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An early Winter Gardening Weekend Downunder ... the Queen's Birthda...


By bernieh


Yes … I know it’s seems strange but downunder we do have a day off work to celebrate the birth of the Monarch!!! We Aussies love our long weekends … what can I say! There is, in fact, a bit of history behind the observation of the Monarch’s birthday … way back to 1788 when our first Governor declared a holiday to mark the birth of King George 111.

Anyway … back to gardening. What else is there to do on a long weekend? Hubbie went off on a two-day ride with the Old Fart’s Club … sorry, the Restored Motorcycle Club … and I had the whole wonderful weekend to myself. Glorious weather …

So … the Pentas bed had a severe trim … the new garden beds has a dressing of compost and fertiliser and a few plants removed or moved … all the potted plants have now been re-potted and a few new plants potted up.

As many of you know, I don’t spend much time or effort on the large outdoor garden beds … this is a difficult site and those beds are now well-established and look after themselves. There are no perennials to move or spots to add plants … lol! there is practically no workable soil out there. So my efforts go into the two garden spaces where I can add plants and change things around.

The courtyard garden pots are now all set ready for a great winter-spring-early summer display … some have already started blooming.

Here’s a few of the potted plants that have started flowering:

Here’s some shots of a few of the visitors dropping by to dine at the blooms:

It was also time to start the ‘great bulb experiment’. I bought some bulbs on special a while back … I’ve never ever grown these plants before and I’m blaming GOY for the urge to try them! This was the collection I got way back at the beginning of March:

They’ve been sitting in the fridge ever since … waiting for the temps. to drop and the humidity levels to plummet. Well, finally we now have days when the maximum temp. is well below 30 deg C (86 F) … usually around 26 deg (78 F) C at the moment … and our night time temps drop way down to around 15 deg C (59F).

So it was time to pot up. Some had already started sprouting … we’ll see how it all turns out! I’m excited to see exactly what does grow and bloom.

(You can see from the photo that I needed instructions on exactly what to do!)

I also got into the Greenhouse Garden and did some trimming. The hanging pots of Impatiens which I added in January last year were getting very, very leggy as can be seen in the next photo.

Look carefully at the two pots hanging off the beam at the top of the photo … there’s a pot of Impatiens to the left and a pot of Evolvulus to the right.

Definitely time for a trim … so that’s a job I got stuck into. The poor pots look very unattractive with their little Impatiens sticks, but they’ll come back pretty quickly.

Just like the pots of Dragon Wing Begonias I trimmed up just two weeks ago … doesn’t take long for them to start coming back.

I also put in a few potted plants to add some much needed colour other than green to the greenhouse garden beds. These beds are completely root bound from the Giant Sword Fern now, so it’s impossible to actually plant anything in the beds. Still … adding pots seems to be working well.

Here’s some pots of Begonia and Inky Fingers Coleus …

as well as pots of Cordyline ‘Red Wings’, Calathea and variegated Alpinia vittata.

Well that was two days’ work … it’s now Sunday afternoon and hubbie’s on the way home. But tomorrow, as it’s a Public Holiday I think he can help me to bring home some more bags of potting mix so I can do a few more hanging baskets!!! Can’t waste a perfectly good day off work.

More blog posts by bernieh

Previous post: An End-Of-Autumn Gardening Weekend in north-east Oz ...The 'Wet' Season is Finallly Over!

Next post: A Mid-Winter Wander Around My Little Courtyard Garden.




The garden is looking great! Good luck with the bulbs!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

13 Jun, 2010


Thanks Andy ... it's been a very lovely weekend so far and there's still tomorrow to come ... can't complain about holidays!

13 Jun, 2010


Great pictures, you're so lucky to have coleus growing out in your gardens all the time.

13 Jun, 2010


Love the cordyline "red wings" it looks wonderful ...
If only we had winter temps of 26degrees ...It has made that yet this summer ......LOL

13 Jun, 2010


Thanks Louise ... as you can tell I'm a bit of a Coleus fan. They just do so well here ...aside from the mealy bug infestations!

