Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Garden


Christmas Eve through the back doors

I have neglected my Blog for a few months but not my garden. It is now in its prime and just in time to host a lovely sunny Christmas day with my family. The breeze was a bit strong at times so we ate indoors and retreated to the garden to moan about eating too much. The boys played cricket on one side of the garden - I tried not to screech too much as I saw them foraging around the Holly Hocks for the lost ball - while the ladies attempted to keep the hula hoop going (a present for me). The teen son retreated to the rear but could never quite escape the attention of his little cousins who rarely see him.


The hula champ

Monday, October 5, 2009

Like mother like daughter?

I am just teaching myself how to use a morphing program. This is my first try at morphing a photo of myself into a photo of my mum.
video

Monday, September 14, 2009

Losing Lavender

Now that Spring has sprung I feel I should give this blog some of my attention. During the cold months I read my gardening books and magazines and looked out the window at the morning frosts. On the less wet days I did the slow tour of my garden, sometimes moving plants around but most of the time imagining how things will look when the sun came back.

I lost a lavender bush that formed part of a little hedge. With a gap in the middle and no sign of that type of lavendar in the garden centre I attempted to replant a larger lavender from a different part of the garden. It was a lovely big bush - until I moved it! Not only did it look ridiculously large bewteen it's new neighbours but it just wasn't happy and never regained it's former splendour. Weeks later I got a call from my local garden centre telling me they had bought in a plant for me. I raced down there and ran back to once again move that once former beauty. I've heard that you shouldn't cut lavenders back to the woody stems and although I've chopped one right back before and it recovered I wasn't about to try with this one. I have moved it again and filled the hole with my new little plant. It looks happy.

Until now I hadn't realised there were so many different types of lavender. I guess I should just take cuttings from the existing plants but I haven't had much success with that.

Monday, May 18, 2009

And nOw For SoMethinG ComPletEly DiFferEnt

HOW SMART IS YOUR RIGHT FOOT?

1. While sitting in a chair with your feet on the floor, lift your right foot and make clockwise circles.
2. Now, while doing this, draw the number '6' in the air with your right hand.

Your foot will change direction.
I told you so!! And there's nothing you can do about it! You and I both know how stupid it is, but before the day is done you are going to try it again, if you've not already done so.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A GARDEN LAPSE

For a while over summer I must admit that I neglected my garden. Sure I was sitting in it and admiring it but when I spotted areas that needed attention I turned my back. For a short time I just couldn't be bothered. It was almost as if I'd looked at it for so long I was no longer interested. The pretty clumps of Shastas around the Plum tree were just more things I needed to dead head. The beautifully unruly Cosmos was just an annoying thing we all had to wade past to get to the table.
Thankfully, that ugly destructive phase has passed and now I am throwing myself into every inch of the garden. It's a magical time when I can plan and move and envisage next summer's bounty. I've even spent time in my Mum's garden helping her clear an area for an apple tree. I think the change occured after I returned from a weekend away. My family and I spent a few days at a homestead in the country (Tinui Station Homestead, Wairarapa, NZ). The owners had a beautiful garden and upon my return I felt quite inspired.
I read lots of gardening books (probably too many) and I buy or borrow the gardening magazines and I read the gardening blogs but sometimes it takes a good old nosey around somoeone else's garden to get those juices flowing again.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The work begins

Japanese Anenome in the rain

So summer has passed and although the weather is still pleasantly mild the garden is not looking very pretty. Fortunately this is the time I love. Time to cut back things, move other things and brutally eject those plants that just didn't work. My muscles have a satsifying ache - a welcome feeling, knowing how many easter eggs are heading straight to my hips.
I admit I moved some roses well before their dormant stage but I have faith that they will forgive me. Not so the lawn which continues to shrink as I enlarge the garden beds. My husband eyes me with suspicion each time I take the spade out of the shed. I've told him I'm doing it for him - less lawn for mowing, which is his domain. He can't really stop me, after all I'm the one holding the spade.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What happened to the weather?

