50/366: in transit

Once again some of my garden features are on the move.   Jumping on the bandwagon with the large terracotta pot full of flowing succulents, are two cute young female ornaments.To help them look more similar I sponged the concrete ornament with some acrylic paint to mirror the colouring of the other one. It’s like my childhood days when you had to have a matching pair of swap cards!

These girls have always reminded me of my two daughters when they were young. The young girl sitting reading a book was given to me by a dear friend and reminds me of our older daughter whose passion for reading was legendary. The second one, a small version of Curtsey Girl, is reminiscent of our younger daughter, who had adorable curls. We used to nickname them “Straight mate” and “Curly Girlie” for fun. Now they are in transit and ready for a new home. Stay tuned!

49/366: weep for the willow

Long before I even prepared the first garden under the bay window at the rear of the house, we used to get a lot of shade from the afternoon sun from the house next door, to the west.

It was traumatic for me to see that in May 1992, five years since we had moved in, the magnificent weeping willow was being removed. Apparently it was badly diseased and it was a necessity, but I grieved for that tree, as it had been lovely to look at. Furthermore, we had been a little slow in planting out that side of the garden with trees, having relied on the shade from next door.

Just goes to show, you should plan your own garden to create shade where you want it, because over your neighbours you really have no control.

48/366: ready for a new role

Underneath one of the bay windows at the back of the house there is a garden bed that was taken over by some ground cover. This looked very pleasant when it was lush, but over summer it requires too much water.  Time for a change.

There used to be a lovely daphne bush directly under the window, but when it died we realised that it had been there for a dozen years already. Naturally plants have varying life spans, and apparently that was quite acceptable for a daphne, so we should be grateful that it lasted that long. Now it’s ready for a revamp.



47/366: bottlebrush beauty

In our garden we have a lovely native dark red Callistemon, which gets its common name due to the flowers looking like a bottlebrush.

I love the way it frames the path as you walk around the corner.

One of my favourite things in the garden is to create interesting corners and having surprises appear as you walk around them. In this case there is a Colebrookdale chair on one side of the Golden Diosma, and in the distance is a concrete ornament known as the Curtsy Girl.

46/366: in search of a creature

Once again, when plants spring up in a different spot they sometimes mask what was there. In this case the seaside daisy, which seems to be a somewhat recurring theme in my garden, sprouted itself in amongst the rose garden.

It’s a bit like a game of “Where’s Wally?” (Where’s Waldo in some countries).

I knew there was a concrete garden ornament obscured by this daisy clump, so I have now eradicated it and solved the mystery of where the creature went. Here ’tis!

45/366: hearts for valentine’s day

In the front garden, one of the English box plants was getting too large for its situation under the Japanese maple, so I cut out the centre of it, rather than getting rid of the entire plant. I love recycling and reusing wherever possible. Because it was so big, part of it had generated new roots, so I managed to create two plants out of it.

One part sat right next to the footpath, so I decided to do a little hedging. Inspired by Valentine’s Day, its shape lent itself to form a heart, and with a few appropriate snips, I created this loving result.

44/366: tools of the trade

Regularly maintaining the garden is easier if you have the right tools for the job. Our driveway is bordered by seaside daisies and three conifers. The daisies spill out onto the concrete so have to be cut back regularly. The ivy that is starting to creep up over the conifer also has to be contained.

I  love both my pruners. The electric hedge trimmer is good for bigger jobs, while my little hand-held rechargeable pruner is just right for more intricate chores, or fine tuning, as I need to level off the top of the conifers. There used to be four of them when I first planted them, but unfortunately one died, which is the only drawback of serial planting that I can see. Otherwise a row of similar plants is very effective.

The big scoopers are like having an extra large pair of hands to help pick up leaves or prunings. After that I either sweep or use the patio blower to finish off the task.

43/366: remarkable regeneration

It never ceases to amaze me how plants can regenerate themselves. Take for example, the conifer that we have had in the front garden for many years. Fortunately it was a very slow-growing one, unlike the Castewallen Gold conifers that we planted willy-nilly around the place and have since removed due to their excessive size.

But because this conifer had been next to the huge conifer, it meant that one side of it was obscured from getting any sun. Consequently, when the big one came down, we were left with virtually half a conifer.

I managed to devise a way to disguise it with some brush fencing, as looking at dead branches is no fun. Once it had been exposed to some regular sunshine I could see the emergence of new green shoots, so I cut back the dead wood to promote further growth. Now it is filling out nicely, and one day all sides of this conifer should look lush and healthy.

42/366: practically perfect patio

Having levelled the backyard, it was time for our first major task: the patio. Before a career change, my husband was a plumber. Being a tradesman is very useful for undertaking home handyman jobs. Today the pictures can help us re-live the project.

And what a great job he did! In this last photo, in the front corner, are our first two cats, Bubble and Squeak, whom we adopted from an animal shelter on Mother’s Day, 1985. Bubble is the very visible white cat, while grey tabby Squeak is cleverly camouflaged.       As you can see, a new patio is something fresh to explore.

41/366: let’s landscape

After the barrel drains had been replaced down the western fence, we eagerly started the beginning of much landscaping to our property. The block measures over 1000 square metres, or nearly a third of an acre, so there was plenty to work with.

When the workmen had finished the drainage, they kindly did some initial sectioning of the back into roughly three tiers, for the consideration of a couple of slabs of beer. This would form the basis of the entire backyard. At that stage we were working on the Big Picture; the specifics would come later.