The weeding is well under way – four beds down, and two to go. Plus the verge.
I’ve finished planting the ruellia hedge and moses-in-a-cradle along the driveway, as well as two more golden cane palms. The planting in that bed is now finished:
The small bed next to the shower is also finished, but the bamboo is a bit out of control:
I’m too scared to prune it without advice from someone in the know, as last time I pruned it, it grew even bushier. It has certainly enjoyed the massive amount of rain we’ve received in the last couple of months.
Until I find someone to advise me, I’ll be tying it up a bit so the plants under it can get sun and water.
I’ve finally finished edging and planting up the bed that runs along the house:
At the end of the bed, I’ve “planted” spider lily bulbs which I found lying on the ground when I weeded the lemon tree bed – I initially thought they were some sort of weird mushroom, but realised what they were when I noticed a couple of them had roots. I didn’t know which way up to lay them on the soil, but I’m sure Mother Nature will rectify any mistakes I’ve made! They’re the white dots lying around the place.
I looked on the internet, and according to all the websites I looked at, the only way to propagate spider lilies is to dig up the existing clumps and divide the bulbs. Well, the lilies in Mauritius don’t know this, because the bulbs I found were produced on the flower stalk, fell on the ground, and started to root:
Lemon Tree Bed
One of the cordylines died, as did a couple of ruellia plants – they were all next to each other, so I may have inadvertently poisoned them when I was poisoning the grass. Oops!
Other than that, everything’s growing well – especially the pawpaw tree that I planted from seed (it’s about 8 months old) – it’s currently standing at about 7 feet.
I need advice about pruning the top of the tree so that it doesn’t grow too tall – the last pawpaw tree we had grew to about 20 feet in two years. The only way to pick a pawpaw was for one person to shake the tree, and a second person to catch the fruit (or try to – mainly, they just went “splat”!). We cut it back to about 5 feet, but instead of sprouting new growth, the trunk rotted and the tree died, even though we covered the cut to stop rain from getting in.
Things I’ve Learned
They fall over if they get to tall, too wet, or if it’s too windy (a bit like bananas!). That’s probably why, when you see them growing in Mauritians’ gardens, they’re usually against a wall so they receive protection from the elements. I never noticed until mine fell over.
Anyway, I gave them a radical pruning (I cut off about a metre), and tied them up.
The rash I got all over my arm from the sap is almost gone. I’ll be wearing long sleeves and gloves next time I prune them!
Buying tall plants is not the bargain that it seems – they’re too leggy, so they lean over, and new growth sprouts along the horizontal stems.
I imagined that my hedges would look like this:
Instead they look like this:
I’ve since noticed that Mauritians plant ruellia against walls for support.
I need a Mauritian gardening friend!
So, all the ruellia plants will also get a radical pruning, and I’ll tie them up until they get bushy enough to support each other.
Some sections are growing very unevenly – I think I may have bought different varieties.
Even when they grow evenly, the 1 metre wide paths I planted have narrowed somewhat:
That’s it for now – I’ll probably make a few more discoveries as I tackle the remaining beds, and see what’s happening under the weeds.
But I guess that’s what this whole process is about – learning how to garden in a tropical climate with a range of plants that I haven’t used before.
Hopefully I’ll finish the remaining beds in the next few days, in between weeding, poisoning, and re-sawdusting the paths.
Still, for a garden that’s less than a year old, I’m thrilled with the results so far – it’s grown so fast!
Most of it is as I imagined, and the bits that have gone wrong and that I need to fix will just make me a more knowledgeable tropical gardener in the future.
How’s that for positive thinking!