Another grey day required me to go out and find the pretty things in the garden…. enjoy~
Another grey day required me to go out and find the pretty things in the garden…. enjoy~
Here are some lovely things that have been happening in the garden over the last month…
I bought some saffron bulbs at the Carterton Market several months back and was super surprised one day to find three of them flowering. The plants themselves don’t give any indication that they’re about to flower, it seemingly happens over night! And you’ve got to be onto it because the bloom (and those lovely red stamens) only last for two days before withering.
We don’t have hummingbirds in New Zealand (damn it!) but we do have wax eyes. I spotted about 4 or 5 of them sipping from my red velvet sage, Salvia confertiflora (that’s why the photo isn’t the best, I was shooting through the lounge window not wanting to scare them off!). Salvias are a favourite for hummingbirds whom love the tubular flowers and particularly the ones in the red spectrum~ not that that is useful information for us here in Aotearoa!
Can you picture a wee hummingbird hovering next to these (Salvia elegans) pineapple sage flowers? I would love to see one in real life, I have a pretty good imagination but imagining a bird the size of a bumblebee blows my mind!
This is another salvia flowering at the moment, Salvia farinacea Victoria Blue. The picture really doesn’t do it justice as the flowers are an amazing intense purple.
I was checking my french tarragon and saw these little balls around it, I squished one and seeds came out… So I did a quick google search to see if they’re friend or foe… They are ‘friend’ and they are called Birdsnest mushrooms, they feed on dead plant matter and eventually open up to reveal their seeds! So I had another look and found one that had only just opened…
Pretty cool eh! To get an idea of size, that spiky looking thing underneath it is a calendula seed.
We bought four heritage apple trees for what will be our orchard area. We got them from the delightful Edible Gardens in Ashurst. I chose Priscilla and 20oz for our early-mid season and Belle de Boskoop and Tydemans Late Orange for our late season. A hole diggin’ I go!
Also got a bunch of feijoas that will be part of our shelter for the orchard.
Figs are ripening, for the second time this season, score! I don’t know what type of fig they are, do you?
I found this behind the shed,,, have absolutely no idea what it is and it’s heavy as fck but I’m thinking garden sculpture!
We are now proud owners of 8 chickens; the kids love them, I love them too but I will love them more when they start laying! They’re young and it’s getting cold I know I have to wait til spring. In the meantime they’re getting a lot of affection round these here parts…
And here is quite possibly the most exciting thing that’s happened garden wise in the last month….
Those sticks in the ground give me great joy… attached to them are the daughters of Monkshood Aconitum napellus. I’ve been on the lookout for this plant for quite some time, purely for the fact that it is an antique herb with a fascinating history that is mostly associated with witches. Whilst checking out a friends garden that she had acquired from the previous owner, I saw these stunning tall purple spikes of flowers, slightly suspicious I took a photo and cross checked them with one of my herb books, whoop whoop! Immediately told my friend what they were with the heads up that every single part of it is incredibly poisonous, but not to worry because I will take them off her hands if she’s concerned about kids mucking about with them. They were planted right next to the trampoline so was only too pleased for me to take them away! (Because of what I do my kids are well educated about what plants they can and cannot touch/play with)
Hope life is fabulous and your eyes are clear to the little things~
Well, the weather has finally warmed up here in Horowhenua (in time for Autumn!). I might get ripe tomatos yet!
The coolest thing that’s happening at the moment in my garden is the dainty flowers blooming on some of my herbs and succulents.
Most surprising is the Southernwood Artemis abrotanum flowering ~ it’s not rare but it’s not exactly common either and I don’t know what made this particular one flower (I have a few plants scattered around). It’s planted near our swan plants so got a photo op with the monarchs emerging from their chrysalis’ (six in one day!).
I have heaps of Thai Basil so can afford a few to go to flower/seed and what luverly liddle flowers they are…
My mint Mentha sp. is going to flower, I obviously haven’t been eating enough of it this year as personally, I’ve never seen it flower before.
Do I write about Soapworts Saponaria officinalis flowers every year? There’s reason for that, they smell divine and look gorgeous, not so dainty mind but Bouncing bet suddenly looks like the perfect name for this plant!
