June in my Mudgee garden

I’m pretty pleased with my winter veggies this year. My vegetable garden consists of several raised beds, some of which have hinged canopies covered with fruit fly- excluding mesh- these being the tomato beds.

I planted a green manure mixture in the tomato beds- this is something I wrote about in some detail in my January post Forget summer, I’m going straight to autumn!
The green manure is flourishing, although there’s no sign of the promised mustard greens which I had really wanted as a bio-fumigant. I hope I can find time to plant some mustard seeds before the weather gets too cold.

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Green manure going great guns in the tomato bed

My two main beds contain the winter veggies. In one bed there are onions, garlic and loose-leaf lettuce. These are all going really well. I was totally surprised to discover that these lettuces survive frost (so far anyway, we haven’t had a really heavy frost yet this winter).

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In the other bed I have the perennial asparagus, and some cauliflowers. The caulis are a bit shabby as I didn’t get to them in time with the Dipel, so that caterpillars knocked them around a bit. The asparagus is dying off as it does in winter- the fronds are turning an incredible acid yellow colour which looks fantastic in a vase with the gorgeous orange and red foliage of my Japanese maple.

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My gorgeous Japanes maple

In the kingdom of the flowers, I’m thrilled my cymbidium orchid has 3 flower spikes developing nicely. It still surprises me to see what I regard as a tropical plant, flowering in the harsh Mudgee winter. I’ve moved it close to the brick wall of my house, under cover of the verandah, and I cover it with frost cloth overnight when frosts are predicted. So far so good.

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Cymbidium, a most treasured plant, a gift from my late father

This year I’ve come closer to realising a life-long dream- I’ve planted a mass of spring-flowering bulbs in a new garden bed which I created under an elm whose branches are now bare. As I mentioned in my May post It’s bulb planting time, my vision is to see daffodils, bluebells, snowflakes and English snowdrops in beautiful blossom, come the end of winter.

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There’s plenty to do each weekend, despite the slowing of nature with the approach of the winter solstice. My cousin Christine sent me a parcel in the post, from Victoria, full of canna and pineapple lily bulbs, for which I’ve made new beds and planted out over the last few weekends. These will be amazing come spring-time!

A fair proportion of the 3 cubic metres of garden soil I had delivered some months ago is still in a pile in my front yard, along with a small mountain of rocks which a local gardening couple kindly gave me. They had pulled all these rocks out of the ground when creating their wonderful Mudgee garden- I’m using them as edging for new beds. Regrettably the purchased soil is not of the promised quality. The pH is way too high- around 8- disastrous! And it is hydrophobic. Double disaster. Especially when I have 3 cubes of it to deal with! The supplier declined to remedy these problems, so I now have a much bigger job on my hands than expected, to make the “soil” useable. My solution at the moment is to mix as much compost through as I can, which I hope will help solve both problems.

What’s happening in your garden?

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Chris says:

    Hi Jane, love hearing about your garden. My veggies are all in raised beds, I have the usual winter staples. Silver beet which I share with the chooks. A few Asian greens. I love to grow Choy sum especially. Garlic and a few herbs looking good. The asparagus is just as you describe, becoming very yellow. We have had a couple of light frosts. This is my first winter here and it will be interesting to see just how cold it will be. I have some lovely deciduous trees which are now bare, so a different look to there summer lushness , but still very attractive. And don’t you just love the Autumn carpet under the maples as their leaves drop.

    1. My Dream Garden says:

      Hi Chris, your garden sounds great- I haven’t tried Asian greens but should. My garlic is going so well- it’s the first time I’ve grown it. Other winter favourites for me are onions, which I have this year, and turnips. Baby turnip and potato mash…mouthwatering! The carpets of fallen leaves are one of the magical pleasures of autumn. Enjoy your winter of discovery and I hope to see your garden in July!

  2. tonytomeo says:

    There is not much that compares to autumn color. The trees with colored foliage in spring are nice, but they are just not a substitute. My colleague in Southern California envies our autumn color, even though we do not get much either. I is not a priority here.

    1. tonytomeo says:

      Of course, ours is six months off from yours.

    2. My Dream Garden says:

      Hi Tony, I just go dizzy with delight when the autumn leaves appear! I’ve loved them since I was a child when we used to go on holidays to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney- they aren’t a big feature in the temperate coastal area where I’ve lived for most of my life. Out here there are many “escaped” deciduous growing wild along the fringes of the country roads, and they look amazing. The willows are gorgeous. Unfortunately they are considered pest species.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Blue Mountains? The similarities are as numerous as the opposites. Blue gum and red gum have naturalized here, and are now a traditional them in wildlands. The hills above Los Gatos are Sierra Azule, which means Blue Ridge. In Saratoga, just to the west, they are known as the Blue Hills. Blue gum is common on the lower slopes of Sierra Azule.

      2. My Dream Garden says:

        Haha, interesting! “Sierra Azule” sounds beautiful and mysterious…Many people scoff affectionately at our Australian names for plants and animals- implying we lack imagination…in addition to blue gums and red gums, we have black snakes and brown snakes. We also have the red backed spider.

      3. tonytomeo says:

        It may not be creative, but it makes sense.
        The names of some places here are a bit peculiar. Los Banos was named after a place where the Franciscans bathed, but is thought to mean ‘the toilets’. Manteca means lard. Atascadero means mud puddle. Chorro Street in San Luis Obispo means ‘diarrhea’, but is though to be a misspelling of something else. (I am a stickler for history, but even I believe that it should be changed.) There is a town in Orange County named Placentia, (which I also think could be changed). As weird as it sounds, it only means a pleasant place. There are a few creeks near towns that were important and well populated earlier in history that are named Putah Creek, which means ‘Prostitute Creek’. There are a few of them because that was not meant to be the name of them, but the designation of places where prostitutes could wash, out of the way of everyone else’s water supply. Names from the Spanish period are generally rather simple, but those from the Mexican Period are cumbersome. Los Gatos was originally La Rinconada de Los Gatos, which was an interchange of the cats. Paso Robles was El Paso de Los Robles, which was the pass of the valley oaks. Beverly Hills is a town in the Los Angeles region that originally had the amusingly long name of El Rancho del Rodeo de las Aquas, or Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas, because a few small arroyos converged there into a larger arroyo during heavy (but rare) rain showers. The office of one of my publishers is a block and a half from the main street through the downtown shopping district that is still known as Rodeo Drive, although not many know why. It no longer floods during storms.

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