As well as the usual business of the Christmas season I have had ten days of January in Canberra with family and friends. This latest period of neglect for my garden comes at the time when there is a lot happening, especially in the food garden. Luckily I have drip irrigation on timers, with a few sprays for seedlings and precious pots which helps everything survive the heat.
In our garden, two blocks from the beach, we are harvesting tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beetroot, lettuce, figs, strawberries, Chinese gooseberries and okra as well as lots of summer herbs and the last of the climbing berries and blueberries. Plantings include more tomatoes, corn, rockmelons, and annual flowers such as cosmos, zinnias and eastern states everlastings. Okra is a wonderful plant with a beautiful flower as well as delicious fruit. The seed pods must be picked a few days after the flower finishes otherwise they become tough and fibrous.
Many plants in the perennial gardens are flowering too, including asters and society garlic, the Californian poppy (Romneya coulteri) and tansy.
- Asters and garlic
- Unknown flower
No flowers are more beautiful though than the waterlilies, which had a slow start due to the amount of algae in the pond. I didn’t want to clear the pond because we have hundreds of tadpoles resulting from a very long and successful mating season for the resident motorbike frogs. They started in September and are still calling at night and laying more eggs in our three ponds. Many of the new little frogs have already left the ponds and give me a surprise every time I lift a pot! The algae is valuable food for the tadpoles.
- Lilies with frog
- Yellow lilies
One of the flowers bringing the most pleasure is a little Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus). I saw this plant in the UK used in the old stately homes we visited. I have nurtured it in a pot in the shade and it has been flowering since November. Now I feel confident, I can buy some more with different colours!