Sunday, November 7, 2010

Replacing Plants

Some of my garden is dying.  Mostly the plants are slowly fading, drooping a little more each day.  This, I believe, is normal, and can be attributed to the shock of being transported across town and plunked down somewhere foreign.  I still have hope that some of them will revive themselves, and I better understand now why we planted so many in the first place.

But early last week I went out one morning and noticed that a couple of my Impatiens looked drastically different than I remembered them looking the day before.  They were crispy, and completely dried out, as if something sucked the life out of them.  I watered them extra and kept watch.  Only a few days went by before you could look out from the living room window and not see any green where they had been.  They were completely dead.  And two more right in front of them were beginning to look crispy as well.

But--I had a clue.  These four Impatiens were the only plants in my entire garden to receive full sunlight for about an hour each day.  Everything else got filtered light through the tree.  Ironically, this little patch of sunny space was the part I was least concerned about.  Plants need sun, most of my garden receives very little, this patch receives a little more than the rest, therefore plants in this spot should grow better.  Apparently not.  And it's not like Impatiens don't like sun, everything I read about them just said that they're okay with shade too.  But I guess overhead Australian sunlight is just too much to handle.

Today I finally took out the dead Impatiens (which was not hard, they basically disintegrated in my hands) and planted a few Geraniums and what I think is a species of Daisy from the back garden that I remembered Allie saying liked a lot of sun.  So we'll see.  The skeptic in my says in another two weeks I will have killed off another couple of plants and will need to go to the garden store to get one of those desert hardy plants that I saw advertised.

Not sure if you can tell, but in the back are two barely recognizable Impatiens.  One of the front two was salvageable, and I moved it to a shadier spot in the garden.

 One of the dead Impatiens.

The new plants.  The possible Daisy thing is on the left.  If anyone knows what it is exactly, I'd be much obliged.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bus Tour!

While you all were dreaming about your Halloween costumes Dan and I spent our October 31st on a bus tour offered by the historical society where I volunteer.  We traveled north for about an hour, stopping at the Bindoon historical society and museum, and then continued north to a restored early homestead from the 1850's.  Apart from the flies, it was really enjoyable, but not always for the "correct" reasons.

But it would be easier to show you.  The museum was housed in a large shed, and was donated in its entirety by two local residents, who I think just needed to clean out the attic/garage. 

There was some farm equipment and an old car,
but the museum consisted mostly of random things.  Like these wrenches,
and lots of toy dump trucks,

as well as gauges.  Though here, I was most interested in the labels being stuck on to the gauges with scotch tape.

I did like this twist on a common sign however.

After spending some time exploring the other buildings on the property, we continued on to the homestead. 

The people who own the property don't live there, but use it to store their other collections.  It was weird to go in to the bedrooms and see early American quilts adorning the beds, but still enjoyable.  What stuck out the most to me was how different 1850's farmhouses in not-so-outback Australia look like compared to the farmhouses in Midwest US.  There's no where near as much wood here, and there was no infrastructure at that point, no trains, no roads, barely any people, so everything was really basic.  The barn on the property was built by what they call ticketed leave men, who were English prisoners sent to Australia to both get them out of England, and to help build up Australia.

On that semi-serious note, I'll leave you with one last photo from inside the homestead that cracked me up.  It's a (poorly) drawn colored pencil image of a kangaroo.

Planting new things

Almost two weeks ago Allie and I planted my garden.  I still don't know what half of the plants are called.

I met Allie at the gardening center near her house where we stocked up on animal fertilizer, soil improver (which really looked just like good-quality soil), spray stuff to keep in moisture, and mulch.  So many steps to just make the soil habitable here.  Then we went to Allie's house and I got a lot of cuttings from various plants in her garden.

Side note: Gardens here aren't like most gardens I've encountered in the mid-west.  Growing up my dad's garden always seemed to be specifically designed.  There were a lot of plants, and they were in multiple places, but it always seemed to be ruled by order, not chaos.  Here English Cottage gardens seem to be the norm, with people planting a WIDE variety of things, and seeing what happens.  Then, after a decade or so, you have a garden that is absolutely breathtaking, but entirely random.

Mentally, I planned my garden to contain just a few species of plants, as it is really small, and I wanted it to be low-maintenance and easy for the next tenants to take it over.  The only thing I really knew was that I wanted Impatiens.  When I arrived at Allie's house, and she started taking me around her garden, my mental plan went right out the window.  She offered about twenty different species, hardly any of which fit into my "plan".  It was entirely overwhelming.  In the end I took almost everything offered, and we dug up parts of plants that Allie's garden was sure not to miss, put them in pots with some dirt, and hauled them back to my house.

That was all before lunch.

After a break, we prepared the soil as best as possible to receive the new plants, and got to planting.  It's now, I'd say, a combination of my original plan and chaos.  I was able to pick up some Impatiens, so those are scattered throughout, as well as a couple different kinds of Daises, Geraniums, long leafy things that look very similar to the ones I pulled out of my garden in the first place, and several other types that I do not recall the names of.  But let me just show you pictures.

It still looks a little sparse, but hopefully in the next few weeks things will get over the shock of being transplanted, and start to grow.  I had some extra Impatiens so we planted them around my little tree and in the spare planter where I dumped all the potting soil from my failed Impatiens experiment.

I could never have done this much work in one day on my own.  As it was we worked for about nine hours.  I hope things will take to my soil, Allie warned that some of them may not, and I've never been responsible for a garden before, much less one in less than ideal soil.  Though the process was overwhelming, I'm so glad I had Allie's help.  And in the end I only bought the Impatiens, (plus the fertilizer and stuff) and those cost less than $10.  Definitely worth it.