Saturday, June 22, 2013


We've had a lot of rain lately and the weather has turned really cold - much too miserable to do anything much outside. We have planted a number of native plants along the side fence and by the old house and they seem to be coping with the winter weather so far. Looking out the kitchen window today I mused about what I could put on the blog - all seemed bleak and grey, so I took the dogs out for a stroll around the garden.

Things are happening despite the weather.  The bluebells and daffodils are just breaking the ground and in a few weeks will look spectacular.

 The jonquils are already strutting their stuff. What a pity their scent is so strong - much too heady to have indoors. They are such cheeful winter flowers.

A few weeks ago I trimmed the old leaves on the hellebores and now the new green leaves are unfurling and the first buds have appeared. I love these flowers - they are so rewarding with their long-lasting flowers in subtle colours and tough green leaves that add greenery all through summer.

I have violets everywhere and the sweet flowers give off a wonderful scent as I walk past.  So many violets in fact that they are almost feral, spreading everywhere and swamping other groundcovers if I am not vigilant. I think it is the commom\n violet that is the problem as the 4 other varieties I have are far less vigorous. I don't really mind though because they keep down unwelcome weeds and smell so wonderful.

In the vegetable garden we are harvesting broccoli, radishes,carrots, turnips and various green leaves and soon we will have cabbages, brussel sprouts, celery and celeriac ready.  The citrus trees are doing very well with limes, lemons and mandarins aplenty.  I am going to preserve lemons and make lime and mandarin marmalade.

Perhaps my favourite shrub at the moment is the beautiful Banksia longifolia "Giant Candles" We bought it years ago to plant along the road. Unfortunately it has grown much bigger than anticipated and our not so nice tree loppers come along each year and cut it back so that it won't reach the power lines. Not that it ever will grow that tall, but regulations say there has to be a certain clearance, so they hack it back indiscriminately. We wouldn't mind if they knew what they were doing as far as pruning goes, but their idea of pruning is to hack to the detriment of the plants.

And of course there are the camellias - but that's another story.

Liz Needle

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