Sunday, September 21, 2014

Going native in the Perth Spring

Made the most of the rain today and got some native plants into the front garden.

Via BOM (radar)
 Hoping they'll survive okay over the Summer - it does get pretty harsh!

View on Flickr
 Here's a record of our plantings today, so we can see how they develop (or, if we lose any!)...

1. Grevilleas
'Little Drummer Boy' (grevillea langiera dwarf), 'Mini Marvel' (grevillea thelemanniana):
These are shrubby groundcovers that suit rockeries and underplanting, with showy sprays of flowers that you can expect from Grevilleas. Good also in coastal conditions. The Thelemanniana is endemic to West Aust.

'Robyn Gordon' (grevillea banksii x bipinnatifida) is a showy Grevillea endemic to West Aust with red/pink flowers in the classic Grevillea style of tumbling sprays of flowers. It should flower almost continuously too, and is bird-attracting. We've used it as a bit of a screen for our bins, but it sits under a large Callistemon tree - so, here's hoping it will settle in okay.

2. 'White Wave' (Leptospernum)
This is a small teatree shrub with gorgeous white 'foaming' flowers along the stems. Also bird-attracting and is good around rockeries and for small gardens as it grows to about 50cm high and 1 metre wide. There are so many beautiful teatree varieties too, from white through to deep pinks and mauves and everything inbetween.

3. 'Sea of Purple' Hardenbergia (violacea)
This is one of my favourite spreading native plants, as I grew up with it around the stunning karri bush of my hometown, Pemberton, hanging from the trees and sprawling along the understory, showing of its pea-like purple flowers! We've planted four of these in the hope we'll get a lovely visual feast of purple, plus some cover to minimise the dreadful onion weed and other weeds that spring up.

4. Groundcovers
'Purple fanfare' (scaevola aemula) has a lovely semi-circle, fan-shaped purple flower on creeping stems, with slightly serrated glossy green leaves. It's of the Goodenia family and also found in white.

'Creeping Boobialla' (myoporum parvifolium) is a creeping groundcover that can quickly develop a matting habit (actually been found as a weed in parts of the USA). Ours has pastel pink flowers and tight dense leaves along the length of the stems. Fast growing, so again hoping to keep down the weeds, as it develops. May need to prune of it becomes to invasive for other plants.

There's also a small Dianella (flax lilly) in front of the rock to the left of the path - it has gorgeous little purple-blue flowers on stems that extend above the leaves. It's a lovely native that seems to do well wherever you plant it (here's hoping!).

We'll see how it's all looking this time next year!

Happy gardening!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekend activities - upcycling!

Here's what we got up to this weekend in the sunshine. Perth's winter is definitely over (in fact I'd ask if it came at all!).

Hope your weekend has been just as enjoyable!

Happy gardening!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Enjoying fruits of our winter labour

OK, last post about our wonderful broccoli, I promise! Had to post this... Simon made a gorgeous dinner tonight with our freshly picked broccoli and kale. Delicious!

Here's the recipe...

Kale and Broccoli Gnocchi

Nob of butter
Splash olive oil
3 cloves garlic sliced (could also use pre-roasted cloves for enriched flavour)
Broccoli flowerettes
Kale, chopped
Basil pesto (homemade if available)
Gnocchi (homemade if available)

Boil salted water for gnocchi. Once boiling, add gnocchi and wait until gnocchi has floated to top of water, then drain and set aside. Keep warm in low oven if needed.

Melt butter and oil in heavy based pan over medium heat. Fry garlic slices until golden, fragrant and soft. Add broccoli and kale and mix through for a few minutes. Turn off heat and cover for a few minutes to steam through.

Add cooked gnocchi to pan and stir through. Add tablespoon of pesto (or more if you prefer).

Season lightly with salt and pepper and serve in warmed bowls immediately!

It's the simple things really... sigh! :o)

Happy gardening!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Worms go on the move

On Monday this week, I went to Clancy's school to help the kids set up a worm farm, as part of their gardening set up. They currently have a large raised garden bed (shown below planted out in February this year), a small rainwater tank (set up by the ever-resourceful Daddy, Simon), and now have a lovely worm farm to complete the cycle!

I grabbed a few set up tips from the Town of Cambridge worm farm fact sheet and draw up a worm-inspired sign, so the kids can be sure they are keeping a good eye on their worms.
So, these are basic facts for keeping your worms happy and healthy:
  1. Worms love sweet, not sour (i.e. not citrus, onions, garlic, etc).
  2. Worms love dark not light (keep in shaded position with lid on and carpet or cardboard as a cover).
  3. Worms love moist not dry (test by squeezing a handful of castings to test for moisture - that's fun!).
  4. Use "worm wee" 1:10 (or 1L to 10L water) for your plants - they'll LOVE you for it!
  5. Feed small amounts frequently to avoid a smelly worm farm (it should smell like a damp forest or fresh earth).
I used coco for the "bed" layer on the first level, then we gave the worms some edible items on the second "kitchen/dining" layer, using some old leaves, soggy cardboard and some green weedy scraps. We covered the layer with wet newspaper and then let them settle in for the week before giving them further food, which the kids will now do on Mondays and Fridays.

The kids loved holding the worms and feeling them wriggling in their hands - they were so keen! They thought the idea of "worm wee" was pretty funny too! Love the happy curiosity of kids!

Happy gardening!

Broccoli success

Well, it seems we can grow broccoli in Perth! At least in the winter months. I last tried around spring last year and the white cabbage moth was everywhere. I had experimented using moth shaped white plastic decoys, but I'm not convinced they worked.

We planted some dwarf broccoli in a small bed which gets a lot of sun throughout the day and we've had success! The magpies and crows thought they were pretty nice too - so we draped a bit of bird netting over the broccoli to protect the small heads.

We didn't get too many slugs or snails either - in general, all quiet on the bug front!

I'll be monitoring the change in seasons more closely in future, to really capitalise on the relatively mild winter and the absence of the cabbage moth more so!

Happy gardening!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Capers: stems, seeds and soil!

Found this great post on Michelle Hamer's blog, From Seed to Table, on growing and propagating capers - great to have some firsthand experience of growing these amazing plants. I've been looking for some good info on propagating capers and this is the best so far.

We had our first caper berry a couple of months ago - a lovely plump specimen! The bush itself is probably some 12 months old and doing okay so far, in a pot. I'd like to try and propagate some more plants from seed, so when it comes to our new landscaping, we can plant out some caper bushes as part of a rockery.

I'd love to know of anyone (especially Perth locals) who has given capers a go, maybe as a rockery plant, with some success!

If you're new to capers like I am, you might find this site useful too.

Happy gardening!