Monday, September 1, 2014

Bloom'in here

Spring has officially arrived, but in truth, it had been knocking on winter's door for at least a month. Now is the time of year which becomes every gardeners treat - to walk around the garden and see some of last year's efforts, putting on a show.

Pink Aster Daisy

This daisy has finally gone full bloom, after contending with kangaroos determined to push it sideways to get past. This is one hardy plant. I've taken several cuttings already, and placed them around the garden. None have died on me yet, despite not receiving a lot of attention.

Verbena Candy Cane

Another plant I have successfully propagated next to the chicken coop, is the Verbena. It's living in terrible soil but this is an exceptional plant! I love the candy colour, but will find other colours of the verbena to grow as well. Simply because its so hardy.

Grevillea Honey Gem

Behind the other chicken coop, is the beautiful Grevillea Honey Gem, living up to its name and drawing every kind of honey-eater to its display. There are wattle birds, Rainbow Lorikeets and Hummingbirds feasting whenever they can. There is one particular, territorial wattle bird, which has claimed our front yard for its own.

Wattle bird

They do their best to perch on top of the highest branch, to search for intruders. I'm doing better this year with more native flowering plants, so spats are fewer. I'm doubling my efforts this year, to get more flowering natives into the ground and prune back the others to increase flowering times. I love having birds in the garden, so its something worth committing to.

Lavender Avonview

I didn't think this lavender was going to make it last summer. The western sun scorched it to a near crisp. It's looking much better now and is currently blooming. This one threw three seedlings nearby, which I happily scooped up and even created a rock wall for transplanting one in. I'm hoping those seedlings make it through this summer.

Eremophila (native fushia)

Another bird attracting native, which is currently in bloom, is the Eremophila Glabra. There is a lovely range of colourful flowers to select from this particular group, but I love something about the light-green flowers contrasting with the silver-grey foliage. It's very subtle and refreshing.

Recent wall project

This was the mature specimen I had growing on top of the rock-wall I recently built too. I've propagated from this plant successfully, and have three cuttings planted in different spots around the garden. The small honey eaters seem to especially love the flowers from this plant, but even the much larger wattle bird, will happily feed from it too.

Black mulberry tree

The mulberry is sporting new leaves and fruit. Maybe we'll stand a chance to eat some this year? The birds always seem to beat us to them. This tree is only a few years old, and we're so impressed with how low maintenance it is, that we put in another tree too. More berries for the birds, and us!

Star Jasmine

As mentioned previously, the jasmine is in full bloom and smelling so sweet and delicious. It brightens up this edge of our garden, and makes it worth the trip to the garden shed.

It wouldn't be the end of winter, without the ever faithful kumquat tree putting on a vitamin C show...

Kumquat 'Marumi'

This is our favourite snack food in the garden at the moment. We grab a bight on the way to feeding the chickens, or hanging clothes on the line. It's planted in an ideal position to snack on. Fruit which isn't edible, gets rolled across the lawn, for the cat to chase. She loves chasing kumquats. Strange cat!

Seeing what worked in the garden and what hasn't (another post) has given us some ideas to try different strategies this year. There's quite a lot of work to be done and material gathered for writing other posts. In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying Spring in the Southern Hemisphere, or savouring Autumn which has just started for North Hemisphere gardeners.


  1. Hi Chris, just calling in from Nicole's blog. I see you are in the Lockyer Valley. I am up the hill in Toowoomba so we are almost neighbours :-) We are trying to save some of our mulberries from the flying foxes this year. They have become a bit of a pest when the berries are ripe as they poo all over the tree. I hope you get a good harvest.

  2. Hello Chel, nice to meet another local. We're nearer to Withcott than we are to Gatton, so Toowoomba is a place we visit quite regularly. The birds get our berries before the bats can even sniff them out. We get a couple of the lower growing ones, but we have to be quick!

    Has the mulberry tree taken over your yard? Our first rental home in Toowoomba had a massive old mulberry in the back yard, and the owner had to chop it back to its nearly 2 metre girth trunk, as per their maintenance plan, not ours. But it sprouted again and was back in business.

    1. The old mulberry tree is quite large, Chris. We have 1/2 acre here in town so there is plenty of room for it. Hubby is going to cut it down though and replace it with a dwarf mulberry. It must be over 35 years old by now.

    2. Oh my, I forgot to reply. Sorry Nanna Chel.

      Do you live on the outskirts of Toowoomba, to have 1/2 an acre? Even 1/4 of an acre is hard to find in town nowadays. They're all being bought and subdivided for townhouses and flats.

      I'd be interested to know how the dwarf variety goes for you. I've heard mixed stories - like they're not really dwarf, just smaller than the large ones. But I have no first hand experience so just going of hearsay.

    3. Chris, we are over near Baillie and the blocks in our street are fairly large. No so with the newer blocks though.

    4. I'm familiar with that area, as we used to live in Harlaxton, near the Red Roster, on the highway - or the backstreets thereof.

      The older estate on Hogg Street, had some rather large blocks as I recall. I remember when that new estate (near the IGA) and Tor Street, was all green paddocks. Not so, now.

  3. i like your native fushia i also like the green with the silver-grey foliage.
    My Kumquat has not started to fruit yet, we are still getting mandarins and they are my go to snack when im heading up or down the yard as its right in the middle.

    1. Hi Nicole, its tax time here so I'm a little disorganised with replying. The trusty old citrus is well placed in the garden, isn't it. Gotta love those vitamin c trees for winter time. I wonder if your kumquat has full sun? I have both a Marumi and Meiwa, and both have set fruit this year. Or perhaps its a new addition to the garden?

  4. You have such a pretty garden. If it were spring here, we still wouldn't have many flowers blooming. Some bulbs perhaps and maybe a dandelion here and there.
    I can't beleive how much the plants in your rock wall have filled in as well. Its looking wonderful.

    1. Oh dear, I forgot to reply to this one. I had a couple of mature plants to start with the rock wall - they were already there, but I have added more recently. Fingers crossed, they live this time. The trick is to keep up the mulch I think. :)

    2. Mulch does wonders! Didn't you post the photo of this spot awhile ago? That is what I was thinking this is-the progress report.

    3. It was the new rock wall I build recently, but I had some die-hard plants which survived in the area for many year. What is new, is how well it is flowering this year. Just needed some more mulch to keep the moisture in the ground longer. I think the wall also helps retain water, instead of being just all slope.

  5. It's fun to see spring blooming. Everything looks so good. I've been thinking about possibly planting some mulberry trees, so it's interesting yours are doing well without a lot of fuss. I used to make mulberry jelly a long time ago.

  6. I don't think you can beat a mulberry for the hardiest of berries to grow. The leaves are also edible. I feed them to my guinea pigs. I bet your goats would love them. :)


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