Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Gardening at Easter

It was busy and yet quiet at Easter this year. Some days were very busy and others were quiet. On the quiet days I enjoyed pottering in the garden. It is Autumn time here on the south coast of Australia and the weather has been more stable. We had a week of light rain then a week of warmer weather and sunshine, just the weather to make plants grow.

I have been working on replanting a garden bed in the front yard. This bed faces south and so it gets pretty cold with icy southerly winds for six months of the year. The other six months of the year it gets baking hot. The soil gets so hard that it is impossible to get a spade into it.

I am not one to water my front garden much so the plants MUST be very hardy. There are a couple of roses that have lasted there for years, a daisy bush - can you actually kill daisy bushes? and some red valerian. That is so hardy. It has thick roots under the ground that nourish it whatever the weather.

It is a good time to plant bulbs so that they will be ready to flower in springtime. I had bought five big, plump, round hyacinth bulbs. I am looking forward to the deep purple colour and the magnificent perfume in the future.  

To get these bulbs ready for planting, I soaked them in water and homeopathic 'Plant Strengthener' for 24 hours along with a little hydrogen peroxide. These were then drained and left to sit for a couple of days. Tiny white roots started to emerge like a corona from the bottom of the bulbs. 

I took a sheet of paper towel, dampened it, and sat the bulbs on it for another couple of days while I watched the roots growing. 

Self Watering Pots

On one of the quiet days over Easter, the bulbs were planted in a self watering hanging basket. I just love self watering pots. The plant always has access to as much water as it wants yet doesn't get waterlogged. Air can still get in between the bottom of the soil and the water level. Also watering can be intermittent. They are good for the forgetful gardener.

Preparing the Soil

The soil was also especially prepared. I used the following:
  • potting mix
  • vermiculite
  • perlite
  • blood and bone
  • water saving granules
  • epsom salts
This was mixed up and the bulbs were layered into it. They were well watered and left to sit in a sheltered spot for a few days. They will find their new hanging space when they start popping out of the soil. 

Grooming Young Gardeners

One of the youngest members of our family, a little two year old, checks out some pots of bulbs each week when she comes to visit. She is so excited to see how they have grown each week. It's a great way to instil a love of gardening into the next generation.

Plant Strengthener is available here

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