Thursday, December 27, 2012

December 2012 Garden News

December was all about recovering from the Open Garden.
I think we had the best Open Garden we have ever had, such nice people visited and they bought lots of Judy’s beautiful plants.
We raised $715 for disabled sport and the catering raised almost $2000 for a local food bank.
We will not be opening in 2013, after 11 consecutive openings we feel it’s time to take a break.
The weather since our open garden has been awful with 30 degree plus heat, wind and absolutely no rain until Boxing Day when we had 18 mills.
All our seven tanks are  now completely empty.
It has been a real struggle this year to keep our plants alive; we have to use town water just to keep our plants alive.
 Crinum 'Rose Parade'.
 Curcuma 'White'
Beehive Ginger 'Coffee'
The place is a mess at the moment as the gum trees are shedding their bark and there’s bark everywhere.
I have planted all the new plants we bought on our holidays, there’s always room for more plants.
New Project.
I am building an extension to one of the shade houses at the moment, once that is finished I have to rebuild the oldest shade house as the timber has rotted, it sure is a busy life.
 Lady Slipper Vine.
 Rose Ginger
 Double Abutilon pink
 Caladium 'Thai Beauty'
Costus 'Peru Pineapple'
We attended a couple of Christmas party’s for Bayside Garden Club and the Cordyline Society enjoyed both.
 Crinum 'White'
 Swamp Hibiscus
Christmas lights keep the Flying Foxes away from our Mango crop.
We start the New Year with a presentation to the Tweed Heads garden Club on the 14th January.
Judy and I hope you all had a great Christmas and have some wonderful gardening for 2013.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Judy and I would like to wish all our blog readers a very happy Christmas and all the very best for 2013.
We hope the weather is better than this year as it has only rained twice since mid July and the garden is to say the least "parched'.
I will be putting on another post in the next few days.
All the very best and happy gardening to you all.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

November Garden News 2012

We went into November with despair; the weather had been so unkind to us. Just two lots of 2 mills of rain since late July and the winds were the worst in our memory. Judy and I looked at each other and commented that ‘we could just walk away and leave it all'.
All our rainwater tanks (107,500 litres) were empty
On the second week of November we had 30 mills of rain and on the third weekend (this is when we usually have our open garden) we had 51 mills.
We were saved, the garden sparked up like you would not believe, and what a relief not having to water the garden.

I had a garden presentation at ‘Springdale garden club' which was well attended and two presentations for the Cordyline Society’s ‘Tropical Affair’ plant sale.
Thank goodness we opened our garden one week later than usual as the weather could not have been better with a top temperature of 27c and fine.
The ‘Open Garden’ was a success with over 600 people visiting the garden and great plant sales.
The raffle raised over $700 for disabled sport and catering did well for a local food bank.
The main thing that struck me was how nice all the visitors were.

After eleven successive openings we are going to have a break and reassess our situation in 2014.
I already have 11 garden presentations booked for next year and there’s sure to be more including bus trips.

As usual after the opening we head up to Mooloolaba to have a three day rest away from the garden.
We see all our garden friends up there and of course return with a load of new plants, this year I was able to secure some new Costus and Zingibers.
To all my blog readers I wish them all a very happy Christmas and hope that 2013 will be a great year for them in the garden and in life.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Newspaper Article

This was in Brisbane's Saturday's Courier Mail colour magazine (24th November) I was interviewed as an 'ordinary person'.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tropical Garden

We usually have our Open Garden on the third  weekend of November but this year we decided to have it a week later.
What a good decision that was as we have had great rain (51 mills) and next weekend is forecast to be fine with max temp at 26c.
You can already see the difference in the garden.
Our two mass plantings of Caladiums and blood lily's should stunning.
We have over $1200 worth of prizes for our raffle which goes to disabled sport and of course Judy has loads of stunning plants for sale at prices you will not believe.
I am feeling very positive unlike a couple of weeks ago when I felt like walking away.
It's all good.

There's a great tropical nursery at El Arish (North Queensland) run by Scott and Ann Marie Cairns, lots of information on tropical plants and their care on their web site.
Well worth a visit if you like sub tropical or tropical gardening.
I hope to go there some day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Our 2012 Open Garden

It's only a few day's until we open.
I must admit I was getting very stressed with the lack of rain and the severe winds we have had this Spring.
Last Saturday a great weight was lifted off my shoulders, we actually had 30 mills of rain.
That was the greatest sound I have ever heard.
The lawns are turning green already and the plants are smiling.
Unfortunately the rain was followed by gale winds again, but you have to be thankful for small mercies.
The garden will look good, but not lush, the costus, gingers and heliconias have suffered from the winds and do look a bit ragged.
Judy as usual has a great selection of plants for sale, in fact it's worth coming just for that.
Given the circumstances I do not think any of our visitors will be disappointed.
The Courier Mail's 'Qweekend' magazine will be featuring me on Saturday 24th November, I will be an 'Ordinary Person'.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Garden News October 2012