I'm sure I ask that question every season. It sneaks up on you. Just when you get settled into the balmy evenings of dining al fresco on the produce from the veggie patch and sipping the gin and tonics with the lemons from the tree - bam! The wind picks up, the temperature drops and all the tomatoes split from too much rain.
Our wonderful weather forecasters, shaman that they are, predicted a long pleasant summer. And there I was believing them. Fool that I was.
Anyway, I can continue to garden by virtue of the internet by reading my favourite garden blogs which happen to be in the opposite hemisphere.
Thanks guys.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's a Small World

More often than not I look at the garden as a whole, sometimes even squinting at sections to view it in a different frame. Now I have found an even more amazing viewpoint. Walking around the garden with my camera set on macro I discovered the most amazing world. Just look at these incredible images - the colours, the symmetry, the complex formations. Fantastic!
a curious critter

Hibiscus

Stamen of Hollyhock
Cosmos

stamen of Bouganvilliea

Bug feasting on dried Hollyhock seeds

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The impatient gardener



The best and the worst thing about gardening is the waiting game. In the Southern Hemisphere we are in the middle of summer and my garden is at it's peak. Everything is in full bloom and the birds, bees and butterflies are loving it. The tomatoes are in abundance and the lemon tree is keeping up with the Gin and Tonics.

Already though I am making mental notes for the winter work and imagining how things will look next summer. Am I the only one who does this? I have plans to move shrubs, shuffle the roses so the colours aren't so muted, expand one bed to make room for more dahlias, transplant all the self-seeded Hollyhocks to the back of a bed.... the list goes on. None of these things I can do until the growth has slowed, and even then I won't know if my decisions were right until next summer and then the cycle starts again.

It's not that I am not happy with my garden - I love it - but there is a sense of dissatisfaction which keeps me going, and that will probably never go away. I guess if I had a garden which required no thought, just a bit of maintenance, then I'd lose interest.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Renting a garden

Despite my love of gardening I actually don't own my own garden and never have. People, non-gardeners mind you, can't understand why I would bother putting any effort into someone else's property. For me it's a no-brainer. When you rent a house there isn't a lot you can do to the actual rooms to fit your taste. You can't knock down walls or extend rooms but you can do that with a garden and it will always be an improvement from doing nothing. I have yet to meet a landlord who has complained about me working on their garden. In fact in most cases I am adding value to their property.

The cost is very low too. I take cuttings from plants I like, I make my own compost and fertilizer, and I save money by growing my own vegetables.

I spend a lot of time in the garden, whether I'm gardening or lying in the shade reading or hosting a BBQ. To me it makes perfect sense to work on a garden whether you own it or not. For the last few years I have been renting a house with a fantastic space at the back. It is large and flat - quite a rarity in this area. There were some beds already growing a mess of plants but I have extended them and added new ones. There are a few limitations though, like the ugly concrete path dissecting the garden and the concrete area you need to cross to get to the garden. How I would love to rip all that up. For the time being though I will just work on training the focus away from such eyesores.

Even though I don't own it this is my garden. One day I will have my own garden, preferably a large area in the country where self sufficiency will be my aim. Until that time I will continue to be the model tenant and enjoy the fruits of my labour.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Make Your Own Ice Bucket

This is a great little project to show off all your flowers and looks wonderful on the outdoor dining table. The finished product is sure to impress your guests.

STEP 1
Collect a variety of flower heads from your garden. For this one I selected Cornflowers, Shasta Daisies, Marguerites, little rose buds, Sweet Peas, Lavender, and even some Dandelion flowers.






STEP 2
Put all the flowers in a plastic container. I used a round one here but you can use any shape you like as long as it fits in your freezer. Also it must be large enough for a bottle of wine to fit in the centre and still have an area at least an inch thick around. Add water.


STEP 3

Place another container in the centre which is roughly the size of a bottle. If you have a large enough freezer (which I don't) you could actually use a bottle as the centre mold. I have used a pickle jar. There should be some flowers at the base under the jar. The jar will need to be weighted down to stop it floating up. Arrange the flowers around the container to get a nice display once it is frozen.

Place in freezer.

STEP 4
When the water is frozen remove the inner jar by filling it with warm water. This require a bit of patience. You don't want to melt too much of the ice or crack it. Run some water over the outside of your container to loosen the whole thing.
Your finished product should look something like this. Sit it on a plate, put your bottle of wine inside it and enjoy.