A Very Wet Day in the Garden…

February 6th, 2011

The ducks in my sunken garden 'pond'

Well, yesterday was a very good day for the ducks!  As we watched our tiny creek become a medium river, its edges creeping up our backyard and heading for the back door the ducks took full advantage of the situation!   They made us laugh while we made preparation to try to stop the water from coming into the house.

our tiny creek becomes a river

My sunken garden acted like a sort of levy bank and the water all poured into it, filling it quite quickly and lapping over the steps.  Wick-Wick launched herself into the large pond with a great deal of delight, but Waddles, the older duck was none too sure at first, and stood at the top of the step making, ‘Well, I’m not too certain of all this’ sort of noises.  But Wick-Wick was having much too much fun to bother to listen to such silly advice and was swimming round and round her little feet paddling away, stopping every now and then to stick her head under the rather dubious looking water to see what could be seen underneath.  Waddles decided that no one was listening to her and she might as well join in the fun, and so stepped carefully into the now quite deep pond.  As soon as she did Wick-Wick layed her head flat on the water and charged Waddles and the next 5 minutes or so there was much splashing and feathers flying as they both raced round and round at top speed in the pool.

The ducks swimming madly in circles in the new 'pond'

Meanwhile the water crept, well, it was quicker than crept really, it had waves in it!  I think the sunken garden saved us really, or more likely we were just lucky and had a narrow escape.  But it certainly makes you even more aware of the terrible plight of all those people in Queensland and here in Victoria who have not been so lucky with the floods.  Watching water rise so very quickly is very scary!  I can’t imagine how very terrible it must be for all those caught up in more serious flood events!

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January Plant

January 29th, 2011

Blue Echeveria

This is my Blue Echeveria, isn’t  she cute?  Can you see her little flower spike?  She is one of a family of plants all of whom have fleshy leaves and form tightly packed plantlets in clumps around their bases – you can see the little baby plants clustered around the edge of the large mother plant.  With their origins in Mexico they are tough little critters!  They fill little gaps in and around rocks or at the edge of gardens and make wonderful pot plants. 

The succulents are indeed a good starting point for children to start an interest in gardening as these plants are easy to care for, can withstand a great deal of neglect and mismanagment, which indeed is why they do so well in my garden! 

Happy gardening!

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Unfurling…

January 24th, 2011

a little seed unfurls...

It is an exciting moment when you see the very first seed unfurl!  For Christmas this year I received a little mini hot house thingee and my very first seed is emerging.  How cute it is!  All that squirting was not wasted after all!  I welcomed the first seed this morning with a few extra squirts!  Can hardly wait for his brothers & sisters to pop up!  I could get to like growing seeds! 

baby figs, aren't they cute?

Further into my garden I notice the little baby figs growing very slowly into large yummy figs!  Let us hope that my possum doesn’t like figs too much, maybe a bird net?  Last year I attempted to grow eggplants.  I had gotten quite good, if I say so myself at the tomatoes & decided to branch out so to speak.  The eggplants grew rich and green and lush, all was well.  I watered them every evening and I noticed they had beautiful purple, blue coloured flowers, how pretty.  Unfortunately the possum thought they looked very tasty as well as pretty and ate every single one!  I put out a bird net, but he just went under, over or through.  I was a little upset but my children were relieved as they don’t like eggplants even when I hide them in the lasagne.  ‘Has this got eggplant in it?’  they ask suspiciously before even eating any.  Still, I am hopeful with the figs.  So far, so good.  Perhaps as autumn draws near you will find me eating figs, ricotta and honey.  Bliss! 

the tomato patch

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is certainly fun as well as good for you.  It combines all the requirements for everyone living in these busy times.  It gives you exercise as you dig and wheel the barrow full of compost.  It brings relief from stress and somewhere cool and welcoming to spend time in, the garden, not the barrow of compost.  As a bonus you get good food to eat or at least you can feel you are doing your bit to feed the wildlife.

Happy gardening!

