9/52: a respite of rain

Unlike the northern hemisphere, we are still experiencing summer, and yesterday, after days of averaging over 30 degrees Celsius, the rains came.

The garden welcomed the water from heaven. Later the sun broke through, and although the lilies had taken a bit of a battering, most other flowers and plants were looking good after the moisturisation. Humidity was higher than usual, or at least it seemed that way. Sometimes I think Melbourne experiences a mild tropical flavour. Let’s face it, the seasons are changing. Whether it’s due to global warming I am unsure, but one thing is certain: we do have variety.

lilies took a beating

foliage after the rain foliage after the rain (2) foliage after the rain (3) foliage after the rain (4) foliage after the rain (5) fuchsia looks healthier lovely roses after the rain (2) lovely roses after the rain (3) lovely roses after the rain (4)

lovely roses after the rain

8/52: light at the end of the pumpkin tunnel

A rogue pumpkin vine had sprung up in our garden, and I was delighted when a whole bunch of flowers blossomed. Ah-ha, that’s potentially a lot of pumpkins, I thought. However, after some research (what would I do without google?!), I discovered that all these flowers had little penises. Yes, they were male and I know you have to have a girl flower as well if you want any chance of a pumpkin. Going with the theory that many male flowers grow before it is time for the female to arrive, to encourage bees to make many return visits and get used to that address so that when she does come, there will be no shortage of pollinators willing to help.

more boys

   too many male pumpkin flowers

Waiting, waiting, waiting, to the point whereby I had nearly given up and then, voila! A little ball appeared, a miniature pumpkin! I carefully opened up the flower to discover the difference between the male and the female variety.

a female at last

inside of a female pumkin flower

Had this already been fertilised by one of the many males? The fact that there was a minute pumpkin there already probably means it had. However, I had waited so long I was not about to take any chances, so I did a little artificial insemination with a male flower just to be sure.

using a male flower for pollination

Looking forward to a nice batch of pumpkin soup in a matter of months; fingers crossed!

7/52: hearts’n’flowers

Although I am against the vast commercialisation of Valentine’s Day, Imust admit I still enjoy receiving a lovely card from that special someone (hint, hint). Let’s celebrate hearts and flowers in my garden.

Adjacent to the footpath (sidewalk for USA readers , pavement for UK), is an english box that I have shaped into a heart.

the edge of my heart

Walk up the path to the front door, and you will see more hearts decorating the metre box.

Welcome - hearts and hollies

If you head towards the garage door, a row of hearts sits above the door, cleverly disguising the metal lintel that jutted out and annoyed me, particularly because it was visible through the lounge room window.

Hearts above the lintel

Adorning this cute little white cast iron is a string of hearts.

hearts on the patio

 In the front garden there are seaside daisies and a succulent with bees buzzing merrily throughout the little pink flowers.

bees like succulents later in the day The coriander flowers are delicately pretty. Unfortunately every coriander plant I have seems to bolt to seed before I get to use much of it. Maybe next time?

coriander flowers going to seed

Even artificial flowers have their uses in dark corners of the patio.

faux flowers  Seaside daisies keep on keeping on, and are particularly nice in a cottage garden.

seaside daisies

Lobelia in a pot makes a vibrant display.

lovely lobelia

Lovely lilies have come into bloom in the backyard. I am fascinatied how the leaves come up, die back and then finally the flowers make their spectacular appearance unencumbered by foliage.

luscious lilies

I planted marigolds near the tomatoes, as they are supposed to make good companion plants. I think it’s supposed to keep certain insect pests away. If anyone feels so inclined, perhaps you could enlighten me in the comments section, because at this point I am too lazy to google it. This is also a way to see if my posts are read, as well as the pictures perused 😉

merry marigolds

The larger rose bushes seem to have temporarily exhausted their supply of blooms, but the miniature roses are still going strong.

miniature roses

Poinsettias from Christmas have lasted well, as I have been vigilant about keeping the pots nice and moist. On those ridiculous 38 – 40 degree days (yes – Celsius), I have even brought them inside for some respite from the heat.

poinsettia still thrives

Whilst not your usual cut flower, these pumpkin flowers are bright and colourful in the garden.

pumpkin flowers

And lastly, some salvia grown from seed. Somehow I had labelled it “capsicum” so was rather surprised when these appeared.

salvia grown from seed    I thought I had hardly any flowers in the garden, but on second thoughts it’s as if my own garden is wishing me a Happy Valentine’s Day, ‘cos maybe my love is reciprocated!

6/52: there’s nothing like a homegrown tomato

Something truly wonderful and satisfying is walking out into the garden and picking fruit and/or vegetables for the kitchen.

My home-grown tomatoes are certified chemical-free by me, as I know exactly how I have treated them. Fresh produce is a delight. What is even more amazing about this first tomato of the season is that it was from the rogue tomato plant, which just appeared in a pot in the garden, as if by magic.

rogue tomatoes ready to harvest first tomato of the season  Funny how you can spend money on seeds or seedlings, and the plant that does the best was free! I don’t mind, and have accepted this plant graciously, along with the fruit it has produced.

Unfortunately, birds have attacked a few tomatoes. The first one looked beautiful from one side, while the reverse had been virtually eaten out. I shared enough of the plums with the birds, so now I am picking them as they start to blush, and ripening them inside to ensure the greatest rate of success.

looks ready to pick

the reverse side of the one that was ready to pick

I really enjoyed that first tomato of the season, and look forward to plenty more.

a tasty treat