A good old working bee

21 August 2017
Hanno asked me to pass on his thanks for all the good wishes you sent.  Reading through your comments made him feel better.  He's still weak but his chest has cleared and it looks like he's on the road to recovery. Thank you all for your thoughtfulness.

 The delicate and tiny Cecile Brunner rose.

There is no doubt about it, old roses are bullet-proof. When Hanno took down our ancient wobbly wooden arbour in the front garden, we got rid of the wisteria and moved the 20 year old Cecile Brunner rose. I hoped it would survive but I wasn't sure. The transplanting procedure was typical - we carefully dug it up and let it sit in a bucket of diluted seaweed solution. When it was planted again - this time in the vegetable garden fronting the chicken run - it was watered in with seaweed and watered every day.  That was a month ago. I hadn't seen any signs of life and took my trusty garden knife out to check the cambium layer; that is the layer under the bark where moisture and nutrients travel through the rose. It was moist and healthy so I knew Cecile was still alive, she just needed more time. Yesterday, I noticed the first shoots on both trunks and now I have visions of Cecile Brunner establishing herself along that back fence, providing me with a beautiful backdrop over the wire chook fence. Every time I see a Cecile Brunner rose, I think of my mother who grew her Cecile rose along the side fence. It's such a beautiful reminder to have in the backyard.

I transplanted some of the Welsh onions to make way for Cayenne chilli bushes. This bunch was divided into eight clumps.
Another basket of delicious tomatoes.
I've spent the last couple of weeks working in the garden and sitting in the shade thinking about the plants and the coming hot weather.  I've finished doing all I can do now. I'm hoping that as it gets hotter, the mulch will keep the weeds down and the water in the soil. Everything that needs it is cut back, tied up, fertilised and ready for Spring.  Don't forget to get out and do some pre-summer jobs in your garden if you have the time. Just about everything will benefit from a cut back, vines and tomatoes need to be supported and tied back and if you're in Australia, it's the ideal time to fertilise.  I've just added liquid potash, organic pellets and liquid seaweed and fertiliser to the entire back garden. It will make a big difference in the coming days and weeks and the plants will go into renewed growth much healthier and better able to cope with the heat.




I'll stop gardening when the humidity returns some time in November. When it's humid, there are lots of bugs and it's too hot to be outside for long periods. Then I'll put it all to bed for a few months and start up again in March next year. But until then I can keep harvesting parsley, thyme, dill, rosemary, basil, mint, oregano, bay, green leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers and chillies.  I've ripped out all the large tomato plants and we're continuing along with two cocktail tomatoes, about golf ball size, and one cherry tomato. In future years we'll only grow small tomatoes because we have too many problems with the beautiful large heirlooms.  We don't have fruit fly but we've always had a night-visiting moth that sucks juice from large tomatoes. It seems to have been worse the last couple of years so I'm giving up and staying with the smaller varieties.

This is the new edging around one of the orange trees. It's holding in the mulch.

The citrus are thriving and they're very important to us. We always get a huge return on the work we put into our lemons and oranges.  I've put up a small border around two of our Washington navels and filled in with organic sugar cane mulch. We also have a late orange - Lane's Late - which is starting to grow well and will extend our orange season by a couple of months. One of our Eureka lemons has had a boron deficiency - brown patches in the flesh - so I've given them all a dose of trace elements that should  fix it. Hanno balanced out the other side of our old lemon tree by cutting off the old branches and now it's looking better than it has for many years.



I was going to plant cucumbers in the trellis garden where we grew berries last year but I don't have the will or the strength to dig up the hard soil there. I'll plant the cucumbers over the garden arch this year and let the berries come through again. I'm learning to be very flexible with my gardening plans. ;- )
 


The garden looks quite bare now although there are still lots of greens. I've harvested a lot of tomatoes and herbs and pruned back the roses. Everything should start growing strongly when the warmer weather starts again. It feels good to have done this garden work. It's a long time since I've had sole responsibility for the garden but when I packed up my trolley and brought in the garden tools and hose, it felt good. It was certainly time well spent.

Have you done any work in your garden lately?


25 comments

  1. Hi Rhonda
    I've been tidying up my big pots by the front door, dead heading to keep the flowers coming, pruning a rose bush quite hard and trying to reshape it slightly by cutting out growth that is crossing other stems, weeding a bit in the flower beds and harvesting cherry tomatoes. This has been achieved in bite sized chunks as the weather is very changeable at the moment and rain stops play quite often.

