Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A surprise in a box!

Today we picked the flowers on our own (both our partners were otherwise occupied), but as production is down, it wasn't too big a task.
I identified two pots that were not getting water. I had previously, it appears, cut the irrigation tube when I was doing some deleafing. MM decided to replace the tubing and in the storeroom
pulled down the box which was on a shelf. It felt a little heavy - normally the tubes are very lightweight. When he peeled back the lid, he found a possum sitting there.
Mr or Mrs Possum just looked at us - I took the photo and MM gently put the lid back on and replaced the box in his usual shelf. I think the possum would have taken a while to go back to sleep.

Production is improving

Despite the continual overcast days. Gerberas need sun to promote the blooming, but with none it really does slows them down. We are getting better production, but the stems are shorter, and it is not as much fun to pick them!

I spent a lot of time thinning out the copious leaves that have grown. The plants are very healthy and produce many leaves that occlude the sun/light from the crown of the plant. Also some flowers find it difficult or impossible to find their way up to the top of the plant.

It is distressing to find a flower with curly stem caught under the dense green matter. Some just give up and die, and the remnants can be found as one "deleafs" the plants.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sorry, no flowers.

While we were driving in the Gympie area a few days ago, I noticed that I had several messages on my mobile (cell) phone. It was Friday, and as we drove we moved in and out of good reception areas, so when the signal was good, I phoned to see what the message was.

One of my friends was after some Gerberas to give to a lady who has had a very stressful time lately. Health problems, and a stressed out husband didn't help, and he wanted to give her some flowers. As it was we were miles away, and we knew that with production down there was nothing much in the cold room anyway!

She works in a payday loans
office - and is often dealing with people who are stressed out by their financial difficulties and she helps them with a loan until the next payday. It is important to her that she sources quality safe funds for genuine people who are in need of funds urgently.

A wonderful woman, she had been able to help some very deserving people and he wanted to reward her. Sadly we did not have the flowers or the ability to help him at that stage.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No sun = no flowers.

A bug has eaten away some of the stem - not good enough for the florists.

It has been overcast for many days. Little rain, and rarely the sun peeps through the clouds. And the gerbers have decided to "go slow". Our production has dropped dramatically. As well the Rutherglen Bug has appeared, so we lost a few flowers to it.

That's the way it is. It has enabled me to get on with some deleafing.

I met a lady when I was "scrutineeering" with the Federal Election, whose mother is in a nearby nursing home. We gave her some flowers to brighten up the place. I remember taking flowers often to nursing homes in the area. It was very time consuming for me - especially as they often expected me to put the flowers in vases. It took more time than I was prepared to give all the time, so we are happy to give the flowers to folk who call in and pick them up.

I have been planning to go to the markets this weekend - but with few flowers and contining bad weather, I shall reconsider, and maybe go the following week.

g t

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Photographer's Visit

Craig Taylor came to visit the Gerbera Farm yesterday. He and his wife were quite amazed at the variety of colours of the Gerberas and I showed him the Florist catalogue that we get from Holland each year.

I gave them some of the flowers, so he took them home. His photography is very creative, so I am keen to see what results. They have some product on one of their websites using his flower photos, so I am hoping to get some Gerbera product at some time.

I showed him the photo of the frog on the flower - one of those rare photos that has"right time, right place" about it. Green frogs are rare in the hot house, and to find one nestling on the petals of a flower was extra ordinary. And for it to wait while I raced to my car to get my camera was extra ordinary too.

The production of flowers is a bit low right now - I guess the plants are recovering from the last flush, and the facat that we have spent a lot of time removing excess foliage. "Deleafing" we call it. It is amazing how much the leaves grow and block out the light to the crown of the plant which results in poor flower production. It is a never ending job.

We are planning to go overseas in 2008 - and it occurred to me that to get to Holland from London is pretty easy and cheap. I'd love to visit one of the big Gerbera Growers in Holland. We are hoping we can schedule in such a visit. I'm quite excited about the prospect.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


As it turns out I have a new camera. I lost the other one last week, and while awaiting a new one from the insurance company I have purchased a "spare".

As it turns out, at the markets is a great photographer, Craig Taylor, who I met at the markets some time ago. His wife has now joined him with some photo products - watches, clocks, etc. and they want to photograph some gerberas, so will be coming to the farm in the next few days. So it culd be that "our"gerberas appear on some interesting products. Whoo Hoo!

To market, to market

Well, it is Sunday afternoon. I've spend the morning at the Manly Markets selling Gerberas. We had an excess in the cold room, and I sold them. It was an odd day, rain threatening at times, and one brief shower, but all up it was a bit of fun and I've made a bit of pocket money.

The markets are often busy before Christmas and there's no doubt folk were buying presents.

Certainly the flowers looked wonderful - adding colour to what is already a colourful market. I was on my own for the latter part of the day but MM did help set up and did stay with me until around 9.30 am. He's good with selling and did well.

We didn't take the marquee as he was unable to be there to help at the end of the day, and I would have struggled on my own, especially if it had been windy.

And I like giving away flowers at the end of the day- the last couple of buckets are giveaways.

Anyway it was a bit of fun.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I need more money

When we first started the Gerbera Farm we did sell some of our flowers and plants at a local market, but we have not done it for several years.

I am "unemployed" at the moment - I had a REAL job but it is no longer. So I have to do something to get some money. The grandchildren have been a bit slack lately and have not done their flower market out the front of their home, and there are plenty of flowers in the cold room, so I'm taking them down to Manly tomorrow to sell.

This week I had a long discussion with someone - about money and the lack of it. And it was an issue in the recent Australian election. So many folk claimed that they had no money, and despite the buoyant economy of Australia too many people were doing it tough. Our Prime Minister at the time John Howard kept saying that we were doing well.

My opinion is that I agree that we have a buoyant economy and that by and large people are doing well, but so many are overspending. Racking up huge debt on credit cards, living beyond their means, and then life is tough. I know. I don't have a credit card these days, and I live off money I have saved or earned. I'm decidedly frugal.

There is no doubt that there are many people in the US and Australia are finding it tough because of their debt. And without quality information they are getting deeper in to debt. Some are borrowing more money to pay off previous debts and increasing the problems for themselves.

I'm not to "pontificate" here - but it does help to have a budget and stick to it, and it does help to save some money "for a rainy day," and there are ways to get credit to help solve today's problems.

