|Modest attempt at Christmas decoration, not to mention modest presents.|
Now our child is all grown up (mostly), I find it hard getting into all the decoration thing at Christmas. It feels a bit wasted. Or maybe I feel a bit wasted. It is 38 degrees (100F) and I've just finished playing 18 holes of golf and made a dash for a plunge in the pool before finishing off this post.
|I will make up the table with bon bons tomorrow but that's about it. The Christmas grinch?|
It seems a bit odd seeing reindeer decorations and Father Christmas rugged up when we are baking in the high 30s and early 40s heat. I also find it exceedingly odd to walk into a store that is playing carols referencing a "white christmas". While somewhat cheesey, I think Bucko and Champs have the idea for an Australian Christmas tune, referencing the pool, rusty holden utes and kangaroos. You must listen to it. Bucko and Champs nail it. So Aussie.
|The drooping red-bow tied around the plane trees in the high street just don't seem to cut it.|
|Poinsettias herald Christmas in Australia|
Given we aren't knee deep in snow, for me Christmas means sprucing up the garden. Not that I have much room to garden nor am I very competent at keeping plants alive. However, always optimistic, a couple of days ago I was off to my favourite nursery, The Conservatory.
Let's hope the mint does better in this hanging basket, despite the 39 degrees. If anything I tend to overwater and kill plants with kindness. I've already killed a fuschia and impatients in this basket through overwatering. When it's stinking hot and plants visibly wilt I just have to water! How can I not?
I bought this beautiful gardenia recently and already the leaves have started turning yellow. I've given the plant some gardenia fertiliser and tried not to over water, so fingers crossed. I've been told you just need to lift the pot to check how heavy it is to determine whether or not to water. Try lifting that baby. I don't think so. Instead, I use a combination of my finger and a moisture metre probe (other than my finger), although I've been told by experts that you can't trust the metal probes.
I've got a tricky area down one side of the house that only gets about 2 hours of sunshine a day. I've tried mandevilla plants but they got too wet and died, even without watering! I planted clematis a few weeks ago but already they are yellowing. I've sprayed them with a recommended fungicide spray but it's not looking good.
This lemon tree on the terrace lost about half its leaves in the first two weeks in my care. I've tried to not over-water but perhaps I'm under watering? I re-potted it and the soil around the edge tends to stay damp while the root ball dries out. It is a juggle. It also gets very windy up on the terrace, so perhaps that is a factor?
I've tried planting some herbs and flowers around the edge to soak up some moisture. I'll let you know how it goes.
One plant that is positively thriving is the olive tree. Nothing I do or don't do to it interferes with its rampant growth. Perhaps I should just plant out olives everywhere?
For a bit of colour, I have planted some vinca or my preferred name for them, Madagascar periwinkles, below the olive tree... so we will see if it still thrives!
As for my bay tree, oh dear. The heat of the sun is scorching the leaves. Maybe I should put it in the shade?
However, the kaffir lime tree that I am espaliering is doing well. And more of those great sounding Madagascar periwinkles. I've just planted them so I can tell people what they are.
I digress to tell you of these great outdoor cushions I had made-up by Living Vogue Furniture. They are made from marine-grade material and are completely water-proof. They have zippers so that you can remove the covers and throw them in the washing machine. Love them.
Something I am proud of is the magnolia tree. When we returned from living in Brisbane earlier this year, there were exactly 23 leaves left on this tree. I have fertilised, watered and used wetting agents. I have brought it back to health! Amazing. It hasn't flowered this year but that is understandable given the stress it must have been under. There's always next year for those big creamy flowers.
Now I'm back to the pool to cool off.
Merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year where-ever you may be. I hope 2016 brings you peace, contentment and happiness.