Friday, 18 November 2016

Tough Love and the Colour Crimson

There's an old Geranium that I've been growing in every garden I've owned in the past sixteen years since settling back here in the Barossa Valley. I took a few cuttings from a very old garden before the old lady's house was demolished, and the rest is history. They bring me joy every day.

What great value it is in our hot dry climate with freezing frosty winters. It survives the dry summers with very little water, and withstands the fierce frosts to regain its vibrancy come spring. It's crimson colour is guaranteed to cheer the weariest soul, and alongside the daisy and lavender bushes, creates a welcoming cottage garden.

 Still pumped with motivation and enthusiasm from our intensive Bio-dynamics days last week, and before the weather gets too hot, I'm getting a few little gardening jobs done.
This poor little Washington Navel orange tree has been poorly for all of its life of approximately six years. We've moved it twice and it appeared to be growing strongly in this final resting place, but recently it's lost some leaves and put on lots of flowers in an attempt to save its own life by producing lots of fruit.
Tough love was the order of the day. It was so difficult to do it, but it had to be done.

All of the flowers had to be pulled off. The tree needs to put its energy into growing itself, rather than putting energy into growing fruit.

The hens were allowed to scratch and eat the earwigs for only a few minutes because I didn't want them to disturb the citrus tree's shallow roots.
Then the soil and foliage got a good soaking with bio-dynamic soil activator diluted in water before mulching with a thick layer of rotting pea straw.
As the tree is in one of the yards that the hens can access, the mulch needs to be covered so they don't  immediately scratch it out again.

A few flat rocks does the job perfectly. Now let's wait and see if this little tree starts to put on some healthy growth.
I need to feed the foliage and the soil every week with nettle tea and liquid manure and in true bio-dyamic spirit, I also need to put my good intent into it.
One of the great affirmations spoken by Shane Joyce last week was this simple message that, I think, applies not only to gardening, farming and animal care, but for life in general.
"Manage for the outcome that you want...not for what you don't want."

Blessings to you dear reader.
X :) 


  1. Your Geranium is glorious, what a splash of colour. I hope the little tree picks up this year, you're doing all the right things ... now it's up to the tree.

  2. I love the predictability and hardiness of geraniums and yours is the most fabulous colour red that I have seen in a long time.

  3. I love red geraniums too and have one in a pot that is doing well. They look great in your cottage garden! I also love scented geraniums too. I have a rose-scented geranium with perfume that is heavenly and a friend gave me a little lemon-scented geranium cutting a while ago which actually needs planting out. Must do that! I hope your tree starts to thrive, Sally. Meg:)

  4. How lovely the old lady's geraniums are still growing. I'm sure she would be delighted. They look fantastic. Jane xx

  5. Your garden is looking really good. My chickens killed quite a few of my young trees, before I realized why. So now no fruit trees in chicken areas. Good luck with yours, Guida.

    1. I think you are onto something there Guida. Today I placed a piece of wire netting around the base of the little tree to prevent hens from pecking off any new growth.

  6. Sally, I have a pink pelargonium which I got from my mum's garden before she passed away. It is so hardy and survives our frosty winters quite well and rarely gets watered. I love plants like that.

  7. Sally that sounds just like a Double Delight Rose Bob had when he lived at Semaphore long before moving to Strath and many years before the two of us met.
    You know we still have it nearly 20 years later. Bob also has a Geranium of a similar vintage which keeps surviving no matter what. Your Geranium is such a gorgeous colour too :-)


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