Monday, July 11, 2011

Some plants for the garden

Well, I suppose I have to start somewhere. I planted an ornamental cherry tree last week and then had to tie it three ways to secure it against the gale force winds that have been hammering us for days now, off and on. Today I went and collected the Katherine Havermeyer lilac bush from the garden nursery that had ordered it in for me. And I have bought the following plants to make a small flower bed - just to put some prettiness into the garden.
Bergenia Bressingham Ruby 
Michelia - Mixed Up Miss
Penstemon - Blackbird
Penstemon - Firebird
Purple Honesty
Salvia - Mexicana Limelight (which grows to about 5 ft or so tall)
Winter flowering wallflowers
Obviously the above photos are the advertising photos. None of them are in flower yet, and won't until spring here at the earliest. The wallflowers are seeds - they are an experiment to see if they grow as it is already winter here and really they should have been planted in autumn. I've also got some nasturtium and forget-me-not seeds which I am going to scatter and see what happens.

So far we are having a gloriously mild winter. Yes, we have had wind and rain, but we have also had many days of beautiful sunshine and the temperature is very mild. I have high hopes for these seeds - but the winter may still kick in with severe frosts and put paid to those hopes. We will see.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Garden (dun dun DUN)

To be honest, referring to it as a garden is a misnomer. What we actually have is a section filled with overgrown jasmine and a lawn that has been thoroughly neglected and looks as though it belongs in a paddock. I regret not taking photos before we started pruning and removing trees that were hard up against the house. The "garden" looks pretty awful at present, but by comparison it looks much, much better. So, here is what we have to deal with:

The side of the house - the window above the grotty spa pool is the side window of the living area. The ranch slider at the end is to my bedroom. The spa pool has, thankfully, been taken away to reveal paving beneath.

A closer view outside the ranch slider window into my bedroom. What you see in the "garden" is a completely knotted twisted tangle of roots and leaf litter from the trees that had, unbelievably, been planted into this small space. 

One of the massive tree stumps which are impossible to remove. My plan was to make a beautiful flower garden in this nicely laid out piece of section. The reality is that the mass of roots make it impossible to weed or dig over properly. I have some thoughts on this area, but any suggestions gratefully received.

This very attractive tomcat is becoming a nuisance. He apparently lives two doors down but thinks he has part ownership in our home. Even three cats and a dog do not deter him, and there have been some nasty catfights as he will not back off.

Standing on the other side of the spa pool and looking down the "garden". Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. The swathe of dead brown is the weed-killed jasmine that has taken over. As you can see, an enormous amount of jasmine is still thriving, untouched by weedkiller. We have had several piles of wood just like the one on the lawn, from all the pruning.

We do have a little wooden deck of the living area. The table is the landlady's and has now been removed, so we have put more of our pots and ornaments on the deck now. I'm still working out where to put things though.

The little deck from the other side.

No photos of the front of the section yet as I've been concentrating my efforts on the bits where I live the most. But this picture through the kitchen window shows some of the jungle which is still to be tamed.

See that big tree planted directly outside the window? It is deciduous and the leaves have  blocked the guttering. That tree is on my hit list to be removed. And the very big trees in the front garden need to be thinned to allow more sun through because, at the moment, the lawn is patchy and damp because of low light. A strange phenomenon in a small  urban garden.

We still like it here though. I just hope that after investing a lot of time and effort into making it nice, that the landlady does not then decide to either sell it or move back into it. There is no security for renters. We have been promised a long term rental, but at the end of the day we can only pray that it is so.