People need to be well informed about their credit choices and there are many websites that help people with comparisons and there are many that offer credit counselling. Before you get hooked into bad credit loans do some research.
Do your comparisons BEFORE you make a mistake.

Meanwhile, I'll be at the markets on alternate Sundays to put some cash into my pocket.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Water, taps and other things...............

One of the consequences of the drought in Australia, and in Queensland in particular, is how we manage our water resources. As a grower of flowers in the Brisbane City Council area, we must abide by some new stringent rules in relation to our water management. We have what is now “Level 6“ regulations, and all residents and businesses within the BCC area must consider ways to reduce their water consumption.

There is a service, sponsored by the state government, which offers householders an opportunity to have their
taps etc checked by service to ensure that water flow from taps within a household are the type that restrict water flow, to reduce the waste of water.

For a small fee, a qualified plumber checks all the taps and shower heads, and installs the “acceptable” taps and shower heads. He will also check that there is no water leakage from taps etc.

It is a good service, and sends people to look at their bathrooms, and tapware, and other bathroom furniture to ensure that they comply with the regulations.

Home owners and businesses have been given the task to ensure that their tapware,
bathroom suites, baths etc fits the new regulations, and those who wish to use tapware other than that offered by the service (which is pretty basic) are visiting bathroom showrooms and websites to see what other products are on offer.

There are many websites – but for up to date information this site is worthwhile looking at. It is surprising how many websites are available offering great services for those who wish to shop for their
bathroom products online.

Meanwhile back at the farm, we continue to work to reduce our water consumption and conserve as much water as possible.

Hopefully our summer rains will fill our dams this summer.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Heaps of flowers

While the devastation continues in the hot house with the Rutherglen Bug I can look back on some of my photos of some good days recently when we were picking hundreds of fabulous flowers. There were so many and such good quality that I think we got complacent, and didn't prepare for the onslaught of the Rutherglen.

Life goes on though.

We have had new florists on our books, and we have some others make enquries, but until the production of quality flowers increases there is little we can do to help them.

Bugs, Bugs, Bugs

It has been several weeks now that we have been fighting against the Rutherglen Bug - some days we think we are on top of it all, and then another swarm hits and we end up with lots of damaged flowers again.

It is always a struggle in the farming industries, and we are so fortunate that the Gerberas do rally quickly, and soon are flowering again in a most beautiful way. We hope that by this coming weekend that things will be much better.

It is devastating though, and we often feel quite despaired about it all. I often think of farms whose crops or livestock are devastated by some incident and it takes another year or two to recover - and ofcourse you never do completely recover. You can't replace things immediately!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Repairs are done!

It has been a costly exercise - the electrican had a lot of work to do to not only repair the damage by the small fire, but there was a lot more wiring to do, and we've had a new switchbox and new lights added at the same time.

We are still throwing away lots of flowers damaged by the Rutherglen Bug, and we still have to spray several times a week, but already the blooms are improving. At least we have enough for our florists, and this week we gained one new customer which is good.

Today I took some time to give the plants a haircut - we go through the hot house with hedge clippers and cut off the excess foliage that hangs over the pots into the aisles. Later, when I have time I will do a good de leafing, to ensure that the sunlight easily gets to the crown of the plant.

When there is excess foliage the bugs hide under the leaves,and it takes longer to get rid of them. But deleafing is a very timeconsuming and back breaking job, and quite disheartening as one is never finished. When you get to the end, you discover that the leaves have started to grow back again.

I took a bucket of flowers to our Bayside Women in Business Luncheon yesterday and most folk took several bunches home. FREE.

We enjoy giving them away - it certainly brightens people's faces!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fire, Fire!

Another disaster struck! On Monday after I had left the property, my husband and daughter were continuing to work.

Suddenly there was a spark, smoke and fire. For a long time we have been talking about fixing up the electrical wiring. I won't say who was going to do it - just one of the team - but as usual, time is our enemy.

Luckily there was someone there at the time and luckily too that we had a fire extinguisher there. There was a dramatic rush - and soon the fire extinguisher was doing its work and the fire was put out rather quickly.

What would have happened if no one was in the work room when it happened? No doubt the whole workroom, and adjoining stables would have burned, and maybe the cold room too.

So it was very fortunate! And now an electrician has been in to rewire the workroom, and soon we will be a little cash poorer, but a great deal safer.

Now the bugs

Well, after several weeks of really high production, the bugs set in. Somewhere near the hothouse must be a host tree that the Rutherglen bug, and it has found it's way into the hothouse and despite the frequent spraying they have multiplied dramatically and damaged the flowers.

So one day perfect flowers, and the next damaged flowers. Dramatically. Production down 70%!

But that is life in the "farming" business. On Monday I picked out hundreds of damaged flowers which would never make their way to the markets. Picked and destroyed. And more spraying.

What a disappointment and we've learned that often when we are so high in spirits about something, that we are setting ourselves up for some drama. It seems to work all the time.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Again another record

It is amazing. In nearly five years of business with the Gerbera Farm we have never seen so many flowers. And good ones too. It really is all hands on deck for picking - especially on a Saturday. We pick on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, so the flowers have had an extra day to mature when we pick on Saturdays. It was planned of course as all four of us are generally able to pick, and process the flowers. There's no school on Saturdays so there's no rush to take children to school, and sometimes if we are really lucky they come and help.

At 7 years of age, and nearly 5, they are pretty good at most of the chores on the farm, but their issue is they have such short concentration spans. However, bribery with money does help!

They have their own flower stall and each week they manage to create over $120 for their money boxes.

We are lucky that we are able to sell most of the flowers - though there have been some discarded. What a waste! We have been able to sell some to the wholesalers, as it is still cold down south, and we have not had the flush of flowers that often occurs from the southern growers in Spring.

And the wholesaler likes ours too - which is good.

Spring is always a time when we have issues with bugs, and the little brown moth still inhabits the hothouses, so regular spraying is necessary to keep on top of that, and the Rutherglen Bug has appeared again, so today's spraying might demolish a few of them.

Each Saturday we record our pick on the whiteboard and three weeks in a row we have celebrated our record pick. It is rather fun - but exhausting, and now the hot weather is upon us, we will have to get up earlier to escape some of the heat. It really is hot, humid and exhausting when the sun comes up early with a lot of heat in it. And the sweat pours off us!