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Watching the garden grow

January 17th, 2011

Watching the garden change with the seasons is a true pleasure in life!   Watching the seasons change and small plants grow and become what they are meant to become.  Observation – taking note – this is at the heart of successful gardening.  Your garden has a lot of lessons for you. 

new veges to try

Time spent gardening should be a pleasure.  For me it is often done in spurts.  Little mini missions out into the garden, the odd 10 minutes, a relaxed wander out into the garden with secateurs and a trowel.  I am finding that learning how to garden is a healthy exercise.  It helps me to reduce my stress levels and is immensely satisfying.  Last year I began to make new plants from old.  I think that making new plants is becoming an addictive hobby in itself!  You gain a real sense of satisfaction from seeing your own cuttings thrive or watching apparently lifeless seeds develop into healthy plants.  If you plant seeds you have a much greater variety of plants to choose from for the vege patch.  Things you could never get down at the supermarket.  The last visit to one of my many favourite nurseries I came back with seeds for some Asparagus pea, aparently these pods are cooked whole and taste a little like asparagus.  I also got some Vegetable spaghetti seeds which when it grows looks like a marrow but when you cook it the strands separate and can be used like spaghetti or noodles.  Have to give these a try!

Well, I am off out to put some seeds into my little seed tray.  Happy gardening!

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January Garden

January 5th, 2011

All of a sudden the holidays are over and a new year has begun!  I would love to be able to say that my gardening jobs are all done and my garden was looking trim and tidy and well mulched, but, sadly this is not the case.  There is still much to do and weeds just about everywhere. 

But, on the other hand, over the past 12 months, my garden has taught me many, many lessons and given me a great deal of pleasure.  Gardening is one of our oldest and most rewarding hobbies.  It knows no age or social barrier, with the humblest little cottage garden being as richly rewarding to its owner as that of the grandest mansion. 

the garden awaits....

To me, one of the great bonuses of gardening is that with care and attention a garden grows and improves with every passing year, whereas no matter how good a housekeeper you might be, which I certainly am not, a house slowly deteriorates over the same period with wear and tear.  A garden is a living thing and must be treated as such.  If it is mulched and watered regularly it responds so very rewardingly.  Even a few weeks later you can still see where you have been working, unlike inside the house, where whatever you have been doing, sweeping, dusting etc it all needs to be done again almost the next day!  So, with this in mind, I will stop cleaning the bathroom, and head out the door where the birds are calling and there is a gentle breeze.  My garden awaits…

Happy gardening!

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Happy new 2011

January 2nd, 2011

pansies in the sunshine

A new year – and time to give thanks for all my blessings. -My health, toes that wiggle; fingers ready to do my bidding.  The health of all my loved ones – their smiles and their love that surrounds me.  My friends -to share a coffee and a laugh with; to talk to on the phone; to go see a movie with; to share good times together with.

a gift from my garden

My home and garden, all the pleasures they provide for me from day to day.  My very own place filled with my treasures.  A place where I can do whatever I wish.  My home shelters my dreams.  I have a roof to protect me from the weather, a kitchen, and quiet places to sit and relax with friends and family or when I need time to myself. 

I give thanks also for my eyes and the ability to see all the beauty the world places around me every single day.  All the colours – flowers; green leaves; dark red roses.  The shapes and textures, the lines you can follow with your eyes.  The sky at night filled with stars – last night a crescent moon!  And words, all the words my eyes have read, all the smiles my eyes have seen.

Thank you.

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4 more Sleeps….

December 21st, 2010

Not long to go...

Not long to go now folks!  Christmas is nearly here!  I have not had a great deal of time to spend in the garden and what time there has been has been spent doing mini missions or cleaning outdoor furniture, sweeping etc.  I am hoping that some of my Christmas guests will take a moment to look out my window, now that it is clean enough to do so, and perhaps comment, ‘Gosh, you don’t have any cobwebs under the porch roof and how wonderfully clean all your outdoor furniture is.’  But, of course, they would only comment if I didn’t remove all the cobwebs or if they sat on the outdoor chairs and got dusty bottoms. 

Waddles can't see what the fuss is all about

Windows I think are for looking through at the garden, not really looking at to see if they are clean.  But, when they get to the stage of inhibiting the view from their dust, well, I guess it is time to do something.  I did that something yesterday and yes, I am feeling quite pleased with them now that they are done.  In Melbourne, at the moment it is much too wet to do much gardening as such, but cleaning windows can be done under the cover and at least it got me outdoors.

