Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Handfuls of joy

Finally: I've cracked it! I have enough strawberry plants to be able to pick - and eat - an entire handful of strawberries in one go! Completely fabulous and delicious, but don't ask me what variety they are because I have so many different ones now that I've forgotten what is planted where. Many of the backyard strawberries suffered in today's 33+ degree Celsius heat - they are always the first plants to swoon dramatically the moment it gets to 25c - but the plants out the front have been in the longest, are the best mulched and must be the best established because they look just fine. Woohoo!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

'Peas, peas!'

That's what our SP says, 'peas, peas!' These are Greenfeast and Telephone varieties: Y.U.M. SP and I have been picking them whenever we wander past the vines, and eating them on the spot. Poor Old D isn't getting much of a look in on the peas. Oh well, he does know they're there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Buckets of broccoli

I have no idea why my broccoli is doing so well as it never has before. The variety is Magic Dwarf, and eight individual plants has been enough to keep this little family of three in broccoli for over two months now. In fact, with a fridge crisper full and another bucket collected today, we're starting to get a little sick of eating it; Broccoli soup, broccoli salad, broccoli quiche... Broccoli pudding next? Fortunately -or not - I think we'll be back to buying it soon as our crop is starting to shoot and the season is ending. This means that summer is on its way and soon I will be muttering about gluts of tomatoes :)

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Summer Song Rose.

A long time ago I fell in rosey-love with pictures of a David Austin rose called 'Summer Song.' When I saw a plant for sale in a nursery this winter, I snapped it up without a second thought. My front garden is full of roses, but I felt this particular rose, with it's colours described as 'burnt orange,' wouldn't blend well with my colour scheme of white, yellows, and pinks, so Summer Song lives in a big black ceramic pot out on my back patio. She's been covered in flower buds for ages, and they have begun to open up before any other rose I have. She's also a bit lopsided, and in a hack-handed attempt to straighten her up the other day by squashing the plant up against a retaining wall I accidentally snapped one of the stems off. So today I brought in the bud that was on the broken stem and I'm enjoying it in a milk jug on my kitchen counter. I can hardly wait until it opens up all the way so I can see it in its lovely entirety.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Front path a masterpiece in recycling.

I haven't shown you any renovation pictures in eons, so will skip a discussion of growing eggplant from seed (or rather, a series of complaints about growing eggplant from seed) to show you our front path instead. It's only halfway through, but taking shape beautifully, and so far we've not spent a single cent on it. Bonus!

It starts here: with the porch. Pity I forgot to take a 'before' photo, but never mind. Why demolish the porch? Because it was broken and cracking, and right up against the old weatherboard, which was rotting. As the porch was peeled away, it became clear that the whole thing was damp and pretty terrible for airflow and general building health, so off it goes. We'll replace it with a little deck, we think. And I'm keeping the old iron scroll work pillars, because I like them.

Under those layers of tan-brown tiles, and rusty red stained concrete, there was sand and rock, and lots and lots of it.

 FIL had a flash of inspiration. A while ago, I'd mentioned just chucking a whole heap of paving sand around the 'pavers' I'd salvaged from when we demolished the back patio and have been using as stepping stones to the front gate. FIL thought he could dig up all the sand from the front porch (since he was going to anyway) and use that instead. Brilliant! The garden edging down the left of the path is old hardwood beams we had (although if they're old ones from our house, or ones the neighbour gave us, I can't remember).

Right down the back of  the path, behind FIL in this photo, is our new gate, which D has been building in dribs and drabs over the last few weeks to help make our yard a little more toddler-safe. Our gate is actually our old back door, with a recycled hardwood architrave. I think I'll paint it pillar-box red, or yellow. I like yellow, at the moment. We've put a little trellis to the right-hand side to climb plants up and over this space (I have planted roses, the native 'wisteria' Hardenbergia violacea 'Rosea,' and native clematis, Clematis microphylla). For the gardeners, other plants I have in this space - though barely visible at this stage - include the natives Plectranthus argentatus, Plectranthus  parvifolius, Hibbertia aspera, Guichenotia macrantha, and Goodenia amplexans. I've also got lemon balm and nasturtiums in here. This scrap of garden is probably the most challenging spot I've come across so far: it's quite shady, narrow, and not just dry but actually water-repellent. So far I've added loads of compost, manure, and clay to address the issues faced here.

And just for fun, here's a happy snap of the other half of the front garden which I took tonight at my favourite time of day: when the sun is getting low in the sky and shines though my Poas, which swish and shimmy in the breeze. All those roses are going to explode into flower in just a couple of weeks. Last year this happened in November, but some of the buds are splitting open already so I think they might bloom early this year.