Daily Life

Garden of Weedin’

Spring has sprung (for today) at least, and the garden at Kangaeroo Corner looks resplendent thanks to early morning weeding, a mow and planting plenty of new plants.

Weather helped, too, with delightful sunshine and warmth as the temperature topped 20 for the first time this year.

I had planned to transplant some plants bought over the winter next week, when we have a holiday, but circumstances conspired against me and I won’t be able to do it that day, so things turned out perfectly by forcing me outside from just after dawn.

With last year’s lawn woes in mind, I have been letting the grass grow longer this year in the hopes that it will offer greater protection and resilience when the heat and powerful sunshine arrives.

It looks lovely now and I hope I can maintain that over the year, remembering that it was superb until what should have been the onset of the rainy season in 2023.

Then I turned to the transplanting. I was to plant two types of banksia and a grevillea. They all like light, sandy soil, but ours is a bit rich.

Hairpin banksia are said to be fairly easy to maintain, but I have developed a knack for killing them.

Mind you, a little battler that reminds me a bit of Baby Groot, survived the winter in the ground, which was an effort I thought to be pretty impressive. That banksia now has a tiny rock garden around it.

But for the main hairpin banksia, which had started looking a little shaky in its pot, I want to wait until last before I gave it my attention.

Banksia birthday candles, then, was the first to get out of the pot and into the ground, and I planted her near the small kangaroo ornament next to the back entrance. This plant does not grow to be too big and can do OK in shade.

I used a potting mix of soil made for Australian native plants, which is basically just dirt mixed with a bit of perlite and kanumatsuchi, and some slow release, low-phosphorous fertilizer.

I dug a hole, dumping the dirt into a bucket, laid a lay or kanumatsuchi and dead leaf organic matter and then potted the plant.

I followed the same process for the coastal spider grevillea, which had thrived and started to bloom even before going into the ground.

It was time for the hairpin banksia to go in.

That, of course, meant time to procrastinate.

I turned my attention to a hardenbergia in the corner of the garden.

That corner is a bid shaded and hasn’t done well.

And the climber was not flowering, but I wanted it to do so, having grown in from seed that I brought back from Australia after a 2022 trip.

So, it got a quick transplant into the ground. (Much to the chagrin of Mrs. Kangaeroo later on, who noted that once it took root and started spreading we faced a tough time stopping it.

That’s a bridge I’ll burn when I get to it. I transplanted it because two other growths potted at the same time are not doing great.

By now, there was no more escaping the hairpin banksia transplant.

Everything went well until I was readying to pat down the dirt around the transplanted plant and noticed that I had put it in the ground with its branch running directly into the fence.

It had to move.

I wasn’t happy with the new lie of the plant, but hope it will be good enough.

Both the banksias I transplanted were showing signs of strain in their pots, so I hope the move into the ground will work this time.

And now, suckered by the weather and brim-filled with enthusiasm, I turned my attention toward our somewhat sickly leptospermum, the little prince.

He hadn’t done well in the pot over winter and the leaves were browning and withering at the tips.

I’d fertilized it, watered it, took it outside in the day and brought it inside overnight, but it just got worse.

Figuring it’s gonna die anyway, I decided to put the plant into the ground.

The little prince is currently occupying the prime spot in the garden, so I hope it works.

A protea, which the Japanese regard as a native Australian plant (and not South African!) isn’t really what I’d hoped for the Aussie-plant theme Kangaeroo Corner, but it is one of Mrs. Kangaeroo’s delights (along with the other non-Aussie “Aussie” plant, the jacaranda), so that gives a little impetus to wanting it to grow.

Otherwise, the one hardenbergia that has thrived since being planted looks set to explode with flowers any day now.

And the wattles look sublime.

The silver wattle bloomed first and is slowly spreading its yellow blossoms.

The golden wattle is really coming into its own, looking set to bloom spectacularly.

It’s a bit of a special time for Kangaeroo Corner as it’s the second anniversary of its planting around this time (I can’t remember the exact date, but “near enough is good enough” is Strayan enough anyway).

Our sole Death Corner survivor, who has actually thrived and done well in the shady, dry corner

In the spirit of she’ll be ‘right mate, I’ve killed off a few plants, nearly all the flora I tried to grow from seed and made a mess of the lawn, but I’d say the garden overall is thriving.

I’ve delighted in learning about propagating and trying to grow from cuttings, which is this year’s main project.

Some plants grown from seed last year did all right, most notably the kangaroo paw, but also the hardenbergia and a dwarf wattle.

More importantly, I’ve developed a love for gardening, which couldn’t have happened without Mrs. Kangaeroo providing the inspiration and motivation and the magical Alex Endo, author of はじめてのオージープランツ図鑑, for making it happen.

More to come on this topic, I’m sure.