Tomorrow may be first official day of spring, but out in the garden, spring is definitely already here. I thought I'd share with you what's happening here in the garden right now.
Daffodils: In my opinion the more tiny or frilly a daffodil is, the cuter they are. And they look even better when they're in a bucket.
Crocus: A number of crocuses are flowering in the garden, but I don't know what varieties they are, they were planted by a previous owner,
'Roses: My hybrid tea and floribunda roses have burst their buds, but as yet my new damask roses and climbing roses are still slumbering.
Blackcurrant: My huge blackcurrant bush has bust its buds as well, and it won't be long before it starts flowering. Its fruit is usually ready to harvest the week between Christmas and New Year.
Apricot: My two year old dwarf apricot tree has burst it's buds, and has started flowering. We will have more frosts between now and October, so I don't know if we'll get any fruit. I'll try and remember to put frost cloth on it in the meantime.
Rhubarb: My rhubarb plants have started to grow, I really do need to finish their garden bed. Hubby started "fixing" it last autumn, and it still isn't finished...
Quince: My quince tree has also bust its buds. It's still too small to carry any wonderful fruit, but I'll still be happy to see it flowering this spring.
Elderberry: Our self-seeded elderberry plant that grew all on its own in our garden has burst its buds as well. Elderberry shrubs grow wild all around Dunedin and Mosgiel, it's technically a weed, but I love popping out in the garden to collect elderflowers in late spring, and then elderberries in autumn. I love getting free food.
Plum: The plum street growing out on the street outside our home is now flowering, and its petals are like pink snow blowing all around. I love spring blossom.
Do you have signs of spring in your garden yet? I'm loving the longer, sunnier days...and I can't wait for summer to get here.
Have a wonderful day
It's now early June, but I'm still in the middle of bulb planting season thanks to being so ill earlier this autumn. But I'm trying to catch up now, and I'm taking a targeted approach to this task.
I'm weeding an area I need to put in bulbs in, and then planting the
bulbs. It's leading to the garden looking very patchy, with wild
unweeded areas, surrounded by neat and tidy weeded sections with
pretty, clearly labelled markers. I like to label all my bulbs when I
first put them in so over winter I can avoid them while doing any major
work in the garden. I'm
hoping once all my bulbs are planted I can then go back and weed the
areas that aren't quite so urgent.
My first job with bulb planting was to get my saffron bulbs in the ground. When I got the email from Bulbs Direct to say they were in stock, I was very excited, as I wanted some for years, but have always missed out. They arrived promptly, and I planted them the same day they arrived on my doorstep, I weeded an area of the herb garden and planted all 5 bulbs. My reason for sowing them in the herb garden, is that I already have other crocus in other areas of the garden, and didn't want to get them mixed up with the other bulbs.
And I have exciting news already, three saffron bulbs have already popped out of the ground. It's only been two weeks since I planted them, so I'm happy to see their needle like leaves.
Garlic bulbs were next to go in the ground. Even though most it's common to plant garlic bulbs on the Winter Solstice in New Zealand, I always like to get them in the ground in May. Down here in Dunedin, by the time we get to the Winter Solstice, the ground is very cold and wet, and it's hard to dig the holes to plant the garlic. So I like to get it done in mid-May while the ground is still warmish, and it gives the bulbs a chance to grow their roots while the temperatures are not freezing.
This year the only variety of garlic I could get hold of was New Zealand Printanor. It grows well for us, and we haven't had any garlic rust as yet. We don't tend to get garlic rust down here in Dunedin, as weather conditions in spring tend to be cool with low humidity.
After I gridded the garden bed and making holes with my handy bulb planter, it didn't take long to pop in all the garlic cloves.
This year I planted 60 cloves, and gave the rest of my garlic bulbs in the packet to my father to plant at his house. My plan is to store enough for us to use for the year, and the rest will be set aside for both ensuring seed garlic bulbs for the year after, sharing with family, and then any left over can be swapped in our local produce group for fruit and veges that I don't grow.
There's something about sowing bulbs in autumn and winter, it makes me hopeful that the cold weather will be over eventually, and that we'll have homegrown food in the spring and summer months.
Have a wonderful day
I can't resist a good plant catalogue, well any plant catalogue really. If one shows up in my mailbox with the plants all decked out in bright and colourful flowers, how can I resist buying bulbs in autumn for the coming spring?
Well I can't of course, and especially when they're tempting me with miniature plants. As you will see in spring, for some time I have been adding to my crocus and Tete a Tete daffodil collections. The tinier the plants the better, in my opinion.
Well this time the Garden Post plant catalogue offered me miniature irises. Teeny tiny irises that would be only 15 cm tall at most, and would be one of the first bulbs to flower in spring. Before I knew what I was doing, four different varieties were in my online shopping cart, and it wasn't too long before 28 bulbs arrived by courier. I ordered miniature irises in shades of blue and purple (Alida, Blue Note, J.S. Dijt, and Painted Lady).
