Developing a new plant variety can take a long time. The packets of sweet peas I am going to plant in my garden represent a lifetime’s work for one plant breeder. Dr Keith Hammett has been breeding better sweet peas for more than 60 years – initially in England and for the past 50 years in his adopted home New Zealand.
When the weather’s cold, days are short and the soil is wet, there’s little incentive to get out into the garden. Winter needn’t be dull downtime however if the garden includes some large containers arranged in a sunny spot.
Jonquils are in full bloom in my garden and the scent from a bunch I’ve picked is wafting through the kitchen. Jonquils are thought of as spring bulbs but these fragrant, yellow-flowered bulbs bloom in winter in my garden. In warmer zones than my Tasmanian garden they can begin to flower in late autumn.
The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is celebrating its 200th birthday this year with a series of events and a new publication. The Gardens: Celebrating Tasmania’s Botanical Treasure 1818-2018 has been released to celebrate the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden’s bicentenary this year.
The discovery of fruit fly adults and larvae at several sites in northern Tasmania and on Flinders Island has sent a chill through the state. Fruit fly is a serious pest of soft fruit though out much of mainland Australia but was not present in Tasmania.
After a deluge of early summer rain my garden has exploded with growth. The vegies look as if they are on steroids and so do the roses. Unfortunately, so do the weeds, which are making a takeover bid for the entire garden. Urgent action is needed to stop them in their tracks. Continue reading
There’s a large kowhai tree in my Tasmanian garden. Judging from early photographs of the garden, it is at least 50 years old and may be older. Right now it’s covered in clusters of large yellow pea-shaped flowers that are filled with nectar. As it flowers it discards leaves, which makes the flowering even more spectacular. Continue reading
Many different poppies spring up in gardens each year. Poppies and their relatives are annual or short-lived perennial plants that produce masses of long-lived seed. Some poppies are weedy, but most are desirable ornamental flowers. Poppies even contribute to the Australian economy. The opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) is an important agricultural crop in Tasmania and of growing importance on the mainland as well. This is one poppy that is illegal to grow in Australian gardens. Continue reading
Gardening is touted as good for your health and mind but it is also a pathway to discover more about history and the world around us. It is even possible to learn about Australian politics through gardening. Continue reading
One of the most widely celebrated April fool’s jokes of all time was a story broadcast in 1957 on the highly respected BBC current affairs show ‘Panorama’ about the annual spaghetti tree harvest. The TV segment showed a Swiss family supposedly harvesting spaghetti from their own trees. The segment is now available to watch on YouTube (see below). Continue reading
Each year one of our neighbours, James, arrives on our doorstep with a big leafy branch. Not an olive branch – we are all on good terms so need peace offerings need! No, James is bringing prunings from his bay tree, which he cuts back each year to keep it under control. I lug the branch inside, strip the leaves and dry them to use in the kitchen. Every time I use a handful I am grateful for his generosity. Continue reading