Luckily we enjoy it all for the most part.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We broke the record again

Again we broke all records - and had a superb pick again. It is wonderful to stand in a sea of flowers, and by the time we have picked and processed all the flowers we are all exhausted.

The grandchildren have many flowers to sell on the roadside. We are even thinking of going to the markets like we once did, but it is hard to take another day out of our already busy schedules. We are still thinking of that one.

We haven't had rain for 3 weeks - though the humidity is high at times, and we still have to spray for botrytis and powdery mildew. Glad it is not raining as those diseases would be worse. We have only the occasional plant/flower suffering at the moment.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The "flush" continues

We had a record pick again this last Saturday breaking all records since we started the business. Quite amazing really. When we walk into the hot houses there is a sea of blooms before us - it is quite breathtaking. We do have a few "seconds" - those flowers not quite good enough for the market but suitable for putting in a vase at home.

As it turns out the southern states are still much colder, so we are able to sell most of ours here in the local market which is good, especially as the cold room is now full - and we pick again in the morning.

Fortunately there are some big deliveries to be done in the morning as well! I will not be picking very much tomorrow as I have a function to attend from 8 am, but I will rise early, and go dressed in my business attire, to pick.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The flowers are blooming madly

This morning was a big pick. We had all four of us working, plus the two little girls at times, and we worked like trojans. I mean, there were just so many flowers to process. Spring has certainly sprung. K and I worked until 11 am as the other two adults had to leave. It was a very exhausting four hours of picking for us!

Eventually the flowers were all processed and put in the cold room ready for delivery on Monday - but on Monday we will pick again, and probably have the same huge number again.

Oh, all too much. Well, it is spring, and we do expect a flush at that time. But this is a big one!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

September 1st - Spring has sprung

What a site when we arrived this morning for our usual Saturday pick. It is September1st - the first day of spring, and the flowers certainly showed that they welcomed the warmer weather. Our production had tripled since Wednesday.

It was a vast sea of colour this morning that greet us! More work of course, but it was great to see it. With the warmer weather not only are their more buds and flowers, but there is also more leaf matter, and so our regular deleafing program has to start. NOW. I did some this mornning, but (a) my back was aching - it was back breaking to do all the picking, cupping as well as de leafing. (b) I had an appointment.

It was nice to be able to give flowers away, and I did so when my friend came for lunch. We really do enjoy giving them away!

MM sprayed for bugs again - there are few left, but it does take a while to get rid of all of them. In fact it is hard to get rid of ALL. Some hide under the leaf matter and escape the poison!

So the spring flush is on it's way!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Spring is coming

Thank goodness the very cold weather seems to have gone. The plants are producing many buds so production has picked up greatly.

Along with the warmer weather though come the bugs! Yep, there's a few moths creating havoc on the flowers, and we've had to start spraying again. We don't like using the chemicals and prefer using low grade stuff - but it just doesn't really work. Thank goodness we don't eat the flowers.

The spray we use dissipates after 24 hours - so there's nothing nasty left on the flowers.

That's good news - but at the moment it is wise to keep an eye on it. They have a nasty habit of getting out of control if one doesn't!!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Buds everywhere

We've had rain for the past 6 days, heavy rain, but it didn't do any harm to the flowers as they are under cover. MM has had to spray for botrytis and moths, and there is sign of the former due to the high humidity.

But the buds!!! Everywhere! Today is the best pick that we have had for weeks and MM was able to phone all the florists to tell them that they would get their full orders on Monday. It's a while since we've been able to do that!

The rain will probably go away for a few days, though due back again later in the week. It is apparently the wettest winter for nearly 100 years! Our tanks are full, and the dam is nearly full so it is good.

I have predicted heavier than normal rains for summer this year. Perhaps back to the way it was when we first came here.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Miss 5's roadside stall

Miss 5 (well, she'll be 5 in a couple of months) but she behaves like she's more than twice that age, had her roadside stall yesterday. It is something her mother and older sister have done from time to time on a Thursday.

They sell what we refer to as "seconds" because they have shorter stems, a few missing petals, or distorted centre. They look wonderful in a vase, but we don't sell them to the florists.

For weeks there have been so few flowers because of the cold that the florists have taken the "shorts" and there was really nothing for the roadside stall, so yesterday was the first day for several months that there was enough product.

Miss 5 is saving to go to Adelaide with me in a couple of months time. We encourage the children to pay about 75% of the fare - so she and her mother worked for an hour yesteday. They took $80 - not bad for such a short time!

Miss 5 knows she has to pay the farm for her flowers ($1 a bunch), and the rest goes to her savings. She's pretty stoked. The man who gave her $4 in 20c coins was a hit though. As there were so many coins she thinks that he gave her the most money!

Now, I have to save money to go to Adelaide - as I take the girls to see their great grandparents and it is Nan's 92nd birthday at the end of October. A great celebration.

Good time to go as it should be warm enough to swim in the sea at Brighton.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The weather warms

Thankfully the weather is starting to warm up - so there's lots of buds coming. We have had an increase in production and the flowers are good quality - but the stems are quite short. The florists are happy to take them though - as there is a scarcity of all flowers at the moment.

Carnations grown locally have been destroyed by the cold weather, and the tropical flower growers - especially those who grow heliconias have all reported massive damage from the cold weather and consequently are having trouble supplying their florists too.

This week we were able to supply most of our florists - or should I say all of our florists, but not as many flowers as they would normally expect.

Fortunately it is getting better.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Looking for Shopping Cart Software

Selecting shopping cart software is a bit scary. Now, you might think this is an odd place to talk about shopping cart software, but we are investigating doing something with a Gerbera theme, and looking at Shopping Cart facilities to sell product via a website. It is amazing the cost of putting these together, and it has been quite daunting, until we came across Ashop.

I came across this shopping cart software site, from another site I visit regularly, and took the time to have a close look. I like the friendly atmosphere at the website, and on top of that you can “take a test drive” to see how easy it is to work with and “you can have a free 10 day trial” . Sounds very good to me.

You have to have trust in the organisation that you contract to do your on line transactions, and I guess that is why most of us use our banks. There is often a great trust with the banks, but they also know how to charge. And the bank fees can be quite high. Ashop fees are most reasonable.

