Friday, April 14, 2017

The Giving Garden

I have a Facebook page called 'The Giving Garden' with almost 2000 followers. 
It's all about our garden and articles and information to share.
I try and post on a regular basis.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 2017 Garden News

We started off the month with dry crispy brown lawns and empty tanks, it was quite depressing seeing everything so stressed.

The Brugmansia’s were especially hard hit with two large ‘Bruce’s Pink’ dying and others not far off.

Whoever said gardening was a relaxing hobby was quite wrong.

We had a presentation at the ‘Palm Lakes Retirement Village’ at Eagleby, I could not give a visual presentation as the meeting was held outside, it was a bit strange as there was an empty hall adjacent, anyway I spoke for half an hour about our garden and they enjoyed it.

We also had two bus tours through the garden on the Tuesday we hosted ‘The Gap Garden Club’ and on the Wednesday it was ‘Blue Pacific Retirement Village’ from The Gold Coast. It was a shame we were so dry but all visitors understood that and still enjoyed the garden.

We were asked to give a talk on the Sunshine Coast to support the Leukaemia Foundation I was speaking directly after this years ‘Australian of the Year’.
 It was a wet day and I spoke for around 15 minutes before I was cut off, it was a shame as I had not quite finished my talk.
It was a long two hour drive each way for a 15 minute talk.
Still some colour in the garden.

We had about 50 mills of wonderful rain mid-March, not enough to fill up the tanks but enough to start turning the lawns green and spark up the plants and yes I did a 'nudie' run around the garden.

Our final presentation for the month was to go to ‘Eagleby Garden Club’ and give my new ‘Clever Gardening’ presentation.

The rain from Cyclone Debbie has gone but left us with seven full rainwater tanks and wet gardens.
We had six inches of rain (150 mills) which was the best rain since 2012.
We can go into winter now knowing we have water, I must admit I was very worried a week ago.
It is an understatement to say I am happy.

Monday, March 06, 2017

February 2017 Garden News

Well, what can I write about?
We are just so dry here, not a blade of green grass in sight and all the trees shedding leaves like crazy in an attempt to stay alive.

We have not had any rain since mid-December and for most of the time the temperature has been in the mid to high 30c in the shade.
Even now as I type it’s 33c and 99% humidity under our insulated patio area.
I have been keeping most of our plants alive by watering them with water from our tanks, but that has now virtually dried up with only a couple of rings left in one of the seven tanks.
I and stressed, despairing and sad to see so much of my hard work is being destroyed by this shocking summer weather, it is hitting me hard.
Summer is supposed to be our wet season, hate to think of us going through winter with empty tanks.
Yes, I know other people are going through drought and farmers know it all too well.
There is really not a lot to write about this month other than most of my time has been spent with hose in hand trying to keep my plants alive.
I had one garden presentation and although it was enjoyed by the audience they hardly bought any plants and we received a coffee cup for our trouble.

We also had a small bus load of visitors from a Retirement Village who spent an enjoyable morning here.

In March we have two BIG bus trips here and I am very worried about the state of the garden, just hope for rain but do not hold out much hope.

There are a few bright spots where some plants have flowered but it could have been so much better.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Garden Blog for January 2017

I did not write anything last month as we were just so very busy with Christmas and looking after Grandchildren virtually full time.
I went to the movies a lot though and was entertained by the ‘Trolls’ ‘Moana’ ‘Ballerina’ ‘Monster Trucks’ and one other.
Some nice Vanda Orchids flowered.

As far as gardening went December and most of January was a dead loss as straight after our Agnes Water Grandchildren left I went to hard in the garden and sprained my lower back.
I am just recovering now and the garden and house jobs are piling up.
Some vines also flowered.

Snail Creeper.
 Very proud of my Noong Nooch Vine which is very rare here in Australia.
 Parachute Plant.

