60/366: where has all the coriander gone?

My coriander quest (from day 31 /366) has failed big-time. I had been warned that during summer the coriander seedlings might bolt to seed, but they just totally disappeared.

And what about the tomato plants I was so excited about? This appears to have been the worst season for tomatoes that I have ever known. Mind you, my experience there is limited.Aha! Perhaps the coriander seedlings ran away with the tomato flowers and they have eloped. I wonder if they have created a new breed – perhaps a corimato, which would be a fleshy red tomato with a coriander flavour, which could be very nice in a salad?

Now I have a theory about the tomatoes. Because some pumpkin seeds must have been in the compost that I used for part of the potting up of the tomatoes, all the tomato pots ended up sprouting pumpkin seedlings, so perhaps this took away some of the nourishment required for the tomatoes? Not enough sun? Too much water? Too little water? Who knows? The only thing that keeps me going is that I won the tomato competition (day 6/366), and my husband’s tomato still hasn’t fruited!

 

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59/366: at last, a front garden

We had previously grassed the area so that it could be easily mowed while we were busy setting up the inside of the house. Then, finally, early in 1987, it was time to create our front garden.

To build up some garden beds, we brought in many metres of topsoil. The clay, or intermediate soil, of this area was not particularly conducive to planting a garden.          With a little fernery in front of the side picket fence, we moved to the area next to the footpath.I loved, and still love, the look of conifers and different shades of green, so with this vision in mind we set about forming a welcoming display. People walking by would see this, and we would also get a nice view from our bedroom bay window; a double achievement!

58/366: revising a path

As plants grow, sometimes a little revision is required in the set-out of the garden. In this case, we have lawn in the second level, with a brick border and mulched garden beds.

So that you can walk right up the back without standing on the lawn, in case it is wet, I put some flat rocks to be used as stepping stones to walk up the slope towards the third tier in the garden.

57/366: let the bobcat begin

It would be three years since the initial temporary tiering of the back yard before we could continue doing it properly. In the meantime we had accomplished the patio, a brick letter box, the front garden, the side picket fence and the picket gates at the end of the driveway, and furniture and curtaining inside. Oh yes, and had our adorable first baby, who was the greatest achievement of the lot!

We hired a guy with a bobcat to do the major shaping, scooping and levelling of the three tiers. Sleepers and a couple of feature rocks would form the retaining wall for the ground level, near the patio. Beyond that the main thing that we knew we wanted eventually was a bluestone wall and steps leading up to the second tier. But wait and remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

 

56/366: out with the old, in with the new

Already mentioned was the fact that the only plant on our block of land in 1985 was a mangy-looking cotoneaster at the front of the house. We finally removed it before rotary-hoeing, sowing and growing our front lawn. It was time to choose what we wanted to have, and put it in the spot we chose for ourselves.

We chose for a feature tree, an Evergreen Alder, which we planted on the corner next to the driveway. In those early days we didn’t understand that you had to allow growing room for plants. Another lesson well-learned, but at least that tree would provide shade in years to come, before we built our garage twelve years later.

 

 

55/366: beautiful bartholomew in the tub

An old friend gave me a half barrel to use in my garden in 1991, but while I was still deciding what to do with it, my beautiful ginger cat, Bartholomew, or Barthy for short, decided it was a very nice spot in which to relax.

My cats give me so much pleasure, and Barthy was extra special because we got him after I had a miscarriage in 1986, that he certainly helped me through. He has been in Cat Heaven since 1999, but at least I still have some lovely photos and memories of him.

54/366: lovely lilies

When someone gave me some bulbs about five years ago I wasn’t sure what they were, but they grew et voila, they were lilies. I am not sure what type they are, but thank goodness they are not of the smelly variety. I’ve tried to do some internet research and I believe the ones that stink and give me a headache could be the Stargazer variety. Grateful for the lack of odour of these white lilies, I can enjoy them close up. The name doesn’t really matter, but if anyone can suggest it to me, please add a comment, as I do like to know the names of plants in my garden.

One of the things I love about bulbs is they look after themselves to a large degree. It’s always interesting how the leaves sprout, and look pretty, before they die down and the flowers come. Then there is a spectacular mass of white flowers to appreciate, and the beauty of it is that they keep multiplying.

53/366: gotta love these pebbles

In some areas where the mulch is wearing down, I have elected to replace it with stones. They seem to be the new “in” thing in gardens, but have in fact been around for years. As usual, even garden fashions change. Weeds can still sneak in, but the good thing about stones and pebbles is that they are a fairly permanent fixture. They don’t rot down, but need a greater outlay of money in the first place. Mulch is a consumable, which protects the ground from weeds until it starts to rot down, but if you don’t top it up quickly enough, can actually encourage more weeds because it provides a compost base on which to thrive.

On ebay you can sometimes pick up a bargain for the garden. In this case I managed to buy a number of 10 kilo bags of these stones at a fraction of the price that I would have had to pay at a garden supply outlet.

This little corner of the garden, near the front porch, was requiring all too regular weeding, partly because I had seaside daisy growing there, so a neatening-up was in order. I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. Hopefully some of these projects will save some time,  so that I can keep creating, spending less time on actual garden maintenance.

52/366: picket privacy

After the major works of replacing the barrel drains down the west easement, it was time to section off the front from the back. I loved picket fences, and found the nicest design was the one with the little point at the top.

Since my husband was a plumber, he could turn his hand to all sorts of projects around the house and garden, and at that stage he was extremely enthusiastic, so the task was achieved with a minimum of fuss.

The only down side of choosing this picket, was that both neighbours on either side of us later chose exactly the same pickets for their fences. How about a bit of originality folks?    I had to keep reminding myself that  “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

51/366: another corner for creativity

Where the elephant ears had taken over the garden at the edge of the patio next to the garage, was a perfect spot for another little transformation. They were so overgrown that not only did they obscure the English box but created a place for water to run down the leaves onto the patio, which defeats one of the reasons for having a pergola, (to protect it from the weather).

For some days and a fair amount of toil on my behalf, I even managed to move one of the large rocks from up in the back yard by using a trolley. The other larger rock needed more strength, which is where my husband came in handy. I put a fake plant in the corner under the eaves so that I don’t have to water that area.  Adding some little black river pebbles mixed with some slightly larger ones, the job is finished, and I am happy.