|Candle banksia flower goes|
from yellow to brown with age
It's just great to see that my agapanthus, which started out as just a few scattered bulbs, have now spread to line the outside edge of the pool fence thickly. These plants are soft enough not to be considered a violation of pool safety, as they can't provide a foothold for curious children trying to climb the fence. And the palms which Allen and I planted about 10 years ago are big enough to provide summer shade on this side of the pool – but they're positioned within the regulation distance from the top of the pool fence.
This week among other things Nev has cut right back all of the messy growth on another sloping terrace - this one between the house's back verandah and the poolside pump-house. That area's more stubborn weed stems have also been spot-sprayed. But there's more work to be done here. I haven't decided whether to keep the spiky mother-in-law's tongue (in the red oval) – I may move them to a large pot, as they look great clustered together that way. The mother-of-millions, however, is a weed (in the yellow oval) and definitely has to go. Next this area will be resprayed and mulched heavily prior to planting a collection of low-growing native shrubs (grevilleas mainly, to attract more birds).
I'm not usually a big sprayer, at least not in garden beds. I usually do the driveway, paths and fenceline a few times a year. But this year too many beds got away from me during Allen's illness, when I went months without having time or energy for any substantial gardening. Added to that we've just had the wettest spring, summer and autumn in a long, long time. And winter isn't proving as dry as usual either. In this climate weeds can grow six feet while your back is turned, and for me at least, there's no alternative to spraying for some persistent problem weeds.
Yesterday evening I finished up by repotting half a dozen bromeliads, and sinking these into the mulch on the little garden bed that borders the path to the studio. I hadn't yet done that when this photo was taken the day before, so I'll show those in a later post. What this photo celebrates, though, is the fact that all of the 'dirty palms' along this path are now tall enough so that the dead fronds are above eye-level! I would never have planted this variety of palm (Alexander palms). They were here when we bought the house in 1996 and by the time I realised I would like to be rid of them, their removal would have cost thousands. So I live with them and have tried to create a little rainforest beneath them. For those who aren't familiar with tropical greenery, the bottom fronds of all palms die off as new fronds form at the top of the growing plant. In so-called dirty palms, however, the dead fronds remain attached for a very long time until eventually they will come crashing down. Clean palms, however, such as those we planted around the pool, drop their dead fronds immediately. Hence they never have the messy look of dirty palms. But though I deplore the long dead fronds that dangle around the trunks of the Alexander palms for months, at least these palms are now tall enough so that the dead fronds are out of sight as you walk down the path. And I must admit, a wonderful collection of wildlife comes to feed on the palm flowers and fruit throughout the year. So I've come to accept this little ecosystem as one of the untidier by-products of a green living space.