As well there is on-line live support, and a host of other information on the site which will certainly be helpful for us as we delve into “the unknown” as it will be for us. It is Award Winning Software, and is Search Engine Optimised – which is good to know.

There’s quite a lot to read on their website, and it is well worth looking at their videos too. They have a good reputation, and when we are ready we will certainly be starting with their
Free Trial. It looks pretty easy to use too - which is important to me. I'm sometimes technically challenged.

I couldn’t think of a better place to start with my online store. Pop along to Ashop and read all about it!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Cold weather - has it gone?

Cold weather has resulted in a dramatic loss of gerbera flower production over the past few weeks. However, a few days ago the weather warmed up and we have had a few warmer days - Thursday it was 26 degrees, and yesterday 27 degrees, so the plants should perk up a little.

We will know this morning as we go in for another pick. We picked 220 flowers on Wednesday - up by 70% on the previous pick, so we are hopeful of supplying all the florists this coming week.

In a few days there should be signs of new bud growth, and more new leaves, and we will have to spend time removing the old leaves and making sure there is good light into the crown of the plant.

We are headed for spring, so things should really heat up weather wise, and production wise.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The weather is warming up

The long cold "snap" is over, and as we near the end of July there is more warm sunshine, which the Gerberas will love. The plants look pretty shattered really after the cold weather and there is a lot of damage leaf matter to remove, which we are scheduling to start on next weekend.

We ususally do a de leafing arund this time of year, but with the cold weather we've had to wait otherwise we'd stress the plants out too much, and anyway, in the mornings it has been too cold to work in the "hot" houses. Hot - NOT!

There are lots of buds coming up, so we are looking for better production over the next couple of weeks. I'm planning to go to Adelaide on August 9th - just hope the great production arrives after I get back otherwise I will leave lots of work for others to do.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gerberas and Blogging

What if I could earn more dollars than I really need just by working on the Gerbera Farm and blogging? If only it was that simple. Certainly there is income to be derived from working hard on a Gerbera farm, but as I have explained over recent posts we are subject to disappointments because of weather, disease, and other factors, but if I can combine my love of the beautiful Gerbera flower as well as blogging, what a good life could I have?

In Australia blogging is only relatively new and whilst many do it for fun, more are now learning that you can earn money from your blogging.

It so happens that advertisers will pay people to write articles - about their product or service, or just link to their websites.

There are websites that link bloggers and advertisers. One of these is Smorty, a service that connects advertisers and bloggers. Smorty is a good site, so easy to use, and for a dedicated blogger there is an opportunity to get

Smorty is a service connecting advertisers with bloggers. Advertisers can pay bloggers to write opinion posts with links back to the advertisers site. Please write your opinion on Smorty's services and try to include some of the following keywords in addition to the anchor texts provided. Get paid to blog, get paid for blogging, blog advertising, advertise on blogs, blog for money.

So if you would like to get paid to blog, check out, and find out if you and your blog qualify.

What if you could use your blog to make a good income?

So check out Smorty and
get paid to blog.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Almost a disaster

All Gerbera growers in the south east of Queensland are suffering right now - and judging by the number of desperate phone calls we are getting from florists Gerberas are scarce all around right now.

In the southern states many growers heat their hot houses during winter, but as this is the worst winter - such a long cold snap has not been recorded since 1941, we are all unprepared. In any case, we know it is for just a short time generally but this time we've been caught out.

It is so cold, as I've reported, that it is warmer in the cold room!

Fine clear crisp days, but freezing cold night time temperatures are doing the damage and it has been so long, it will be interesting to see if the plants recover well in spring. They are pretty hardy - so we are hoping for a change soon, but the cold is not showing signs of letting up.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The cold weather causing havoc

The cold continues and reports say that we have not experienced cold in this way in over 30 years!

And don't the plants and the flowers know it! There's just no activity. If gerberas go into hibernation, ours are. It is so embarrassing to tell our florists that we have no flowers and judging by their comments other growers have the same problem. Gerberas love warm weather, and as winter is nearing the end we look forward to some more action in the hot house.

We can't do much of our maintenance, as the plants are already stressed and any culling of unwanted leaf matter must wait until the weather is better.

The other morning MM opened the door of the cold room where we store the freshly cut flowers, and he got a rush of hot air. Initially he though the cold room was malfunctioning, but it wasn't. It was actually warmer in the cold room that it was out site. The cold room temperature is 9 degrees, and it was 0 in the hot house.

We have beautiful clear days but the temperature even during the day is not enough to stimulate much growth or flowering.

Life goes on. We take the good with the bad.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Still no flowers

Our records show how badly the cold has affected the flower growing. We are hardly getting any flowers and have some very disappointed florists. But there's nothing we can do until the weather warms up.

We are getting warm sunshine during the day, but it is so cold overnight and into the mid morning, and again mid afternoon it starts all over. We can at last see some new buds coming, so we feel it will only be a few short weeks before we are back on track again.

Normally we pick three times a week - but we are down to twice a week at the moment.

Our figures show that this has never been so bad in the few years we've had the farm. It is hard to do any deleafing/maintenance until the weather warms up. We don't wish to further stress the plants.

Sad, sorry time for us.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Timesaving to have the tap in the workroom.

When we started Gough Hill Farm we did it on a shoestring budget. Really we did spend a lot of money on the hothouses, the plants, the irrigation system, the water tanks, the cold room, and all the nutrients. And more stuff that I can’t list. At the time we seemed to be buying lots of things.

The menfolk who were quite able to do much of the work that perhaps others would have brought tradesmen in to do, they did themselves. Of course to save further. Some electrical, plumbing, roofing etc. they did themselves.

We housed the workroom as we call it in the stables. The previous property owners had horses, so had some really good stables there were not being used. We just used one of the three stables. We had some guys deliver and put down the cement floor and our guys put in the shelves, and did some of the electrical work. (Supervised by a qualified electrician friend).

But for the first few years we did not have easy access to water. There was a
tap on either end of the stables, and we ran a hose from one of them. We’d fill the buckets from the hose, and run like mad back to the tap to prevent water from being wasted.

Eventually the guys got around to fixing the plumbing, and ran some pipes from the tap into the work room. So now we have a tap in the workroom.

We still laugh about how much time (and water) it has saved us by having the
tap in the appropriate place.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The sun is out!

