Snapshots of a Sydney Summer Garden


This summer I was a busy bee in the garden, quite literally. An initial active working period was toned down to make allowance for my lumbering, pregnant self. We made a sandstone bed, smack dab in the center of our frontyard and planted a gorgeous "Magnolia Soulangeana" there. I populated the bed with some "Kew Lavender" bought from Bunnings and 3 packets of pink and purple paper daisies. The paper daisies grew amazingly fast and were almost a meter tall within a couple of weeks with papery thin and wispy little blooms that I just have to touch every time I pass by. The Magnolia seems to have established itself and is taller than me [I am barely 5 feet tall]. I am anxiously waiting for autumn and then winter when it will shed its leaves and give birth to those glorious pink goblet blooms. My newly planted frangipani has sprouted 4 new leaves very late into summer. I can’t help but wonder what went wrong when all around me frangipanis are already flowering and thriving.

The rosemary in my frontyard has grown a lot over the summer and I have started thinking about cutting and propagating it to try and tame it a bit. After a flush of crimson red blooms, the bougainvilleas are quite dried up now with tiny little greenish brown leaves. The Salvias in full red blooms and the Murrayas in flushes of fragrant white blooms have given new life to our backyard. There have been lots of chillies, lemons, oranges, ginger, curry leaves, thyme and coriander growing through the end of spring and all through summer. The agaves and rhoeos have started becoming bigger. Our date palms are proving to be a nuisance with thousands of unusable dates littering the lawn and pool area. Some bulbs planted by the previous owners have produced lovely flowers and I have no clue what they are. The French marigold seeds I scattered everywhere are so cute with tiny little tight blooms of yellow sprouting as far as the eye can see. The rose cuttings that I planted in early spring have produced several flushes of gorgeous white, peach, yellow and crimson blooms. Once they finish flowering I go snip snip snip with my secateurs, removing dead heads and within a week or two have new buds thriving. I think roses are like little treats for the gardener and nothing compares to the emotion that swells in you when you see a full bloom and breathe in their heavenly scent.

We were very excited about the strawberry seeds we sowed, especially when the leaves filled up the wooden barrel and began sprouting tiny white flowers. A few days later out came teeny weeny little green strawberries and then they started turning red … aaahh the wonders of nature! Then yesterday morning on our routine inspection of the plants, the strawberries were gone … all but one. What was even more baffling was that it was an extremely neat job, no damage to the leaves or soil visible at all. We were debating on whether the culprit was a possum or a bird, but couldn’t reach a verdict. Then this evening when we were out and about in the garden we heard our 4 year old say "Rivvy eating strawberries" and he came right upto us and opened his mouth. There crushed between milky teeth lay the answer to "Who ate our strawberries?". Needless to say we had a good laugh and rested easy with the thought that neither birds nor possums have gained the expertise that man possesses in picking fruit from tiny vines flawlessly. On a personal note Rish was born on the 6th of Jan and will be a month old soon. I can’t wait to get cooking and gardening again ….

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