DRAGON FRUIT FLOWERS

dscn25081Very surprised to see three new dragon fruit flowers still open this morning. Normally, the sunshine causes them to die off after they flower at night for one night only. Apparently the smell is divine. They are easy to grow here and are a plant that always attracts attention. We will have some for sale at the plant stall at the Open Garden. I find the pink flesh ones sweeter and better flavoured than the more common white flesh.

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There is a very large white flower in the centre of the photo.

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OPEN GARDEN 2017

OPEN GARDEN 2017

It’s that time of the year again when we open for our fifth Open Garden: this year we are opening on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th February which is fast approaching. Snice the last Open Garden we have added another garden to those open to the public so there are now five as well as some who prefer to be private at this stage. Jess and Jesse, a young couple in their 20s, have been living next to Joe since July and have worked very hard to transform an overgrown mess into an attractive and productive herb and vegetable garden. They will also be selling herb and vegetable seeds and seedlings in addition to our usual plant sale of fruit trees. We have a full program lined up again so you can stay all day and find something to do. I’ll be posting more in the lead up to the opening with more details of speakers, workshops and special guests.

I apologise for the longer than usual absence from this page but I have had serious and long standing health issues which will soon hopefully improve once I can wean myself off the drugs I was given for multiple surgeries. It’s been very frustrating that I’ve not been able to devote more time to this page but the two Facebook pages keep me very busy an since they are visited by more people, that’s where my energy has been directed. Jess and Jesse have also started up an Instagram page which has wonderful photos by Jesse and pithy comments by Jess. You can find it at www.instagram.com/joesconnectedgarden

The weather this year has been much wetter than usual which means things are lusher and greener but it does bring other issues like fungal growths. It has been a more tropical summer than usual and we’ve had things flowering for the first time. There was a huge pile of branches to be mulched today and here’s Joe getting stuck into it.

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WE ARE STILL HERE!

I was shocked to see that more than four months have passed since I’ve posted here and I can only blame recurrent health issues and a particularly nasty cold, wet winter.which has put me into hibernation. The room where the computer sits is large and hard to heat so, needing to stay warm after my surgery, I’ve not been on the computer much. I had my second shoulder replaced on 6 June which makes four joints in 18 months so my energy has been low as well as being quite physically disabled. Luckily, I am still quite strong and robust by nature and got good results from my fake joints although everyone calls me the bionic woman now. Here’s the desolate winter garden; luckily we have quite a lot of citrus which give some life and colour.

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A walk around the gardens today showed unmistakeable signs of spring which lifted my spirits so much. I’ve always detested winter and cannot begin to describe how every cell of my body longs for spring and then wonderful summer. On the home stretch now – I expect some more cold days – but it is now days before winter finally departs for another year. We now have five connected gardens here at Elizabeth with young couple Jess and Jesse moving into the house next to Joe and we are thrilled to have young, enthusiastic and willing people as part of the resident community. The most obvious sign of impending spring is always the almond blossom which gets in first: here’s a picture of a very old and huge almond tree covered in blossoms. Unfortunately, the parrots will get most of the nuts as at around 15 metres high there’s no way it can be netted.

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BANANAS

DSCN2023I don’t know anyone who enjoyed the two weeks of tropical humidity about a month ago. However, a number of plants in the garden really appreciated it and took off like crazy. Small, newly potted guavas especially liked the change in weather as all the subtropicals did. Joe has a banana bed in his garden which was built by the Warner family a couple of years ago and I must admit I have not taken much notice of it since I assumed it would be years before we saw any fruit.  But today I was astonished to find it getting up around 4 metres high and pushing up the nets. How exciting! I think it is only about 18 months from this stage to picking a very large number of bananas which will be our first time with this fruit. So yes, you can grow bananas in Adelaide and we know of people in the RFS who have picked bunches to eat. There will probably be too many for us to eat so towards the end of next year we will have a banana party. The variety that does best in Adelaide conditions is Silk.

 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE PART OF OUR GARDENS?

A neighbouring property is on the market and here it is! Lovely and clean and fresh throughout and just look at the bargain price for a renovated home! Plus you’ll be guaranteed to have the best neighbours around: you can see our trees in one of the outside shots. Next door to both Joe’s and Rosanne’s houses; if you are keen, be quick as it won’t last at this price. Only $219,000 so please pass on to anyone who shares our permaculture philosophy and would like to be part of our gardens. Open for inspection on Sunday 3 April from 12.00 to 12.30pm. For more details and photos please go to

.http://raywhiteelizabeth.com.au/sa/elizabeth-grove/1447724/

SUMMER PRUNING

I’ve been intending to write an article on summer pruning but did not want to during the recent humid spell in case you were all tempted to rush out and do it in the unfavourable weather. Pruning is best done on a warm sunny day to avoid fungal and other diseases. The next few days will be perfect weather for pruning and just about your last chance to summer prune. It used to be the case that trees were pruned in winter but the motto now is: for fruit, summer prune and for growth, winter prune. I came across this wonderful article by Nadja of Nadja’s Garden that I could no way improve on. With her permission I am posting it here. Nadja is a local living south of the city and a professional permaculture designer, not a bumbling hobby gardener like us! I suggest you like her Facebook page and follow her blog for excellent local gardening info.
https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/6133206/posts/922536124

PEAS

I sowed some peas today, the earliest I have done so for a few years. Ideally, it is said to plant them on St Patrick’s day so hopefully the still warm soil will allow them to germinate quickly. I remember one year I was very late (June?) and they took about three weeks to come through as the ground was icy cold. It’s a good time to get all your winter vegetables in to give them a good kick off.
I really love fresh peas, picked slightly under ripe when still very sweet and juicy: they don’t even make it to the house(unless it’s raining). When you pick them, the sugars immediately start turning to starch which is why shop bought fresh peas are nothing to rave about, being usually rather dry, floury and tasteless. But straight off the vine – I bet your kids will be fighting for them as they would for sweets.

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One of my best garden memories is from last year when a very busy young pregnant mother took the trouble to bring me a bag of peas from her garden after I had raved so much about them. An example of the extraordinary generosity of gardeners and a reason why we continue to grow the garden, even when faced with some pretty serious obstacles. The picture is some of last year’s crop: I wish I had more space as I would go overboard with peas like I have with my strawberries.I have planted normal peas thus far but if I can scrounge some more space I will put in the sugar snap as well. I like Greenfeast the best but I put in Massey earli-crop today(as I hope they will) and some giant peas given to me by a friend of the garden that I have not tried before so am interested to see what happens. I haven’t grown telephone peas in recent years as when they grow to 2 metres they will bend over in strong winds and you lose a lot. I think that happened with the snow/sugar snap as well. I am even thinking of putting a raised bed in a sunny corner out of the way in my front garden so I will have so many peas that I might even get sick of them!