Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Flowers from Monet's Fresh Flowers

Sharon Norman, of Monet's fresh flowers created these wonderful table settings for the Bayside Women in Business Luncheon, November 28th, 2006 using gerberas from Gough Hill Farm.
For more information on Monet's

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Storm damage

A nasty storm blew through the area - and for the first time damage was done to the hothouse. The plastic skin on hothouse #1 was torn, ripping a great gaping hole. We've put a blue tarpaulin on top while we work out what to do. It will cost abut $2000 to repair. Time for some thoughts and future planning.

The flowers are taller

With the warmer weather, the problems with the water, EC level and nutrients fixed the flowers are really doing well. The stems are so tall, and the flowers are so spectacular. We've had specials for our florists, so all have been sold.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Frog in a Gerbera

I'm sure there must be a family of green frogs - but I only ever see one at a time, and always a baby one. Surely he/she must have family or friends around? On this occasion the frog was "sunning" itself in the flower. Relaxed, happy. I had time to go to my car and get my camera and take the photo.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The flowers are blooming again!

Well, after the flushing through of fresh water the EC level of the run off water has reduced and the plants have flourished. We are picking massive quantities of flowers and the quality is excellent. Quite a change.

We are still having a little problem with mothers, and the Rutherglen bug hasn't completely gone, but there is a noticeable reduction in both.

My little green frog came out this morning. I'm sure there is more than one, but I only ever see one, and I "assume" that it is my one friendly frog who suns himself on one of the pink flowers.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Dramatic Improvement

The improvement was almost immediate. Within a couple of days the plants looked healthier. Those that had a yellow tinge around their leaves took on a healthy green look, and the flower stems steadily grew taller. The quality of the flowers improved.

Now, less than two weeks since we found the cause of the problem, the flowers are spectacular. Indeed we had the best pick today – better than we have had for months, and the flower quality was excellent.

Even my resident frog must have been happy, as the little green fellow greeted me from one of the pale pink flowers.

Poor quality flowers in October

October was a poor month for the gerbera farm. Despite the warm weather, the flowers weren’t at their best. The stems were short, and a lot of the flowers were distorted. Our figures for 2005 showed the same downturn in October last year, so was it just a seasonal thing?

In any case we had the usual spring problems with bugs. Butterflies or moths got in, laid their eggs and produced a whole lot of grubs that ate their way into the leaves and flowers. They seemed to resist the constant spraying. Then the Rutherglen bugs came. The infestation of the latter was amazing. They were thick up the walls of the hot house, in the flowers and flew into our faces as we picked. We just couldn’t seem to get on top of them.

But why were the flowers less than perfect and the stems short? So we brought in our Horticultural Expert who initially couldn’t find the problem.

We now know. Because we are in the worst drought for somewhere between 100 and 1000 years (depending on which expert you read), we have tried to reduce our use of water. We had been told that we needed 30% run off, so that 70% of the water and nutrient remained in the pot, and the remainder was flushed away. Because of the drought, we felt that runoff was a waste and reduced the water. What we had indeed done was not allowed the chemicals/salts to be flushed from the plants and they collected around the roots of the plants choking them.

The solution? Use our precious water to flush out each plant, to dilute the salts. It was along and painstaking task, but the results were pretty dramatic.

Almost overnight the quality of the flowers and plants improved dramatically.