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  2. Hi, Rhonda. I haven't done very much at all in my garden of late because I have the flu so I'm just waiting until I feel better to get back out to the garden. There's still a bit trickling in with kale and lettuce and so on but I am keen to get the garden ready for Spring. I want to grow cucumbers too, they always do well and we eat a lot of them! Hope Hanno is feeling well again now. Meg:)

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  3. Your Welsh onions look very similar to what we call "Walking Onions" here in my part of the US. Can you tell me more about them? Do they send out smaller onion plants at the top of the "parent" plant? I am envious of your citrus trees. Our winters are too harsh for anything to be green and growing, unless inside a heated greenhouse. That makes Spring all the sweeter when it comes. Right now we are in the declining weeks of high summer. My tomatoes are just starting to ripen. I've been over-run with cucumbers & summer squash. I wasn't going to make relish this year but I think I will now. At least one batch to use up some of the excess cukes. We are hopeful for enough tomatoes to make salsa and to can juice for winter soups.

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    1. Kay, Welsh onions don't produce small onions from the top, they are perennial onions that multiple by producing another version of themselves from the bottom of the plant. They never produce a typical onion bulb, they're more like spring onions or large chives. I was given a small clump of Welsh onions by another gardener about ten years ago and since then they have grown in our backyard.

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  4. I'm glad to hear Hanno is feeling a bit better, may he continue to recover well. Your garden looks great Rhonda, it is making me want to get in and get going on ours! Hope you have a lovely week ahead.

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  5. I'm glad to hear Hanno is on the mend. Besides the usual harvesting, I've sown seeds for fall greens,,, kale, arugula, lettuce, chard. I did some tip layering on raspberries and hazelnuts for the first time, and hope they will take. I weed here and there while I harvest. We got 5 new hostas on clearance, and divided two of them before planting, for our shade garden. I've been thinking of moving one of my roses when it gets cooler here, as it's not happy where it is at. It is a nice thing to have flowers to go with memories.

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  6. I know that I am rather late in sending best and healing wishes to Hanno but they are very sincerely meant and warmly sent. I've had family and extended family here and have done what I like most in filling there tummies and having a table around which they conversation i sgood and, very often fun! xx

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  7. You really do inspire me Rhonda. Thankyou for showing us around your garden and for the tip about fertilising too. I do use Seasol Seaweed concentrate together with their Powerfeed (red bottle) and every six weeks Dynamic Lifter pellets, compost and mulch.
    I planted a small Meyer lemon tree in a large pot in March so hoping it takes off.
    I'll get onto organising a small working bee here too now I think. Such good therapy as well. Picturing us all out there with Samson, chickens roaming around, sunshine and good home cooked food.
    Kylie

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  8. Goodmorning Rhonda,
    So glad Hanno is feeling better, there is no good time to be unwell.
    On the gardening front, I am a frustrated gardener as I find everything I grow ends up with a pest or disease, I know in my heart it is because of the growing medium, you see, everything I grow is in pots as I have no bare earth to plant anything in. We made some bad decisions years ago by planting loads of golden cane palms and then paving the whole yard. It would be a huge undertaking to start over, I think it could be done but it would require a lot of muscle and money. The other problem I am having at the moment is naughty dogs digging up the pot plants! We have inherited two little Jack Russell's who just can't leave anything alone, today I have to go out and clean up a big mess from yesterday afternoon. The dogs ripped out my oregano and kale, I don't think either plant can be saved😩I also find it hard to keep water up to the potted plants as they dry out very quickly, never mind I do keep trying and one day I will have the garden I always wanted.
    Have a lovely day.
    Fi

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  9. We have just returned three beds in the vegetable garden to working order. After our fire back in November the whole garden went to ruins during the rebuild - kikuyu running through every bed I had worked so hard to establish.

    Every bit of fruit was also eaten by birds as all of the nets had been destroyed. It is so wonderful to see blossoms on the almond, nectarine etc... and know that this year there will once again be an abundant harvest.

    Still a lot of work to do but the garden should be thriving in a few months.

    Madeleine.x

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  10. Morning Rhonda, good to hear Hanno is improving. We have sun today (Ballarat Vic) and it makes people happier, lol.

    We have had a couple of bit Cecile Brunner roses that were quite old. Hubby was frustrated with them because they just grow! I think that we still have a little one at the front, must check on that. My late MIL had them in her wedding bouquet and she just loved them. They always remind me of her words. Take care.

