Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stormy Weather

Last week we had our first taste of Winter weather. It rained for three days solid and there was some serious winds ( up to 100km per hour )

I went for a walk near our house on the weekend and saw that the wind has made a real mess of this fence and retaining wall. The top course of block work has been lifted. These owners can't have been too impressed, they only put this up a few years ago.

I always get a bit nervous when it's windy that our tree will drop a branch like this one has. Eucalypts are notorious for this. There's an avenue of Lemon Scented Gums in Kings Park which are insured to cover potential damage to cars parked beneath them.

There were broken bits of tree branches everywhere. My dogs had a good time sniffing them all. Two children in the park had collected some and made a tee-pee leant up against a tree. It looked like a fantastic cubby!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fast Office Makeover

The amount of time I spend in my office on the computer seems to be increasing daily. Along with my design and drafting work I also blog, email, facebook and we just started shopping for our groceries online. I needed to liven up my work space to preserve my sanity.The long term goal is a complete makeover but I had to settle for a quick DIY project for now.

I usually have several jobs ' on the go ' and needed a way of organising them that was also decorative. I saw an article in Real Living Magazine last year which gave me the idea of hanging clipboards on the wall. I wasn't thrilled about the concept of sticking six self adhesive hooks on the wall ( they cost about $4.00 each ) so I decided to use an old cork notice board to attach the clipboards to instead.

My first shopping trip was to Officeworks where I bought 6 x Masonite Clipboards for $7.65 each.Next I needed to find something suitable to cover them with. The magazine article had suggested wallpaper or gift wrap. I was considering using fabric but then decided to use white self adhesive vinyl book wrap for its ease of coverage ( or so I thought at the time...) in hindsight the paper would have been easier! After a few failed attempts I needed 3 rolls and they were $9.00 each from my local newsagency.

I also went to Spotlight and bought 120cm of Aqua ' Coated Twill ' from their remnants bin for $1.90 ( bargain! ) then 380cm of some rather expensive striped ribbon for $22.45. I then stretched the fabric and ribbon over the cork board and stapled it to the wooden frame from behind. I found some white plastic coated cup hooks lying around to hang the boards with.

So for just over $100.00 I made myself a new work station that I'm quite pleased with. This would have been slightly more of course if I didn't already have the cork board and cup hooks. It's proving to be very useful for keeping my paperwork in order and brightening my days.

Monday, May 18, 2009

May Blooms

It was Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on the 15th of May so let's have a look at what's happening in our garden even if it is a few days late...

Both varieties of Hibiscus are now flowering, including this pink double. I've been having some more problems with aphids again that I tackled with some 'tomato leaf spray' . It's too early to tell if this has worked yet.

The Rosemary I planted last month must be happy in its new pot because it's covered in pretty pale purple flowers. Apparently it's ok to use the flowering sprigs in cooking ( according to this Episode of Master Chef ) Our Rosemary is actually getting smaller because we are using it faster than it has time to grow!

This Arctotis flower was a nice surprise because I wasn't expecting any more flowers until next spring. It must be all the sunshine we've been having lately.

Our Firecracker Plant is always in flower and requires little maintenance. I quite like the way it spills of the edge of the paving although some gardeners would consider it messy.

Another new addition to the garden that is doing well. These Thai Chillies have produced an abundance of fruit. So far we've cooked Chilli Con Carne and made Chilli and Garlic Olives with these. Both were eaten too quickly to be photographed!

My Tomato plant looks like it's trying really hard to produce fruit. The first tomato grew to about 1cm before a caterpillar ate through it! I'm now using a chilli and garlic spray in an attempt to deter bugs. I haven't seen any recent activity so fingers crossed...

And finally, my bulbs are up! So stay posted for some progress on these. Click to see what was flowering in our garden in March.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

In memory of our Mum on Mother's Day, this is a celebration of the wonderful garden that we grew up in. We had a one acre property so the photos only show small segments of it. This was her cottage garden which was constantly changing with the seasons. Here is where she grew Poppies, Marigolds, Cornflowers, Nasturtiums, Stocks, Foxgloves, Statice, Cape Gooseberries and Daisies.

While Mum was growing flowers our Dad was busy growing vegetables. There was plenty of space for a substantial crop. Here I think he's tending to a patch of Broad Beans. Our favourites were the New Potatoes, they were delicious! Our garden was full of granite boulders which came in handy for defining beds. You can also see our Mulberry Tree to the left in this photo. This was a source of both fruit and fun for us kids. Our silk worms were very well fed too!

Some sunflowers that my sister and I grew one year.

My Dad's other garden hobby was golf. Our friends couldn't quite believe that we had a miniature golf course in our backyard complete with a sand bunker. He spent many a weekend manicuring his greens and moving the holes to make them more difficult.The tree in the foreground is an Apricot Tree which was always covered in fruit during summer.
Mum mulching the front garden. Our parents installed a 'Biocycle' system which recycled our household water for use in the garden. It mainly watered the old roses in the front garden along the circular drive. We also had two beautiful Jacaranda Trees which covered the gravel in purple flowers every year.

This windmill was our very unusual garden ornament / climbing frame / fireman's pole! The bore was still functional which provided another source of water for our garden. A Morning Glory Vine made its way to the top of this and stopped it from turning a few times. A terrible weed but the purple flowers were beautiful.

Mum relaxing in the sun with a good book.

Our dog Jessie on the front veranda. This was a nice place to sit and enjoy the sun in winter. Mum always had some potted colour near the front door. These were often Impatiens, Violas or Pansies which were her favourite. You might also enjoy this story.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New Zealand Natives

I have never designed a New Zealand styled garden. It seems strange when so many of their native plants grow well in our Australian climate that this style isn't more popular. So I thought I would explore some plant choices for such a garden. I have used all of these plants before but usually they are combined with Australian natives or other exotics.

Pittosporum tobira ' Miss Muffet '

Pittosporum ' Creme De Mint '

Carex testacea

Cordyline australis ' Sundance '

Gordonia axillaris

Phormium ' Sweet Mist '

Phormium ' Yellow Wave '

Metrosideros ' Dalese '

My only other consideration when putting this scheme together was colour. The main colours in the foliage are lime green, orange and yellow. I also used some plants with darker green foliage for contrast. There are many more plants ( and varieties of the ones shown ) that could be used in a New Zealand styled garden. Coprosma, Astelia, Libertia and Xeronema would also make excellent additions. The best websites I've found for New Zealand Natives are Liddle Wonder
and Lyndale Liners