My tasks this morning were simple and clear; one batch of pikelets for morning smoko and a loaf of bread for lunch. Too easy. Pikelet batter was made in a snap and left on the bench in readiness. Bread was kneaded and left to rise or not, depending on its mood. Then the clouds moved in and the much- anticipated forecast rain misted in.
I was out the door in a flash, heading for the garden shed, bags of fertilizer lined up and ready. In steady, glorious rain I threw out a bag of lawn fertilizer and two bags of some form of dynamic, stand back or you will be grown over pellets for the beds assorted and fruit trees. I was soaked to the skin, reeked of manure and as happy as the proverbial pig in mud. No sooner had I finished than the rain did as well, however we had almost twenty points in that downpour which should soak it all in. A hot shower and a coffee and I am feeling pretty happy with the world.
The tabebuia, Tabebuia palmeri, has and is flowering, I know you will all be most relieved to know. It started only a few days after I was lamenting it, later than usual but spectacular as ever. The blooms are the colour and texture of pink crepe paper, just like the flowers we made as children. Clear and bright against the blue sky, they are shedding a carpet of pink throughout the garden, so all the surrounding shrubs are now flowering with the spent blossom as well. The tree that just keeps giving.
Mrs. Brown’s poppies are also on show this week and by coincidence, are almost the exact colour of the tabebuia. Perhaps a softer blush, for the poppies always remind me of a taffeta ball gown, with a gently ruffled edge. We shall be watching for the seed heads to dry out and will pop them in a paper bag for next year, I cannot risk them being lost to the wilds of the Moble garden.
The petrea, Petrea volubilis, burst into bloom yesterday, a haze of blue with that fresh green leaf. My beautiful niece wore a halo of petrea for her wedding here; henceforth it is known as the Bridal Veil. Understated and elegant, just like the bride was. I see I am taking you for a walk around the garden this week, a bloom by bloom wander. Very clever of me as we are walking straight past the thistles, the oat crop shooting from the mulch to cover the thistles and the leaves and rubbish blown about by the September blow. Look up not down I say and if that fails, squint.
We have had some wonderful guests through of late, enjoying the garden. Indeed, guests bearing gifts in true gardening form. Mrs. Southend arrived with half her garden in bottles, a delicatessen presented from her orchard. Chutneys, jams, preserves and sauces, the epitome of paddock to plate. The coup de gras was a bucket of cumquats, so you will know what I have been cooking, my very favourite jam. I shall ask my Mother-in-law if I might share her recipe with you all, it is the best I have tried and never fails. Cumquat jam simmering in the kitchen is heaven scent.
The chook yard vegetable garden experiment will earn a mixed report. The cauliflowers were once again a complete failure and are being tossed over for the hens to enjoy in full flower with no cauli.
The cabbages look promising and we are picking bowls of the sweetest snow peas and the aptly named sugar snap peas I have grown in years, so a big tick there. Tomatoes are ripening on the vines, (I am whispering this as for some reason the bower birds have not discovered them); possibly because they are hidden amongst a jungle of weeds and self- sown rocket and sunflowers, all the more for the bees to feast on. Even so, I have mown a good path through to the pea section as it is getting to that time of year again alas.
Lastly, the sweet peas are flowering happily on the fence there as well, I am picking a bunch of them every couple of days along with the other chook yard bounty. They are beside my bed now, filling our room with fragrance and reminding me of my dear friend Sweet Pea Anna, who I know would like to be picking flowers with me rather than in lock down in Victoria. To all you patient and resilient southerners, from Apollo Bay to Ararat and beyond, we are thinking of you and hope you are smelling some sweet peas and roses with the rest of us very soon,
The Moble Gardener
All good photos taken by Lauran Gilligan, bad photos taken by Meg