In the late 1970s Dad and my great-aunt started comparing notes from their respective vegie patches in Albury and Canberra. A friendly rivalry developed, the goal being to produce ripe tomatoes in time for Christmas lunch. No greenhouses allowed: winning was as much about luck — and the vagaries of the weather in those cool-climate cities — as it was about horticultural skills.
These days Dad doesn’t do much gardening, but my sister and I carry on the family rivalry in our own vegie patches on either side of Port Phillip. This year we declared a dead heat — we both harvested our first ripe tomatoes on Christmas eve.
The photo below shows corn ears (far right of picture) just about ready for harvesting. Yum. You can also see how heavily-laden the two tomato bushes are with slowly ripening fruit.
Most of the sunflowers have finished blooming; they’ve added a gorgeous splash of color to the vegie patch over the last 6-8 weeks.
Years ago I bought several packets of oriental poppy seeds and tried planting them in various parts of the back yard. No success at all, over a period of about 4-5 years, and it’s been at least that long again since I emptied the last seed packet.
And this summer — a delightful surprise. Just near the vegie patch, where I had carelessly discarded some plastic bits and pieces, up sprang a little red poppy.
It’s produced multiple flowers and is now setting seeds on the spent stalks. If you squint, you can see a couple of seed pods in the photo.