Spring has arrived in Melbourne:
I and my partner, along with most of inner north Melbourne, decided to head to Ceres and clean out the plant nursery. We then returned home and potted like maniacs. Actually, my partner potted while I spent a few happy hours torturing our worms (otherwise known as harvesting the humus from our worm farm, which we’ve taken to calling “worm dirt”. I am good with titles, no?)
We bought seedlings of
- kangaroo paw
and seeds of
My partner potted the seedlings in suitably sized pots, including a few polystyrene boxes gleaned from our local grocer, and, after I was done torturing worms, I planted out seeds.
- rocket and lettuce mix (seeds we’ve had for a while) in a trench-like self-watering container
- borage in two large round containers (4 seeds in one; 3 seeds in the other)
- nasturtiums underplanted with the dwarf meyer lemon
- an avocado seed from our worm farm in a smaller pot
I covered all the seedlings with cling film (except for the nasturtiums, which are hardy enough and have never failed to sprout before), punched a few air-holes in the cling film and now intend to spend the next couple of weeks heading out to inspect whether they’ve sprouted. Oh, the agony and the ecstasies of gardening.
I also planted some succulents, nabbed from the roadside verge, into a large soup-bowl mug thing that we don’t like using as a soup bowl. I nabbed other succulents, including pigface, but I need to let the broken off end dry out before I plant them and see if they’ll take.
I had hoped to plant some chilli seeds I’ve saved but we ran out of dirt!
And now, we wait. I’m not really expecting the avocado to sprout but I’m hopeful everything else will do fine. My gardening style is demonstrated best by this hyacinth:
I call it my zombie hyacinth because it rose from the dead (told you I was great with titles.) Many visits to beautiful stately homes in the UK led to me trying my hand growing hyacinths in a forcing glass in Australia. I miss spring bulbs, although Melbourne is rather good for them. Winter actually gets cold enough here for a frost to form, sometimes, on the ground. I was surprised, and rather pleased, to see snowdrops in a neighbourhood garden.
A forcing glass is an hour-glass shaped vase: the bulb sits above the waist of the vase, and water sits below – but not touching – the bulb. In May, I bought a vase and bulb. I placed my forcing vase into a dark corner of the toilet, the coldest room in the house (because it has a window that cannot be shut!) I checked it regularly to see if roots had grown but after a few weeks, the bulb just got mouldy. It was tempting to throw the thing out, but I got busy and did nothing instead. Later still, our basil plants were not weathering winter very well at all, so I uprooted and composted them. Into one of the pots, I planted the (still mouldy) bulb and let it be. Only a week ago, the bulb sprouted greens and then, timing it perfectly for the first day of spring, flowered last weekend. I brought it into the house, thoroughly chuffed with myself, and now its heady scent perfumes my living room.
So, optimism, even in the face of what surely must be failure, together with laziness equals zombie hyacinth. Win!
Here’s hoping for more wins on the gardening front.