So, the tree is up, presents are under, windows washed, cobwebs removed, shortbread cooked, bring it on!!~  Mind you, I think I might have acted just a little hasty with the cooking of the shortbread, it is disapearing  quicker than I had planned, might have to make another batch.

Anyway, I am off into the garden before the next lot of rain to plant out some dahlias, happy gardening!

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December Garden

December 14th, 2010

Salvia

My December garden has been quite a wet place to be this year!  So wet some plants have been drowned!  Poor wee little things!  Rain has come down in bucket-fulls, my sunken garden became a duck pond, much to their delight!  The broad beans are almost finished now, although we are still enjoying them with our dinner every other night!  No one has complained as yet.  But I think it just as well that they are coming to an end.  My tomatoe plants are loving the rain almost as much as the ducks!  I planted some basil near the tomatoes and tried out some black basil, which looks just super, but doesn’t grow as quickly or as happily. 

Hydrangea cuttings with tiny flowers :)

Once again this is the month the hydrangeas seem to come into their own.  I love this month because I can watch the changing flowers.  I love the way they begin so very small and delicate, green and furled, then grow large and lustrous.  I love the way the colour seeps into the green flowers until the bush is covered with masses of pink.  The little baby cuttings I took earlier in the year have tiny baby flowers, I am so proud of them!

Of course, December is a hectic month and I have been running about with umbrellas, christmas shopping, catching up with friends and such.  It is such a busy month it is hard to find time for the garden, even my five minute garden bag has been neglected and despite my best intentions, the weeds have won the battle for the moment.  But for the most part I have kept up with dead-heading my roses, probably because it is such a pleasant task, a good way to relax in the evening and much more interesting than TV.

Well, today the sun is shinning, and the garden calls, so happy gardening!

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Life outside the Window

December 7th, 2010

Kookaburras high in a tree just beyond my window

Looking outside the window today there is rain!  Drenching and heavy, the sky is full of water and the gutters are overflowing.  It is still humid.  Humid and wet!  The ducks are loving it.  But it is too wet to be outside.  So, I stand and watch life outside the window.

The ducks

I worked hard in the back garden yesterday and it is looking really pretty.  It is a pleasure to go and stand by the back door and look around.  I have a great feeling of accomplishment.  Yesterday, while I was chopping back I discovered a nest (the blackbirds’)  Inside were two tiny baby chicks, only just hatched by the look of them.  Small and fluffy.  What a magic moment!  I have carefully covered up the spot and will leave gardening down there for the time being.

The rosellas are back in the garden as well.  So pretty!  I love to watch from my kitchen window.  It is a magic place out there, just beyond the window.  How lovely to have my very special place.  My garden.

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Having fun in the vege patch

November 27th, 2010

my tomatoes

There are so many good reasons to grow your own food.  It guarantees that you have access to the freshest and the most nutritious ingredients right at your very doorstep.  Once you have tasted vegetables that have been picked only minutes before your eat them, you will never look back!  It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to grow something from scratch, well a seed really, and I know that those broad beans now on my plate are free of chemical residues and are very good for my family.    Growing your own food does save money too.

broad beans - harvest underway!

There are many different ways of growing vegetables, in containers, in ‘no-dig’ garden beds, in rotational plots or even just here and there in the garden beds that are in the back yard right now.  I made a ‘no-dig’ garden bed a couple of years ago and have built up the soil over the years since.  Before that I used pots, I figured to start small as I was short on both time and sunshine.  Vegetables do need sun; the more the better.  As a general rule, they need a minimum of six hours every day.  So when choosing a position to grow your veges try to avoid things that create a shadow.  I built a raised bed so the roots of nearby trees wouldn’t be competition for the veges and that has worked well.

But, you don’t have to wait until you have the ‘right’ spot or the time to make a special bed to grow a few veges – just start anyway with containers.  It is an ideal option for people who are renting or for people who only have limited space available.  Growing plants in containers also helps to overcome the problem of irregular shade, as pots can be moved to follow the sun over the course of the year.  Just get on out there and enjoy! 

Happy gardening!

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