Category Archives: garden stuff

New garden trend

I am sure this is going to take off all over the place. My garden is displaying this latest look in landscaping. A blanketing of oxalis!

A mystery: During summer a number of holes were dug in the garden overnight. I filled them in, but they were redug in the same places, usually near plant roots. The neighbours got a new dog and the mystery digging stopped.

But now the mystery animal is back. Each hole is the same shape, long and narrow. The one in the main picture is about 6 cm deep. Not at all like digging done by cats, dogs and no droppings in sight so I don’t think it would be a rabbit. I really hope rats are not habitual diggers. Would much rather it was an echidna or a bandicoot. Short of installing  very expensive infrared monitoring cameras I have no idea how to identify what is doing the digging.

The good news is that the animal only digs in open ground, so most of the garden is safe as it is covered in oxalis.

Autumn Gardening

The big achievement of the last month is cleaning out all the gutters. Quite a big task as leaves blow on to the roof all the time and in summer the tiny gum nuts rain down from the lemon scented gum. Usually I just make sure the house roof is clear as any blockage will cause a back flow of rain into the ceiling. Curse those concealed gutters!

This time it was impossible to ignore the great accumulation of mulch on the carport roof. IMG_5650

It took two afternoons of going up and down the ladder and scooping out handfuls of leaves and humus before the job was done. Both gutters were clear and a quick hosing flushed out any leaves in the pipe going to the tank.IMG_5652

The end result got the tick of approval from the gutter inspector. Although she thought the lights could do with a bit of a clean too.

A bonus tree for the garden, I think it might be a jacaranda as the one nearby had a few seed pods a year ago.IMG_5715


Ever wondered what happened to the helium balloon after you accidentally let go of it? This morning I discovered Florrie resting on a small shrub next to the steps as I came in from fetching the morning paper.IMG_5477

It had been quite windy yesterday, so she could have spent time between the weekend and now stuck in the branches of the tree just above where she now rests.

After a little research I think by they way she has torn that it was the thinning atmosphere as she rose higher and higher that caused her demise.


Balloon burst at approx 91,470 ft over San Francisco

Reminds me of the whole school balloon launches that were popular about 30 years ago. Sent off with optimism that the attached postcards would be returned after the seeds secured to them were planted. Some did come back, mainly from farmers in Gippsland happy to oblige the kids. Then there was the card that came all the way from Europe via the travelling friend of one of the teachers.

Since then we have learned of the harm all that stray latex and string brings to the environment, particularly sea creatures, so no more balloon launches.

Florrie tried a new life as a kitten toy, with limited success.


Friday Update

Thinking like Vireya that Florrie came from a significant birthday celebration, I did some searching. Instead of a centenarian I discovered that Florrie is the name of a new venture located in High St, Armadale about 50 min away by road. The business sells a fancy doll and also hosts birthday parties. They sent me a lovely reply to my email.

I am very sorry to report that one of your balloons has flown all the way to Warranwood. It did not survive the trip.


Hi Jeanette,
That balloon sounds like it certainly went on an adventure! I am sure some little girl was very upset when it slipped from her grasp and began it’s journey.
Best wishes

Melody Sole
Head of Marketing and Online

Numerate Nelumbo

The lotus plant that grows in a water bowl is beginning to die down, it will be back again next summer. In a bit of a tidy up I cut off the seedpods and look at how they have grown. None are missing, this in the entire harvest.IMG_5401

Before you say anything, the one with five seeds did not have a sixth one, that flower did not form completely.

A hot day in Cranbourne

img_5275The sign says it all. Once again Leesa Chandler has brought together quilts and fabric to celebrate Australian flora at the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne.

This year a bag challenge was added to the mix. Participants used the same pattern shape and make a bag of any size with an Australian theme.  The lively Blue Wren was by Sue de Vanny and Lauren of Ballarat had some fun with her Playschool’s Humpty visits Uluru. The one I would happily take home Coober Pedy Opals made by Chris of Eltham.


Sue de Vanny is the featured textile artist, her appliqué technique really brings the subject to life. You may remember the remarkable quilt Tram Route No 10 which won viewer’s choice at  AQC in 2014.

Beginning True received an Honourable Mention at the same exhibition in 2015.

Here are some of other quilts that caught my eye in the downstair display, but were difficult to photograph because of the sun streaming in the windows.

The exhibition is open every day until March 5.

Even though the day was extremely hot I went out into the gardens looking for some planting ideas. The red sand garden seems to go on forever and the tractor just added to that vast vista.img_5306

The Swamp Lily Crinum pedunculaqum had a subtle perfume and is now on my planting list. I didn’t venture away from the main path after passing this sign, so the lily is the only new idea from today’s visit.


