Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big pot.

After almost finishing the deck, (this weekend, I swear) I now have a an open area where the outdoor setting used to be. On a whim I bought a pot that I quite liked. It's 700mm in diameter and about 500 mm high. It was the result of a post at Green Theatre showing some amazing planting ideas in urns.
Exhibit A

It will be situated in an area that is undercover, so is safe from the blazing midday sun that will hit Sydney in the next couple of months, but it does get early morning sun for up to an hour, and the afternoon sun for a couple of hours as it dips towards the horizon. As you can see a few months back I planted a garden bed of ferns and bromeliads behind it. It is also near the fish pond giving it a wet and humid environment in summer as the water evaporates.

It's there in the background. Poor photo quality courtesy of my camera phone.

My plan is to head the the nursery this weekend and annoy the staff by taking various plants and arranging them in the walkways till I find a mix I think is appropriate and looks the part. 

This will possibly be done with a hangover from Friday nights gathering and a three year old. (No the hangover won't come jointly from the party and the three year old, the three year old will just be another distraction during the plant choosing shenanigans. It didn't sound quite right though, did it?).

So it seemed to me that wealth of experience out there in blog land might be a helpful resource. I would love any suggestions as to what may, (or possibly more importantly may not) be appropriate in this situation. Of course I'll be limited by what is available locally, but suggestions may morph into ideas that can be replicated if not duplicated by local supplies anyway.


Sunday, September 26, 2010


This is Fenwick. He is named after my neighbours who know that I have an aversion to garden gnomes, and decided to sneak him into the front garden one night last week. I think wine may have been involved. Very funny guys. I've faced him towards your place so you can chuckle every time you drive in. Just wait till you get your garden started. I'll come up with something suitable for payback. (rubs hands together and looks evil).

My brain hurts.

Having a job, an almost four year old daughter, a six week old son and trying to fit in study for mid term exams is exhausting. But after some seriously mentally challenging exams this week, I now have two glorious weeks without night classes.

Everybody winds down in their own way from the stresses of daily life, and I can thoroughly recommend gardening as the greatest stress reliever on the planet. But of course I'm preaching to the converted.

This weekend is a balmy 27 degrees Centigrade. And it's the first weekend this season where I have been warm enough to wear shorts. You can almost hear things growing in the beautiful sunshine.

I've had the Monkeys song, Pleasant Valley Sunday stuck in my head since yesterday. The line about the weekend squire coming out to mow his lawn resonated.

 And it's nice to sit outside with my special girl.

The wildlife is waking up.

The callistemon or bottle brush are starting to flower.

The leucadendron salignum, or red devil has lovely shape and colour.

The pansies are loving the sun.

And the Euryops should start to take off too.

Even the fish, Chuck (the orange one) and Norris (the orange and white) are more frisky.

 Kerri asked in a previous comment section what these white flowers are. She suggested, (on a much smaller and further away photo), trailing verbena. I honestly have no idea.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Garden furniture.

The latest post at A Growing Obsession has a photo of a great looking elephant pot. In general the pot shops and nurseries I visit in Sydney have a very limited range of terracotta and glazed pots in equally limited colours and shapes. Not that they don't have their place. I have quite a few of them on my little patch to afford me the ability to move certain plants around depending on season, weather and whim.

I also don't have the gardening budget that I would like and am probably lucky that the temptation is not laid before me in abundance.

But bit by bit I find I am given or recycle items for the garden. My first attempt at fish was a water feature. It took me less than a minute after installation to realise that I was essentially putting the fish in the equivalent of 19th century concrete bear pits, so I bought a bigger pond and pump to afford them a better lifestyle. That pretty much got rid of the need for the water feature. So I took out the innards and turned it into this.

I've only just started to appreciate succulents, but have a little work to do on arrangement. Still it should grow into itself.

I also had a small cane shelf that I've had for over twenty years languishing in the shed. A little linseed oil to water proof it and some potted colour breathes new life into it.

