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Newsletter 30: Determined to flourish


Living on the river means being in the eye of the storm when the wind blows.

Exciting and dramatic as the young acacia trees bend and sway to an alarming degree. The gum trees just creak a bit and all the birds disappear. It seemed unlikely that young plants could withstand the blast but as soon as the wind dropped, the bent-to-the-ground freesias and flowering salvias and grasses all stood tall again and the birds returned.

I learnt a salutary lesson about herbaceous perennials. The agastache returned after its winter sleep and is now flowering freely. I was convinced the fluffy pink eupatorium had died as after a very long flowering well into autumn I cut the plants back hard as advised and was dismayed to discover a week or so later that the stalks looked as dead as the proverbial dodo. I pulled them all up and was contemplating a replacement when lo and behold with the spring a few unfamiliar shoots started appearing and growing rapidly. On investigation these were indeed eupatorium that had escaped my drastic action and were determined to flourish. I felt so bad and hurriedly ordered a few more to fill in the gaps. Lesson learnt and I now know that they will look like dead straw after cutting back and will not shoot again until the end of October, at least a month after the agastache.

Did I say there was one self-sown tomato?  Not true. I have at least a dozen, all from the compost. The decision is whether to transplant them or discard them as I have no idea what variety they are. Cannot quite bring myself to destroy brave new life, so will transplant a few and give the others away.  All are growing vigorously and because I have so little space it is a race to harvest the last of the broad beans before I can pull the broad bean plants to give the taller tomatoes a proper place to stretch out.

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