Update on the Sickies 

After many posts in the past asking for advice on my sick plants I thought I’d update you on their progress. 

Magda last summer:

Magda now:

Middy last summer:

Middy now:

These two didn’t get burnt in the recent heat we had so hopefully their mature enough to survive this summer without damp cloths draped on them. 

Robyn Gordon last week:

Robyn Gordon today:


New growth! Still early days obviously! 

Maggie last year:

Maggie now:

Getting there! I hope there’s a happy news story to come out of our new lawn which is looking a little dead :?. I hind sight, laying it the day before a 35°c sunny day might not have been the best idea. I’ve been giving it a whole lot of love and water so fingers crossed! 

Note: the attractive fence is so Lloyd stays off the grass for a few weeks. 
Really bad patch near the path:

Everyone cross your fingers that water and love will bring it to life! 

Maggie Help


Maggie the Magnolia had a rough time during our renos and has never properly recovered. She doesn’t have much new growth and her branches tend to only have leaves at the ends. Any advice? I’d really hate to lose her!





So I recently asked about a dear friend’s sick magnolia and now my dear Maggie is looking sadder and sadder every day! She has had a really rough trot throughout our renos and her roots got exposed on one side for a bit but dad made her a garden bed like a month ago and she has lovely soil surrounding her now but she’s just slowly turning yellow. She’s normally pretty tough and has been though a lot, including moving house and spending a year in a pot and she always bounces back. I’ve tried feeding her magnesium and powerfeed and her new soil should have some good nutrients in it too. Suggestions??

Magnolia Advice

Hello blog friends,

I have a dear friend who has a sad magnolia and wanted me to ask advice on how to help it. She thinks it looks hungry but is not sure what to feed it. She’s found that pulling off the old, dead leaves has helped it grow new leaves back. Any advice?


Backyard Reno Problem #7

Most of the plants that were in our backyard had to be removed (most upsetting was Kings Park Special, my gorgeous Callistemon and my lovely Swan River Pea) or relocated (unsuccessfully like Molly, my most favourite Grevillea). But a few plants could stay. These plants have been through a lot. Maggie the Magnolia has had a particularly rough time, being quite big and right in the path of demolition. She had quite a significant branch snapped off during the shed demolition. I watched it happen in horror!


Maggie was always a bit lopsided because she was up against the shed, but losing this branch made her even more lopsided. I’m hoping she fills out a bit more before the wedding.


She’s also been through several rounds of excavation. Adam made a barricade for her to protect her from the patio excavation, which worked well. Although the landscaping company who did this excavation were very rough. The knocked over the pile of bricks you can see on the right of the photo below, which damaged my Captain Cook Callistemon a little. It could have been a lot worse though!


They also thought a good place to rest the heavy block which holds up the temporary fence was on top of a pot plant, damaging the pot and the plant. Unbelievable!


Thankfully they chose a plant that’s hardy as all hell and it’s totally fine. The pot looks crap now but the plant will grow big enough to cover the damaged pot in no time! I think it’s a Jade plant or something? It’s some kind of succulent. My neighbours gave me a small pot that they’d grown from a cutting. A small branch of that cutting was knocked one day and Dad shoved it in this pot. Tough stuff!


Back to Maggie. She’s since been through plenty of knocks as Dad and I built the weatherboard wall behind her. We found her quite annoying! And Adam and friends no doubt gave her a few knocks while painting the weatherboard wall. She’s got little cuts and bruises here and there.


The final knock (and hopefully the last now!) was the final soil excavation where she got heaps of her roots exposed. I’ve since covered most of them up with extra dirt, but you can see a few big ones poking through. I think this has knocked her around a bit. She’s been looking a little sick since this. Some of her new growth has died and her leaves are a little yellow. I’ve been giving her extra love and food and water over the past couple of weeks since the root incident and I’m sure she’ll be fine (the second picture in this post was taken today so she looks pretty good still).


She’s had a tough life, Maggie. She used to live at my brother’s place. He rescued her and put her in a pot before he demolished his house to rebuild. She stayed in that pot for ages, waiting to be planted again. One day, Tom offered her to me. Since we were starting our garden from scratch, an offer of an established plant was very exciting! This is what she looked like when we got her:




She’s a tough cookie!

You Know It’s Hot When…

… It’s 35°C outside and you’re opening your house up to cool it down.

… Your plants look like they’ve been in a small fire.