It has been many days since the sun has been shining all day, like it is today. When we woke this morning and found a blue cloudless sky we were a little buoyed. Perhaps, just perhaps there will be enough sunshine over the next few days to help the flowers bloom again.

It is frustrating and embarrassing that we do not have the flowers to supply our customers. We are of course not the only growers to suffer in this way, so we all long for some warm sunshine, and some growth spurts in the hot house.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The worst season

In the four or so years that we have had the Gerbera farm - this is the worst season. The cold really has made an impact on our production, and as it turns out the production of other gerbera growers here.

We've had to tell some of our customers that we have no way of supplying them. We just don't have the flowers. We had one special order, which of course we could not supply and phoned some of the other growers in the region. It is the worst season for all growers.

The sudden cold snap, and the continual cold, as well as rain and lack of sunshine has really caused a problem. And I gather with some other flowers as well. The florists really are strugglng. There's not much we can about it. Just wait it out.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Still no flowers

The cold weather continues. There's very little sunshine and vry little warmth so the flowers are really on a "go slow." We've had to tell some of our customers that we cannot supply them - and we hate doing this.

But the fact is that all other growers are having the same trouble. There are just few gerberas about right now and there's nothing we can do about it, except wait for the warmer weather.

Our friends at Maleny are having trouble with mealy bug - a tiny white bug that looks like small pieces of cotton wool that cling to the crown of the plants. They are a challenge to get rid of, and I remember when we had them. They need a good drenching of a special insecticide.

A real pain - but we haven't seen any for a long time now. We still have some trouble with a little brown moth - seems to resist all efforts to get rid of it, but it is manageable. A bit frustrating though at the moment as any damaged flower is another flower "lost" when we are so short. Here's hoping the weather will warm up a bit.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The cold weather = few flowers

Our "hothouse" is not hot right now! Winter has arrived and we've had the coldest June day in 80 years, so the flowers have really slowed down.

With the cold wind blowing from the west, it really has been cold miserable work. I have a blood condition that plays up in the real cold weather. It is very painful and I'm only pleased that with few flowers the picking and preparation does not take long. Thank goodness.

Sadly we have had to tell some of our florists that we are unable to supply them. It is frustrating. The plants are in good shape, and there are lots of buds. But no flowers.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pink and white bloom

This is one of our favourite flowers on the farm. It is a reliable bloomer and the florists and customers just love it. It generally has long strong stems, and is very easy to manage.

Monday, June 11, 2007

New camera = new photos

Pink Gerbera

The old camera died - overuse? Anyway I have a new one, and I find it much easier to use for closeups. This is one of the lovely pink flowers that we grow at Gough Hill Farm.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Cooler weather = better flowers

We think the plants were stressed by the long hot dry summer - for they have really enjoyed the cooler nights and warm sunny days. Brisbane is still in drought conditions and has been officially declared a "drought area" now, though why it needed the announcement I don't know.

When I went to Adelaide last week the ground was very dry and parched and all grass seemed brown and dead. But there was a good shower while we were away and we cam home to greener pastures.

The flowers are wonderful - few bugs around still - but the quality of the flowers and stems is great. Perfect.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More flowers for Mother's Day

As usual the flowers ran out. The florists were phoning long after we'd sold our last flower. On the following Monday the phone started again. They were all bereft of blooms and desperate for flowers to start the week. Many florists have corporate clients that need flowers on the Monday to grace their offices.

As it turned out we had a good pick on the Monday - so all florists got a delivery and we had not shortages.

The plants are looking good and because the weather is more settled - warm sunny days and cool nights consistently, the flowers are doing very well. They love this sort of weather.

We have had a little rain, but not much. Not enough to break the drought. Enough to keep the grass green. Just.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Flower on the table.

We'd booked into the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club for Mothers Day breakfast - but this year there were fresh flowers on the table. We sat on their new deck with views out across Manly Harbour and Moreton Bay. It was slightly overcast, but clearned during the morning giving a spectacular backdrop to the venue.
A wonderful breakfast - the above gerbera - of course from our Gerbera Farm was on our table, and each table in the entire club had one of our flowers on it.
It was very special.

Mother's Day

This is one of our biggest days. Our prices go up - just a little. We are probably way too conservative. Our wonderful flowers were selling for $10 a bunch, but in the markets they were up to $30 a bunch.

We picked extra days this week, and sold all we had. We even had a phone call at 7 pm last night (Saturday) from a florist desperate for more flowers. We can only give what we have - and that is nothing. Nothing is left.

Little Miss had her flower stall on Thursday afternoon - and made another almost $100 - so she is doing well.

We are going to breakfast at the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club - as we did last year. We were disappointed that last year they had plastic flowers. This year (after my comments) they have fresh flowers - our gerberas.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Weird flower

Every now and then one of our beautiful gerbera flowers will have a flaw. This one has some strange leaves growing from the centre fo the flower. This fault is not rare - and we probably pick one or two a week that is like this.

Sometimes we can pick out the fault, but this one will have a hole in it - so we take them home. I think they are good conversation pieces - and still look pretty in a vase.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Flower Seller

When Miss A (who will be 7 in July) wanted to save for a digital camera and calculated that with pocket money and her normal expenses she'd take a while to save up the required dollars, she hit on having a flower stall. Selling the "seconds" - those flowers deemed not good enough for our florists, and destined to be given away, or thrown out.

She decided to sell them for $3 a bunch. Within a couple of weeks she had her camera, so had no need to continue her flower sales. When I announced I was going to Adelaide at the end of May, she wished to come with me, so her mother suggested that she earn her fare.

The flower stall is back in action. After her first foray into the flower selling, it was decided that she should have to pay the farm $1 a bunch for her flowers, since she did little to prepare them. She baulked at that but in the end reluctantly paid it to the farm.

But she reasoned that she could increase the price, so her flower stall sign now says "$4", and her customers have paid up without a quibble. They'd be paying $30 for the equivalent size bunch in a normal retail outlet.

So she has almost all the fare to Adelaide ($220) and is also working for spending money for her trip.

She is quite a little entrepreneur - but only while she has a goal. After she bought the camera she could not think of anything worth saving for, and even to get her to put money in the bank did not enthuse her. She already has a lot of money in the bank. (Proabably only a couple of hundred dollars.)

