Tag: everlastings

Paws and Reflect

Possibly the most meaningful part of my Australian seeds experiment arose today when I transplanted my kangaroo paw seedlings.

The great experiment, which I expected would result in me proving to have a green thumb and presenting all my gardening mates with exotic plants has proven only that I am all thumbs.

I’ve killed nearly everything I planted, even the everlasting daises and golden everlastings that appeared to be growing so well.

I bumped them off by putting them in a hothouse on a boiling hot day, then giving too much fertilizer to the plants that survived.

A desert pea also looked promising, but I over-fertilized that, too.

I have a tray full of dwarf wattle ready for transplanting, a single honeysuckle banksia that can probably be nurtured under growth lights a little longer and a heath banksia that appears doom after being affected by mold.

Given the nature of my blog persona and the role of kangaroo decorations in the garden, though, it was the kangaroo paw that I most wanted to succeed.

It’s a pretty ominous role to be assigned, actually, because every plant in Kangaeroo Corner that I have most wanted to thrive–tree fern, jacaranda and mature versions of kangaroo paw planted when the garden was started–have all died or struggled.

Anyway, I started today by placing a layer of stones at the bottom of a pot, covering it with a layer or nutrient-rich potting mix bended with peat moss and then covering that with soil especially for Australian native plants.

I then gently removed the kangaroo paw seedlings from the growth pods where they had thrived over the past few weeks.

With customary clumsiness, I managed to kill off a couple of seedlings along the way, but eventually planted them all in the same pot.

I then gave the pot a good dose of water and left it in the sun with lots of prayers for success.

Last year, I killed the kangaroo paw in the garden through over-watering amid the summer humidity, only learning later that my treatment was almost the guaranteed method for ensuring the lovely flowers from Australia’s arid regions would wither and die. Oh, well. Live and learn and sorry to the adorable plants.

Potting the kangaroo paws topped off an absolutely outstanding day that would have been perfect had I been able to spend it with Mrs. Kangaeroo, but it still came bloody close to perfection anyway.

I woke early, cleaned and oiled my bike and headed off at a fierce pace, backed by a gentle tailwind.

I made it to Tokyo Tower where I met many old friends for the first time in years and had a wonderful surprise of having a packet of Iced VoVos waiting for me: a gift from a Melbourne friend who has since headed off to a separate part of the country.

Later, a group of us went off to the nearby ANA Intercontinental Hotel and had an enormous buffet breakky, where the interesting and enjoyable conversation continued.

We spent a couple of hours reminiscing, but then had to go our separate ways.

I wanted to get home quick as the dinosaur was in her cage and was probably itching to get out and about, and I was still a couple of hours away.

I rode back in the delightful spring sunshine.

Fortunately, there was almost no wind, which was a blessing as we have had strong winds daily for weeks now.

As I rode along Koshu Kaido, headed for home, I realized I was looking at a record unique for me.

My average speed for the ride was exceeding 30 km/h.

It’s not unheard of for me over short distances, but I was still over the 30 km/h mark with more than 50 km ridden.

I only had 20 km to go on terrain I knew well and felt confident I could maintain the speed.

I’ve never maintained such speed over such a distance, my most notable record of sustained pace being a 180 km-ride at about 28 km/h a few years ago.

But that was when my cycling was thriving.

The past couple of years, my cycling ability has declined thanks to injuries, illness, aging, priorities, weight gain and opportunities, to name a few factors.

So I felt chuffed to be presented with this chance.

And the glorious sunshine was making it even more appealing.

An amazing, unseasonably clear view of Mount Fuji threatened to thwart my attempt at this record, though.

As I hit the Tamagawa Cycling Road for what I regarded as the home stretch, I stopped to take a photo.

There will be other chances to create cycling records.

Seeing Mount Fuji with the opportunity to take a photo is a rare blessing that demands addressing.

So, I stopped and took some shots.

It was totally worth it.

And when I got back on the bike, I got to maintain the speed I’d been looking for.