I know it’s a tired old story but it is one that is stressing me out.
Yes, you have guessed it, it’s the bloody weather.
No rain since mid July, but to make matters worse we have had several gales which have ripped through the garden shredding the leaves of trees, cordylines and heliconias.
With just four weeks to go to our ‘Open Garden’ there’s still time for it to recover and look good, not lush but good, but that depends on whether we get any rain or not.
Gardening is not exactly a relaxing hobby for us at the moment; hopefully we will have a great ‘Open Garden’ and be able to relax a bit.
                                              Curcuma 'CapeYork'
                                                       Jade Vine
                                         Zingiber 'Dark Apricot'

I have a crook elbow at the moment, Doctor said it was a classic case of ‘Tennis Elbow’ or in my case ‘Gardeners Elbow’, it’s painful but I will have to grin and bear it until after the opening as there is so much to do.
We had just the one bus trip this month from the Probus Club, as usual they enjoyed the garden even though it was very dry.


My time is spent mostly watering the garden, trying to keep the plants alive, we had 107,500 litres of rainwater stored on seven tanks, we are down to about 10,000 litres left, enough? I don’t think so unless it rains. I know the plants do not like town water, but it may come to that.
I have completed a couple of small jobs in the garden and planted more plants, there’s always room for more plants and more plants.
I was a bit upset when I was told by a fellow gardener that certain person hated our garden and did not like us because we promote our garden too much. What a stupid sour person she must be, of course our garden being tropical will not appeal to everyone, that’s to be expected, but to dislike us because we promote of garden is really stupid. Let’s face it if I did not do it who would? If you want visitors on your open weekend then you must let them know you are opening.
Oh well, you cannot please everyone.
                                                        Zingiber 'Early Yellow'
                                                       Peperomia puteolat
 This year Judy and I have received 12 bus tours through the garden, there’s only a $2.00 charge to help pay for the public liability insurance, we always have the back patio area cleared with enough seats for everyone and of course a urn boiling.
We have also visited 12 Garden Clubs giving one of my three power point presentations, there is no charge for this, and most garden clubs give us just enough to pay for petrol costs.
                                               Dendrobium fimbriatum
                                            Dendrobium Orchid
                                          Ansellia africana 'Leopard Orchid'
This blog is now getting over 100 visitors a day, which is very pleasing as I enjoy doing it along with the ‘garden product reviews’ site, doing this keeps my brain active and the garden looks after the body.
This year’s ‘Open Garden’  raffle has already received some great prizes, Fiskars have sent  a selection of garden tools worth $600 and Reln have donated a compost tumbler and worm farm, lots of other stuff too including a personally signed bottle of wine by the Queensland Premier.
                                         Fiskars donation
Judy has some wonderful plants ready to sell during the ‘Open Garden’, they are all at a very reasonable price and some of them are impossible to purchase at Garden Centres.
I bought a new camera last month, a Nikon D3200 and have just received my new 100mm micro lens. I am very pleased with the camera and hope to post some great photos in the future.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

September 2012 Garden News

We are having an early summer with quite high temperatures and of course NO rain.
Worrying about the lack of rain seems to be the story of my life, but it is so frustrating having to spend countless hours hand watering then find your tanks are going close to empty.
Hopefully we will get some decent rain before the ‘Open Garden’.
I think I have probably done more to improve the garden this year than any other year, with many metres of soil, compost ect brought in and existing gardens refurbished and replanted.
As I have said before ‘“a good garden is never finished, it is always evolving”.
                                                                           Blue Mist
                                                               Queen of the Abyss
                                                                       Red Holiday
No garden talks or bus tours this month, which is good as it gives us more time to get ready for the ‘Open Garden’.
We have had two very interesting Amorphophallus plants in flower, photos shown below.
                                                            Typhonium venosum 'Voodoo Lily'
                                                           Amorphophallus Konjac

                                           Amorphophallus bulbifer (snake plant) seed pod
I have bought a new camera Nikon D3200 with 24 mega pixels; stand by for some good photos.
We are going to have some very good ‘Open Garden’ raffle prizes this year with Reln donating a worm farm and compost tumbler, Fiskars donating three very good products and a lot more, all money raised goes to disabled sport. In our previous 10 openings we have raised about $30,000 for various charities through the raffle and catering.
                                                            Clerodendrum 'Starburst'
                                                                Yellow Candlestick
We will not open next year as we need a bit of a break, whether we will do it again, well we shall just wait and see.  We still intend to host bus trips ect.
Don't forget to look at my other site.