Mushy ...I have quite a few of the Red Wings as it is also a plant that does really well in my garden. Once you find something that survives the conditions here, it's a given that you'll end up with more than one! We can't complain about our winter temps. ... it's a great time of the year here.

13 Jun, 2010


great blog and pictures all your plants. I was just saying to my family in NZ that I think it is hilarious that them and Australia celebrate the Queens birthday with a holiday [my 2 grandchildren were delighted to have a day off school],while here we hardly even notice it apart from the birthday honours list appearing in the papers!!!!!

13 Jun, 2010


It all looks lovely, I like dark coloured butterfly great shot.
Finally where did we go wrong we don't have a day off for the Queens Birthday.But i think you know that, you are just trying to wind us up here in the UK. LOL

13 Jun, 2010


Hi Helen ... yes I agree, it does seem slightly ridiculous that we have a special day to celebrate the Queen's birthday. Eventually, of course, it will become a thing of the past ... everyone expects we'll become a republic sooner or later. But for now ... we'll take any excuse for a long weekend!

13 Jun, 2010


Bjs ... it would seem like the Aussies and Kiwis are the only ones who came up with a useful idea for keeping a monarch!! We are the land of the long weekend!

13 Jun, 2010


lol bernieh,, made me giggle about the old farts club ahaha,,, you garden starting to come alive again and looking lovely, you have so much to do and all them bulbs to plant, enjoy you long weekend ;o)) lovely pics to x

13 Jun, 2010


nice blog, lovely photos, Wished we brits got a Queens birthday day off work! lol.

13 Jun, 2010


Love your garden Bernieh everything looks so good, as for the temp where i live in the northwest of England we have'nt got to 18-19F yet, like Sandra you made me laugh about old farts club, dont have to worry about Queens birthday holiday, as pensioner everyday is a day of from work. Hope you had a nice weekend :o))

13 Jun, 2010


It seems so strange, Bernieh, that you should need instructions on planting bulbs - even stranger is the idea that you have never grown them before! I don't think the Daffs will be very happy even in the "coldest" of your weather. Your "coldest" is almost like our hottest! They are definitely cold weather plants. It will be very interesting to see how they do with you!

The garden looks very nice! I had a plant or two of the Cordyline when we lived in Spain. It was a plant that I liked very much.

13 Jun, 2010


Wow Bernieh I feel exhausted just looking at all the hard work you have done making such a Beautiful garden, so many pots and wonderful exotic plants, no wonder you got a day off from her Majesty!

13 Jun, 2010


Hi Bernie ~ you certainly have plenty to do You will find growing bulbs a breeze with your natural green fingers! The courtyard is looking fabulous. I love the white and pink Geranium and the red Bracteantha.
Hope "The Old Farts Club” had a great weekend .Have a good day off.

13 Jun, 2010


Now that's my idea of a great weekend! That middle pic of a butterfly is pro quality Bernieh!! Fantastic photo!!

13 Jun, 2010


great blog Bernieh..your garden is definately looking lush...maybe you could try putting the daffs in the freezer for a few may help...and i too would like an extra holiday for her majestys birthday...he he he

13 Jun, 2010


Sanbaz ... the term 'old farts' was one hubbie actually came up with. Returning home from his first meeting with the Restored Motorcycle Club he remarked he was the youngest member ... there were around 70 members! Hubbie was 48 at the time.

Thanks for your lovely comments, Michelle.

Clarice ... luckily I still enjoying going to work, although it's part-time these days. I'm looking forward to the time when I can get out into the garden every day.

Balcony ... lol, yes I needed instructions about depth etc. The only bulbs I've ever planted before were the stock standard Belladonna lilies ... they're pretty common in my part of the world. I might take your advice about the Jonquils ... they had already sprouted in the fridge before I'd planted them.

PP ... it's always a joy to get out into the garden and winter is just the best time here.

