274/366: kittenesque

Our old boys, Shadow and Zorro, are now 13 1/2 years old, and spend a lot of time sleeping and just generally looking gorgeous, when they’re not being extremely vocal and demanding food or cuddles.

The other day, they were accompanying me outside as they often do, making gardening an even more enjoyable experience. I decided to take a few photos and attract their attention with a stick waved about their purr-sons.

Hence the kittenesque title; they were so cute, swiping away at and trying to catch it, their hunter instinct suddenly switched on.

Zorro had a go first.

And then it was Shadow’s turn.

273/366: mountain of mulch

Severe pruning has its after-effects, such as this mountain of mulch.

My estimation is eight cubic metres – phew!

All our conifers and variegated pittosporums were mulched, and what better way to recycle this than to put it back on the garden from whence it came.

While mulching is great for weed prevention and moisture preservation, I have learnt something else. If you don’t maintain that mulch by keeping it topped up with fresh mulch, it composts and then in turn provides a beautiful bed for weeds to take hold, the very thing you were trying to avoid in the first place!

Dutchy and I spent two hours outside this morning, with me weeding while he moved twenty wheelbarrows of mulch into the back yard. So far some of it has gone to the top tier, with the rest into the middle tier which I spread around after preparing the area.

The rose garden is now entirely weeded and mulched, another great team effort.

272/366: professional pittosporum pruning

After the western side was severely pruned yesterday, the job continued with work on the variegated pittosporums on the eastern side, which were in need of drastic action.

Though I had managed to keep one of them pruned, the others were much larger and I was unable to tackle them.

The last piece was about to be lopped as I took this shot.

Now they have been pruned to a manageable height whereby I should be able to maintain them.

We were very impressed with how tidy Cameron and the guys from Tree Care Services Pty. Ltd. in Ferntree Gully left the yard and the garage, which they had used as a thoroughfare to drag branches out to be mulched.

271/366: professional pruning proliferation

Little did I know how much this little escapade would cost when I started getting quotes.

The irony of it is one of the reasons I wanted to do it was so that I can save money by growing my own vegetables! How many years will it take to re-coup the cost of this severe pruning? Don’t ask. Anyway, it needed to be done regardless of the vegie growing scheme, to allow more sunshine into our garden.

The guys from Tree Care Services arrived around 7:30 a.m. for a full day’s work, and work they did in a good, streamlined fashion showing good teamwork and camaraderie, tackling the conifers down the western side first.

Firstly they worked on a Castewallen Gold, situated behind the barbecue.

Then they partly worked on the next conifer, a Naylors Blue, allowing footholds and the other trunk to attach ropes to control where the branches would fall. There’s definitely a scientific art to the whole procedure.




I like to look after any tradesmen who visit with a cuppa and some home baking, which I brought out for morning tea, still warm from the oven.

The western side of conifers now stands level with the top of the television antenna on our roof, a vast change from the almost 20 metres some of them had attained!

Stay tuned for the next exciting eastern side of the project in my next post!


270/366: pre-lopping pix

When human beings go in for cosmetic surgery, there are often “before” photos.

Major work is due to happen in our garden tomorrow, so here are my garden’s “before” photos, showing some rather overgrown trees. The worst part is, we have no-one to blame but ourselves, because when we moved in all we had was a shell on a paddock.

Those conifers must be 15-20 metres high by now, and though they provide plenty of shade in summer it has become ridiculous. Behind the barbecue is a Castewallen Gold, with more of the same further up. Just behind the bluestone wall are two Naylors Blue.

The variegated pittosporum on the other side has grown equally out of control. What were we thinking? How simple it would have been to keep them pruned. Aarggh!

This means the backyard gets neither enough morning nor afternoon sun, so drastic action is required. It will open up the back yard a great deal, while still retaining sufficient shade.

269/366: now I remember those bulbs

Bulbs can often be a lovely surprise, when you have forgotten which variety you planted in a specific area.

After a series of nice glossy green leaves had sprung up near the shed, obviously from bulbs I had planted, I had to wait some weeks to find out what they were.

Now that I see them I remember – bluebells.

What a lovely surprise. I always think of daffodils immediately when someone mentions bulbs, and yet there are so many other types to bring a little colour and joy to our lives.

God Bless Bulbs!


268/366: daffodil rescue mission

With reference to yesterday’s circle of shame, I thought I would start by rescuing the daffodils that were up there, valiantly struggling against the choking hold of the English ivy.

Utilising my trusty bulb remover, after I had snipped away the ivy to get to each daffodil, I threaded the daffodil leaves up through the remover and then pressed down, turning in a cutting motion as  I pushed, finally releasing the bulb from the soil. I know it’s not strictly the right season to be moving bulbs, as it is generally an autumn pursuit, but sometimes if I wait for the so-called correct time, some projects would never happen.

With my personality, I have to immediately harness any urge to sort or clean or attack tasks, because you never know when the next window of opportunity will arise.

Now I have a nice bucket of rescued daffodils. I only hope I get the urge to re-plant them soon.

267/366: circle of shame

Somehow I had so many other things happening in my life and my garden that one area that we had already redesigned has suffered from neglect.

I like to call this my “circle of shame” as now it is overrun by ivy along with assorted weeds.

We have always concentrated on the areas closer to the house, which is how this happened.

I have a goal that by the end of this year it will be a circle of shame no longer. Blogging this will help give me a definite goal as I am a deadline type of gal. Now I am accountable to the whole blogosphere, and it gives me three months to get my act together.

266/366: one hundred days to go

Being part of Project 365, (although this year being a leap year should really be Project 366), anyone who has posted every day up until now has reached the point of one hundred days to go. Congratulations, fellow bloggers, and keep up the good work.

I’m quite pleased with myself that I have achieved this milestone, so I have treated myself to a new Canon camera. It’s a fairly easy to use model: Power Shot A4000, selling for under $200. Since we’re going to Thailand in October, and the old camera has some sort of burn mark on the lens, I thought it an opportune time to invest.

Here is a photo of the new camera taken with the old one which is reflected on the groovy little screen.

After charging the battery and adding the correct time and date, I took a couple of shots of the golden diosma to make some comparisons, if there were in fact any.

Ixus 120IS

Power Shot A4000

The second photo took an inordinate amount of time to upload to my post. That could cause time problems, and perhaps space problems for storage of bigger photo files. I wonder what will happen if I try and publish it when the photo only looks half done?

Here goes, as we learn by experience, don’t we?




265/366: the second set of bluestone steps

After completing the first set of bluestone-edged steps,  it was time to create some more between the middle and top tiers of the back yard.

Feeling he had learnt enough from his stint as the labourer for Garner the Gardener, my husband with his tradesman’s background, and with a little help from a mate, decided to tackle the task himself.

Since we had already sloped the area as a grassy ramp, measuring and digging out the steps was the first task.

Then the walls of cut bluestones were built, followed by the pavers for the steps, with edges of bluestone.