The next weekend I weeded an area of the back garden, near a very small plastic pond with a waterfall that is solar powered. I pulled out my trusty bulb planter I bought a couple of years ago, and got to work.
I use my bulb planter for not only flower bulbs, but garlic bulbs also. The planter has a handy measurer on the side, so you know how deep to dig the soil depending on what bulb type you are planting. When you pull the plug of soil out of the ground with the planter, you just pop your bulb of choice into the hole, and then by squeezing the handle, it will release the soil back into the ground. If you are planting large amounts of bulbs, the planter will not only save you time, but also wear and tear on your joints too.
It wasn't long until all my new precious bulbs were in the ground. And now I wait, through all of autumn, and then winter, and hopefully fingers crossed, as we move into spring, my new miniature irises will appear. I can't wait to photograph them in all their glory.
Autumn has been such a busy time of year with many harvests and processing of produce happening at the moment. But not only that, I've recently had sinus surgery, followed, by a small complication, and now a sinus infection. I'm hoping to continue recovering from both the surgery, and the infection very soon, so I can get back out into the garden. The weeds are taking over, even though the weather is cooling considerably.
Have a wonderful day.Julie-Ann
Today I thought I'd share with you all the anemone and collarette dahlias dotted around my garden. Now that we're in autumn it's only a matter of time before the first frost of the season hits them, and the flowers and plants die down for the winter season.
first introduction to dahlias was by my Aunt, who was a big dahlia
collector when I was growing up. I remember many happy weekend
afternoons following both, her and my grandfather around their back
garden as they worked, and admiring my aunt's many dahlias. I thought
they were big and beautiful, and wished for some of my own one day.
started collecting dahlias myself when we were living in Wellington. I
came upon a bedraggled dahlia tuber sitting in a bag at a garden store,
and took it home in order to rescue it, and gave it a new home. That
dahlia was Dahlia Lucky Number.
Lucky Number is a big dahlia, measuring over 1.5 m tall and is a
prolific flowerer, with hot pink flowers the size of a dinner plate.
Because it is a collarette dahlia, with the heart of the flower exposed,
it is very popular with both bees and butterflies. In truth, it is one
of my favorite dahlias.
wasn't long before I picked up another dahlia, this time the Keith
Hammett bred (he's a New Zealand breeder) Dahlia Mystic Sparkler. Mystic
Sparkler is another collarette dahlia, and has beautiful dark foliage
which shows off the hot pink and yellow flowers. This dahlia is also
attractive to birds and bees as well. This dahlia is compact, and grows
well in pots and planters.
When we moved back to Dunedin in October 2019, my dahlias had already arrived ahead of me. The winter of 2019, I had dug up all my dahlias, trimmed them, and couriered them down to my sister in Dunedin, where she put them into her garden for the upcoming summer season. Once we had found a home down there, and after the summer season (and the first Covid 19 lock down), we dug all my dahlia tubers up, and I took them home to plant in the ground.
meanwhile, in October 2019 after we had moved into our home, I couldn't
resist picking up another Keith Hammett dahlia from the garden store,
and planting it in my front garden. Dahlia Mystic Enchantment is a
dahlia related to Mystic Sparkler. Mystic Enchantment has the same
characteristics of Dahlia Mystic Sparkler, except it has florescent
orange flowers, and is an anemone dahlia. Bees are also attracted to its
flowers, and the plant is a very prolific flowerer.
More recently I've picked up another Keith Hammett Dahlia, this time the collarette dahlia, Protegee. It has the same dark foliage as Mystic Sparkler and Mystic Enchantment, but it's flowers are bright pink in the middle, surrounded by a lighter pink.
And another Keith Hammett Collarette dahlia I've also acquired recently is Dahlia Home Run. It has pretty, bright pink flowers, and adds nicely to my ever growing collection of Keith Hammett dahlias.
And as if I couldn't get enough of Keith Hammett's dahlias, he has a website where you can buy seed packets containing dahlias seeds from his breeding experiments. Each seed will give rise to a dahlia that has never been seen before. You will never know what you will get. I've bought seeds from his Beeline, Beeline II, and Sunflower collections, and sprinkled them around my garden. The photos below show the variation I've gotten so far from my seed sowing.
I have many more Keith Hammett dahlia seeds stored away, so who knows what colours I will get in the years to come as I sow more seed. But these aren't my only dahlias, I also have a number of stunning dinner plate and decorative dahlias also, and I will show you those as well in the coming weeks.
you are new to dahlias, and are unsure how to look after some of you
own, I really recommend the book, Discovering Dahlias, by Erin
Benzakein. It contains detailed information on looking after dahlias,
and has many great photographic examples on how to do things like
dividing dahlias etc.
is certainly settling in down here in the deep south, the nights are
getting longer and cooler, and trees are starting to change colour. As I
am having sinus surgery late next week, the next week in the garden
will be very busy for me, getting jobs done before I will be recovering
for the next three weeks after that. I have spring bulb orders arriving
soon, and I would like to get them in the ground as soon as possible,
otherwise hubby will have to do them for me, which should be fun...
Have a wonderful day,