Saturday, June 22, 2013

Yay I won some roses in a competition and my bulbs are finally emerging

During my visit to the Melbourne flower and garden show this year I signed up to receive as many catalogs from plant / flower growers that I could. One supplier was from Silkies Rose Farm in Clonbinane Victoria Australia.  They have regular competitions they promote through their mailing list and I was lucky enough to win one of them. The prize was my choice of any 2 of their roses. Last year I learned how to prune roses for the first time but, until now, have never had any of my own. I chose a David Austin English rose called Munstead Wood (a shrub rose) and a hybrid tea rose called New Kleopatra. The garden bed I planted them in at my home garden in Macedon had previously had hydrophobic soil but I dug lots of mushroom compost through it some time ago and when I tested it today it was all over its fear of water. Also I have noticed that several bulbs have started to pop through the soil. Hopefully when the weather warms I will have lots of flowers.


HAPPY WINTER SOLSTICE!!!   to all those in the southern hemisphere who may be reading this post.

This is the tag on the New Kleopatra hybrid tea rose that I won. It has orange on the underside of its petals and red on the upper.

This is the Munstead wood rose. It is a small growing shrub rose with massive blooms and a strong perfume.

The next 2 pictures are the roses as they are planted and I hope they enjoy their new home. The soil there is looking really fertile now that I've spend some time and money improving it. I am a little worried because the location is not full sun. Hopefully there is enough sun for them to thrive.

These shoot are from some daffodil  (narcissus) bulbs my daughter planted about 2 years ago. Its amazing to see how they have multiplied and seem to be thriving in poor soil. You can see from the clay and moss that drainage in this part of my garden must be quite poor but these dafs have soldiered on nonetheless.

These shoots are nerines. I bought them at the Melbourne flower and garden show from Hancocks bulbs. Not sure what will come of them this year. You can see in the background the dormant top of another of the nerines.  I think they are possibly shooting at the wrong time (not sure why that would happen though).

Although not much of a picture this is a tulip bulb. I am crossing my fingers that all the tulip bulbs I planted will flower. I managed to get about 40 bulbs for free from a friend after they finished last season. They looked a little dry so I thought they may not shoot again but I have at least 1 of  them emerging. If only half of them shoot I will be happy.

When I received the roses Silkies rose farm also included a retail catalog. For anybody who is interested the roses there are really cheap. I have wholesale plant supplier accounts and the price of the roses from Silkies are basically the same as the wholesale supplier prices. If you are interested their website is

Friday, June 14, 2013

Snow pea climbing frame construction and other cool season vegetables

Well the weather was cold and wet but I managed to get some cool season vegetables in the ground at home in Macedon. I was lucky to receive a package of seedlings grown by a friend so I had to quickly get them in the ground as there is nothing worse than letting some donated seedlings go to waste. In the package was some snow peas, broccolini, bok choy and more broadbeans. The broccolini and bok choy seedlings were very small and I have had some cold weather and strong winds so I'm hoping they will make it. I know from previous experience the broadbeans are really tough so I'm sure they will be fine. The snow peas are something I've always wanted to grow so I left nothing to chance and constructed a proper support frame for them. The frame is essentially just 3 hardwood garden stakes joined together with some jute string strung between the upright stakes. The spacing for the string is about 10cm between the horizontal runs. If it all works out it should be a heavy cropper as I know several people who have told me snow peas thrive in the cooler Macedon climate and will produce peas for quite a long time.

 Here they are as received. Snow peas, broadbeans, broccolini and bok choy. Thanks Anne Kennedy you are a legend.

My 3 stake climbing frame all tied up with jute string.

 Climb my pretties. Climb like the wind!

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Macedon garden winter update


All plant growth at my home garden in Macedon is starting to slow as winter is finally here. It has been a while since my last entry as I've had several colds lately and have been busy with other things including my horticulture study. On top of that we have had heaps of rain here lately and some of it has been really heavy to the point where I was worried about small seedlings getting damaged. To be honest I find it quite difficult to get outside and garden at home in the winter especially after a day of gardening at my work in Parkville. Nevertheless I suppose I have accomplished some things over the last month at home including cutting the lower branches off my dreaded Cypress tree in the front yard and also propagating some new plants. Almost all the garlic I planted some weeks ago has now sprouted and it looks like I will get over 130 bulbs at harvest time. I have discovered that there is a food swap service at the Woodend market near my home town where you can take produce and swap it for other food products. When my garlic is harvested I'm going to go there are swap some of it for other things as I'm sure I'll have lots more than I can eat. I am also still trying to nurse an Australian native frangipani tree through the cold Macedon winter. Lots of people have told me that you can't grow them in Macedon but I'm hoping that if I can get it through the frosts of winter by protecting it with polythene then It will be big enough to survive the next winter on its own.

I loved this winter Iris the moment I saw it in Parkville. I propagated several of them by division about a year ago and bought them home to Macedon last year and for the first time they are now flowering. I'm not sure exactly of the species but I think it is called Iris histrioides.

To be honest the pictures of my Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) were taken a few weeks ago and they are now bare but I couldn't resist showing it off in its autumn glory.

This is the view from my lounge room of the maple. I wish I had pictures of it when it had more leaves on it. These sort of trees really excel in Macedon compared to in Melbourne. The cooler weather here really makes them (and any other similar deciduous trees) colour up really nicely. 

My Nasturtiums which I propagated from seed are really booming in the cold of winter.By the time it is flowering season I'll have heaps on them on show.

The good old scarlet broadbean plant that sowed itself from last years fallen beans is still kicking along nicely. 

Below is my Kniphofia plant that I obtained from Parkville by dividing a clump. Its grown very large in the year since I planted it and is due to start sending up its flower spike any day now. I'm a bit concerned about those yellow spots and tips. Not sure exactly as to what they are.

 No it's not a garden bed full of weeds, it's my annual flower bed with small seedlings planted in it. I lost some of the seedlings due to the really heavy rain we had here not long ago.

Below is my treasured native frangipani (Hymenosporum flavum) in its protective plastic covering.

This is what it currently looks like. It is about 1 metre tall and is indigenous to Queensland and New South Wales in Australia. I really hope I can get it to grow into a mature tree. The first time somebody showed me this tree it was in full flower and I could smell its perfume from over 10 metres away. 

I've been a bit obsessed by succulents lately and below is one of many that I have propagated from cuttings. I don't know the genus or species.

 Two of the several Aeonium cuttings I did in April this year. They have all grown roots and are displaying healthy growth. The link on how to propagate them is below if you are interested.

 Another different type of Aeonium growing well from a cutting.

After publicly disliking Geraniums (or more accurately Pelargoniums) for many years I found one that I couldn't resist taking some cutting from and planting them in a large pot outside my daughters bedroom window. I let the cuttings dry for 3 days (probably not ideal) before planting them. I was worried they might not work but I'm fairly sure they have grown roots. Pelargoniums are famous for being one of the easiest plants to strike from a cutting.

Well this next picture to most people could well be the most boring picture of a plant in the world however when I first saw this I was really excited. That is because it is the first of my Clivia seeds to sprout above the level of the potting mix. It took just over 3 months for this to appear as Clivias are notoriously slow growing plants. A link to propagation instructions is below.

This little trooper is 1 of 2 Streptocarpus plants I propagated in March last year. I'm not a fan of these and had to prop them for my horticulture studies. I haven't done anything to care for them and they have somehow survived. I think I might actually show them some love and pot them on to a larger home.

Last of all is 1 of 2 garden beds loaded with garlic. It is all doing very well and it should be a bumper crop at the end of the year.