Archive for the ‘successes and failures’ Category

Green Lives Matter!

Garden losses.

Losses of plants are a given, and they can die in a variety of ways. Over the years most of the plants that have died have simply perished from not being suitable to the semi-arid conditions here. Others are beaten to a pulp by frost, and try as they will to recover during the warmer months, eventually they give up completely. These losses are par for the course.

More frustrating are the losses that shouldn’t have occurred: plants that have slowly died from other plants nearby taking over all available resources, other plants fail after being savaged by flocks of galahs or corellas, or munched on by sheep on the loose looking for feed before the rains come. The really frustrating deaths are of plants that have survived months of drought only to cark it after the first good rain, as if they couldn’t cope with all that water.


The sweet appleberry (Billardiera cymosa) between the trees

Out of all the ways to lose a plant the worst is by the hand of humans. I had one such loss today, when people came to fix the wire fence so that cows they were putting in the paddock next door don’t get out. I lost my appleberry creeper (a bushfood plant) to these men, who broke off the plant at ground level when they could have snipped it so much further up. That plant had taken ten years to grow. It was the only survivor of three or four plants I had put along the fence. Despite the current drought it was green and luxuriant, and I haven’t had to water it for years. Naturally I was bummed.


Winter morning

What was worse was that no one apologised when I explained to them what they had done. Four men just stood there gawking at me, the dotty plant person. Of course they weren’t able to tell that the plant they tore up was not some local weed, and I would have accepted an apology. Instead they all got in their cars and drove off.

There have been numerous other occasions where I have lost plants to people, some of them when the people were clueless like this time, and other times the damage was intentional. Like ten years ago around this time of the year when some well meaning person poisoned my cactus, a fruiting one, thinking they were getting rid of a prickly pear. That cactus I had had for 20 years, and it had been about to fruit for the first time… I wrote a poem about it. Okay maybe I am a little bit dotty. And it’s taken nine years to get fruit from the pieces I managed to save.

Before that there was a meltdown back in late 1991 when my brother accidently mowed over a marguerite daisy I had planted at my mother’s house, which I had propagated from the one I had left behind at my childhood home, and it was just starting to grow after a shaky start. Green lives matter, especially after we have survived tough times together, and I mourn them all.

And so today after all this my son says to me, “see, I told you it was pointless to garden….” You can tell he’s not a gardener.

Arghhhh! He just doesn’t understaaaaaaaand!

P1250146 copy


Herb bed, five years on

Okay, so putting up the carport put my herb garden in rain shadow, so now it has less herbs and more tough plants. Never mind.

Not far from Eden.

For the past month or so Amaru and Maya have gone out to this tree every morning to get an apple for recess. It’s times like these that I hope become golden memories for them as they grow older.

Gathering the last of the Royal Galas

Gathering the last of the Royal Galas

I have also been a little proud because many people around here believe that you can’t grow apples in Quorn.

And there I was thinking that you can’t grow much any further north than here, when Marg Wilson brings back this huge watermelon from Ethadunna Station, which is out along the Birdsville track about 100km north of Marree.

"I carried a watermelon?"

“I carried a watermelon?”

Happy Easter!

There is not much happening in the garden thanks to there being almost no rain since early January, but despite the dryness this Easter Lily has popped up out of nowhere to give us a lovely surprise.

April 2015

This made up for the non-appearance of my naked ladies after the rain in January, even though they flowered just about everywhere else around here.

Summer Highlights

These somehow seemed to be mainly in the form of things to eat, or things we look forward to eating soon.

My first Andamooka Lily!

After years of driving past Andamooka Lilies in flower, in masses between Quorn and Port Augusta, I finally have one of my own.

My own Andamooka lily.

My own Andamooka lily.

This one I bought as a seeding at Aridlands in Port Augusta, around 2009 or 2010. I saw nothing of it until 2012, when leaves appeared for the first time. And finally, three years later, the first flower. It’s a nice touch for Leyla’s grave, as I planted Leyla here last June – that’s her saucer there (she loved milk).

Andamooka lilies on a hillside at Saltia.

Andamooka lilies on a hillside at Saltia.

The Andamooka Lily or Darling Lily (Crinum flaccidum) grows all through the Australian outback, but isn’t so common in WA. I’ve seen them around here and also around the River Murray. They come up after summer rain. When I first saw them out near Warren Gorge a few years back, I thought they were some garden plant that had escaped, but they are natives. Like jonquils they have quite a pong, but the look lovely dotted through native vegetation, and I’ve been trying to propagate them for years with no success so far. I gave Kate Llewellyn a few seeds some years ago – wonder if she’s had any luck.

I love them, and that’s why I picked them for my gravatar.

Things to look forward to

At this time of the year there is not a lot new and exciting in the garden, except in the area of food production (for a change). For weeks we have been eating Cape Gooseberries, which flourished despite the frosts of August and the dry months that have gone by since then.

Any day now!

Any day now!

Soon we will be digging into these apricots (above) that are growing in the septic orchard. This tree has been in five years now, as have the apple trees below.These have grown a lot in the past two years, after getting a few good doses of Sharon’s poop water. Many people have said that you can’t grow apples in Quorn, but this is one of the handful of success stories about the place. Others are the school garden and the Brooker’s garden.


We also have quinces growing in the citrus orchard near the purple garden but not much citrus as I keep promising myself that next year I will water it properly but next year never comes.

Vegie patch

Vegie patch.

Maya has been carefully tending the vegie patch this year, she can’t stay away from the place. Despite the lack of rain over spring things have been growing well. She says that the smell of the tomato plants is the best smell in the world, so that might be what draws her back each evening. I love that smell too, it takes me straight to childhood summers in the gardens of my grandparents Kramer at Modbury and Uncle Martin and Aunty Net at Lobethal. Soon we will eat our first tomatoes and I am looking forward to that blissful moment as you bite into something with real flavour that you have grown yourself.