Still, she is still only 6 years old.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Autumn Flush

Even though the days are not much cooler, the nights are. We've had no rain - another record breaking lack of rain for April - so the sun shines brightly during the day, the humidity is lower, and the cool nights impress the gerberas.

The buds are prolific and the flowers are growing with long straight stems and perfect flowers.

Our next big order period is leading up to Mother's Day - which is on May 13th- just over a week away. The flowers will be good for this year, provided the weather stays the same.

You'd think under the plastic domes of the hothouse we'd not be bothered too much by the weather - but certainly the temperature and the outside humidity affects the flowers.

It is usually pleasant picking the flowers - we do it by hand "plucking" the flowers from the crown, and if it does rain we don't get we doing it.

But it is time to move on. Decision making time. Now I have to work several days a week, I find it getting a bit hard. We have some interest though in taking it over. We'll see.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Cooler weather

The weather has cooled down - especially at night. Little if any rain - but cooler anyway. The flowers love it when there is consistent weather and it has been for a while. Warm days and cool nights and the flowers are really blooming well at the moment.

They are so healthy - which means a bit of leaf culling otherwise the baby buds just don't get through to sunshine and fresh air - they get trapped in the undergrowth and often wither and die quickly, or at least if they do make their way up through the thick foliage the stems are crooked.

That does mean that Miss A scores them for her outside flower market - she did well last Thursday, but business was not good on Saturday, but then the light rain shower sent the little troup inside and not to return. Thursday seems to be the best day for the roadside market.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Future of Gough Hill Farm

We love the flowers and so do the grandchildren. They think they will always live at the Gerbera Farm, but both families (the adults anyway) are considering other options right now. The drought limits any expansion, and some of us have new jobs which is really taxing.

We have someone looking at taking it over. We'll wait and see.

The flower above is one of the most popular of our flowers. Any "hot pink" sells well. They are a lovely flower, but have periods when their stems are very bendy. The flower is usually perfect, but we and the florists prefer long straight stems.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Gerbera picking day

It is Saturday - picking day. I'm up a little early - before the sun. I can see a faint glow through the trees. I can hear the magpies and crows. The sky is cloudy - we do hope for rain.

So many folk ask how we manage in the drought - it is hard as we have to use all town water unless it rains, and it costs money. Rain is free. We have a Brisbane City Council Water Efficiency Management Plan, so are authorised to use the water from the city pipes. At the moment.

We still are at a crossroads. We'd like to move on. It has become so difficult with the water situation.

We have a few ideas and this week I will be approaching an organisation to consider taking it over. We will see.

Meanwhile - it is picking today. We'll go to the hothouses about 6.30 am today.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Our Dream

Early in the business life of Gough Hill Farm we had big ideas that we now know will not come to fruition. At least not with us at the helm, as things stand right now.

With the lack of water in the South East Queensland area, we are rethinking our strategy and three of the four partners are thinking of careers in other directions.

However, there is a little hope that our dream might come to be. Another organisation is considering some other options and we are going to drop informtion about Gough Hill Farm into the mix. Just maybe something will become of it. Just maybe.

At the moment we are at a crossroads. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


We grow standards and mini's - some florists seldom buy mini's and other florists use a lot of them.

They grow well - just as the standards, and often there are more flowers per plant than the standards, which helps make up for their lower price at the markets.

We only have about 8 colours of mini's - which seems to be enough for our small operation.

They are good to pick - most grow strong with tall stems. We do have two varieties that are not so wonderful and the stems tend to be short or wobbly - but all in all it was a good investment to put them in.

The grandchildren

As the Gerbera Farm is on the property of our daughter and her husband, their two girls have been involved in the working of the farm almost all their lives.

They both earn picket money - perhaps by getting the buckets ready, bunching the flowers, or other small tasks that can be safely done by two little girls.

Miss Z prepared the buckets today - without supervision, which we have learned is not a good idea. Each bucket needs exactly two litres of water, and two of the tablets which help keep the flowers fresh. Probably to save time, Miss Z didn't measure the water as she was told, and the task had to be done all over again.

Miss A came up to the shed with a floral decoration she had done herself. It was quite a primitive thing to start with but in the end she did a fine job of hiding the workings of her arrangement. She completed a second one, and I went with her across the busy road to the couple who live opposite, and she gave them the arrangement she had made for them.

She went to take a photo with her digital camera - but the batteries were flat - so I loaned her mine from my camera, while she took a photo.

We had a wonderful pick this morning - both the standards and the mini's are producing well - perhaps it was the flush through of clean water (without nutrients) during the week. They seem to like a good flush through occasionally.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A bunch of Popovs

When I posted a photo of a closeup of the Popov flowers I promised to post a photo of a bunch of them. These are standard gerberas - quite big flowers really, and wonderful pink hues int he centre, and on some flowers the pink extends through the white petals.

Popov flower

One of our most popular flowers is the variety Popov - it is currently producing massive quantities of quality flowers. Some varieties seem to have "favourite" weather conditions and it seems the cooler weather has inspired Popov to flower more prolifically.
It's great in a bunch (and I'll post a photo of a mass of these flowers later), but as a single flower in a small vase, it is most impressive.
I like having these in my bathroom vase - just one single flower as I have no room for a larger vase.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Close up of gerbera

This is a close up of a gerbera flower. This flower has several rows of stamens - we like to pick when there is one or two rows, as they are "ready" or "ripe" and will last well. If picked too early they are not ready, and sometimes they tend to "age" very quickly and we discard them too.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Flowers cupped and ready

We "cup" our flowers - they are little triangular plastic (with non-slip inner surface) cups and we hand insert each flower stem into them. The cups are then slipped up to sit around the flower thus reducing damage during transit.

There is a machine that does it - but we have always done it by hand. In a bigger operation the machine would be wonderful.

Good flowers

Officially it is autumn and while we are still experiencing very hot weather, it is dry and just a little cooler at night, we have wonderful flowers right now.

The quality is excellent.

We had the whole family helping out with the pick this morning (although one granddaughter did not appear) but the rest of us worked hard including little Miss 4 year old - who is very good.

She can prepare the buckets and she helps Poppy but getting five stems of the same variety together and passing them to Poppy who checks the quality, and then bunches them and puts them in the buckets ready for counting and putting in the cold room.

