After the loss of many leaves and some turning yellow, I thought I might have lost my Blueberry “Nellie Kelly” (Vaccinium x corymbusm x ashes x darrowi) and I did some frantic searching through the internet in recent weeks wondering if my variety is the one that loses its leaves. No real answer found, but 2 days ago I went to inspect it again and found the bush is flowering.
Such a relief to this amateur gardener that I am. This is the first time I’ve grown a blueberry bush in my balcony garden and I hadn’t been through the annual seasonal cycle and really didn’t know what to expect. Anyway, there are so many flower buds on the bush, that I’m hoping this represents a ‘bumper’ crop this year. I bought some cotton netting from the local Hardware/Plant Nursery (Bunnings) yesterday, so am hoping this will deter the birds as I only got a dozen or so blueberries last year.
I had to tie up my Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis I think?) again, as the gusty winds have played havoc with the long branches recently.
The Rosemary flowers have been spectacular in the last couple of weeks. Trust this variety of Rosemary to give some cheerful colour for these cold winter days. I DID find a Harlequin Bug in their midst yesterday.
I thought the Harlequin bugs had “flown north for the winter” – looks like some little bug got left behind and decided to over-winter in the large Rosemary bush.
Rain & gusty winds have split my Rosemary into 3 sections (again)
So out came the bamboo canes and some twine to hold it up. I probably need to put another 2 strips of twine to hold it strongly before the next wintery windy day.
The Rosemary flowers sure are pretty at this time of year BUT I found a Harlequin bug nestling in its depths yesterday too.
I’m planning to re-arrange my lounge furniture slightly so I can keep more of an eye on the garden from my desk chair. You’ll notice in the first (rainy day) photo above, that there is a line down the left hand side of the photo. This is where my lounge floor-to-ceilings window turns back in towards the south side of the lounge in a sharp right angle. From looking at the other apartments on my side of the building, I think I am the only tenant that has this extraordinary wrap-around view from their lounge window. The backdrop of what looks like corrugated concrete in the 1st (rainy day) image above is actually the lift & stairwell for the building. I think that surface is what is absorbing the sun and making a bit of a greenhouse effect to my garden.
My Spinach Baby Leaf (Spinach oleracea) is still cropping and providing leaves for my weekly omelette.
….and my large veggie trough of 8 X Perpetual Spinach (Beta vulgaris) seedlings are finally starting to grow some more leaves. The soil must be warming up I think.
We are only 2/3 of the way through Winter, but it doesn’t take much to signal that Spring is on the horizon, although August is often our wettest month here in Melbourne. The 2 spinach varieties may look similar to you at this stage, but hopefully the ordinary spinach will grow big and strong. Since I don’t know much about vegetable gardening, only herbs, all of these vegetables are experimental on this west-facing balcony.
I’ve had such great success with green leafy vegetables in the past – but the previous apartment balcony was south-facing and had no direct sun, only lots of light on that side of the building in the inner north-east of Melbourne.
This current apartment is the first time I’ve had lots of west-facing hot sun in summer.
INTERVAL here. There are House Sparrows tweeting and calling for some more bird seed.
Part of the right-hand side of my balcony doesn’t get sun in Winter, so most of the potted plants are crowded up the southern or left hand half of the balcony. I need to find some room for some more Tomatoes plants too. After last year’s bumper crop from the 3 Tomato Patio (Lycopersicon esculentum) plants I bought, I’m eager to have another go at growing tomatoes.
I’ve left the Capsicum Redskin (Capsicum assume hybrid) in the pot, but it’s looking kind of sad and droopy since the Possums(?) attacked and broke off 2 large branches. I don’t know anything about Capsicums, so not sure if it’s an annual or perennial.
I gave a few of the plants some fertiliser yesterday and you’d be amazed how perky they’re looking this morning. The blue Becopa (Sutera cordite) in particular.
……and of course the pink Argyranthemum (Argyranthemum frutescens) was burnt brown and looked half-dead at the end of last Summer, so I cut it back to about 2-3″ stubble and it is now about 8-9″ high and covered in pink flowers again. I notice some of the flower buds seemed to be stuck together and on prizing them open, discovered some sort of worm-like pest crawling out of the centre of the flower. Don’t know what this is, so I am pruning any sticky-looking closed flowers off the bush, in the hope of eradicating any trace of the pesky little critters (without pesticide use).
The photo below was taken yesterday. Would you believe it was completely brown and dead-looking only 3-4 months ago !
So that’s all folks.
I bought more herbs, lettuces and Pak Choy yesterday, but that story will be found in another post.
(I can see this WordPress Template Theme doesn’t offer enough width for writing much, so this Nature Blog will have to be changed to a different Theme. I may put it on ‘private’ while I change it over and re-position the widgets again). Gosh, if only seems like yesterday, I changed the Theme and started afresh.
So, all you inner suburban apartment dwellers, remember………if you want to grow plants…. even some of the faster growing leafy green vegetables and herbs, (and have a reasonable balcony space and the safety fence is not too high), as long as you’ve got enough sun/light and a bit of protection from the wind, give it a go. It may take a bit of trial & error, but cutting fresh herbs or leafy greens for each night’s dinner is truly a joy. Especially if you’re single like me and end up wasting half a bunch of herbs bought from the supermarket. As to Spinach, if the supermarket bunch is too big, it usually gets made in to Spinach, (or Spinach & Watercress), soup for my freezer.