It was a delightful reward when I got home.

But not as delightful as the pleasure-filled greeting the dinosaur gave me when I got back and let her loose.

We spent the next few hours playing together, vegging out and eating.

I’ve even managed to save a couple of Iced VoVos for Mrs. Kangaeroo (but probably only because I managed to pick up some Choco-Chip GariGarikun, which I hope might be the seasonal flavor for the early summer).

She should be home any minute now and I am looking forward to seeing her.

Blowout! Even Fartilizer Couldn’t Help

Well, strong winds have put paid to a lot of my experiment in growing seeds from Australian native plants, and even fartilizer couldn’t help.

Gale-force winds daily for pretty much the past week made life tough for the little seedlings on the patio at Kangaeroo Corner.

Watering, care, and even magical powders were not enough to save the golden everlastings, with one or two sickly looking seedlings barely hanging on and the rest returning to their organic origins. Two of the three desert peas that seeded were blown over and destroyed. They’ll get an Aussie garden burial anyway, in some form or another, so their role is not done yet.

Some of the plants in Kangaeroo Corner haven’t responded to the wonderful spring quite as hoped and I have gotten into the fertilizer and other forms of care.

I discovered ACID NATURE Otsuniwa, a business selling fertilizer low in phosphorus, which is important for Aussie native plants, and was delighted with their response, which was to send me the fartilizer pictured above.

I had always pondered over how I might be able to turn my talent for flatulence into fortune a la Le Pétomane and thought something like this might be a good opportunity for a new career, but ACID NATURE Otsuniwa worked out earlier how to package and sell the product. Oh, well….so it goes.

Seeing the literal blowout of the golden everlastings and desert peas as a learning experience, I’m going to keep the seeds sprouting in humidity pods inside the sheltered domes for as long as feasible.

The experiment could still turn out to be fantastic as there is a fairly large array of kangaroo paw growing. The outside kangaroo paw have so far failed to germinate. Native wisteria and dwarf wattle seedlings are also growing with gusto, so it hasn’t been a total failure. Far from it. A thoroughly enjoyable experience even if results haven’t been what I had initially dreamed. Otherwise, the garden still looks nice and I am really loving it. Our (Japanese) wisteria bloomed this year for the first time in three years, and it is a delight that even the wind hasn’t managed to blow away yet.

Everlastings Love!

Everlastings seeds in the humidity pods

Everlasting daisies have become the first plants I’ve potted after starting to grow them from seed.

I planted the seeds in humidity pods on February 19.

They germinated in a flash, with buds clearly visible within a week.

They were starting to grow too big for the pods, so I decided to move to the next stage of the challenge to grow Aussie plants, which was transplanting in larger pots.

I had 15 pods of everlasting seedlings to transfer, so I prepared the bigger pots for them using the recyclable pots I bought from the local Daiso.

I filled the bottom of the pots with perlite for drainage, and added a layer of peat moss.

I then filled the rest of the pots with soil especially for Australian native plants.

This is sandier and drier than the normal soils I have used before, so I hope it helps in the growing process.

Transplanting the seedlings was, of course, more difficult than I had expected it to be.

The humidity pod kits come with tools that are crafted to enable forming holes for planting and digging the seedlings out of their individual pods.

It took a while to learn the processes involved and this trial and error probably killed off a few plants.

I also removed some of the weaker looking seeds in the individual pods to enable to stronger pods to grow.

Eventually, I potted all the plants, some of them well, others terribly clumsily.

The seedlings had been exposed to constant light since they were planted.

For the first time in their lives, these babies would now see the dark.

I left them in the back office overnight.

When I woke this morning, it was wet and windy, so the regular ride was put off, and attention diverted to the everlastings.

I gently carried them to the outside hothouse, where I will keep them for the next few weeks, by which time I hope they will establish firm root systems that will enable them to be planted. I hope to be able to give some away to friends. I watered them with a misty spray from the garden hose.

I planted a separate set of golden everlastings a week after this batch, and they have started to germinate, too, so I should be repeating this process, too.

