3S Landscape Design

December

Once again I must apologise for the long wait for a post. I have been travelling quite a bit. I missed my garden and the fabulous springtime bush of Western Australia but I did get to visit some beautiful gardens in southern Italy and the south of France as well as some lovely gardens in Victoria. In the couple of weeks I was home between Europe and Melbourne I worked frantically in my coastal Perth garden. I was very happy to see some poppies and sweet peas still flowering when I returned at the end of October and in fact there are still a few of each now at the beginning of December, so it has been quite a long season. Often if sweetpeas are not picked the flowering will stop as the first seeds form. This is apparently the case for most peas as the plant only aims to reproduce. The seed heads of the oriental poppies are spectacular in the garden and in a vase. Each year I gather the seeds of both the sweet peas and poppies for planting the next autumn.

  • Sweet peas Sweet peas
  • Sweet peas with salvia Sweet peas with salvia
  • Oriental poppies Oriental poppies
  • Oriental poppy seedheads Oriental poppy seedheads

A kind friend picked my broad beans for me while I was in Europe to prevent them from giving up production, and they are also still going, though they are in the last couple of weeks now. I wanted a big crop of tomatoes this year and planted a few seedlings as well as transplanting a few of the self-sown ones into this year’s solanaceae bed. When I came home I found a bumper crop, the plants sprawling everywhere, with none of the support or training I should have provided. It is too late now as trying to tie them up will lead to breakage and there seems to be no harm coming to the tomatoes on the ground, though I have now mulched under them with straw. Picking them means spotting the red amongst the foliage and then reaching in to forage. I am making lots of passata for the winter as well as enjoying fresh organic tomatoes every day. I will also have a bumper crop of grapes this year on the Hills hoist pergola that shades the vegetable garden in the summer, I just have to make sure the birds don’t beat me to it! The birds have had a fair share of the mulberries this year but there are plenty to go around and they have not found the blackberries/loganberries or strawberries yet.

  • Beautiful broad beans Beautiful broad beans
  • Daily harvest Daily harvest
  • Future bounty Future bounty

The eggplants are growing well and the capsicum are fruiting. I have not been buying vegetables but just trying to keep up with what’s in the garden! I was really happy to see self-sown basil, which after a bumper winter crop of self-sown parsley, is very welcome and makes me feel almost as if the garden is managing itself. There is always plenty of work to do though. This week I am harvesting my fennel and parsnips to roast and for slicing raw in a citrus salad, and replacing my kale and celery. I am also planting rocket, radicchio and lettuce seeds. The most urgent jobs to prepare the garden for the summer are mulching and fruit fly control.

My Spring Garden

Having been away all of October I came home to a fair bit of spring chaos, hence the late posting!  The garden was full of flowers and there were also a few more weeds than usual due to our wonderful September rains.

In the purple garden the beautiful “opium” type poppies were flowering (and still are, three weeks later).  I bought seed for these from the Banksia Farm in Mt Barker and they put on  a wonderful display.  The bees love them too! The  Cupani sweet peas were also flowering in the purple bed when I returned at the end of October and they are also still going.  They need to be picked often to keep them flowering.  The little Buddleia Dark Knight is a gorgeous colour and there is  a backdrop of the pink Cestrum which flowers year round and is beloved by the honey eaters.  I really want to remove it as it doesn’t belong in the purple bed but I think I will have to establish one in the pink bed first!

The pink garden was full of evening primrose flowers and pentstemons, offset by blue delphiniums, while the red garden was a mass (and mess) of red Flanders poppies.  As well as Gaillardia and Arctotis, the beautiful white rock rose was flowering in the yellow garden.

In the vegie patch the fennel and broad beans were ready for harvest and the first strawberries were starting to ripen.  As with all legumes broad beans need to be harvested continually so that they keep producing.  Thankfully we didn’t miss the asparagus season so I have been able to enjoy (and am still enjoying) this harvest.

  • Purple poppies Purple poppies
  • Purple garden with Buddleia, poppies, sweetpeas, Cestrum Purple garden with Buddleia, poppies, sweetpeas, Cestrum
  • Pink evening primrose Pink evening primrose
  • Primrose, pentstemons and salvia Primrose, pentstemons and salvia
  • Flanders poppies Flanders poppies
  • Rock rose Rock rose
  • Spring harvest Spring harvest

 

I have been working to get the garden into shape for the hot weather, which seems to have come sooner than usual: feeding with compost and Troforte slow release fertiliser, deep watering and mulching.  In some places I have needed to use Sand to Soil to improve the wetting ability of the soil.  I am collecting mulberries and strawberries every day  and blackberries and youngberries every second day.  There are so many Chinese gooseberries I am considering preserving some.  I have almost finished planting the first round of root vegetables, lettuce, okra, corn, zucchini, melons, tomatoes etc  for summer crops.  Always a busy time in the garden!

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