June Update

pp winter greens

The Moon is waxing and the June Solstice is upon us.

This is a longer post than normal as I record an update on what is happening around the garden. The Winter vegetables are coming along fabulously with the recent rain which is no doubt starting to assist with the rapid breakdown of all the goodness I packed into the garden bed at the start of Autumn.

As yet I am not recording rainfall as I haven’t put up my rain gauge. I anticipate it will be located on the back of a trellis post for the fruit tree espalier. That is yet to come.

The rabbits are steadily eating their way through the Sydney Wattle and though we’ve had some chilly mornings, the coldest  are still to come. Fava beans are making their way up through the soil after their planting in accordance with the lunar cycle.

Yesterday I watched a small flock of White-tailed Black Cockatoos fly over, kind of escorting a decent sized Wedge-tailed Eagle along its flight with some bothersome ravens keeping very close range to the eagle. It was good to see our largest raptor make a fly over, and actually a rather surprising sight in this part of town.

pp life in the compost bin

The compost bins are working their magic, breaking down their wastes. Those with leaf litter have various molds forming and fruiting such as the one above. Some of the summer crops of potatoes, flowers, silver beet and parsley have managed to self-sow and are greening up what has been an otherwise dry part of the garden. It is always rewarding to have little surprises like this.

In the raised garden beds it is like a switch has been turned on over the last week or so. The winter crops are lush and green and looking very healthy. There is only very mild insect damage. This brings me to write about quality. Our recent supply of vegetables and fruit from the supermarket and farmers market have noticeably began to wane in quality, whilst the small crop we have in the garden beds and pots is looking vastly superior. My main ambition at this point is to reverse our circumstance of supplementing our intake with produce from our garden – and instead supplementing it when necessary with bought produce.

Soon it will be time to re-introduce a new herd of guinea pigs. We have had to adapt our ways since moving to the new block and our last gathering of free-range g-pigs did not have a happy ending. Free-range as they were, and well-built little animals, we will need to cage them in future, to some extent. Which will be required anyway to have them take down grass where necessary. The kikuyu is going to need some taming. At present we are harvesting some of it by hand in large bunches to feed the rabbits.

pp song of winter solstice

I believe these bulb flowers to be Jonquils. The Little Fellas have confirmed they smell wonderful, as Jonquils do, though I have yet to stop and smell the Jonquils myself. I’m sure they are Spring flowering and most other bulb collections I have are greening up, but certainly not looking like flowering in winter. They are dainty and petite and a real burst of colour to the garden. Many of the bulbs that made the move with us are in containers so that I can identify them when they flower and give them positions in the garden that will suit them.

pp wormwood

The wormwood has also put on new growth with the extra water it has been receiving. Nursed through the last summer as sticks with leaves, it should be established enough by next summer that I won’t have to concern myself with watering it. I can instead put my efforts to pruning what should by then be much larger bushes, and put to test my theory that they will be wide enough, thick enough and have dense foliage (forced by pruning), that it will create a barrier for the kikuyu from the neighbours side. I’m confident it will do the job though I’ve not seen it done anywhere else to my knowledge. I will also say, I never underestimate the tenacity of grasses!

nastpp 1

In a brief moment of reflection I found myself focussing down the lens of my camera and fixing my attention on the world within worlds of raindrops on nasturtium leaves. Captivating. Other observations to note are that the Grey Fantail is still listlessly flitting about the garden. Foraging flocks of Silvereyes and pairs of Red-eared Firetail Finches still frequent the garden looking for seeds and grubs.

The pink rose and the yellow rose are flowering after their transplanting some months ago and the berry canes I potted up from our other house appear to be putting on new growth which is promising. As thorny as they are, they have wonderful, prolific berries.

So that is the update for now. I’ve had some lemon & lime kombucha from Mrs PP, a little chamomile tea with karri honey and I’m ready to embrace the extra special darkness of the June Solstice here in the deep south and get some decent sleep for a change.

Au revoir.

7 thoughts on “June Update

    1. Hi Helen, the wormwood I am using is Artemisia absinthium. It is a perennial and as it matures is quite woody, like an older rosemary plant. It has multiple uses around the house and garden. For my purposes it is a hardy plant, requires little water (it will only get rainfall once established) and will also be handy when we have chickens once again. In pruning it back to encourage it to fill in its foliage (blocking out sunlight) I am hoping to hold back encroaching grass from our neighbours and use the clippings in our compost and gardens to build soil structure. More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artemisia_absinthium

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      1. Thanks for the info. I have a baby artemisia absinthium. Good to know it is tolerant of dry conditions, as we are moving towards drought. I hope yours will prevent the encroaching grass from your neighbours.

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  1. Jonquils, daffodils and narcissus can get confusing, with all the hybridization that has been done over the years. They were confusing already! We do not use the term ‘jonquils’ here, so they are known only be either of the other two names. I think of daffodils as the big and brightly colored flowers that lack fragrance, and narcissus as the smaller and very fragrant flowers that are usually white. Of course, that has all changed, and is not necessarily narcissi.

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