295/366: the cat sat on the mat

Waiting patiently at the door sits Shadow, aesthetically positioned.

It reminds me of the old “John and Betty” readers of yesteryear (when I was beginning Primary School), where we learned about patterns of words, in this case a perfect example of :

The cat sat on the mat.


294/366: freesia jolly good fellow

I have simultaneously wished my husband happy birthday and introduced today’s topic with the title “freesia jolly good fellow”. Good time management/multi-tasking!

Freesias are quite prolific, but they are one plant that could spread all over the entire garden as far as I’m concerned, being both pretty and having a delightful sweet scent that permeates the air as you walk by.

I love the varieties and colours, such as this one with delicately mauve shaded petals.

Look at the purity of this virginal white freesia.

A bright buttercup yellow freesia adds a strong message of spring.

293/366: rhododendron 2002

In ten years the front garden has changed a lot, with the addition of another weeping Japanese maple, the removal of the large conifer,  the invasion of the fishbone ferns and creeping succulent, and getting rid of the lawn in that area. All this is an example of my ever-evolving garden.

Now the rhododendron is somewhat sprawling in nature, and has yet to fully flower. It always seems to flower around my husband’s birthday, which is tomorrow, but this year it seems to be a little slow. We’re going to Thailand on Sunday night for ten nights, so I may miss some of the flowers. However, I think I can manage to pay that price for a tropical holiday!

Meanwhile, I have been working steadily to write and schedule posts to cover the time we are away, so that Project 365 (366) can continue uninterrupted, and while we are away I can be working on my travel blog: Travels with Princess and Quiquinou. You might like to take a look so that I can share my holiday with you 🙂

Never quite the same since the drought of 2009, a decade ago the rhododendron was neatly pruned and covered with a mass of purple blooms.

292/366: the post-pruning look

All’s quiet on the western front now. After the prolific pruning on that side of the backyard, we have cleaned up the area. I love the extra light across the grey pattern-paved concrete, although there is still enough height from the remaining conifers to provide some shade. The umbrella, which can be moved around on its cantilever base, can give extra coverage when necessary.

 My husband did a great job high pressure cleaning the green four metre umbrella. Halfway through you could already see a big difference.

Now it’s hanging back up where it should be, looking almost new again.

291/366: edging, the finishing touch

I love adding a little creativity and originality to my garden. While doing so, I look for ways to make the completed project as low maintenance as possible.

In the case of the serial planting in yesterday’s post I didn’t want mulch too close to the bluestone edge, as cats and birds digging around could make the mulch spill over onto the brick path, meaning more sweeping. Sloping the mulch up away from the river stones, I then added some underlay in the form of black polypropolene supermarket bags, which I cut to size, to form a barrier between the soil and the pebbles to avoid weed growth; two problems addressed simultaneously.

By spreading the larger pebbles across the surface there will be little gaps which  could be topped up with tiny pebbles for more thorough coverage.

290/366: serial planter

Unlike a serial murderer, which is bad, a serial planter can be a good thing.

What is better than one nice plant? Answer: more than one of the same. Sometimes they can be in a straight row, at other times in a triangle or cluster. Usually it’s best to have an odd quantity, unless you are going for symmetry with a pair of the same variety, creating an entrance to an area.

Over the past week or two I have been weeding and digging the area under one of the rear bay windows. There was an overgrown rosemary bush being swamped by seaside daisy, some weeds and a variegated plant.

I liked the leafy plant, but didn’t want it in the ground in that area any more, so I have potted it up, and then in each pot and between planted rosemary cuttings, finishing off with stones and mulch.

288/366: irises still going strong

I’ve had weeks of beautiful colour and shape from these irises, which look purple against some colours and yet look blue against others. Colours are funny like that. Time of day also has an influence in how colours show, and every person perceives colour differently. In any case, I adore these flowers.

The other day we were expecting inclement weather, so I had picked a vase full of irises in case they were spoilt by the rain. I am grateful that the blooms left in the garden held up so well during the downpour.


287/366: halfway thru the pile of mulch

The mulch created by the massive pruning a couple of weeks ago has halved, with a lot of the leg work attributed to my husband. See my professional pruning proliferation, and professional pittosporum pruning posts.

Meanwhile, I have been madly weeding, creating and rearranging edging for places in which to dump barrows of mulch. In the early morning you can see how much heat is generated by the steaming pile of mulch.

286/366: containment issue: spreading succulent

When I planted that little cutting from a neighbour’s property a couple of years ago, I never realised how scurrilous the spreading succulent would be.

I have now put rocks at the back of the area I wish this succulent groundcover to remain in, carefully digging out any underground roots that I could find. I have no-one to blame but myself; another gardening lesson learned the hard way. Our Castewallen Gold conifer crisis was probably the most expensive similar lesson learned in our garden.

While fast-growing varieties can establish a garden quickly, the downside is that they sometimes take over. Plants with a slow-growing nature take longer to fill up an area; the good thing about this is they are not usually as invasive as faster-growing plants.

Further to this, I am intending to minimise this plant while putting slower-growing plants next to the path, to avoid constant cutting back. It’s amazing how hard you have to work to create a low-maintenance garden.