Magda the magnolia
Middy the baby "midnight" camellia
Lily the lilly pilly (tips only this year as opposed to the full blown burning she received this time last year)
Azalea (who hasn't been named)

… You’re unlikely to get more than a couple of hours sleep with your $10 bunnings pedestal fan and a cold shower.

On a happy note about summer, have you ever seen so many baby tomatoes in one photo?


They’re everywhere!

Happy New Year all!

Unhealthy Projects

Some of the plants in our garden are a bit depressed. Some have been depressed for a long time, some are more recently depressed. I’m going to make it my project to try to cheer them up.

For our passionfruit vine, the trigger was being thrown into a new environment. He was unsure of his new surroundings, felt lost without the protection of his pot, and confused about what we expected him to do with the elaborate lattice we’d constructed him next to. It was all too much and he became overwhelmed.

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We knew straight away that he wasn’t happy. At his grandad’s suggestion we chopped him right back so he could grow at his own pace and get a feel for his new environment, rather than being thrust into the lattice unnaturally by hand. Plus his shocked roots wouldn’t have to drink so much to keep his leaves looking nice.

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I was convinced that the change was just too much for him, and he wasn’t going to make it. But, with some encouraging words from his grandad, Kate and James, we gave him a chance. He is slowly creeping out of his shell again to sniff around at his new environment.

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With some continuous love and affection, I think he’ll make a very fine passionfruit vine.

Like many with depression, Maggie the Magnolia’s depressive symptoms are linked with the weather. But unlike most humans, she is more depressed in the summer months. Her first summer was a big struggle, and she has never really recovered. Perhaps she became ashamed of her appearance after her leaves became burnt. Like the passionfruit vine, I think she also struggled adjusting to her environment. There was a half dead tree in her place before she arrived. The tree stump was actually rotten. We have always been worried about the soil and drainage in this spot, so it’s no surprise she’s struggling. She’s actually looking better than ever at the moment so I do have high hopes that with protection from the sun, plus some extra love and care, she’ll be ok.

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There are three other depressed plants in our garden, and despite my keen interest in psychology, I’m not sure what the cause is.

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Our yellow-leaved grevillea. Molly the grevillea was yellow when she was younger, but she adjusted and turned green within a few months. This grevillea has been yellow for a long time, and is showing no signs of improvement despite the occasional feed. I’m not too sure what the best treatment option is here. Perhaps she’s depressed because she knows I love our other grevillea’s (Molly and Peaches and Cream) more than her. I’ll make a special effort to show her more love.

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Our philotheca has been depressed ever since he arrived here, about two years ago. He’s looked half dead since about a month after he was planted, but has never actually died. The passionfruit vine used to be next to him so I’m hoping for some miraculous recovery now he has his own space. I thought philotheca’s were meant to be pretty hardy, but he obviously doesn’t like this soil at all.


Our lovely lime tree has been in and out of depression several times. I’m just hoping he’s strong enough to pick himself up again. This depression hit really fast, soon after I fed him and he sat outside on a rainy day. I’ve since moved him into a sheltered spot, out of the sun and protected from the wind (for a good lie down as Kate suggested). I’m closely monitoring his water intake with my new moisture meter. I spray him with Neem to keep the pests away (thanks to James for the suggestion). If anything he’s looking worse. I’m not sure what to do next 😦

Notice that our lemon tree isn’t on the list of “unhealthy projects”? That’s right! Our lemon tree is looking fine and dandy! She still makes me nervous though. Fingers crossed she stays off the list!

Magnolia Coronary Care

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I’ve just been to visit my garden loving grandma in hospital. At the impressive age of 93 her body is giving up on her. Her mind is still sharp, her spirits are still good and she’s still got her sense of humour, but her heart and her kidneys have had enough. She’s as comfortable as she can be and she has a constant stream of family around her, and, if you ask me, I think that’s a pretty damn good way to go. And in typical grandma style, she’s in a hospital that seems to share her love of gardening. Each ward is named after a plant, and grandma’s ward, or wing as they call it, is the Magnolia Coronary Care Wing. I reckon that’s pretty cool.

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It was grandma who sparked my love for orchids, and gardening in general. About 15 years ago, grandma gave me 2 orchids (one pink, one yellow), and I now have about 25! Grandma must’ve bred some hardy orchids in her little greenhouse because these are amazing! This particular orchid has been flowering for the past 5 months. And, as usual grandma, your orchids are posing me with a dilemma. They’ll still be flowering on Melbourne Cup Day (the traditional orchid splitting day). To split and repot anyway or to wait and risk it getting too hot? Such a terrible problem to have to face year after year. 😉