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.

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.

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.


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.

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.