Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous Recipes

Garden on a plate

Wow – that was some storm we experienced over the weekend. I was so worried that the hail storm was going to ruin my veggie patch and when it rained cats and dogs, it was going to wash everything away! Glad to report that there are only small pools of water and the garden has survived. So much so, that I could pick an amazing lunch salad from the greens all around my garden. Take a look at the colourful plate of goodies – even edible flowers.

This collection of greens makes for the most delicious salad. I have experimented with edible flowers and include the peppery nasturtium flowers and the cucumber tasting borage flower. I have also added chamomile fronds and these are so delicate and have their own unique flavour. This is why I garden – to create beautiful plates of food. All it needed was a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon (from my lemon tree!) – nothing more! The flavours speak for themself.

The beautiful borage flower is also packed with healthy goodness.  This is called the happy plant, historically known to bring comfort and joy! It is said to be mildly antidepressant. It has anti-inflammatory properties and used by the pharmaceutical industry for its oil (this contains gamma-linolenic acid). Borage is used for its leaves, flowers and seeds. What a marvelous plant – also used in the garden as a green fertilizer! Multi-tasking at its finest!

Did you know that Nasturtiums is known as “Mother Nature’s Antibiotic” because it is packed with Vitamin C? It is great in assisting fighting colds and flus by assisting the immune system. The leaves, flowers and seeds are all edible! It has a fresh peppery flavour so a big must in any salad! And the colours are eye catching, brings a simple salad to Master Chef level!!

The salad greens are a variety of seedlings I bought – oak leaf, curly red, cos and butter lettuce. The rest were sown from seed, such as the english spinach, broad been shoots, fennel  shoots, tender celery tips and new swiss chard leaves.

My first ever attempt at growing Baby Chinese Greens – tatsoi (a spinach mustard), Mizuna (a lettuce), Arugula (we know it as rocket) and Bok Choy (also known as Pak Choi – a chinese cabbage). What you see here (above) in Bok Choy. It is the tender new growths that I use. I am busy thinning, so it is a great way to use these in salads.

This is, for me, the the joy of gardening! My edible garden! What makes you happy about your garden??

Enjoy xxxx

Annuals Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Seeds sprouting

Hi Barbie – I promised I would tell you as soon as I see something happening … and my First Attempt at Planting Seeds appears to be successful! We have little seedlings coming up in the planter box – So far I have about ten coming up of the +/- 30 I planted. I’m moving the planter box to a sunnier position now that I am a little more confident in my abilities to take care of a few seeds :).

I’m strangely not as excited as I thought I would be. I think the whole Rare Bulbs undertaking has me more anxious than a couple of Nasturtium seeds!

Other than that we’ve had three beautiful days here weather wise – sunny days with no wind and pleasant temperates – ideal for spending time in the garden which I’ve managed to do by sneaking away from work for short periods. I’ve done a lot of planting and reorganising, tidying up and general maintenance.

Happy gardening



Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

First attempt at planting seeds

BeforeToday I thought I’d try something that I’ve been purposely avoiding … planting seeds. I’ve never planted seeds before in my life – and fear of failure and thereby revealing a serious lack of “green-fingerness” has kept me from trying this. (I do recall planting beans on cotton wool as a child but that’s as far as it went – I have no recollection of what happened to the beans after they sprouted – I’m guessing they died).

But now I’ve been dabbling in this wonderful world of gardening, my Camellias are flowering successfully and I have a veggie planter full of thriving veggies and my confidence levels are up! Plus, I keep reading about how rewarding and easy it is to grow plants from seed, so I decided … the time is now! I have the perfect little planter that’ s been waiting around for some action, compost in a bag and a collection of seeds in packets. The biggest decision I had to make was which seeds to plant. I have Marigolds, California poppies, Nasturtiums, radishes, carrots, chives and onion seeds, all in little packets that I’ve been buying – though why I bought them when I had no intention of sowing them I’m not quite sure (OK, I’m an impulse shopper and those colourful little seed packets just look so darn cute!)

