Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Height of Summer

It's been a couple of months now that we've had the new plot the new plot and after two weeks away (thank you, kind watering friends), things are really cranking. We've added a trellis for the cucumbers, the cosmos, French and English marigolds and long-awaited dahlias and  are flowering, first batch of lettuce are going to seed, second batch are just putting their roots down, bean pyramid is up, eggplant is finally putting out pretty mauve blossoms, tomatoes are covered in unripe fruit (c'mon!) and the tomatillos are laden with little green lantern-like cases which house the developing tomatillos (hola, salsa verde!). I've been very happy to see aphid eating insects like ladybirds and solider beetles patrolling the plants and the thick mulch seems to be keeping the weed seed bank at bay. So far, so good...



Here's a bit of a sequence of the changes over the last few weeks. 

A visit to Rushall Garden

A couple of weeks ago I rode home from a friend's place past the Rushall Community Garden just near Rushall Station, in North Fitzroy. On a whim I stopped for a closer look. There was a woman watering her plot and with her permission I had a look around while she finished up. It's such a gorgeous place, more established that Merri Corner, lots of green, overflowing plots and laden fruit trees, benches in shady spots and interesting sculptures nestled amongst the communal beds. In one of the plots towards the train line discovered the wrought iron trellis of my dreams. I wish I could've gotten closer for a better shot but nevermind, here's a picture for future reference.

During my wandering I noticed that almost all of the plots were covered in a wonderful thick layer of mulch. I asked the gardener I met if there was a reason for this and she said they ordered it, as a garden, in bulk. I reckon plenty of mulch is one of the key features of a happy healthy garden but it seems to be something that a lot of people overlook. Bulk ordering is a great idea, something we should think about again for Merri Corner where the mulch can be, well, thin on the ground.

Anyway, here's a few quick, not very good, snaps of my visit to give you a little bit of an idea.


I heart artichokes

These beautiful beasts are growing in the plot next to mine and over the last month or so they've been lighting up the garden with their incredible purple glow. At dusk the purple is so intense they almost seem to glow from within.

Artichoke flowers are chockers with pale whitish pollen and the bees have been having a field day. I've included a blurry shot of a snoozy bee who was seemingly so overwhelmed by the floral bounty he fell into some kind of pollen coma.

People tend to think of artichokes as a bit of a posh, privileged sort of vegetable but in actual fact they are barely one step removed from field weeds. They are actually part of the thistle family. Generally it's the unopened buds that people eat but Jude let these mighty monsters got to flower and you can really see their wild and weedy, thistle-y pedigree. Thanks Jude.