She's an excellent worker and very keen to earn pocket money by doing this. Both of the girls have worked hard with the flowers but they don't have a great capacity to keep working until the job is done. We don't complain - any help is wonderful, and we'd never want them to feel obligated to work.

Miss 6 has not had her flower stall recently - mother has been working longer hours, so not able to supervise the flower stall which is of course necessary for such young girls.

Maybe next week.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My new garden

I often think that we spend a lot of time creating our gardens, but we don’t spend much time IN them. And that requires a bit of planning to ensure that the garden is easy to be in. Not many gardens have a seat in the garden like the “old” days. An attractive timber seat that is always there, waiting for someone to come and sit on should be in every garden, and it will be in my new garden.

Sitting in the garden, under a tree reading a book would be a wonderful past time, but without the seat sitting waiting, one tends not to do it. If the seat was there, I’d stop and sit and ponder the splendour of my garden, or plan my next gardening task, or just read a book for a while and enjoy the fresh air and the vista.

My home garden is filled with heliconias mainly – I’ve lost count of the varieties I have and they often have a bloom within their heavy greenery. Seemingly out of place in the garden are my two pots of Gerberas. It is the flower that I have on my business card, the flower that I love, the one that I rescued from the flower farm when it and the others were being discarded because they were no longer producing heavily.

I love that flower and I nurture it. I’m glad it is in a pot – giving it a chance to survive when we move.

My new garden will have some additional features – the seat, and some solar powered lights. (I’ll not put them in the front yard any more as the ones I had were stolen), and I like the idea of pebbles that glow at night and light up the path.

A timber seat so that I can sit and ponder the world, solar powered lights dottign the garden, lights through the trees so that I create a fairyland at night, and the glow pebbles to light my new pathway.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Quality is up

The quality of the blooms has improved, but we now have spider mite. We expected that as the chemical we used to kill the moths, also killed off our good bugs, so we will have to get more of them in.

Ariana is still running her flower stall on Thursdays, though last week only sold 13 bunches. Still that's not bad to earn $26 - she is only 6!
We do not have this orange coloured variety in the hot house any more, but I have two pots of them at home. They have done very well recently and have been constantly in flower. Unfortanately I haven't been home all the time, but they keep the garden bright.
My current house sit finishes this Friday so I will be back home. Diary of a House Sitter.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Production is up but other troubles are looming.

The flowers are looking wonderful but two major problems are looming for our enterprise. First of all - the water situation. With the drought there has been very strict water restrictions, but we've been able to continue after putting in a water management plan to the Brisbane City Council. But further restrictions are looming and it is expected that the nursery/flower growing industry will be hard hit by the new regulations. We'll have to wait and see.

Also the Australian government regulations regarding some of the nutrients use in the growing of our flowers is causing some concern. Some of the nutrients used in the industry have been linked with illegal explosive manufacture - and while some of the nitrates have been unavailable for this reason. But there are some nitrate products that are essential to growing flowers and other plants, which it appears the government is going to remove from use. If these products are removed - many growers will be in trouble. There is no substitute for this product - it is essential for growers!

We are currently lobbying - along with other growers and industry organisations - for the government to reconsider. In fact it is more likely the bureaucrats that are behind the regulation change - and they have no idea how it will impact on this industry. Watch this space.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Flowers are blooming great!

I hope readers don't think I've messed up my English with the title - it was deliberate. The flowers are doing well - we seem to be over the worst of the bug infestation and the flowers really are blooming well.

The weather has been overcast often, and we've had rain - not a lot, but enough to keep the humidity up high which means the plants do tend to suffer other diseases. Botrytis and mould. We spray often for it, but occasionally see a few infected flowers or leaves.

It's never ending. Perhaps we should have chosen a flower that only flowers a few months of the year - would be easy - we'd have time off.

Oh, well. So much we have learned.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The flowers are coming!

We could have sold twice, no three times as many flowers, as we actually were able to produce. We are getting on top of the bugs, but they are still there. We picked this morning and there's certainly an improvement in the quality and quantity of the flowers today.

Maybe, just maybe we are going to see less of the bugs - but they are still there. It is one of the "joys" of farming - whether it be animals, or crops of one thing or another - nature interferes. Wind, rain, lack of rain, bugs, disease, whatever.

It does help us identify to some small degree with the farmers who are so suffering because of the drought - a small degree. We do rely on the money - but we have options that folk way out in the bush may not have.

I will always treasure the time we had "farming" - even if only a gerbera farm.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

February 14th in Valentine's Day - a big day for florists and flower growers. But this is NOT our best year. With our flower crops damaged by the bugs - the small caterpillar eating the flowers. Whilst we are almost "on top" of them now with regular spraying, they flowers are recovering but not enough to satisfy the florists. We have been unable to supply all.

We saw some of the poor quality flowers that the florists have had to buy from the wholesaler - old, poor quality flowers. Shame, but there is nothing we can do about it. We just don't have them.

Oh, well. Happy Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Valentines Day

I saw this on the Internet. It is a wonderful photo of yellow gerberas being grown in Israel. It is Valentines Day this week, and we are unable to supply to our florists their needs. In fact the wholesalers are unable to provide all that the florists need. Valentines Day, and Mothers Day are two big periods for florists. We hope ours are back in action by Mothers Day.

Check this photo

Gerberas in the garden

This lovely flower - although nearing it's "use by" date, was in the garden of the house where I have been "sitting." The owners are from South Africa - in fact Zimbabwe, so it is no surprise that they love having these African daisies in their garden.
They are growing in full sun with a few other gerbera plants nearby - the flowers of them were well past their prime - in fact on their last legs, so to speak.
You can read more about my house sitting here.

Gerberas and greeting cards.

Gerbera flowers on cards are becoming quite popular – just as the flowers are one of the most popular cut flowers in the world. As an avid Gerbera lover I collect cards with Gerberas on them, as well as wrapping paper, gift bags, gift cards and fancy paper with Gerbera flowers.

Most of the cards I collect have no writing inside – they are blank which means I can use them for anything – from “get well”, “happy birthday”, "happy anniversary" or other greetings. With most I include a handwritten note, however, I can create something on my computer, print it out and insert it into the card. I need more time to do this – so as I am very busy I find it easier to do the hand written note – though I choose special pens to write the message. I have a collection of fountain pens that I enjoy using, or for special occasions I use gold or silver ink pens.