[one_half]Before …Before ....[/one_half]

[one_half_last]and AfterAnd after[/one_half_last]

I chose to plant the nasturtiums. The reason I chose them is because the seeds felt really big through the packet – so I thought that would be easiest as my first attempt because I can handle them without dropping them all over the place. The “type” according to the packet is Nasturtium “Scarlet Jewel”. Now I see the packet says to plant directly into flower beds – why oh why do I always read the instructions AFTER I do something? Nevermind …

It all went quickly and easily – not too much mess, no fuss. I covered the planter box drainage holes with stones, added the compost to the plant box, firmed it down to get rid of air pockets and then took the seeds out of the packet, spaced them equally around the planter and then covered them with a 4mm layer of compost. Firmed it all down again, placed it on my plant shelf and gave it a good watering. The packet says to keep the seeds moist whilst they germinate and that germination takes six to ten days. We shall see … this better work or I will be mortified!

I’ll report back in 6 – 10 days, hopefully with sprouting nasturtiums!

Any advice on how to complete project “Christine plants seeds” successfully, will be most appreciated!

Happy gardening

Bugs & Pests Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Trees

Lemon Tree Rescue

Clean lemon treeI was trying to come up with a good Title for this post that would describe the nature of it at a glance and I couldn’t decide whether “Operation Lemon Tree” or “Lemon Tree Rescue” would be more appropriate. The gist of it is that my poor Lemon Tree has been under attack by black, green AND woolly aphids and other things I could not identify. Since January I’ve been trying to cure it. I sprayed … it got worse! I sprayed again … it got even worse. I pruned it a bit, watered it well, mulched it, loved it, talked to it … I even begged the aphids to leave – all to no avail. It just got worse.

It is a very tall tree so I set up the ladder and climbed up to spray it some more with the result that I got a faceful of “spray”. Ugh! I was at my wits end with it and was contemplating chopping it down, but it still produces lemons even with all the creepies living on the leaves and yesterday we noticed that it even has flowers. So I decided in a last ditch attempt today to get back up that ladder and hand-wash each and every leaf and stalk to rid it of these pests. The “mixture” we used to wash it with included garlic, some crushed basil and ordinary soap.

So here we are many hours later with one aphid-free lemon tree. We’ve added some more compost, planted the mint and a few nasturtium seedlings below it, I’ve said a little prayer and now we will wait to see what happens.

[one_half]Aphid-free Lemon TreeAphid free lemon tree[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Aphid deterrents at ground levelPeppermint and Nasturtiums[/one_half_last]

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Garden Walk

Hey Barbs, remember what we were chatting about the other day, about how there is only so much one can photograpjh in the garden before you run out of things to photograph? Well I did a garden walk-about now and found that that is only partly true – I have new growth on lots of plants and get excited every time I see something new. My garden is ever changing so hopefully I won’t ever run out of things to get excited about, photographs to take … and of course I’ll never stop learning!Highlight of the day? The Brunfelsia plant I had given up on finally sprouted new growth! Overnight it seems! I love these plants (Yesterday, today and tomorrow) and can’t wait for it to grow and flower.

Things that I am happy about today are …

[one_half]The Brunfelsia finally shows growth!Yesterday Today & Tomorrow Plant[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A Pond plant in flowerPond Plant flowers![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Hardly any soil patches leftLots of lush growth out back[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Nasturtiums start to growNasturtiums take from seed[/one_half_last]

[one_half]I has a rose! (ok, she’s a miniature)I has a rose![/one_half]

[one_half_last]And she flowersMy rose flowers (so proud!)[/one_half_last]

Annuals Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Nasturtiums for our Lemon Trees

NasturtiumsHey Barbs, I found an amazing tip in this months issue of The Gardener which will help protect our Lemon Trees from aphids and scale. Here’s what they say … Sow Nasturtium or rue seeds at the base of fruit trees. Their presence appears to act as a deterrent to sap-sucking insects like aphids and scale. Concoctions brewed from the leaves of these plants are also used as organic sprays to deter these pests!

So I am going to buy Nasturtium seeds … they used to flourish in my garden, like a weed,along with the Ivy. We ripped them all out and I’m not mad about the idea of having a Nasturtium invasion again, but if I control their growth and just have them growing around the base of the lemon tree I think it could actually look quite attractive. What do you think? Worth a try if it keeps the nasties away!

And I know that some people put Nasturtiums in salads and use them in food preparation … so that fits in with you “edible” theme! I’ll get you some seeds when I go seed shopping this week.