Sueb ... yes the 'old farts' had a great weekend. Although hubbie complained how bitterly cold it was ... they went out west and it does get really cool at night time out there ... well really cool for us anyway. The temps out there dropped down to 10 deg C (50 F) overnight ... and he froze. He hates the cold.

Karensusan ... appreciate your nice comments. That middle photo of the butterfly shows one of our most common butterflies. It's the Common Eggfly Butterfly ... and there's lots of them around right now.

Hi Sandra ... will follow your's and Balcony's suggestion about the daffs. They're the ones in the photo that had already sprouted in the fridge, so I might try the pot in fridge now for a while as well. Her majesty has been quite kind to us ... we don't mind celebrating her birth with a day off work!!

13 Jun, 2010


ah HA!! spotted what i think is an Alocasia growing in the back ground of the second of your pics - just peeping up through at the back - have never seen one that has grown to a good size and was wondering if mine is in the right kind of spot - it would seem it is but as yet it hasn't done anything except not die LOL ...hmm

now - begonias - you grow them - i love them and kill them =( any ideas that might help me? i'll put this on the questions blog too

love - just LOVE this time of year - cool enough to do anything - your 'old fart' sounds like mine who was brought up in Rabaul in PNG and has nooo idea how to dress when the temp drops - his version of putting on something warm is to take everything off then put the one warm thing on - no concept of layers or tucking things in - weird - ho hum - back to the garden =)))))))

14 Jun, 2010


Lol, Cate ... yes that does sound like my old fart. He complains endlessly about the cold (like he knows what that is!) and how uncomfortable he is when he's wearing a jumper!! There's something fundamentally wrong with someone who loves the summers here ... hope he doesn't read this!!!

Yes that's an Alocasia in the background of the second shot. It's a hybrid - Alocasia Amazonica. I have a couple of these and basically I don't do much for them at all. They like a bit of direct morning sun here, but that's all, although they do need lots of bright indirect light. They like being a bit damp, but definitely not soggy, and they don't like being cold. They do have a break during the winter up here and don't do much ... and I think they go dormant if the temps. drop below 12 deg C. But should return with warmer weather.

As for Begonias ... I've only had success with the common bedding Begonias and the magnificent Dragon Wing Begonias. Both love sheltered, shady conditions and lots of feeding. That's about all ... they'll even survive the 'dry' up here fairly well ... and they come through the heat and humidity with flying colours.

14 Jun, 2010


Fabulous plants and garden. If only we had decent summers here on a regular basis. We seem to have a few warm weeks early in the year and then it's pot luck with the rest.

14 Jun, 2010


The last time I read one of your blog's it all looked very sorry for its self!
What a change it look lovely.

14 Jun, 2010


Thanks for your comments Lindalooloo and Sandygirl.

Lindalooloo ...Our sumer just gone was also a bit of a horror as we had so much torrential rain and the humidity levels were horrid. Then the autumn was rainy with lots of overcast, dull days ... so at last we have some decent weather. Here's hoping your summer brightens up for you too!

Sandygirl ... yes the courtyard was in a bad way after the summer and autumn and just three weeks of great weather has meant a total change. Thanks for noticing!

15 Jun, 2010


Enjoy holidays and gardening.Good luck.

16 Jun, 2010


Thanks Camillia!

18 Jun, 2010


Bit late catching up with everyone. Your garden is looking beautiful as usual. You have so much choice, I am really envious. Love the peachy coloured flowers in pic 3. I think this is my favourite colour as I get older. The creamy coloured butterfly looks similar to our cabbage white.

20 Jun, 2010


Thanks for your lovely comment Homebird ... I'm hoping for lots more colour soon ... I'm really over all that green! Those peachy coloured flowers you noticed are the Crossandra ... that's fast becoming a favourite of mine. It's such a great colour on those flowers. I've since found out that the creamy coloured butterfly is our Common Grass Yellow Butterfly ... and it is common. We see them all year round.

21 Jun, 2010

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