Top ten list of garden plants

  • Abutilons of all kinds
  • Buddlejas old and new
  • Epiphytic orchids and ferns
  • Gordonia species
  • Heliotrope, Lemon verbena, Fennel and herbs
  • Michelias of all sorts
  • Perennial Salvias large and small
  • Species Camellias
  • Tea and China Roses
  • Weigela of all types

Montville Rose

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back yards

Even since I was a child I have loved to look at gardens. Usually over the fence as I walked home from school or even from the train as I travelled on the Shorncliffe line to Brisbane.
Looking over the fences you could see the plants and so much more. Many people went to great lengths to make their gardens useful and there were vegetable gardens, flowers, bbq areas, car ports ,clothes lines , pathways and low chain wire fences. Every home seemed to have a point of difference and there were people who obviously took great pride in their garden spaces.
Naturally there were others who couldn't care less and cursory lawn mowing may be all that was done or not.
The garden is a reflection of the owner and making a home can extend into the outdoor space.
Roy Strong in his book ,'The Lasket' states,"Gardens are not created in limbo. How few books I have read on particular gardens have ever spelt out the social,political and economic climate against which they were conceived."
When I think of those suburban Brisbane gardens in the late 60's and 70's there was a definate mend and make do aspect to gardens suggesting the economic restraints. I remember one garden right near the Sandgate station that was quite flash because it had so much concrete and fancy balustrading. It all seemed to be home made and someone obviously put time and money into that garden. People didn't seem to spend money on gardens when we lived. There might be one or two people who had lovely lawns and a sense of design. Often the arrangements looked like the Yates Garden Guide cover and the fashion for gerbras and low brick fences reminds me of that time.
Most people had gardens that were grown from cuttings . Plants that were shared over the fence mean't that certain hardy plants became the common staples of everyones garden.
When you were riding home on the afternoon train during summer the sea breeze would get into full swing at about Nudgee. The wind would rush through the carriage and you would forget the heat of Brisbane and the stillness of the inner city suburbs.
The houses with their back yards up against the rail line would begin to become shady and the dry clothes flapped wildly on rotary hills hoists. The green lawns looked subdued and welcoming. Sometimes there would be children and dogs playing there. Waving hands stretched up at the train and gone in a flash.
I love that domestic garden space and I like that there are people doing diffent things in every garden. Someone might be building a boat, fixing a car, arriving home from work, someone is watering the garden, mowing the lawn, bringing in the washing. It is that the space outdoors has a use that intrigues me. It may be the home made trellis , uneven paving, obviously repaired fences and repainted letter boxes that make the space unique. It may not be a work of art or classic garden but it tells of the social and economic time.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gardening Australia ? Blow, Blow thou winter wind

We expect in Queensland to get a few cool days over winter. This year the uneasonal heavy rain all over a cool summer has extended to an almost cold winter here at Montville. I'm cuddling up with the heater on near my legs as I write this!
Our open garden on 17th 18th september has us concentrating harder on preparations in 2011 than we did in 2010. It's wet as I write this, otherwise I'd be outside.
The old house has had it's long overdue repairs and is being repainted externally after twenty years. The restoration with new cedar sash windows has really enhanced the houses appearence. Pic. Justicia rizzinii
We are gathering coral, clam and other shells for our rustic fountain to recapture a garden feature once popular in the 19th century.
The local foundary is manufacturing he steel frame for our gate house and materials are being gathered to bring back to life the partly dismantled 'plough Inn' near our Northern Boundary.
Horticulture wise the annual rose pruning has been started, and cuttings material potted up in the cuttings house shelves.
Rain this weekend has helped along our Pansys, Violas, patiolas, Primulas, Kale, Chard, Peas, Queens Anne's Lace, Baby's breath, Statice, helichrysum, sweet Williams and Allysum. We have sewn Sunflowers and have many other seed packets to sew. Hell!
Last weekend the guys from the car club; Joy and John, Norm, Graham, Ross, Bryce, Wendy and Ken helped us trim back some ragged corners and edges of Brugmansia, Photinea, Duranta, Ficus, Waterhousia, Syzygium and tons of Tradescantia (2 utes , 1 dual axle trailer). This weekend our friends Tracey and Chris came all the way up from Brisbane to help clean out our shed of demolition, windows, paint tins, tyres, batteries and other flotsum and jetsum (1 ute load).
From this point our plants can afford no more heavy pruning. from tomorrow it's light pruning, spraying and feeding and a concentration on garden structures.
Dr Michael Simpson

Friday, July 1, 2011

house and garden

Camellia 'Julia France', Montville Uniting Church (where we also garden)
Tis the season for repairing.
The poor old house has received a fair bit of long overdue repair and we took the opportunity to replace sliding windows fitted in the 1960s. Now our century old house has cedar sash windows all around and the painter has been called to freshen things up (after 20 years).
In the garden our september 17th -18th open garden preparations continue.
With the removal of some trees whole vistas and opportunities have opened up.
In a lovely clearing surrounded by Red cedar (Toona ciliata) , Barklya syringifolia, Melaleuca, Banksia integrifolia (Coastal banksia) and palms (Archontophoenix cunninghamii) we have planted red cordyllines , various Crotons, Deiffenbachia and Begonias to boost the populations of same and add to the Blue ginger lilies (Dichorisandra) and other interesting plants throughout this area.
Also to take advantage of this wet year we are planting lots of bedding annuals; Snap dragons, Patiolas, Petunias, Primulas, 'Johnnu Jump Ups', 'Sweet Williams' and Helichrysum.
Friends from the car club, the Blackall Range horseless Carriage Club and friends from Brisbane, Tracey and Chris Colley are coming to help with the last of our big scale cleanups.
All we need are the regular wet days throughout our lead up and fine weather in september.
Pray for us
Michael Simpson