Sunday, 3 August 2014

Blaugust 3, 2014 - Feeding My Addictions

I wrote the other day about three plants that are flowering wonderfully at the moment in the Adelaide/Mount Lofty Ranges region. Yesterday I drove through the ranges to the East of Elizabeth, and today I worked out at Murray Bridge, so I've seen a lot of things in bloom out the car window as I hurried to and fro, and wished that I had the time to stop to go for a walk and take some photos to show you.

I took a photo of these stunning Acacia pycnantha flowers at work today. But though they look wonderful, I'm over them. It happens every year, I get all excited over A. pycnantha, and then I happen to go somewhere that A. notabilis grows, and that, dear friends, is truly a Notable Wattle. If you have the opportunity, go for a walk in the Mt Gawler Native Forest Reserve in the next few weeks. Forestry SA has some of the best stuff, those PIRSA jerks.

All these pretty plants put me in a gardening mood, which is dangerous as it brings us to the first of the titular addictions that I shall discuss: Buying plants.

I realised today that the two Correa 'Autumn Blaze' specimens outside my study window that I so love will soon stop flowering, or at the least stop flowering nearly as much. I'd miss the colour, and the bird life they attract, so I decided to put a few more things in pots so I could rotate in whatever was flowering at any given time. Never mind the two pallets worth of rescued plants I have sitting in the back yard I could have sorted through for something suitable, I decided I needed advanced stock in order to ensure flowers in the coming months. And so, I had an excuse spend a little of my birthday money.

The first two plants I chose were Callistemon 'Captain Cook' (on the left), and Grevillea 'Robyn Gordon'. 'Captain Cook' is a cultivar of C. viminalis, which is a parent to many of the best Callistemons in cultivation. They generally have fine leaves, are pleasingly dense, tend not to get as woody as some, often have a slightly weeping habit, and have striking red flowers. 'Captain Cook' grows to around 2 metres at most, though in the pot I have it in I am hoping for about 1.2m.

'Robyn Gordon' is a fairly common Grevillea cultivar, a cross between G. banksii and G. bipinnatifida with red flowers to go with those of the 'Captain Cook' while having a different shape and overall effect. 'Robyn Gordon' has a nice strong flower colour, unlike its sibling Grevillea 'Superb', which is utterly wishy-washy. Both would normally grow to around 2 metres, and I am once again hoping for 1.2m in the pot.

I also indulged my love of scented plants by picking Boronia megastigma and Boronia 'Lipstick'. Boronias can be a little tricky, as they tend to have shallow roots and die easily if they dry out. They are extremely rewarding, as the flowers are very pretty little things that tend to cover the plant profusely, and they have a strong and distinctive scent. I have already planted Senecio odoratus and Philotheca myoporoides, and plan to plant Prostanthera aspalathoides, in the vicinity for their scents. I hope that the resulting cocktail of pleasant smells will waft in through the study and bedroom windows on nice mild days.

Looking at the flowers starting to emerge on some of the larger specimens, I grabbed a Gastrolobium celsianum tube to whack in a pot on a bit of a whim. This plant is from WA, as so very many of the properly showy Australian plants are. Another bird attracting small shrub with red flowers, though this time pea flowers. Seems to be a bit of a theme today. I'm liking solid, strong, striking, bright colours that know what they are instead of being wishy-washy rubbish. I'm liking strong contrast.

My final plant indulgence for the day was buying some Acacia notabilis tubes to pot on in rocket pots. Being in a rental, I don't want to throw too much money and effort into a garden that I won't get to enjoy year after year, and so pot things on to plant when I'm more settled. This is a real case of addict behaviour: I had no current need for them, but having seen them in the wild again recently I had to have them.

Rocket pots, by the by, are designed so the roots are trained outwards into the little nodules as well as down to the bottom of the pot, and are then pruned off by the air. They let you grow a plant on for a year or two without developing a shitty root structure. Another fantastic Australian invention! I'll likely see some great flowers from them next year even if I don't have somewhere to plant them yet, and if they start to get a bit big for the pots I'll give them away or maybe sell them. That's my plant collecting addiction well and truly indulged for the day.

By a long way my most problematic addiction is sugar, particularly sugar delivered via chocolate. I've been having a real problem with self-control lately, as comfort food is a big thing with me and I've not exactly been full of cheer. I eat for the pleasure of the taste, the satisfied feeling of being full, and the good feelings certain foods high in sugar give me while I'm eating them. If I buy myself a block of chocolate, even if I tell myself it is to be split over two days, I'll eat the whole thing. I'll get to the halfway mark, consciously realise I should stop, but make some sort of excuse or justification as to why I can keep eating it. Either that or I'll just get caught up in the comforting ritual nature of eating and absent-mindedly polish it all off.

In an effort to regain some semblance of self-control I've given up all desserts and treats with processed sugar for August, with the exception of yoghurts. I hope I will make it through the month intact, as the last time I tried this I only managed to get to two weeks. I'm expecting the shakes around about day five or six, based on that last experience.

Of course on the first day of this I ate far too much dried fruit, but I'll forgive myself that and not do it again. I'll have to be careful that I don't seek out other crutches, and develop mental fortitude as a result of this process. As I type this I'm four or five drinks into that bottle of Lagavulin for the evening, and I know I could dive in head first if I'm not careful. I'm lucky that I don't depend on alcohol, regularly going weeks between drinks unless I have a bottle on the go, and I'd prefer to keep it that way.

1 comment:

  1. I will be sure to come to you should I ever need ideas on what to plant!