152/366: autumn hues

On this last day of Autumn in Australia, the sky is unusually blue. I can’t speak for other cities, but in Melbourne it is like a last hurrah before Winter sets in. Yesterday I took a photo of the autumn leaves on the nandina in the back yard, with a maple in the background.

I love the way the colours co-ordinate with their burgundies and crimsons.

I was moved to recreate this photo since the sun is shining. Why not do it now? I thought. Ah, the wonders of digital photography! However, my plans were foiled by the shade cast by some conifers, so instead I took some of the maple at the rear of the property, with filtered sunlight creating some lovely images.

151/366: delightful designer driveway

When you build a Grand Garage, you must design a Delightful Driveway to complement it.

Driving through various neighbourhoods, there was a driveway I admired, so I approached the owners to find out that Scoresby Paving was responsible for it. Remember William the Conqueror? This was Ernie the Concreter, whose motto may well have been: “I came, I saw, I concreted.”

We had always liked the look of brick paving, but pressed concrete is a great way to get the look of paving, without any weeds growing in between, because it is all sealed. Fifteen years later the colour is a little faded, and a few minor cracks have developed, primarily due to the drought of 2009, but it still provides an attractive and practical backdrop to the garden.

150/366: a grand garage

We waited until we were able to afford exactly the garage we wanted. Perhaps in earlier years we could have built a carport, or even a single garage, but we did without until early April 1997, finally settling on a design that jutted out past the front of the house.

This allowed us to increase the area of the garage, with a double garage at the front, and almost a single garage-sized workshop and storage centre at the rear of the main garage next to the house.

Because we had waited so long for this garage, I insisted that we need to have a lovely arched window in the side, as it would be visible from the loungeroom. Not wanting to be outdone, my husband insisted on brick infill. What on earth was that? I discovered that he was talking about what would be above the garage door. Some cheaper garages have a timber infill. Classy ones like ours required a huge steel lintel above the door to hold up the bricks he desired. Who was I to argue? So I got my window, he got his brick infill, and we were both happy.

149/366: lovely as a tree

Since it is about a tree, this piece of calligraphy I did some years ago fits the garden theme of this year’s blog – 366 days and 26 years in my garden. Next year, I plan to continue this daily challenge, although I may broaden the theme to encompass other areas of interest. Then I won’t have to keep creating new blogs! As it is, I probably already have too many!

148/366: cat cosmetic surgery unveiled

Perhaps you have been waiting with bated breath for the reveal; perhaps not. Here it is anyway. Before photos are located on day 124; surgery on day 126.  I think the cats at least look happy with the result, and the doctor had fun performing the operation.

147/366: demise of the alder

The first tree planted in our front garden served us well, only to be cast aside after providing us with greenery and shade for twelve years. Why? For the Grand Garage, something we had been hanging out for in the preceding years.

As we planned to widen the driveway, the alder had to go.



….gone. Looking at the photos, I had forgotten that my husband actually climbed up the tree and chopped it down.  I realise now it looks pretty dangerous. We then opted to have the tree stump professionally removed, necessary for the concreting, unlike the conifers in later years, where we left the stumps at ground level.

Now we were ready for the pièce-de-résistance, the garage!

146/366: our first tree

On this day, way back in 1985, we planted our first tree on our almost one third of an acre property. Our house was a shell on a paddock in those days, and I love looking at the old photos to see how much progress we have made. As I have mentioned before, a garden is in a continual state of evolution.

An Evergreen Alder, alnus-jorullensis, took pride of place at the corner of the front yard and concrete driveway for twelve years. What happened to it after that? Stay tuned for another exciting instalment of 366 days and 26 years in my garden!

By September 1990, the tree had grown so big that it was in danger of interfering with the power lines, something we had never even considered when planting it. Thinking about how large and wide a plant will grow when choosing its position in the garden is a lesson well-learned.

The change to its shape gave it quite a different, although still attractive, look.


145/366: potential blueberry friands

Loving blueberry friands, we bought two Brigitta blueberry bushes from Bunnings, to plant in the two new concrete pots I bought recently. Yes, at a garage sale.

Googled information recommended planting them in a larger pot, but because I intend to shape them and keep them a condensed size, I figured this sized pot might be suitable. These acid-loving plants require a potting mix which is also suitable for azaleas, rhododendrons, gardenias and camellias.

When potting, make sure you tease the roots. Na-na-na-na-na; that’s really hard to spell, but you get the gist. If you didn’t get it, just keep reading and ignore my moment of silliness. You actually have to spread the roots out so they don’t think they’re still in the same small pot. It’s a bit like muscle memory in our bodies, or memory foam pillows. We have to get them out of the habit.

It may take up to fifteen months to get fruit from these bushes, but I can wait, and then I will definitely post the resultant fruit on my blog. Meanwhile, I already make blueberry friands, generally utilising frozen fruit. It comes in a resealable bag, so I only have to take out the necessary thirty blueberries so that five are inserted in each friand before baking.

The new pots replace two old plastic pots of succulents, which have now moved to a more secluded area, leaving the classier, more formal pots front and centre.

144/366: gone potty

The bonus plant I received when I purchased four pots at a garage sale the other day has been relocated to a different pot; one I already had. I didn’t think the grass really suited the more formal concrete pot, so replanting was my option.

I trimmed off all the dead leaves before we moved the plant, which improved its rather sad appearance.

My husband, still on holidays, helped out. He cleverly cut around through the potting mix to make a circular shape, to fit the replacement pot. Otherwise it could have been the proverbial square peg in a round hole.

It had been quite pot-bound, so it was probably a good idea to repot it.

Personally, I prefer the grass in this round pot, which you may remember from another post where I went crazy with the black spray paint.

143/366: no more tears

Have you noticed, sometimes an onion in the pantry begins to sprout? I found two brown onions already growing, plus a third red onion shooting, so I thought, why not try and plant them?

I could have googled how to do it, but on this occasion I have just stuck them in the same pot, to see what will happen. Then I watered them in with some Seasol. They were past using in the kitchen, so rather than throw them in the compost, it will be a good experiment.

Last year I did actually buy onion seedlings and planted them, but unsuccessfully. Murphy’s Law means that I will probably have more luck with these ones that I have treated carelessly. Well, here’s hoping. Either way, there will be no tears shed over these onions.