Saturday, January 24, 2015

January Garden Blog 2015

Well the BIG news is that it has started to rain and we have had 340 mills in total, what a difference that makes, less stress, less or rather no time wasted watering and of course all seven tanks are full with 108,000 litres of water stored.
I have also started a Facebook page called 'The Giving Garden', it's full of interesting articles I have written and great photos. Has received 500 likes in a short space of time.

The only downside is the mowing; with it being so wet it’s hard to find a day when the grass is dry enough to mow, then when you do its extra long, but what a change to see green instead of brown.
I have an infestation of ‘spider mite’ on my Amorphophallus collection, so it’s a regime of spraying for a while until I have killed them all; you can’t see them by eye as they are so small but you can see the damage they do to the plant.

The garden is very messy at the moment with the gums shedding their bark, the Macadamias and Neem trees are losing their leaves.
I was almost killed this month when I was walking through one of the pathways when a gum branch fell on top of me, I was so lucky to be standing in the v of the branch, half a metre either way or I would have been a goner. Not my time to go yet.
One garden presentation this month and that is Maleny Garden Club, it’s a nice friendly club and well worth the drive up there.
I have 17 bookings already this year.
I stripped an old garden brought in crusher dust, soil and compost, moved a water outlet and replanted mainly with a selection of Cliveas, should look really good when established.

I also had to rebuild two bridges, this time I used a hardwood timber instead of treated pine and will oil not paint.

I really have not stopped since the ‘Open Garden’ and am feeling the pain as all my joints and back are aching. This is the first year where we did not have a holiday after the ‘Open Garden’ and it certainly feels like it.

I have bought a container of ‘Wood Vinegar’ to use in the garden especially for propagation; it’s worth looking into and testing as there are some interesting articles about it on the net.

I split up my native bee hives and have three new hives to go to new homes.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015


Myrciaria cauliflora ‘Jaboticaba’ is a small fruit tree from South America. The fruit is sometimes called ‘Amazon Tree Grape’.
It bears large amounts of grape size fruit on the trunk and main branches and the time between first flowering and eating the fruit is about 30 days.
The tree can fruit several times a year dependant on the weather.
It is slow growing and can reach up to five metres high, but like me you can keep them trimmed to a desirable height.
They like a sunny position and do best with plenty of water.
There is no need to spray the fruit as the only things other than you that will eat them are birds.
They do not get fruit fly grub.
They grow well from seed but I recommend you buy an advanced tree as they are initially very slow growers.
Jaboticaba’s can be eaten fresh and Judy makes a great Jaboticaba Jam. Some people say Jaboticaba wine is nice.

 Judy’s recipe for Jaboticaba Jam.

Have a couple of bowls handy and a sharp pointed knife then pick up the washed fruit, pierce the skin and squeeze the pulp and seed into one bowl and the skin into another. Do this a few hundred times and you will have enough for quite a few bottles of jam. Simmer the pulp for 10 minutes then put through a strainer then throw out the seeds. Chop up the skins in a food processor or similar to a rough texture only adding minimum water. Simmer the skins for 10 minutes then add the pulp and skins together, measure amount in number of cupfuls. Heat up this mix and add sugar cup for cup with the mix then boil until jam thickens.
If you have trouble setting the Jam add 'Jam setter', if you need to do this then you have added too much water in the skin chopping process.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gardening 2014 in review

2014 has probably been one of the worst gardening years I have known and many of my gardening friends agree with me.
We went through all summer (which is usually our wet season) without even one millimetre of rain and it was not until the end of March that we had a good fall. The next rain was in August, we were so lucky to get that as our tanks were virtually dry.
This water lasted until early October when we had to start using town water (dreading the bill) then just before the ‘Open Garden’ we had a small fall of 19 mills, which at least added a little bit of green for our opening.
We opened our garden on the weekend of the 22 and 23 November and it was a great success with a little over 600 people visiting.
We stopped opening with ‘Australia’s Open Gardens’ in 2013 and instead opened for a charity. We selected the ‘Lions Club’ as 100% of what is raised goes directly to the source, in our case ‘disabled children’.
In the last two openings we have raised $8292 all of which has gone to assist disabled children, we are very happy about this.
Now that ‘Australia’s Open Gardens’ are closing mid 2015 it will be up to gardeners like us to open, just hope we can get the support from the media.
Not only was 2014 hard gardening it was probably one of the most physical years I have had.
I worked on new projects in our garden and of course carted in many metres of garden soil, mulch and compost.
My eldest son who is a Paraplegic moved into a new house. It was on a corner and needed retaining walls and fences on three sides, plus fill, soil, grass ect, ect.
A big job but done in record time and now his children have a great ‘Aussie Blue’ lawn to play on.
There was no let up with gardening presentation; we travelled as far afield as Boonah and Nambour, in total I gave 17 presentations. I already have 11 bookings for next year.
We had eight bus tours through the garden, all seemed to enjoy it no matter how dry it was.
We have ended the year with some very good December rain, so far 160 mills, not all the tanks are full but it’s just so good to see everything become green again.

Judy and I wish you all happy gardening for 2015, all the best.
Here's some pictures taken in the December garden.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

December Garden News

After each open garden we usually take a short break up the coast usually at Mooloolaba.
This year we are looking after our youngest son’s two Jack Russell dogs as he and his family are doing a round Australia two year trip. 
The eldest one had a very badly inflamed hernia and needed an operation.
So, what did we do, we worked in the garden and looked after ‘Diggity’.
I must admit I missed my holiday as 2014 has been a hard year and I really needed a break.
The good news is that we have had some rain, in total we have had 80 mills, which was not enough to fill our empty tanks but none the less very welcome.
It’s amazing how quickly brown lawns can turn green with a bit of rain.

I was roped into giving a presentation for a local Bunnings Garden Club.
We had a drive up to Nambour to see Maureen Simons and of course returned with a car load of plants.
2014 will stand out as probably the worst gardening year I have experienced and the hardest physical year I have had.

Basically until November it had only rained twice, we went through the whole of summer without a drop of rain.
I completed a few new projects in our garden.
Probably lost more plants to drought and cold winter than any other year.
My Amorphophallus collection is looking good.

My eldest son who is a paraplegic moved into a new house and I built all the retaining walls, fences, elevated vegetable garden, turf ect, for them.
There’s still a lot to do but I will wait until the weather cools down a bit.

The open garden was a success with $8292 dollars raised from our last two openings and all that money went to the Lions Club to assist disabled children.
Australia’s Open Garden’s closes its doors next year, I wonder how many people will continue to open, I know we are going to do it again next year.

Judy and I would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy gardening 2015.

My god, I am 70 this coming year.