One of my favourite papers is one with Gerbera flowers – I’m not sure what it is called but it is opaque, with fine gerbera flowers imprinted on the paper – and looks very smart on a hand made card created as a special invitation – e.g. wedding, anniversary party or similar.

The wonderful range of papers that are now available are amazing – so much that I can spend hours and many dollars in a paper shop. Much of the paper I have stored (safely) for future use. You never know what might appear for celebrations of our 40th wedding anniversary!

Wouldn't it be great to make it to a 50th Anniversary (my parent's did), which of curse is the Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Different Gerberas.

I am doing a house sit at the moment - not far from home. The house owners are from South Africa - and of course are very familiar with Gerbera flowers. They have some in their garden - the original variety. One is a pretty double - shall have to take a photo of it.

I think we have at long last killed the bugs in hot house number one, but they still seem to survive well in number two. Another spray yesterday. We must get on top of it.

With Valentine's Day next week our production is down - in fact there seems to be a shortage of flowers all round.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Getting rid of the bugs

We had to get the consultant in again - we seemed to be losing the battle with them and the production had plummeted. We had to do something. With Valentine's Day, and Mother's Day coming up, things were grim.

The consultant was shocked to see the damage - and recommended a very toxic spray. We don't like using such sprays, but it was desperate. As well, we had to clear our a lot of the excess leaf matter. The spray is working - there are far less moths and flower damage. We have to keep out of the hot-houses for 24 hours after spraying to allow the toxins to dissipate. Sadly it also kills our good bugs so we will have to buy in some good bugs again.

We have had 4 inches of rain on the property in just over a week - sadly the rain has not fallen in the catchment areas. In the north of Queensland they are in flood and have been for a week or so, and another cyclone is on it's way to the gulf area, so they will get more rain.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bugs Galore

We have been plagued in the hothouse by bugs, that seemed to resist our regular spraying attempts. These tiny mothers lay eggs in flower buds, and new leaves, and the result is a lot of damaged flowers and very low productivity. Very frustrating.

The advisor that we used visited yesterday and was really amazed at the damage done. He rates things from 1 = mild damage, to 5 = severe. He crossed 5 out and indicated it was far worse. No number given. Recommended another spray. It is far more toxic and no doubt will destroy our good bugs. We prefer to use good bugs to kill off some of the predators we get in the Gerberas, so will just have to purchase some more shortly. After we've got rid of this moth and the damage and when all the toxins have been flushed out of the plants.

We cannot pick tomorrow - our normal picking day, as we cannot go near or in the hothouse for 24 hours + - because of the spray.

Apparently during the spraying the moths were falling over dead. Instantly.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A gift

We love to give our flowers away. These were given to our hostess on Australia Day. The "vase" is just a glass jug that they found to be rather useless as a jug as the contents spill when they pour. As a vase it works quite well. Remember to cut nearly an inch from the bottom of the stems and make sure all are under water. You only need two or three inches of water in the vase. To keep them lasting change the water every couple of days and trim the bottom of the stems again.
Some people add bleach, but we seldom do. Just a drop might be helpful.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The weather plays havoc

Not a really good time - production is down, we are still plagued by the brown apple moth, which seems to defy the chemical we have sprayed. The heat and humidy along with the cloudy days has not been good for the flowers.

Normally we would put special white paint on the roof by October, but we've only just done it on hothouse two. There is not a lot of light - with the clouds and the flowers love light.

We are told that in Holland, the light is artificial as there is not enough natural light even during the day. If one flies into Holland at night apparently the ground is lit up with the lights encouraging the gerberas and other flowers to flower. Seems that the Dutch are surprised how might daylight we have here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Gerberas and the film crew

The local federal member of Parliament was the subject of a film shoot around the suburbs yesterday, in preparation for the federal election later this year. They did a series of filming in the Gerbera Farm, with me as one of the stars. I really enjoyed it though I never like being filmed.

They needed children for one part of it, so the grand daughters did their bit, so we expect them to be on the television screen later in the year.

It was quite exciting and they dressed in their very best clothes for the event. Quite little actresses they are although they only had a walking piece.

The Entrepreneur

Little Miss A, our granddaughter saw her little school friend with a digital camera on New Year's Even and learned how she had saved up for it herself. Miss A decided to do the same. Pocket money is now $4 a week but she worked out that it would take a long time, so negotiated to sell the seconds from the farm gate.

She created a sign which says "Flowers $3 a bunch", got her fold up chairs, and buckets of flowers and set up. She did a roaring trade in an hour and made nearly $60. She'd done it several times since, and I think the camera will be purchased next week.

What a clever little girl! It's rather funny, as we had discussed doing the farm gate sales some time ago, but her mother didn't approve of us doing it. She didn't want people knowing we had the flowers there.

We will discuss it again - as we knew it would be quite financially rewarding, and if we made an extra $100 week, which is quite reasonable it equates to $5200 a year.

It will be on the agenda for the next farm meeting.

Weather woes

Gerberas love bright sunny hot days! We've had warm, often cloudy, humid days, and in fact inconsistent weather which they don't like. We are still fighting agains the little brown apple moth that has infested the place and we are still losing too many flowers.

They get in and burrow (that is the caterpiller) into the flower. They eat bits of the petals, and sometimes drag the petal over them. In any case the flowers are useless to us.

We've had lots of "seconds" so that is disappointing. The flower business is a bit slow after Christmas so it is not so bad for us. I guess at this time of the year many folk are concerned about their spending over the festive season, and for parents with school children they are bracing for the cost of returning to school.

We've upped the spraying and continuing with the de leafing as the moths find it easier to hide from the spray in the dense foliage. We've had a few patches of spider mite too, but that has been dealt with.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Miniature Gerberas

Each year we get wonderful catalogues from the various propogators of Gerberas listing with stunning photographs the new season's flowers. We order months in advance. We had always grown standard gerberas - the ones most commonly seen in florist shops, and we had decided in the early days not to grow the minis.

But last year we did put in several rows of minis and they have done very well. The plants themselves are as vigorous growing as the standards, but the flower is smaller. The stems are usually long and strong, and they've been a good seller for us too. One florist in particular buys mostly the minis so it has been good. They are very easy flowers to manage and come up well in arrangements.