a much needed wind break and gentler climate. Our back yard garden is slowly being transformed from a desolate, windswept, barren piece of dirt to a lush environment with the addition of split levels, lots of plants, time, water and muscle power. Our garden is a mixed up blend of herbs, vegetables, fruiting plants and our favourite ornamentals, we want to create different rooms or aspects in the garden and so it is evolving and changing as time goes on and as we do too. I do like my ornamentals but I’m more interested in edible plants lately, there are so many amazing edible plants available it seems silly not to grow as many of them as we can (space is the key).