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

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bee Basics Montville -inspired by the garden

We knew it was coming and today the house is enveloped in white misty cloud and the rain is pelting steadily on the roof. The garden takes on an errie atmosphere with the grey greens of foliage emerging from the gloom. I can still enjoy the garden  as  picturesque and perhaps a visit to a garden in rain or fog may be more pleasant than a scorching hot day when the sun burns out the colours. I actually go a bit crazy and hang dog if the  wet weather persists and I can't get outside.
 Lately I have been working in the garden and creating water diversions so that our newly refurbished "Plough Inn"doesn't get flooded again. The recent by product of the cyclone was an incredible amount of rain that fell on the Blackall Range and caused fast run off down the yard and into the back shed taking with it a layer of red dirt.
I think I have successfully created at least two barriers that will  divert the run off and keep the shed safe for now.
Things to do inside
When I'm not in the garden I have been working with  my business partner Lisa on " Bee Basics Montville " products and marketing. Lisa is a beautician and I'm a gardener and together we have created a range of natural products that are based on high quality natural ingredients and essential oils. It all started with the creation of Big Stuff a natural insect repellent inspired by the garden. A walk around 'The Shambles" during summmer when the mozzies were around led us to the Citronella Geranium that I had planted to repell insects. At times after rain and in the humidity I use insect repellent almost every day and I have never really liked the sticky feeling of the repellents on the market so we made our own. It is effective, smells good and feels refreshing.
This was the beginning and we moved on to using Beeswax creating solid lotion bars . The range of bars includes Bare Hands, Bare Autumn, Bare Chest , Bare Bottom and more.
We believe that most people want to make natural choices and that it doesn't have to be a more expensive option. Gradually  I am replacing  personal and domestic products with things we have made. Our product 'Kleen' is a good example of an all round cleanser,deoderiser and sanitiser . It is long lasting and effective and can be used through out the house. Simplicity is the key.
We even have a web site and we are always keen to hear feedback about our products and new ideas of the types of products people need.
Here is a photograph of our grandbaby Austin doing his bit for Bee Basics Montville. He can vouch for "Bare Bottom" a soothing balm for sensitive areas that brings relief to rash prone areas. 
Michael is playing the piano , the rain is pouring down and the gardening will wait for another day.
Cheers Kyleigh

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Shambles, Who'll stop the Rain?

 Ipomoea carnea, a tall and imposing shrub
Well. Just when we thought the continual rain, dense fog and perpetual damp through the house would have a little break, another 'low' pressure system hangs over us in the last week of February.
All of our water runoff protection for "The Plough Inn" is successful and the newly planted material of lst week has the best start ever.
However, it's pretty miserable weather for visitors, the dog and just about about anyone else. It's so dark here in Narnia under the clouds.
Out there in the propagation house we hope that all sorts of things are not going to suffer rot. A shaded and therefore not flowering couple of different Iochromas including Iochroma warwscewiczii and Iochroma coccinea have had cuttings taken. Also from Kate Stock we have had cuttings of a pink Dombeya ? Dombeya burgessiae or Dombeya wallichii as well as a potted plant which may be threatened by drowning. From Nicky Booth at Woodford there are a couple of cuttings of a Wormwood, Gardenia radicans and a protrate Grevillea which can't afford to stay wet.
The propagation area is almost full of pots of cuttings roses, Salvias, Abutilons, Abelia, Carissa, Hibiscus, Weigela 'Eva Rathke', Argyranthemum, my one surviving cutting of Rothmannia and many others. The forecast is for rain for another week so some plants are going to be safer in the ground it would seem.
The garden at the Montville Uniting Church has been cleaned of weeds and fed pelletized fertilizer with dramatic results in only a week. We have potted Evolvulus pilosus and Cuphea for gaps in path way gardens.
From drought to flood our own garden has gone from "on hold" to bursting , especially with flower bud. Lets hope the rain stops in time for us to enjoy the flowers and not see them blown out with the weather, while we are stuck inside.
Michael Simpson

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Shambles, After the Flood

 An orchid waiting for hanging in the new fernery.
After a record difficult dry spell all hell broke loose with record rain and damaging wind from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald on the Australia day weekend. Terrible floods affected many centres and in our area at Montville there was damage around us with no power, phone or mobile phone for 4 days as a result.
Thankfully our home and garden was largely unscathed except for some flooding in the "The Inn".
Also thanks to Martin Leonard who came up on the following weekend for hedge trimming aand removal of much material to the tip.
A couple of weeks later the effects of the rain have been miraculous. All of the roses and perennials which had been flowerless and 'on hold' in the dry are now bursting with new growth and flower bud. We took the opportunity to plant more mature specimens which had been held over such as Magnolia soulangiana, Rhododendron indica 'Splendens', Viburnum suspensum and on our front embankment Nerium oleander 'Dwarf Apricot'.
We are revisiting an attempt to grow Hemizygia transvaalensis in a stone wall raised garden bed largely in shade and have planted out precious little roses such as Rosa chinensis sempreflorens and a cream tea rose from Nicky Booth in Woodford we style 'Mrs Cannons Woodford Rose'.
The new fernery with its raised stone edge beds, collections of ferns and orhcids has had a great start and looks like has been there for a long time. The final construction around the 'Fernery and Fungary' and our propagation area will probably happen this week.
To prevent flooding in the "Plough Inn" again we have installed corrugated iron lined garden beds and rearranged other stone edge garden beds to divert the flow of rain run-off from the hill in front of this building. We are not sure about the role of the resulting garden beds about 5 meters in length and in shade should be. I favour perhaps a collection of begonias, or maybe low growing fern allies.
We'll see.
Michael Simpson