Sunday, October 25, 2015

Gardenia CSI

I'm so sad. ALL my gardenias have leaves that are turning yellow and I don't know why. They're in three different parts of the garden/house, so the cause of this is a mystery.  These are the ones on the side garden and all them are at different stages of yellowing, some more than others.

These are the gardenias in the middle garden and the ones closer to the house are a lot more yellow than the ones near the gate. The ones on the balcony are the same. 

I've had a look at the soil and it's not too wet or too dry so that's not the issue. I also gave them all a dose of epsom salts in case it was magnesium sulphate deficiency and Seasol in case it was a nitrogen deficiency.

I also did a pH test of both lots of soil in the front garden and while one is a bit too neutral, the other is acidic - the perfect level for gardenias.  The only thing I can think is an iron deficiency, so I gave them all a dose of iron chelate and prayed to the horticultural gods.

In the meantime, look at this beauty! They finally bloomed and they smell divine! These are on the balcony off the master bedroom and their perfume wafts into the room in the morning. Such a shame about these yellow leaves. I really hope all or one these things helps. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Oh hello!  Look what finally decided to make an appearance. And it was worth the wait - how lovely is it? My mother in law is particularly pleased as she was the one who gave it to me. Certainly brightens up the guest bathroom.

No movement though on the gardenias. The buds on those are still tightly close.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Backyard Garden Dream

I'm supposed to be doing a million other things today but I've found myself lost in a bit of backyard garden design haze of procrastination. Currently, this design is just a pipe dream. (Not to be confused with the design for underneath the house and the front of the house - this is in progress.)

Absolutely nothing is going to get done on this part of the yard until the subdivision is done because a massive bulldozer needs to come through and carve up half of it to lay a pipe, so it will remain as it is, a barren waste and current gauntlet for magpie attacks.

HOWEVER, when that is complete, then this is what I'm thinking of doing.

  • Citrus orchard at the back with lemon, limes and maybe pomegranate trees. After subdivision the backyard will be 10 metres wide. If I can fit a fourth tree in I'll make it a mandarin.
  • Firepit for those chilly winter nights. We had an awesome time toasting marshmallows and so did Josh when he had all his mates around for a campfire. 
  • Deck for those balmy summer evenings. I'm thinking some margaritas or just some cool lemonade in the sunshine. Might have to be before magpie nesting season though.
  • Raised veggie garden beds for some herbs and tomatoes. 
  • Mulberry trees for some fruit and some shade and to break up the rectangularness of the garden. We had a mulberry tree in the backyard when I was a kid and I thought it was the most awesome thing ever!
  • The rest will be mass planted with gardenias, murrayas, spider lilies, deities, azaleas and any other white flowered or fragrant plants I can get my hands on.

What say you? Yay or nay?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The birds

The backyard. Looks harmless enough doesn't it? Who would think it would be the scene of a bloody and coordinated attack by a flock of vicious, mutant birds, with razors for beaks and fire for wings?

Actually that's a bit dramatic. In fact there were only two and they were magpies. And they weren't on fire. And it is nesting season. This is the first time though that I've ever known magpies to nest in that tree and it's the first time I've been swooped before. It's pretty scary. 

I was just taking some compost to the backyard and I saw a magpie sitting on the ground. I thought perhaps it was injured so I went closer for a look but in hindsight maybe it was just a baby and learning to fly. One swooped me from behind and pecked me on the head and before I knew it another one was coming from the front. Luckily I was wearing a pretty tough baseball cap but I have no doubt that if I hadn't been the peck certainly would have drawn blood.

I retreated to under the house, which is a long way from the tree and another one just sat on the fence looking at me. I'm not sure if it was the same one but it looked pretty evil.

I just did a google search and apparently nesting season goes to the end of December. Arrrgh!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Interior Decorating Porn

All these items will definitely be in my new bedroom!

Excuse me while I indulge in a bit of interior decorating porn on the Adairs website. This is my favourite store ever! Loving all these items from their new season catalogue.

Want these chairs for the living room. That rug will do nicely too thanks very much…

For the lounge room or downstairs retreat perhaps?

Not sure why I love this but I do…

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Inspiration

You might have noticed that I'm not really into colour when it comes to flowers in my garden. It's just white, white and a bit of white. I took my parents to the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers last weekend though and I was sooo blown away by the amazing colour in people's gardens. I might just consider adding some colour to my garden!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Starting on the backyard

Now that the front yard is finished, it's time to move focus to the backyard…which is currently a disaster. As part of the subdivision we will have to run a stormwater drain through the side backyard fence line from the end of the house, through the neighbours behind us and out onto their street. So there's no point in doing too much along that side as a bulldozer will be coming through shortly. What we can do is fix up the section directly below the house and directly along each side of the house.

It's a long weekend here in Oz and I sacrificed a weekend camping trip to make a start on the backyard.   The first stage was to lay weed mat so we could put stones in the large section under the house and along the path.

I created this design for the house well over 18 months ago in this post, and while progress to date has been slow, at least there has been some progress. The front section has been completed, with the front timber deck path being replaced by a aggregate path, the driveway done and the front left side garden complete (just).

Under the back of the house
The large timber deck for underneath the back section of the house is just a pipe dream (for now). It's just too expensive and the subdivision is going to tie out most of our funds for the moment. The short term solution will be to fill the space with stones to tidy up up the area and reduce the area we have to mow. At present the surface is uneven and a stack of weeds are growing in there and it just looks like crap. I've seen some amazing creations with palettes and so I'm thinking we could even make some temporary pallet furniture so at least there's a place to hang out.

We'll also put stones under the front section of the house as well, where Bella's dog kennel and the clothesline are located. While there's not as many weeds under there, the surface is really uneven and it's just loose dirt which means we drag that up the stairs when we bring the clothes in and when it rains, the space just turns to mud.

River rock 40mm
I found a new supplier for the stones on Gumtree and we've come up with two budget options. This first one is river rock and one truckload (10m3) should just cover this entire space. This is the cheapest option and I think will work ok. The rocks are smooth, unlike the road base/gravel option I was also looking at so at least won't be too harsh on bare feet.

This is the second option - tumbled sandstone. It's a couple of hundred dollars more expensive, but looks a bit more interesting with its range of colours. Josh likes this option more. I really don't mind, but saving a couple of hundred dollars does appeal.

Anyway, it won't be done until next weekend as I ran out of weed mat and today is a public holiday so I have a week at least to think about it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Spring has nearly sprung!

It's October, the second month of spring, but my my plants are still on the verge of blooming, keeping me in an anxious state of anticipation. These are the gardenias on my bedroom balcony and these buds have been in this state for what seems like weeks. I can't wait until for that gorgeous first bloom of white and that sweet fragrance.  Please put me out of my misery!

This is the phalaenopsis orchid in the downstairs guest bathroom. It's the first time EVER I've had an orchid survive a second year with me. There are two other orchids in the house, also in their second year, but they don't look like they're going to bloom any time soon.  They are still alive however so I'm declaring success.