Build it and they will come

Last Sunday I spent the morning in the garden. The weather was reasonable and all those little jobs were waiting to be done.

First on the list was doing some hand-pollinating on the apricot tree. I know, not a lot of fun and just a wee bit anal, but the low temperatures mean that bee pollination is not guaranteed.

By brush, pollinating the apricot tree
By brush, pollinating the apricot tree

Luckily for me I was about a third of the way around the open flowers when I realised I had some help.

An expert shows the way!
An expert shows the way!

Good enough! No need to get in the way of the experts.

Earlier in the week we had found some vegetable seeds in one of the Asian supermarkets near the university, so job number two was planting these out.

Chinese celery and white radish
Chinese celery and white radish

I had chosen seeds that would be able to bear the cold temperatures, Chinese celery, also called mitsuba and a short white radish, that grows to about 20cms.

I also planted out my old garden boots. Yes, they had done their job and while the uppers look quite OK the soles were completely broken and holey. These now are planted with chives, that came free from a magazine cover.

Old boots, new purpose
Old boots, new purpose

And while all this busyness was happening I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. At last, our nesting spotted pardalotes have arrived. Once more our large compost heap has been pressed into service for these tiny nesting birds.

One of the pardalotes sitting outside their nesting hole.
One of the pardalotes sitting outside their nesting hole

This is one gardening service we are happy to provide.

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Going to Goulburn

My friend M and I decided to have a bit of a girl’s day in Goulburn yesterday. While we specifically went to see an exhibition at the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery we also managed a nice lunch and a stroll around some of the streets, looking at the interesting buildings.

One of our stops was the Argyle Book Emporium, on Sloane Street, just about 100 metres from the train station, where we spent some time and some money. I decided to focus on the garden section where I found two interesting books. The Seedsavers’ Handbook, by Michel and Jude Fantin, which will hopefully contribute to a more successful approach to propagating seed from our vegetables. The book includes descriptions, propagation, seed saving and storage information for a good range of garden veggies, as well as an “on the lookout” section highlighting particularly interesting varieties of plants.

A serendipitous find was a 1965 Garden Club Edition of A Flower for Every Day, by English cottage garden promoter Margery Fish. I’d guess from it’s excellent condition that the book has never been read. I was immediately taken by the delightful cover. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a credit for the artist responsible for the cover anywhere in the book. I’m definitely looking forward to reading this book while curled up next to the heater.

Does anyone know who the artist is?
Does anyone know who the artist is?

An added bonus inside the book was this entertaining ad for a bookcase, which could be bought from the book’s Australian distributor.

An offer too good to miss!
An offer too good to miss!

I wonder if there are any of these marvels of modernist design still around?

Our last stop of the day was a visit to Gehls nursery, out on the road to Crookwell. It was a pleasure to see a nursery with a range of shrubs, many of which I recalled from my grandparent’s garden. There was also a large range of trees on offer and some lovely HUGE pots. My favourite pot was a mere snip at $990! I did need a pair of secateurs as the last ones disappeared several months ago when we had a garden blitz at a friends place, so I splurged on a pair of stainless steel, Sophie Conran secateurs, made by Burgan and Ball. We are uncertain whether the old secateurs were dropped on the ground or accidentally thrown away at the garden waste centre. All I can say is that these secateurs are not going on any excursions to other gardens!

A happy haul.
A happy haul.

A final felicty was the arrival this morning of our latest seed order from Green Harvest. It includes three herbs, mitsuba (Japanese Parsley), perilla (shiso) and Zaatar (a Middle-eastern relative of oregano) and two veggies Japanese Burdock (gobo) and Kailaan (Gai Lan, Chinese broccoli). It’s a bit too soon to be planting any of these so now I just need to put them somewhere where we won’t forget them.