Saturday, June 9, 2007


Vinnie the corporate climber, strangled everyone

A few weeks ago I re-hung the wire that supports a climber out on the patio. Each week since then I've spent some time with some nylon cord tying up new shoots. My long term goal is to have a lush climber roof. I expect it will take about five years to get where I'm going.

One thing I've noticed is that left to themselves many of the new shoots will start climbing back up themselves. This isn't such a good idea because as the branch thickens it must eventually strangle itself. The shoot grows without thought of the future. The plant itself cares nothing for the individual shoot. Some shoots will survive and that is all the plant cares about. There must be growth regardless of the price. The shoot expends it's energy expanding. The plant expends it's energy creating new shoots. But we the gardener have a long time plan. So we expend our energy manipulating the shoots towards our long term goal. What we do helps the shoot because we increase the individual shhots chances of survival. We help the plant because we provide more opportunities for new growth.

The plant reminds me of a business. It needs to grow so it expends it's energy creating new shoots (this could mean a bigger store, a new store, a new product line). The business doesn't care about the long term impact of it's growth it only cares about growth. So who is the gardener? As individuals we can't do much to effect the business. We can form groups to effect change and sometimes these groups can make a difference. But for groups to make a difference they need to focus on individual shoots (i.e processing oil in a specific way causes pollution). This focus can make it difficult to keep an eye on the long term goal. Inevitably the real gardener is the government.

The current Australian government believes in letting the market find it's own way and has worked hard to give the market more freedom. This has lead to much growth and now we are in an election year they point to this growth as proof of their competance. But we all know what eventually happens when the gardener hands over responsibility to the garden.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Climber Gets Wired


Over the weekend I finally had a chance to fix two mistakes I made over five years ago. The mistakes relate to a climber that grows in the BBQ area. This climber is quite spectacular when it flowers and if properly supported it could be even better. When we moved into the house the climber was barely at the top of the post that supports the pergola. To help support it I tied four pieces of wire half the length of the pergola (about 8 metres). Over the coming years I trained the climber along the wire by wrapping it around the wire. So did you spot my errors. The first was that I used a fine wire that was unable to support the current weight of the climber. The second was training the climber around the wire. A strategy that has been slowly strangling the climber the further along the wire it went.

Climber re-wired 20/05/2007

To overcome the first problem I replaced what remains of the original wire with a thicker wire (3mm diameter) commonly used to support shade cloth. To overcome the second problem I am using a soft nylon tie that will expand as the climber grows and thickens.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bloom Day May, 2007


13/05/2007 Acacia


13/05/2007 Pelargonium


13/05/2007 Pelargonium

Hebe Abbey Rose

13/05/2007 Hebe Abbey Rose

Hebe Snowdrift

13/05/2007 Hebe Snowdrift

Hebe (Plectranthus?)

13/05/2007 Hebe

Correa Decumbens

13/05/2007 Correa Decumbens

Correa Dusky Bell

13/05/2007 Correa Dusky Bell

Correa Glabra x Decumbens

13/05/2007 Correa Glabra x Decumbens

Also flowering (but I couldn't get a decent photo):

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Potted Bamboo

13/05/2007 Bamboo

A little while ago I posted about a deceased climber from outside our bedroom. It's absence has been sorely missed if only for the extra privacy it provided. We have been wondering about how best to approach this space. At the same time we've been wondering what to do with a largish bowl that we'd used as a fish pond. Water restrictions and no rain have seen the water evaporate and the fish die from our pond. We loved our little fish pond. But it seems a little unrealistic during a drought. So we have decided to solve two problems by using the ex-fish pond for a bamboo plant. Bamboo is notriously invasive. We are hoping the bowl will keep it in check while giving it space to grow.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Some new additions

We've had a few showers over the last fortnight and there is still some moisture in the soil. Taking into the reckoning that our last round of plantings are now well established we decided to go plant shopping.
  • For the back fence we bought two Acacia iteaphylla (Flinders Range Wattle)
  • For the same bed a Pittosporum Sunburst to go with an existing Pittosporum. This new one has a variegated leaf with gold veins blending to green at the edge of the leaf.
  • There is a small strip against the houses back wall of the house that has always been a problem. We're trying Correa Mallee Pink here. The flowers are unusually open for Correas and are a lovely pale pink colour. It was a love at first sight sort of purchase. The kind were you've decided to buy and then need to justify it by finding a suitable position. This is our seventh different Correa and each time we shop we find some more variations so I expect it won't be the last.
  • Finally I wanted to get some ground covers for the lawn bed at the front. We'd planted two prostrate grevilleas in the drive bed. These are doing really well and I was keen to get some more. Wasn't able to find the same but picked up Grevillea Crithmifolia. It's more compact that the Grevillea Curviloba. So I'll need to have more to cover the area I need it to cover.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Not Playing Possum Anymore

07_02_27 Possum25/03/07 Keeping out possums

We have a regular nocturnal visitor to our garden. But there have been three occasions recently when our visitor (a possum) decided that it was worth taking a look inside. It's a bit disturbing waking up at 3am to noises in the next room. It's also no fun trying to hustle a nervous possum out the front door in your PJ's. We're assuming the possums coming down the chimney so today I took some action and covered the chimney top with chicken wire. Simple, a bit rough and ready but hopefully we won't get anymore late night visits.

25/03/07 Keeping out possums (w Garden)

Some Rain at last

25/03/07 Rain fills bird bath

The last 36 hours we've seen some real rain. It's amazing how quickly the remaining lawn turns green after a shower. The biggest sign for me is that the bird baths now have water in them after months of being dry. I hope this is the start of the end with regards the drought. I have lots of things I'd love to be doing with the garden when the water restrictions ease.