Thursday, 1 December 2016

In My Garden ~ December 2016

"Although their numbers are falling by the hour, there are still over one million species of plants and animals that breathe the same air and embrace the same earth as we do. To see them is to know them, to know them is to love them." ~Bradley Trevor Grieve

Numbers falling by the hour.
 This is not sobering. This is devastating.

How do we as human beings; sentient, reasoning, beings, go on with our day to day lives knowing that this is happening? And yet, how do we not? We too have to live. To eat. To bear the burden of expenses incurred through the cost of living.

"To see them is to know them, to know them is to love them".  And we do see them, know them and love them. We even try to help them in our own small and insignificant ways. But our small and insignificant ways are not enough to redress the balance.  I have no answers. I should feel more distress, but I lack the time to focus on the issue. So instead, I feel at best, an uncomfortable sense of disquiet. I do what I can but I am not kidding myself. The little that I can do is not enough.


So in my garden this month I continue to make compost in the hopes of improving my soil.

I am turning a blind eye to the birds eating my strawberries and cherry tomatoes.

Don netted one of the apple trees for me in the hopes we shall see some apples grow. (After all the birds have the cherry tomatoes and strawberries.)

We continue to water the garden and fruit trees in the hopes that the wet season will commence soon.

I have harvested what I can from the keyhole garden and I will be turning some of the compost from the middle basket over into the bed itself. The soil drops during the growing season so the compost basket comes in handy as a source of additional growing medium.

The Wisteria sent forth leaves and shoots during November.

We have been spraying the hibiscus with soapy water using lux flakes. This has been working well and whatever mite or bug (mealybug?) that has been attacking the poor thing has been sent packing. However we will keep spraying just to make sure.

I am going to spray the gardenias against magnesium deficiency. My recipe calls for one teaspoon of Epsom salts in 10 litres of water. I am going to half the quantities to make it easier for me to apply.

Check the citrus for aphids. Once again if there is a problem I can spray using soap spray. I will wear my glasses when I am checking though so I have a better chance of seeing if any aphids are parasitised by a micro wasp. If they have been they should look like  tiny brown balloons. In this case there will be no need to spray. I shall also check for hoverflies and ladybeetle larvae and if they are around in good quantities then I will leave the aphids to their tender mercies.

I have noticed a lot of frenetic ant activity lately, mostly because the little suckers keep nipping my ankles. Ant activity can indicate we are going through a scale-hatching period. Once again scale can be treated by home-made oil spray or home-made soap spray.

I will also be doing lots of trimming and pruning. There are lots of sticks, fallen branches and dead palm fronds to pick up.

This hibiscus has been receiving a lot of attention.

 There are banana suckers that need to be removed. If too many suckers are allowed to grow it will affect the size of the bunches of fruit. The old leaves can be removed too and then put through the mulcher.

I still have a lot of mulching to do and I will start adding some coconut fibre to the mulch in order to improve the water holding capacity of the mulch.

The lawn areas could do with an application of blood and bone. Our lawns have greened up a bit since the rain we had on the last Saturday in November.

I also think I might try my hand at making a home-made fruit fly trap.

What are your garden plans for December?


  1. We just do the best we can. I've planted over 100 trees on my property. And we've made a habitat for the birds and wild animals, by piling the brush in a corner. Foxes, we've discovered love it. As for gardening, December is the one month I don't have any plans way up here in the North, except to peruse the garden catalogs. Happy gardening!


    1. Thanks Jane. You have already done so much more for the wild birds and animals than most of us. I love gardening catalogs so that sounds like a great time to me!

  2. You sound busy!

    I need to continue to plant out my (small) bush corridor at the rear of the property. I have my big things in, now to plant the middle level shrubs, ground covers and to bring in some logs and so forth.

    We also have a bit more demolition to do around here, as snake season is upon us and to have scrap metal and "stuff" lying around is far from desirable. We have moved alot, but still there are a few more trailor loads to go.


    1. Yes it is just so important not to have a build up of stuff that snakes will move into. As I write this I am thinking of a small cement pad that we have resting on a couple of pieces of timber because my husband wants to keep it off the ground. I don't know why. But that would be a perfect snake habitat. I have a beautiful garden arch sitting in the garage that will eventually sit on the cement pad. I just don't know where I want to have it in the garden as yet.

  3. Trees, trees and some more trees! That's my gardening plan for the foreseeable future. I've got some thoughts mulling around about that, which I intend to write a post on.

    Trees are really the living network, all other living systems are built upon. Trees create shade and bring water to the land by cooling it. They create carpets of nutrients for the soil as well as making homes for animals - the ones we can see, and the ones we can't. They purify the air, water, are filters for toxins in the ground too; block the wind and keep the soil from running into the ocean. Is there nothing a tree can do? I doubt it.

    Bring back the trees and we bring back the species we're losing. :)

    1. And they are great for kids to climb in. I often look at our mango trees and think how much I would have enjoyed climbing them when I was a child. I planted a Moringa tree on the weekend. I really wanted to hold off planting it until autumn but it just keeps outgrowing the pots it is planted into. I intend to plant Moringa trees in the north paddock, but I am quite some time away from that yet. So I planted this Moringa in Jubilee Park. Jubilee Park's purpose is to block the hot northerly winds, and there is still some planting to go to achieve this fully.

  4. Yes, I think my entire strawberry crop exists to feed the birds too....oh well.

    1. I am also having problems with grubs this year in my strawberries which I didn't have last year.

  5. Not many plans for me, Sherri. I have decided in the future just to plant a few veggies that we always eat as nothing seems to be growing well these days and anything I do plant has to be fenced off from the chooks until my husband builds a chook pen which isn't high on his list of priorities. It can get a bit discouraging as the rain is hit and miss and this heatwave in the SE hasn't been helpful at all. Maybe I just have heat stress at the moment :-)

    1. The lack of rain combined with the drying wind is a double trouble for me at present. I am not surprised you have heat stress during the present weather, even my husband is complaining about the heat and he is usually very heat tolerant. (Now I have made him sound a bit like a plant!)