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  11. Hi Rhonda, I'm so glad to hear that Hanno is feeling better. Your Cecil Brunner rose is lovely. I love that stage, when the bud is opening. I have been harvesting pomegranates. Citrus do very well here, too. I need to feed mine their fourth round of compost for the year. I keep a thick layer of mulch on top, and that really works. It looks like you are doing an excellent job of manning the garden.

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  12. Hi Rhonda, good to hear Hanno is feeling better.
    Our garden in Perth is going strongly. We harvested a lot of oranges and lemons recently and there are many limes on the tree. Our silverbeet is giving us all the greens we need. And our turnips have just got to harvesting size. Soon we'll have broad beans too, and hopefully cauliflower.

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  13. Hi Rhonda and I am glad that Hanno is recovering well :) . Both DH & I are now on our second round of antibiotics too for pneumonia, it is going around unfortunately.

    You have done a really nice job in your garden solo and it looks beautiful.

    We have been preparing our 200 square metres of vegetable herb and berry gardens for spring. We have added trailer loads of horse and cow manure and some lime and DH rototilled it in.

    In the front gardens we dug up all the roses, rosemary, strawberries and thyme and separated them and after amending the soil transplanted them back in the garden beds. They are starting to come to life and the roses have new shoots on them and look very happy, rosemary looking good and thyme and strawberries starting to stand up and look healthy. I planted some lettuce, tiny tim cherry tomatoes and moneymaker tomato seeds and basil seeds in one of the front gardens and they are just sprouting.

    The front and half the side of the house lawns has had cow manure put on them for fertiliser and we are starting to see new green shoots everywhere. So nice to see spring is in the air and we will soon be able to plant out the rest of the vegetable garden beds once the frosts have passed in the mountain cottage.

    Sewingcreations15

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  14. It's been SO hot here. I put in hundreds of transplants a few days ago, only to have them baked and killed by the brutal heat. It's encouraging to see your beautiful cool weather veggies. :)

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    1. I'm sorry to hear that, Bill. All that time and energy wasted. I hope your weather cools down soon.

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  15. I check each day, hoping you have written! I have come here for years, but seldom comment. Just wanted you to know that I am here each day. Thank you!

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    1. :- ) Hello Dianna, thanks for coming by again today.

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  16. Happy that Cecile Brunner survived the transplanting, it is such a beautiful little rose. I will miss mine when I move and definitely buy another to plant in my new home.
    Lavenderlass

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  17. Hi Rhonda, What do you do with all the green tomatoes you have picked? Does that horrid night flying moth/caterpillar not get into the cherry toms? I always thought Cecile Brunner was a "he" - shows my knowledge of French names :(. I hope Hanno is feeling a lot better now.

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    1. Hi Lyndie, I store them on the kitchen bench and wait till they ripen. :- )

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  18. Such good news that Hanno is getting better. I love the pictures of your garden. It's freezing here in Tasmania though I have lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and several types of onions and herbs that are producing. I cannot wait until it's warm enough to plant some tomatoes. Thank you Rhonda for the inspiration you provide. I love reading your posts. Lisa J.

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  19. On the other side of the world my garden is headed into autumn. I've been mulching the soil where crops have come out to protect it from fall and winter winds. I'm harvesting tomatoes and still waiting on peppers to mature.

    We've had a strange spring and summer and are still considered in drought despite 2.5 inches of rain this past week. We were unreasonably hot and dry all through May, June and July. Now August where it typically is hot and dry we are cooler and getting some rains. Crazy weather meant that most of the seeds I planted did not germinate. Out of a row of chard I got one plant and from 4 packets of carrot seed not a single carrot. Tomatoes and peppers were watered or they would have perished.

    I love looking at your lush gardens and appreciate how much work you put into them to have so much bounty.

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    1. LeeAnn, it's such a shame you did all your gardening work with few results. Sadly, I'm hearing similar stories from gardeners all around the world. I sincerely hope next spring and summer make up for it. xx

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  20. The rose is so beautiful. I am very glad Hanno is recuperating nicely. I got cucumbers from friends and put up 8 pints of bread and butter pickles (not many). I also just finished putting up 14 half-pints of crab apple jelly. It is quite a chore to put up crab apples as first you have to wash them, remove their stems and blossom ends, cut them in half, boil them down, strain through cheese cloth to extract the juice and THEN make your jelly. Fortunately I got them for free, but I have to give half the batch to the couple that gave me the apples. I think I got the worst end of this bargain. Enjoy your spring! We are looking forward to our autumn and cooler weather.

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