Although I really like weeping trees, these two Acacia cultriformis ‘Cascade’ are a bit extreme.
After seeing the prop on the venerable Grass Tree Xanthorrhoea johnsonii, I don’t feel so bad about the post holding up a branch of my weeping acacia. The foliage associated with the supported branch is at the top left. Before the branch was hefted up by two of the burly tree loppers allowing me to put the post underneath, the leaves were scraping the ground and the path below was blocked.

img_5318On the way out I spotted a wallaby enjoying the deep shade, it is usually Southern Brown bandicoots that can bee seen under the casuarina beside the path to the carpark, but not this day.

Finally, in the middle of nowhere, also known as Bullarto Rd West, some naked ladies. I always got these confused with Nerines, but thanks to Weednstitch I can correctly identify the Amaryllis belladonna growing beside the road.img_5321

Living with trees

It is common practice that when tree loppers are working at one property they will visit others nearby to see if they can get more work. This afternoon while I was doing a little weeding, Pauline from a team working at the other end of the street came up the drive to say that they would be taking down the tree next door and to find out if I had any trees needing some attention, which I did, more on that later.

I was not surprised that the big lemon scented gum was to go, it is a lovely tree but very close to the house.  It was planted when the Merchant Builders house was new, about 35 years ago and there had been some damage when it dropped a limb not long ago. Sadly I watched as first the lower branches went, then the top, and finally the trunk, until it was just a stump. A grinder took that away too.

I have a bay tree that flourishes despite the rocky ground and lack of special nurturing. I cut all the stems back hard to keep it in check, but have neglected to do this for too many years and the branches had grown way past roof height. It proved to be a small job for a skilled chainsaw operator. Hopefully it won’t be too long before all these stubs are sprouting. As they are all cut at the same height it should be an interestingly shaped tree once more. An added bonus is a possum pathway from roof to ground is now gone.


Second task was to take three small branches off a eucalyptus as these were also overhanging the roof. The ivy clad tree behind is on the next property, hopefully this will be cleaned up soon.


On to the most difficult job, to take the dying top of a tree without damaging the weeping wattle Acacia vestita below or the lilly pilly behind.

Every branch section was carefully lowered on a rope, then the trunk sections dropped carefully to the base.


No damage done to the nearby plants even though one is very close. This tree has lost its top before and regrown successfully, so maybe it will again. If not it could become a support for something interesting.


The useful ropes are kept neat by looping them into a chain.

A name for a rose

Roses did exceptionally well in Melbourne this season, and my garden was no exception. I only have a few, and leave them to do their own thing apart from a bit of deadheading. img_3895With the plants doing their best to show off, I did take note of one standard that bloomed beautifully. It also had a stunning perfume, but as the label had become separated from the plant I had to appreciate it for what it was.

“Wot’s in a name?” she sez . . . An’ then she sighs,
An clasps ‘er little ‘ands, an’ rolls ‘er eyes.
“A rose ,” she sez, “be any other name
Would smell the same.
Oh, w’erefore art you Romeo, young sir?
Chuck yer ole pot, an’ change yer moniker!”

“Wot’s in a name?” she sez.  ‘Struth, I dunno.
Billo is jist as good as Romeo.
She may be Juli-er or Juli-et–
‘E loves ‘er yet.
If she’s the tart ‘e wants, then she’s ‘is queen,
Names never count . . .  But ar, I like “Doreen!”

“The Play”  The Songs of the Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis first published in book form Sydney 1915

I couldn’t remember anything relevant about the rose’s purchase or planting and plants had been moved around a bit when a new deck was built. Did I replace one that hadn’t survived? This flower is a real stunner, long stemmed, long lasting as a cut flower and that beautiful spicy fragrance. Despite asking friends who know about roses, wandering around nurseries and searching online, no luck.

Then today, as I was doing some tidying around the daisies that are further down the slope from the roses, I found the label. Fortunately plasticised, and folded in two so although the outside was faded, inside – with a bit of a clean – was quite legible.


photographed on 7 December 2016

The mystery rose is Best Friend, a hybrid tea rose first registered as ‘Caprice de Meilland’ but when released in Australia in 2002 named by the RSPCA to honour the unconditional special friendship that comes from loving a pet. So perhaps a name does make it more special.

For those of you not familiar with The Sentimental Bloke – it is a classic of Australian literature, and much loved by the Diggers in WWI. My 1919 edition is the eighteenth, the pocket edition, first published in September 1916.

“The Play” is about Bill and his sweetheart (tart) Doreen visiting a production of Romeo and Juliet. Bill identifies with the lovesick Romeo who also loves a bit of a fight.

Wot’s in a name? Wot’s in a string o’ words?
They scraps in ole Verona wiv the’r swords,
An’ never give a bloke a stray dog’s chance,
An’ that’s Romance
But when they deals it out wive bricks an’ boots
In Little Lons., they’re low, degraded broots.

And every reader remembers the final line.

Then Juli-et wakes up an’ sees ‘im there,
Turns on the water-works an’ tears ‘er ‘air.
“Dear love,” she see, “I cannot live alone!”
An’ wiv a moan,
She grabs ‘is pocket knife, an’ ends ‘er cares . . .
Peanuts or lollies!” sez a boy upstairs.