The Lemon thyme Thymus x citriodorus aureus is flowering, I’ll soon be chopping them off and pegging down stems for next season.
Catnip Nepeta cataria is harvested when it’s in flower (a lot of herbs are harvested just before flowering). My catnip is in it’s second flush of flowering having harvested the first flush a while back. The wee flowers almost look like orchids!
Now, here’s a long story short… mint, grown with brassicas is said to thwart the white butterfly… of course the mint has to be nigh constantly crushed to be effective, oh, and would probably help to not have flowering catnip intermixed which attracts the damn white butterflies! Another lesson I have learnt for y’all!
Other stand out blooms have been a couple of my Sempervivum succulents that I have no idea of their official names and my bromeliad which has like flowers within its forever flower!
and the piece de resistance….
Hope you too are blooming well and seeing the beauty in the little things!
It’s been so long I almost don’t know where to begin, but it’s the end of the year in a matter of hours so I better just begin to end the year, now!
It’s been a busy couple of monthes, always is during market time and I’ve been working on extending my season (I usually wrap up by Xmas, market wise). In the new year I’ll be selling Thai Basil, Sacred Basil/Tulsi, Red Russian Kale, green cabbage and Red Treviso Early Chicory. All organic of course~
I’ve been dealing with the pleasant effects of so much rain.
The herbs have been going off and already I’ve harvested my peppermint twice.
Got a beauts crop from my sage and my catnip is just about ready for cutting, amongst others.
Let my lemon balm be a warning to you, DO NOT plant it (or any harvestable herb) under a tree frequented by birds!
I’ve also been dealing with the unpleasant effects of this wet spring… Rust on the garlic, early blight through one of my tomato beds (I bagged up and disposed of all affected foliage, they seem to be all doing ok still if not a bit naked!) which caused a paranoia induced lifting of my urinika patch, silver leaf in one of the apple trees. Weeds galore, mainly grass. And the freakin chickens drove me insane, despite netting they dug up my borlotti fire tounge bean patch, got into a tomato bed and ate the seedlings (that weren’t affected by blight) and made me doubt my vegetarian heart! Note I’m talking in the past tense, we sold them just before Xmas! Looks like I’m going to have to get a worm farm cracking so the wastage that the kids create won’t go to complete waste!
Anyhoo, happy new year everyone, may your herbs grow strong and your heart ring true!
Way too much pressure on myself thinking I could do a post a week. I thought it would be good for me, pah!
Here’s some photos of joy..
xx Happy Autumn
Hope you had a good Christmas as we had~ the sun has brought out the party hey!
If you have white sage (Salvia apiana) in the garden don’t water it.
If you have stevia in the garden, water and mulch!
I read somewhere recently- can’t remember where- that sunflowers were/are grown in South America in boggy areas to dry them out. Which will be why white sage grows so well near sunflowers (in non-boggy situations)
White sage loves dry conditions and sunflowers will ensure that their white sage companions will have those dry conditions by sucking up any water that comes their way. Beautiful!
And happy happy new year! I have plans of expansion for 2016, I’ll keep you posted! What’s your plans?
I cleared up the old glass house a few weeks ago, my boy and I cut, hauled, tugged and fought with the grapevine that had taken it over… only broke one pane, wahoo!
It’s very inspiring having a clear glasshouse. Just need to get some white vinegar onto all the lichen and moss growing on the windows, they’re kinda pretty though…
Once I really got stuck into the grapevine (it was truly montrous) I found a garden!! Wish I’d taken “before” photos.
And then I trimmed back the lavender, quite heavily…
…and I found another garden…well, more I found garden potential and (because my mother-in-law was visiting and able to hold my baby), I pounced! and oh….
..it looks like we’re staying!!
Just found a before picture…
Thinking about our change of circumstances can get me down so here’s some nice bright photos!
Check out this whopper! This is a Sweet Virginia heirloom tomato that I’m saving the seed for for Kapiti Seedbank. I should’ve taken a photo of it on my hand so you could get a scale of the thing! And my scales ran out of batteries so couldn’t weigh it. Biggest tomato I’ve grown anyway…
A couple of weeks ago we went to the Otaki kite festival, I’d never been before and it was magical!
And here’s a little delightful basket of treasures my daughter spent a good while collecting at home~