2015 Begins

I hope everyone has had a happy new year.

I’ve added a couple of semi-static pages to the blog.

The first is a map of the garden. I have really enjoyed the maps that others have uploaded, so I’ve decided to play copy-cat. The map serves as both a proposed layout as well as documenting some of the changes that have occurred. It can be accessed either from the top menu or by clicking here.

I’ve also started documenting some of the trees that I planted around the garden and will take happy snaps each year. It is also accessed by the top menu or by clicking here.

But as we are now in high summer, the garden is charging along:

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Lilium sp.

Amazing.

Certainly not a prudish flower with those stigma and stamens 😉

This bulb came from a packet of 20 mixed types and colours last spring, so I honestly don’t know what I’ll end up with….the surprise is part of the fun. That, and being able to enjoy the super cheap prices that suppliers give to the left over bulbs!

I have dotted them around the garden and the pink ones are the first to open.

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Another pink variety

One thing that I know will annoy Northern gardeners is the fact that we don’t have the  Lily Beetle here in Australia (we have our own version, but it just nibbles politely at the leaves), so the foliage, buds and flowers actually remain on the plant rather than in the digestive tract of a bug:

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Thankfully the colours mix well with the Lupins in the ‘secret garden’ – I’ll be glad when the hedge grows up so I can take down the ugly screening!

The main thing about this composition though is the scent: on a warm summer day in the sheltered ‘secret garden’ area, heady, syrupy sweet lilies mixing with the white pepper of the Lupins is like being in a Creole kitchen!

The Lupins still keep sending up new spikes.

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Delicate pink Lupins

With the super warm spring weather, the Agapanthus are about 4 weeks early:

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Such a pretty weed

They are an indestructible weed here – admittedly a very pretty weed – but a weed none-the-less.

Not even cold stops them: their leaves all turned to mush during winter:

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The same clump in July – still flowering!

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Healthier than ever

The leaves all turned brown and black and the remaining ones went horribly spongy. I didn’t cut any dead leaves back, nor feed, nor water it, yet it’s healthier than ever…..!

That clump represents a future chiropractor bill when I eventually dig it out and place the divisions along one of the driveways.

I’ve also used a few of the days off between Christmas and New Year to start taming some of the goat track that passes for a corner of the back yard:

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Quite a few more steps to add before I make all the way down the hill….!!!!

Happy Gardening 🙂

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28 thoughts on “2015 Begins

    • Thanks! Still a long way to go. I put on the ‘plan’ that there would only be about half a dozen steps, but as I’m still left with an awkward slope, I guess that I’ll have to budget for at least double that 😐

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  1. Hi Matt!
    I’m enjoying your young garden and your enthusiasm – as you might have picked up, I will be scaling down this year. (Hopefully sooner rather than later; I think I have my buyer and can expect developments in March.) I am eyeing two possibilities in our local village – both have excellent gardening scope but minimal gardens at this stage. Of course, in theory, I will not be gardening in my new life, but doing all the things gardening has stopped me from doing for 30 years, such as botanising in our rich local biomes and travelling through our beautiful country. That’s the theory. In practice the hundreds of cuttings growing on for the next garden already make it clear to me that that is not to be… Be it as it may: soon I too will be nursing young plants in a young (but infinitely smaller) garden and your energy is inspiring!
    May 2015 be a great year for you! 🙂

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  2. Thanks Jack! Sequoia Gardens is the stuff of amazing dreams – but vast – I think even I would need more than my current quarter acre enthusiasm to keep such a beautiful garden maintained. Congratulations on finding a buyer, and all the best for your travels in 2015, but I suspect that gardening will never quite loosen its grip 🙂

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  3. Good luck with the steps, they’re looking great so far!
    Too cold for agapanthus here, but I can think of plenty of worse weeds to have… in fact I think I have many of them already.
    The map is nice, it really helps make sense of the garden. I may copy the copier 🙂

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  4. Very impressive garden plan, you must have some drafting skills. I’m also impressed that your Agapanthus is a “weed”, here it is a very delicate exotic flower always hovering on the brink of death during our freezing winters. Good luck with your path, you seem to be off to a strong start.

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    • Thanks! Depending on the project, I use CAD for clients, but when I’m just making rough and not to scale sketches (or clients on a very tight budget), I find excel is fast and does the job. As for the agapanthus, I’m surprised it even grows in Chicago. There go my hopes for one our winter ‘freezes’ killing the clump without my having to dig 🙂

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  5. happy new year Matt, it is so lovely to see warm and dry especially when it is enhanced with some beautiful blooms, I have found setting out paths and beds really helps cope better with the garden, I did not realise your garden on a slope too, my house is on the side of a hill, Frances

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    • Thanks! It is quite a steep slope (the height difference is over 20m between the front yard and back yard), but some levelling was done when the house was built, which isn’t really adequate. Thankfully it is fairly sandy soil, so cutting and filling won’t be too back breaking!

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  6. Hi Matt, that map is such a good idea and very professional too! Wish Agapanthus were weeds in my garden. Your steps look promising. I’d love to see more pics of the garden views and how the house sits in it. Your pink lilies are stunning and just lift the spirit 🙂

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    • Thanks Annette, I love the pink lillies, the smell on warm afternoons is amazing! Hopefully, I can get the steps and retaining wall area finished soon to start taking some wider views

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    • Thanks Robbie! The soil is very rocky here, everytime you turn a spade, you hit a dozen pieces of rock of varying sizes. The old houses have these sorts of informal dry-stack walls (newer ones of course ship in whatever materials are in vogue for their garden) and I really like the idea of using as much from the site as possible

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      • My father lives up in the northern part of Illinois, USA. It is known as the “Driftless Zone”, an area that was not covered by glaciers during the ice ages. He has lived there for the past 20 years and he dug out all the rocks from his property( he has an acre) to build rock walls around his property. It is beautiful, like yours:-) We have a lot of clay down state and not much rock.
        I agree using as much from the site as you can!
        We live in an urban area, we would like to move and build a “green” home ,but why-we ask ourselves? isn’t it “greener” to take what you have and make it green:-) lol
        You are doing a great job!

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  7. Your map is impressive and I look forward to seeing the garden develop. Re the lilies, I was just looking at a collection of mixed bulbs in a catalog for spring planting here and debating whether or not to proceed with a purchase – I think your photos and your reference to their scent has clinched the decision for me.

    Best wishes for your ambitions planting plan and happy 2015!

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    • Thanks Kris! These lilliums are so easy to grow (in Australia at least where we don’t have the red lily beetle); but the scent is amazing! I just wish I knew what the cultivars were so I could give more advice on the variety that has this scent…..but that’s what a lucky dip is, I guess 🙂

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