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Quilpie Qld

News from the Moble Garden – Cuttings, potting and pilates

April 3, 2020
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For the second week in a row I bring news from a wet garden; 12 mm overnight with a lightning and thunder show that would have them swooning on the West End and standing agape on the Harbour Bridge. All just outside our bedroom window, lighting our room up so we could see one small Jack Russell burrowed under the cover at our feet. She prefers her own theatrics it seems.

Nothing to do with gardening, but Mother arrived a couple of weeks ago and I was invited this morning to join her in her remote gym class, emailed through yesterday by her  gym group instructor who is hell bent on keeping his class fit for purpose. Previously I have only been exposed to Mother’s gym group on a purely social level, joining them once at their regular post work-out coffee gathering at a nearby café. A more jovial mob you couldn’t hope to meet, a cursory glance revealing an overall admirable level of vitality amongst them all.

 I now know that coffee is the hardest earned coffee you’ll ever enjoy; I feel I have been rolled up, twisted, stretched and left akimbo whilst great-grandmother Pilate rolls herself with ease, kicking her knees up and flinging her arms about with abandon. Mother, I salute you all and hope that I too may finally reach that level of fitness as I push through my late seventh decade. (For the uninitiated, including yours truly, a Pilate roll is no French pastry but what we would have described in our misspent youth as a sit-up).

The garden is green and rampant, enjoying the warm weather and Weatherzone leads me to believe we may even feel a hint of Autumn in the coming week. A walk through the paddocks at present is a walk through a field of wildflowers, every morning we gather them up and pop them in jugs and vases. Blues and yellows abound with a splash of white here and there. The brolgas are trumpeting around us as we meander along and we even stumble upon an occasional brolga ballet, Brolgas a Deux. The choreography is breathtaking. Our pelican has moved on from the waterhole and a Bittern has moved in, so there must be some fish left from the pelican harvest. When you stop and listen, the birds are truly deafening, they are so busy and abundant it is hard to make out the single calls in the morning cacophony. They too are enjoying the season after the red dust of the summer past.

The birdlife is abundant, thanks to full waterholes and green feed.

A wheelbarrow load of sand and wet peat moss was mixed this week and I now have pots ready for cuttings. The first lot of salvias were popped in, tip cuttings, as well as saltbush. I have had no great success with the saltbush, it seems to layer better in the ground than strike in pots for me. Grey foliage plants dislike being too moist and humid in the pot environment, so require good air circulation. Don’t forget that milk cartons, which we sadly cannot recycle, make excellent little greenhouses for your cuttings. Cut them in half and use the half with the lid for more air regulation; you can take the lid off for a less humid atmosphere. If your cuttings are turning black, this may be the problem. Like most things in life, there are no hard and fast rules so use your abundant common sense as the weather changes.

 I will pop in some wallflower and rosemary cuttings as well and continue with the salvias, I did lose quite a few this summer and was relieved to find the green and blue flowering one struggling along behind the Miscanthus. Others I will try are the little cupheas, I see the Impatient Gardener shifted quite a few of her full- grown cupheas last week and they are powering away happily after a good chop back, they are happy and tough little stalwarts. Later in the season, I will use the same cutting mixture for rose and ornamental grape cuttings and the mulberries too of course, probably in June.

Speaking of roses, the kinder season should bring on some beautiful autumn roses, I think out here they are better than the spring show which is so often daunted by the blustery September weather. They have more time to flower on and as I gave them a cut back a few weeks ago, I am hoping that they will be flowering later this month. Come to think of it, I think I shall mention the same in passing on my way to feed the chooks this afternoon. No harm in being encouraging and I will sprinkle some fertiliser around them as an added incentive.

Spraying weeds is on the agenda this week before putting some more mulch out and hopefully some sheep manure. The sweet potato bed is running riot, as is its wont and needs a little discipling as well, before it engulfs the orchard. Then on to the hedges and the lawns need a spot weed spray as well. Hedges and edges are a good way to smarten up the old pile.

 The bulb catalogues are singing to me like the sirens of the sea. Thus far I have resisted them in manner of Odysseus or similar, however it cannot last. Maybe I shall just dabble with some jonquils in pots this year, I love their perfume and they are so reliable. I am resisting planting bulbs for ducks to squander, for once reality is winning.

I have found a spot for Mrs. Brown’s Albertine rose along the creek and will plant it into wet earth this afternoon. Surely that will help it on its way. Mr. Moble and I overhauled the outside trees earlier this week, repairing damaged irrigation and pulling out some summer tragedies. New trees were planted, gums from our creek here. We have also planted out with success some little gums raised from seed by the Boran Gardener and brought home from her trip last year to William Creek. She believed they must be some of the toughest little trees around and so far they have proven thus, growing like a mallee, with lovely blue-green leaves. I had a morning attacking the Boobialla out there as well, it grows anywhere where there is a hint of water and will overtake all if not kept in check. I cut it down to ground level and paint the stumps with a weed killer, the only way we have had success controlling it. What seemed a daunting task was actually done in a few hours and the landscape looks so much better for it.

Hoping you are all keeping well and your windows are giving up some great shows for you as well,

The Moble Gardener