We had some rain in December, not enough to fill our tanks but good enough to make a difference in the garden.
January has been a total disaster with temperature during the days mainly in the mid to high 30 Celsius and NO rain.
Friends who only live a kilometre away received over 100 mills one day, crazy.
So we are very dry and all moisture has disappeared and it’s back to hand watering.
The lawns are a lovely shade of brown and as crisp as toast to walk on.
The prawning season has started and I am hoping my back will be well enough to let me throw a cast net.
I have one major project lined up in the garden this year and a few smaller ones.
This year will most likely be our last ‘Open Garden’, we have been doing it every year since 2002 and all the work is starting to catch up with us, so hopefully we can have a great attendance and go out with a bang.
We were nominated for a Redland City ‘Australia Day Award’ for ‘Local Hero’, had to do with our garden and the $60,0000 approximately we have raised for charity, anyway we won and it was a great feeling to be honoured by our local community.

We already have a number of bus trips visiting us in 2017 as well as a number of garden presentations booked.
My Facebook page is going well with over 1900 followers

Just hoping for a break in the heat and of course to needed rain.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I am sorry but I will not have any free time this month to write a blog post as we are full time grandparents to two little girls for the next two weeks.
Just hope you all had a great Christmas and wishing you 'Happy Gardening' for 2017.
All the very best for 2017.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

November 2016 Open Garden

Well our 2016 ‘Open garden’ is over and we are now thinking about 2017s opening.
Yes we are going to open again health permitting as we enjoy the opening and the fact that we raise money for the ‘Lions Club’.
The last four openings have raised a total of $16,323 all of which went to aid disabled children, the beauty about the ‘Lions Club’ is that all money raised goes to worthwhile causes, none goes into administrative costs.
I think that was why the old ‘Open garden Scheme’ failed as so much (65% of gate takings) was going to administering the scheme and even that was not enough in the end and it folded.
I am starting to think of new projects I can do in the garden and Judy has already started to take summer cuttings ready to grow on.
The real work starts in August when I get the flyers printed then sent out to over 70 garden clubs and organisations then it’s setting up the tables, shelters, stocking with plants and a few months to get the garden ready.
Do not let anyone tell you that opening is easy; it’s not, in fact its dammed hard work.
You never know what the weather will be like or how many visitors will show up, so much depends on publicity and of course the weather.
Some well-known garden people refuse to even acknowledge we exist and even when asked will not support our opening while others are happy to help.
Graham Ross from radio 4BC was fantastic and so was Spencer Howson from ABC radio 612 great also Kate Heffernan from Gold Coast ABC radio.
We usually get a good burst in our local paper ‘Redland City Bulletin’ and that brings a lot of people to the garden, as for the bigger papers, well that’s a zero but I still send a letter with information and a CD with some really good garden photos.
There’s a portable toilet to organise, roadside signs, tables, chairs ect, even going around the garden making sure all the spider webs are down.
Saturday morning and it’s all hands on deck ready for the plant buyer rush and yes they arrived and scored some great Bromeliads and garden plants including some very rare hard to get plants.

The Lions Club had the sausage sizzle going and sandwiches for those that were worn out buying plants.
Black Sapote fruit was for sale and the proceeds from that went to our Grandchildren.

Everyone loved the garden, a lot remarked on how much work had been done since they last visited.

To think back to our first opening in 2002, what a difference, the garden would be unrecognisable as so much work has gone into it every year.
After it was all over and 700 plus people had visited it was time to clean up which is a three day job working very hard, then we need a really good rest to recover as we are to say the least a tad worn out.
On the Saturday after the opening we had a great downpour of 74 mills of beautiful rain, what a difference that has made.
This year we went for a short break to Mooloolaba and actually had a chance to read the new Michael Connelly and Lee Child books, we are both big fans of Harry Bosch and Jack Reacher.
We came back home with a car load of new plants as we do.
So, that’s it for another year, if you came we hope you enjoyed the garden and hope you will come again.
Judy and I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy gardening New Year.