A Custard Nose, A Petal Heart

Geez Louise, but I am Not Well.

I mean, I'm fine. It's just a cold, but... geez Louise. 

Is Louise my favourite character on Bob's Burgers? Maybe. Could be Tina, though. Could be Gene.

(I could use some sleep. I could use a lot of sleep. This is Day Seven of a Bad Cold.)

Right. Time to shift my sweet but admittedly somewhat maudlin last post off the main screen and do a brain dump for posterity.

Pinkabelle Apple Blossoming

The topic of that last post was roses, and roses are still very much a popular conversation here around our slab in the outer burbs of Bunbury. It's Spring by all definitions here (Australian government, meteorological, astronomical, Aboriginal), and OH what a difference it is having the garden beds ready for it this year. Last year we really only got started in the summer, so it has been astonishing to see things that struggled last year flourishing now just by being planted at a more ideal time. SO MANY FLOWERS! Who knew that it was so easy to live a life with so much colour?

Double Delights Opening

Timing has not been everything. Sheep poo, lupin mulch, seaweed spray... yeah, so it turns out that when you get a bunch of nice black soil delivered to your new garden beds, that soil is good, but it's fairly sterile. When people say to mix in nutrients from (pick your favourite source), they're not just being hippies about it. Mike has gone Full Farmer in this regard and must take the credit for the success of, well, everything. I am a decently dab hand with the weeding stick and the pitchfork (another thing that was not obvious: Till! And till with a pitchfork! Not a shovel! Would you beat scrambled eggs with a spoon?), but Mike has been the one who has Seen the Light and insists on Doing Things Right. At most I obediently follow orders when he stops me from thunking a seedling straight into the ground. ("Wait, wait! Here's some chicken poo!")

Mike Transplanting His Grapefruit Tree from Perth

We're using the bunny pellets, too. And if my mother-in-law ever gets her way, Mike will be weeing on all of the citrus before you know it.

There He Is!

I'm unafraid of pruning now, too. I went a little late by some standards, early August, on the advice of a student's mother (look at me, interacting with the world), as we're south of Perth and thus cooler. I used lime sulphate because Dawson's recommends it, and their Forrestfield nursery is a dreamscape. I'd be headed up there today and to a few other rose specialist for a big day out, middle-aged style, and some Brazilian BBQ buffet (the veg option is surprisingly great), but that sleep thing, that cold thing... Finally, I stripped off all of the leaves because some people do, and the fight against blackspot was getting intense.

Four weeks later and the roses were coming back tall and strong and glossy. Really? A month is enough of a rest? I thought roses stood around as sticks for months. Not here, it seems, as everyone's garden is flushing again. I applied Osmocote for Roses on the equinox (more of an efficient move than a pagan one), but the tubs of Sudden Impact are everywhere and are what all of the Aussie rose societies recommend, so maybe that will be the go for next year. I don't fully understand fertilising yet other than to know that Osmocote is a probably for the lazy or indifferent. Baby steps...

Actually, the roses in the backyard - a mix of pots and spots - have come back with crazy growth and big blooms. I don't know what's up with the front yard. They're growing, but not with the same vigour. Same soil, same ferts, same water, arguably better sun... I did prune them a few days later and fertilise them a week later, but surely that's not it? They are coming along, except for William Shakespeare 2000, a David Austin rose. Mike, once its fan, just clucks over it now and is starting to throw shade on the David Austin line in general because of its puny progress. I did prune it less, following the special instructions for DA roses, and I didn't defoliate it. Could that be it? All I know is that, unlike everything else, it only has inches of new growth, if that, and its leaves are kind of feeble looking. We'll see.

Moving Smooth Snowflake Out Front

I did just remember that the "proper soil" level in the front yard is much more meagre than out back, so the roses have more "builders' yellow" sand under them and around them, but it's not like I didn't dig big holes and fill them with potting mix. Hmm...

So, Mike has strong opinions on roses now. "I think I like hybrid teas the best" he volunteered a few days ago. "What?! But Twilight Zone! Gold Bunny!" I've been a real convert to the floribunda/grandiflora, but Mike insists that the HT are more his style. But then he turns around and says he wants an Abracadabra, which is a floribunda. "Mike, I've read that those stripes you love so much don't always come out. It's not stable." And then I make a pitch for Butter Melon, 50% being based just on the name. And so we live our lives, always nerding along the given path.

Where will all of these new roses go? I don't know. We seem to keep running out of room then keep "finding" room. We also now have a number of pots in the Future Pool Area that allegedly we'll "just move" when the time to dig comes. Move where? And remain compliant with the nannytastic/illogical/haveyoumettheriveracrossthestreet/crapI'mgettingstarted pool fencing laws how? Eh, it will sort out! ("It's a Mystery!")

Also on the wood chips is a row of cheap strawberry pots under a tunnel of netting that I'm quite proud of. I declared this the Year of Winning at Strawberry, even before some terrible people started sticking needles in Australia's commercial strawberry crop, and I was going to do a whole post about it, really I was. (But let's not pretend it would've been any less stream of conscious than this.)

Strawberries vs. Parrots

I'm pleased to be growing 14 kinds of strawb at the moment, not including some runners of an unknown generic variety that Mike pinched at Bunnings. He does these things. I'm sorry. The red geraniums that he pinched last year have come up great, though. Does it help if I say that we've never taken back any of the plants we've bought that have died even though they are guaranteed? 

Montana Strawberry

The strawberries I'm growing so far are (clearing throat) as follows: Elan, Tioga, Alpine, Alinta, Tarpan (beautiful pink flowers!), Montana, Red Gauntlet, Adina, Merlan, Free..sia? I'll get back to you, Sweetheart, Temptation, Kamu, and Chandler.  I do have seeds for a white alpine, too. So far Kamu, Elan, and Montana have had ready berries, with Kamu being the most eager and maybe the most tasty. (Also learned: all of those people who go on about homegrown fruit and veg tasting better aren't just trying to justify their hobby. My stars, you should have tasted the celery I grew. Who knew celery was supposed to have so much flavour?) The netting tunnel is a bit of a pain for harvesting, but hungry parrots aren't going anywhere.

First Strawberry Crop - Kanu, Montana, Elan Varieties

It could be... it could be that my cold meds are working well enough for me to try to get than elusive fourth hour of sleep. (I don't think I've had more 20ish hours all up this week. It's not good.) I suppose the next time I sit down to write it will be winter and I'll mutter something about how I'm resolved not to accidentally kill my special Royal Velvet sunflower seeds this year (don't ask). I remain a poor diarist, especially guilty that I haven't mentioned Mike's outstanding spray of everlastings...

Mike’s Everlastings

Many Returning Petunias

20 October 2018 |