 And the last thing I reserected this weekend was another item that had been sitting in a back room covered in junk. An old table that needed a new coat of stain on the legs, and a good clean of the surprisingly heavy marble top. A perfect spot for an orchid. No, I don't know what it is. People keep giving me orchids. Happily I haven't so far managed to kill any of them.


Alison has told me to keep away from the dining setting.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Crepe Myrtle

The back garden used to have a driveway running through it to what was the garage before it was converted into the rumpus room. Last Easter I enlisted the help of a mate of mine, Sean, and my Dad, cut out about three tones of concrete and laid turf.

At the end of the turf I planted a crepe myrtle. It was fairly late in the season and after some inclement weather  I was worried that it had succumbed to the elements and that I had ultimately planted a stick.

That's it. Down in front of Imogen's slippery dip. But this last week it burst into bud.

So I made a little garden bed to celebrate.

Frootloop was a little unimpressed. But I quite liked it. I intend to shape the buxus japonica to the curve of the border when it grows. The lavender in the pot was struck from my lavender out the front of the house, and the sisyrinchium, (lavender skies) in the centre just took my fancy.

I love spring.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My apprentice.

This is my eldest, Imogen. Took a quick photo of her this morning as we headed out to the car to go to preschool. She likes to make sure there is enough water for the birds each day. The birdbath is just outside her bedroom window so she can watch birds drink and bathe without frightening them away.

She gets very cranky if I so much as pick up a pair of secateurs without inviting her to come and help. She also combs the lawn each day looking for and reporting on any bindii. And God forbid that I should use a watering can without also filling hers and letting her water the pot garden.

I don't think gardening would be anywhere near as much fun without her.

 The first rays of dawn in the back corner. My cats Frootllop and Spotty Monsta sit waiting for it to reach the ground for their morning sunbathe.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And the rain came down.

Anyone have any spare wood? I think I need to build an ark.

I've only been to tropical northern Australia twice. Once to Broome for our honeymoon, and once to catch up with family and friends in Queensland from Brisbane to Cairns. The latter trip was inadvisedly taken in the summer rainy season, and I can vouch that that is no misnomer. Monsoon is wet.

The last five or six hours in Sydney have seen a comparable amount of rain to the monsoon, but without the stifling heat. My purple fountain grass is prone, the diosma looks like a truck parked on it, and the lawn is an Olympic size swimming pool that should be planted with water plants rather than grass. The gutters can't cope and make a curtain of water outside every window.

The benefits are that the water tanks are full and I won't need to water again till St Swithin's day.

At least the next few days are forecast to be sunny, so the garden should really begin to feel the spring growth begin.

The purple fountain grass in drier times.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Beginning

It's been a couple of years since I had a blog. The last one was more general. This one is almost specifically gardening. "Almost specifically" translates as, "I have a very small block, am an amateur gardener who knows little of the botanical names and may struggle to provide content so I'll talk about the kids as well". Or something like that.

Alison and I moved into our house in Picnic Point, South west of Sydney on the Australia day long weekend in 2009. We spent the first twelve months of weekends doing up the house. That means that the garden is basically less than a year old. It sort of makes sense that the beginning of spring is the beginning of the blog.

Inspiration has come from the internet. Looking up gardening resources I came accross a number of gardening blogs, and have been an avid follower of them for some time. Those blogs will appear in the links to the right. Thank you to all who write them.

I think I'll begin with a few before shots of the house and property, Then some after shots before I begin the weekly or so updates. Forgive me while I work out how to do this in blogger.

The real estate photo from the front of the house.

About six months ago.

From the back of the house looking down to the converted garage.

Again around six months ago.

And finally the back deck before and almost after. Almost because I haven't finished it yet. That's in a week or so.

OK. That was a learning curve. But I managed to get pictures up. Time to work on the layout and take some more recent photos for the next update.