We’re having beautiful cold snap here in Melbourne. Icy nights and glorious sunny crisp days. The lawn is white with frost each morning, and all the branches are bare.


But there’s still stuff going on. New strawberry flowers.

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Sweet peas starting to climb

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Limes starting to swell.

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I’m trying this new method for growing coriander – more like a grass that can be snipped at. I’m not sure it’s right for me – I like to use huge handfuls of the stuff, and this way it grows too slowly.

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Lettuces looking good.

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I’m also harvesting huge armfuls of silverbeet. Those plants have been going strong for over a year now! We had it for dinner last night, sauteed with leek, garlic, oregano, lemon and chickpeas. Yum!


Coming up roses

I want pretty much everything in the backyard to be edible. But the front garden is a different story altogether. It faces south, so doesn’t get much direct sun, so it isn’t super-useful for growing veggies. There’s a lillipilli that I desperately want to replace with an avocado, and the new pomegranate, and then some scrubby ugly bushes. There used to be lavender along the front fence, but it died over summer because I forgot to water it. Oops. And I never thought I’d be a rose person, until this.


(image from here)

Isn’t it heavenly? It’s David Austin’s Abraham Darby, named after a key figure in the Industrial Revolution who something something pig iron. Reviews say it’s hardy, repeat blooming with a stunning fragrance (I see no point in roses that don’t smell good). I had something very similar in my wedding bouquet. I love those big cupped centiflora roses. It grows as a bush, not a standard (I don’t like the ball-on-a-stick look of standard roses, especially in winter). And it will bloom in light shade.

Could I really grow roses? I didn’t think I was a rose growing person. But rose bushes trained along our front fence, with gorgeous flowers to bring inside? I could definitely get behind that.

A quick google revealed that Abraham Darby was on special at Chris and Marie’s Plant Farm, which, if you are from Victoria, you will recognise from their eccentric TV ads. I ordered five, and the nice lady discounted them even further. It ended up costing me the regular price of just one, so I upped it to seven.

So on a rainy day we dug up the weeds and the dead lavender along the front fence.


I added sheep manure, epsom salts and rockdust, and then it left it to be rained on for a week before popping in our bare-rooted roses. There was lots of conflicting advice about whether to mulch or not. I went with mulch, because it’s neater and means dirt doesn’t spread onto the footpath.


And now the agonising wait until spring. I’m going to add lamb’s ears, catmint and garlic chives as companions, and maybe a clematis to wander in among the bushes.