Joy in the old jacarandas

The weekend before last I drove to the Gold Coast and took an unintended detour from Beaudesert out through some beautiful farming country.
I am glad I took the scenic route as it is country I would never have seen otherwise. It is good sometimes to get of the beaten track even if it is by mistake! Only small farms but really well kept and productive country that I guess in times past has sustained many dairy farms.
Beautiful old Queeenslander homes with huge, spectacular old jacaranda trees in full bloom in the paddocks and house yards. As it was a drizzly day the gorgeous colour of the trees really stood out against the grey sky.
I love clear blue skies and the wonderful light we have here in this country on sunny days, but a grey day is really good to showcase certain colours and jacaranda blue/mauve is one of those.
They really looked quite wonderful against the vivid green of the grazing paddocks and the chocolate brown of the fallowed country and somehow are just the perfect accompaniment to the Queenslander style of architecture.
Jacaranda trees in full bloom combined with the perfume of rock-lilies in flower have a very special place in my childhood memories.
I have had great reviews from some people who took the opportunity and time to take a drive and look at some of the winning gardens from the competition. We certainly have some talented gardeners in this area and I hope next year we have even more entries in the competition.
The next item on the Warwick Horticultural Society agenda will be our Christmas get together and then in March 2018 our Autumn Flower Show and a bus trip to the Garden Expo at Doomben … how the time races by.
I was reminded by a friend recently of a gardening practice that I had not thought of for a long time. When I was a small child it was very common and a good source of nutrients for plants. These days with so many liquid fertilisers on the market convenience generally wins out.
In those days it was a 44 gallon drum that was used but now a plastic garbage bin with a lid would be ideal. My friend remembered his uncle having ready access to sheep manure and making a brew with sheep manure and water. Where I grew up cow manure was readily available and used instead.
Also back before the commercial seaweed products came on the market, as we lived close to a lake, I remember Dad getting a trailer load of seaweed for mum. Never before or since have I seen or tasted such wonderful strawberries as were grown that year.
Unfortunately I am a little far from a source here in Warwick and these days it is also probably against the law to collect it.
The extra storm rain we had in Warwick early on Monday morning the week before last was very welcome and has given my lawn a boost. I love a kikuyu lawn and a friend mowed mine for me the Friday before the rain.

Everything old is new again
Liquid manure recipes …
Take about a third of a bucket of old sheep or cow manure, about the same amount of compost plus a couple of good handfuls of poultry manure pellets. Put this in a 55 litre garbage bin, fill with water and put the lid on. Let it brew for about two weeks and it will be a strong tea coloured solution.
Almost fill a 10-litre bucket with this it and add about a tablespoon of fish emulsion, a small amount of liquid potassium and the same amount of seaweed concentrate. This brew will be too strong to be used undiluted so put about two litres in a 10-litre watering can and top up with water.
The ratio should be about one part liquid manure to five parts water.
Another recipe I found was to use all kitchen vegetable scraps and even egg shells, pureed in a blender with a little water until a smooth consistency. For every blender full poured into a bucket add half a teaspoon of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate). Stir it up and let it sit overnight. Dilute it at the rate of 1 to 5 with warm water and mix well. Water it around the base of your plants. This recipe uses up your scraps and is much quicker than composting them.
Home made liquid fertiliser is easy, environmentally friendly, cheap and a terrific way to boost fertility in your garden. Worth a try.

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