Of the many varieties of seed I planted, the only other seeds that have budded so far have been some of the desert peas. These are strikingly beautiful flowers, so it would be wonderful if they work.

Otherwise, I am fearful. I expect too much, too quickly! Germination takes time, and I need to realize that. And the seeds may not germinate, even though they are in pods with constant lighting and sometimes warmth. It’s all a fun process, though.

Open Up Your Eyes, An Everlasting Bud!

Kangaeroo’s Aussie seed experiment is moving forward, and today resulted in its first buds.

Seedling growth came from an everlasting, a pink, yellow and white flower native to Western Australia.

I potted everlasting seeds last weekend in humidity pods.

They’ve been growing under lights daily ever since, except for Tuesday night when the power plug short-circuited.

I’ve checked the pods daily to see how they are developing, so was delighted to see the little leaves sprout. Might have some stronger seedlings in the works.

Once they have grown big enough, I will transplant them into pots and move them into the hothouse outside.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to plant some and give the rest away.

Otherwise, Kangaeroo Corner is also providing some good news.

Parts of the garden are continuing to thrive.

The wattle, which sprung forth from what was left of a branch, appears poised to burst into flower.

Neighbors are also growing a wattle and their tree is already awash in the beautiful yellow blossoms.

More concerning are the one of the grevillea and tree fern, which appear to be struggling from the cold even though we have had a mild winter.

I’ll keep on weeding, watching over them and hoping for the best.

A Seed Of An Idea

As I touched on over the weekend, I’ve started trying to grow plants from seed and I completed the first round of the process this morning before heading off on my bike.

Blend of potting mix, peat moss and pearlite

Dwarf wattle seeds that I soaked in boiling water last night were the final group of seeds that can be planted in the winter.

I managed to spread the seeds over a tray and put them in the humidity pod.

Most of the work was finished yesterday after the ride.

Potting mix

The process so far started in September and October of last year (2022) when I collected Australian native plant seeds, mostly from Bunnings.

Native Australian plant seeds purchased from Oz

Managing to get the seeds through Customs in Oz and Japan, the next toughest step was stopping myself from getting over eager and trying to plant them before they were ready.

Plant starter kits

I did start preparing, mostly by buying plant starter kits, which are lit and heated humidifier pods. They came equipped with diggers, cards and a scoop, all of which I’ve put to use.


Just before Christmas, I put some waratah seeds in the fridge and kept them there for the subsequent six weeks, as advised by the growing instructions.

Some study revealed that I was on the back foot.

Australian native plants often need to be smoked or exposed to boiled water to replicate natural conditions before they germinate.

I didn’t study that until now, so I missed the opportunity to get starter granules or smoke water, either of which aids in the process, and I couldn’t find them for sale in Japan.

But I did learn about pearlite and vermiculite, so I purchased a bag of both and got to work.

First, I sorted the seeds, setting aside those that could be planted in the winter.

Humidity pod covers with openings to let out the humid air

In addition to the waratah, the seeds were the dwarf wattle, Australian Christmas tree, red cap gum, honeysuckle banksia, orange banksia, everlastings and one of the two sets of kangaroo paw seeds that I have. I had kangaroo paw growing in Kangaeroo Corner from the outset, but I killed them through overwatering, so I am particularly keen to make a better fist of growing them this time around. Another set will go on a tray of their own in another month or so.

Labeled seeds

I took turns sowing each of the seeds in a blend of potting mix, pearlite and peat moss, then covered them with vermiculite.

Each time the seed was sown it got a card with the planting date added so I will be able to tell how long it takes to germinate: if they do, indeed, begin to sprout.

Humidity pods for growing seeds

They were then laid out in the humidity pods in the spare room.

The humidity pods are exposed to daylight (albeit north-facing), but get pumped up with artificial light overnight.

Lighting the humidity pods at night

I’ve never grown anything like this, but am having fun.

In the meantime, I’ll keep checking and updating.