Friday, July 17, 2009

A Good Days Work

It was a gorgeous winter day today. Blue skies with the occasional fluffy white cloud; not a breath of wind and about 14 degrees. I couldn't have asked for better winter gardening weather. I got stuck into shovelling the rest of the organic compost (bought a few weeks ago) from the trailer into the wheelbarrow. Several trips later I had managed to cover the entire vegetable garden with a thick new blanket of lovely rich compost. The area that was done a few weeks ago already has the shoots of the garlic poking through. My daughter helped me plant the corms so I think there must be about 50 baby plants - I think she got a bit carried away!

Then it was time for a change of pace. After lunch I decided to start pruning the roses. 'Bonica' was still covered in blooms so it was hard to make myself cut them off. But cut them off I did. Then it was time to cut back Salvia leucantha with its few remaining blooms. A forest of new growth at its base suggested the time was right. Three pink flowering gauras were the next to receive this brutal treatment as was a Lepechinia hastata. A few weeds were pulled out along the way and fed to the grateful chooks. I also cut the dead stems off a couple of Sedum 'Autumn Joy'; I know some writers say to leave them over winter but the allure of their brown stalks has well and truly passed and I want to see their 'brussel sprout' shoots. I mused over Phormium 'Jester' for awhile but did nothing beyond remove a few dead leaves. Leo Schofield wrote in his book about lifting congested clumps of phormium cultivars in autumn and only replanting those with the best colour but I'm not sure I want to do this. My clump has recovered quite well from summer's rigours and has good colour. I think I'll just pull off the segments that are more green than the colourful stripes of red, pink and cream: and leave the rest of the clump as is. I really love all the colourful phormium cultivars but they have taken a hammering this last summer. They are a plant from the swamps and maybe Melburnians have finally realised they are not as drought tolerant as many growers like to think.

1 comment:

  1. Melanie, I think the newer cultivars of Phormium are often quite weak..they seem to require far more attention to keep em looking good than the older types..and they revert to some dodgy for drought effect..I think the new types tend to suffer from the effect of very high temps as we had last summer..not really a suffering from the root. Make sense?