Sunday, 11 February 2018

Hot and sticky Auckland

After all that rain on the weekend there was fog this morning. It's so hot and sticky today that I need to peel myself off wherever my skin touches anything. Coming home from work it's mission to get out of my uniform. Time for a cool shower, I've been eating sorbet as my lunch and afternoon snacks. I had a cucumber for tea.

It's too bad our community garden isn't growing any watermelons, because could sure bite into one now. (Note to self - find out about how and when to grow watermelons for next season). My capsicums however are going great guns. That's because I put two in pots straight into potting mix and placed them on the terrace. They are cosseted, unlike the unfortunate others that were placed in the bed with all the other plants, and the soil there, if there's any, hasn't yet been formed on top of the clay, cardboard and kikuyu. I'm also using walnut shells as mulch in my pots.

Yesterday evening I did a bout of gardening until it got too dark to see. I made a new bed near the tangelo  that was infested with creeping buttercup and does sprout earlicheer bulbs come spring but nothing else and also has a pear stump there. The low fence/raised edge I made out of privet logs and branches and mugwort stems. Then I filled it with helichrysum, basically stamping the whole plant there as a base mulch. Goodbye creeping buttercup see if you can grow through that thick mass.

There is only yacon and a plumbago transplant there now. I attempted some geranium cuttings but I think I need to dump a load of compost there, except my homemade compost isn't ready yet. I may need to buy another sack from the plant barn.

I am trying to pace my trips to the garden centres as only went there on Sunday and didn't mean to buy - two punnets of purple alyssum and one punnet of penstemon. But I needed some more edging for my camellia bed since my angelica I have transplanted to under the loquat as it will grow too big, and the empty corner bed needs some more floral interest, and penstemons have now found favour with me as they are just the right height to flower above the buxus. I did not know you could buy purple alyssum but there it was and I don't know why I didn't think alyssum before. Thyme seems to sulk in that bed and not grow as well as I would like so here's hoping the alyssum takes off. So much for my Prince Charles style thyme walk.

The Saturday I had removed my greenhouse to place in the container at Woodside as extra shelving and so now there's an empty corner in my alcove garden and have placed a few pots there. One contains astelia silver spear but, don't know if it will like the container I'm hoping it will survive instead of rotting in my clay soil.

Gardening author Diana Anthony calls clay soil 'heartbreak clay' and her writing about how she used crowbars and pickaxes to break it up and make planting holes suggest she was very determined or maybe just a bit crazy. She gardened up Northland near Whangarei at a former gorse infested property called Valley Homestead, wrote another book called 'Seven Summers at Valley Homestead'. She describes making an Elizabethan Garden and planting something purely English with hundreds of roses. Another she tried was an Asian meditation garden complete with lotuses and Japanese maples. Then surrounding it with natives, she opened it up to the public and hosted weddings. But it sounds like she tossed it all in to live in Melbourne where the climate is more seasonal and the soil more forgiving, because I tried to look up this Valley Homestead and it's no longer there.....