Monday, March 11, 2024

Garden News January and February 2024


What can I say about January and February other than it has been hot and humid.

This summer has been the hottest we have experienced here at Birkdale, hardly a night below 24 c and most days have been in to 30s.

Perspiration when working in the garden is massive, I must wring my singlet out at the end of a working day.

The heat and humidity have brought out just about every insect pest known to mankind Crinums, Clivea’s, Caladiums, Alocasia, Colocasia and others all eaten and the weird thing is they have not touched the Hippeastrums YET. It has been a real battle this year and I do not think I was the winner.

The main job was to cut our Mango tree down to a reasonable size, it was a big job as I had to remove plants and shade-cloth from below the tree.

I ended up taking three massive loads to the dump.

Then I put up steel rails over the plant stands to keep the shade cloth from sagging, looks much better now.

A terrible job was to repair the Bromeliad Shade house as it was damaged in a storm.

Three posts were dislodged or broken and all the steel overhead had collapsed, so with the help of a Jackhammer I had to get these posts out and it was not easy especially in the heat, then cement new posts in and replace the roof battens and to make matters worse a horizontal post fell on my head causing massive bleeding, I was very worried and Judy took me to the Doctor where I had six stitches inserted.

Not a job I want to do again in a hurry.

The swimming pool had a good work out after a day’s work in the garden.

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

November / December Garden News 2023


Usually at this time of year it is all systems go getting ready for an ‘Open Garden’ but we did say that after 20 years of opening 2022 was going to be our last and so far, we will stick to that, but you never know.

Anyway, even if were planning to open the garden is so dry as we have not had rain for months, it is not looking good enough to open and we would have cancelled.

All seven tanks are dry so we must be very frugal with watering.

It has been a busy year with plenty of visitors coming on bus trips, we have had 14 bus visits this year.

For the first time we had some selling tables at the ‘Tropical Foliage Festival’ at Belmont.

My god it was busy but we were not in a good position as we were down by the cash registrars and were blocked off by the paying queue for quite some time and a lot of people said they had spent all their money prior to seeing our table.

We did OK but not as good as expected.

December started and the heatwave started, first time ever Judy and I stayed indoors with the aircon on, mind you it was only for a couple of days as the garden is always calling.

Caladiums are spectacular this year.

Our family from Agnes Water came down mid-December and stayed until the day after Boxing Day.

They brought two dogs, one ‘Jack Russell’ was a real character as are most of that breed. The one on the left is 'Trixie' and on the right is 'Diggity' who passed away a few years ago.

Just after Christmas we had a bad storm which damaged our Bromeliad Shade house but no trees down, unlike the Gold Coast which had serious damage.

 It is raining now and all our tanks are full, what a relief.

For the first time in over 30 years we have had a pair of King parrots visit us.

Overall, the year has seen highs and lows but I think every gardener will say that.

Anyway, Judy and I wish all readers all the very best and happy gardening for 2024.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

September October 2023 Garden News


Two months without a drop of rain, it is so disheartening to see the garden so drought stricken.

We have managed to use tank water until a couple of weeks ago but now we must rely on town water, not looking forward to the water bill.

In fact, the whole of this year has seen little good rain, despite BOM saying summer was going to be very wet.

We have been busy with a bus trip in September from Helensvale Senior Citizens Club and of course two days a week watering trying to keep the garden alive.

In October we visited Caboolture Garden Club and gave the ‘Aroids in the Giving Garden’ presentation then after that we visited our friend at Elimbah where we bought some fertilizer (Crop King 88) for $32 a kilo bag, here it is over $44.

Caboolture Garden Club then visited our garden the following week and that same week Glebe Garden Club visited.


So that was 14 bus visits this year, we are going to slow down the garden presentation as I cannot stand driving through the city any more.

We now must get ready for the Tropical Foliage Festival where we will be selling plants.

A big job was to remove the old thatch roof and put a new one on.

We went to Nursery Traders and found this amongst a few plain green ones, all at $50 so we bought this one and all the staff were incredulous that they failed to see it.
I think we had a bargain.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Garden news July/August 2023


July was a quiet month with watering taking up most of our time.

Of the large Pandanus which continually dropped large prickly leaves, thanks to our good friends Mike and Wendy Budden for the help, I could not do much as my knee was giving me hell that weekend and I could not walk without a walking stick.

One garden talk for ‘Indooroopilly Garden Club’ on ‘Aroids in the Giving Garden’, it was well received although club members have dropped significantly since we last went there.

We will not be crossing the city to do any more garden talks; the traffic is just too bad.

In August we went to ‘Ormiston Garden Club’ to do the Aroid presentation, this club seems to be very active with new members.

We had a bus visit from ‘Karana Downs Garden Club’ and that went well with them all enjoying the winter garden.

It was our very good friend Rod Paterson’s 90th Birthday and Judy made him a special lunch.


We had our annual ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ garage sale and sold quite a few plants.

After all that we drove to Agnes Water to see our son and family, after a few days we get restless for the garden, still it was lovely to see family and have a bit of a rest.

Still no rain, garden is parched and getting low on rainwater.



Wednesday, July 05, 2023

May- June Garden News 2023


I seem to be spending most of my life these past two months watering as it has been extremely dry, badly needing some good falls of rain.

May has been busy with visits from ‘Banksia Garden Club’ and two ‘Probus’ Clubs.

I gave a presentation to ‘Carina Senior Citizens Club’, which was good as we did not have far to travel.

Arno King also visited and spent five hours here, lots of plants here that he was interested in, he will be coming back in September to take some Spring cuttings.

In June we travelled to Caloundra to give a presentation to ‘Pelican Waters Garden Club’, bit of a fuss getting set up but turned out well.

We had bus trips here from ‘Logan Village Garden Club’ and Caboolture Bromeliad Society’ both went down well.

Another presentation in June was to ‘Bribie Island Garden Club.’

We have given over the years over 200 presentations and feel it is now time to cut back, we will still accept bus visits as we enjoy those and it’ is relatively easy to prepare for them.

Not a lot happening in the garden, just a lot of Winter cutting back, old Heliconias, Costus and Gingers and of course it is time to cut back all the fruit trees.

While doing all this I have done something to my knee, very painful and X Rays show no damage so it will be off to the Physio for some treatment as I still have lots to do.

I have been trying to add to my Amorphophallus collection and the only way I can do this is through auction on eBay, I get beaten every time and the competition is fierce, I am limited in what I can spend.

Talking about Amorphophallus, I have emptied them out of their pots, cleaned the tubers and stored them dry in my shed on a layer of vermiculite, a big job.

My petrol pressure cleaner pump packed in, so I had to purchase a new pump from Karcher.

My new best tool is this Ryobi hand held Chain Saw, I can climb a tree, hang onto one branch, and cut with the other and I bought it at a great promotional price.

Talking about Ryobi One tools, my lopper broke, so as it has a six-year warranty back to Bunnings to get an immediate replacement.

Another job was our almost 30 year old swimming pool which had become quite badly stained over the years, I bought a product which claimed to get rid of all the stains, well it did, so much calcium, irons and other metals that had to be vacuumed off the pool floor, but it was well worth it to see our pool so sparking clean.

Some photos.