335/366: succumbing to poison

I have to admit defeat, though only in a small way. Although I would dearly love to have a totally organic garden with no use of chemicals or weedkiller whatsoever, recently I have felt overwhelmed in the attempt to achieve this.

Lovingly I constructed a path in the front garden, with recycled bricks and recycled pavers.  The small white river pebbles that I bought, thinking they were tiny enough that weeds wouldn’t get through, was becoming difficult to maintain.  Placing them on thick newspaper prevented weed growth only until the paper eventually let weedlings (my version of a weed seedling), sneak through.

So unless I actually laid them on a concrete base, this problem was bound to occur. Facing reality and time constraints, I have succumbed to a little judicious use of Zero to control weeds on this path in the front garden, and also the paved platform under the bluestone edge in the backyard. I am only human, after all.

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334/366: bartholomew in a box

I’ve always been amused at how cats like enclosed spaces, as you may have noticed by some of the photos I have posted on this blog. Bartholomew, or Barthy as we called our ginger boy, was another cat who loved to find cosy places in which to curl up and look adorable.

It was the beginning of 1999, Barthy was almost 14 years old, and little did we suspect it would be our last year with him; a fitting reminder to treasure our loved ones always, because you never know what’s around the corner.

333/366: what do you see?

After working industriously in the garage doing some cleaning, sorting and tidying, I took the opportunity to take a rest on the chaise under the huge green umbrella, and this is what I saw:

  • some plants needing pruning
  • roses desperately needing dead-heading to encourage further growth
  • weeds amongst the plants
  • overgrown seaside daisy (erigeron)
  • the semi-permanent ramp awaiting barrows of mulch
  • the hose lying across the concrete

I thought to myself: Slow down, you are seriously becoming too critical and subjective about your garden. Chill! Where’s that positive attitude you value so highly? So I took stock and looked again. This time I saw:

  • magnificent blue sky with clouds scudding by
  • a glorious mass of colour and life
  • nature in all God’s glory – praise the Lord!

Why is it sometimes difficult to remember to have an attitude of gratitude?

332/366: various variegated vegetation

Variegated leaves are those with more than one colour, usually a lighter stripe or mottled look, providing some good visual variety in a garden.

On the eastern side of the back yard next to the fence, I liked the three variegated pittosporum so much that I planted another two right up the back on the top tier.

On a smaller scale, this groundcover just in front of the roses is pretty too.

Interestingly, part of this plant is a normal green, a throwback to its origins?

The grasslike blades of this plant add interest also.

Lastly, even a fern can appear variegated.

I obviously love alliteration, though it may have been overkill had I titled this post      Visual variety of various variegated vegetation.

These plants look even better when they are interspersed between plants with blocks of solid colour.

331/366: rogue plants strike again!

Recently I did some serial planting in front of the rosemary bush, in which I planted some leafy green variegated plants and rosemary cuttings.

Suddenly there are rogue plants amongst them. I won’t get too excited, because last time this happened nothing actually eventuated. However, there was that one time years ago when I was very successful with a rogue pumpkin vine. I’d love that experience to be repeated. One can only hope.

330/366: tropical corner on the patio

Things are moving forward with my tropical theme. I worked on the patio today, rearranging items and putting up a tropical oil painting under the pergola.I enlisted the help of the electric drill and a masonry drill bit to attach the hooks on which to hang the work of art.

These days pergolas are more like an outdoor living room than merely a covering for the barbecue and outdoor furniture. And since all my walls are covered with various artwork in the actual house, I am more than happy to find some new walls to decorate, even if they are outside!

The bonus here is that where I sit at my laptop doing my blog, I can look directly out over this revamped area. I’m especially pleased with the little arrangement of artificial ivy and ferns which discreetly covers the rather ugly, but necessary, outdoor double power point.

329/366: nesting instinct or a basket case?

My daughter was visiting me the other day and laughed at me when I told her I was having a go at basket-weaving. I think it conjured up pictures of mental institutions in old movies, or maybe old people’s homes.

It all started because I had leftover bamboo strips from the blinds I used on my fence re-vamp, and I was trying to think of a way to recycle them. Before I knew it, I was trying to thread them onto a semi-circular wire hanging basket. They kept snapping, so I soaked them for a couple of nights in the bathtub, with water just covering them.

This helped their malleability, and I also added the last bit of brush fencing, with the whole thing ending up looking rather like a bird’s nest. Hence the title. Finally, I added some artificial plants and attached it to the fence using cable ties, which have many varied uses. Now it’s up on the fence, never needing watering, and disguising the join of the trellis. But really, I must try to finish some projects before constantly launching out in other directions. Nevertheless, I was quite pleased with the result.

328/366: something cherubic to delight

This was probably the first cherub I ever purchased. It has never looked better since I put it on a pedestal (somewhere I like to be, but usually fall off).

With the addition of a little succulent from a dear friend, it is now complete.

It’s funny how you buy one item, and then before long there is a theme happening and suddenly you have a whole collection of said item.

How does that happen? Sometimes it occurs because you may have bought one or two things that you liked, and then a friend or family member gives you a similar present. Then, if you group them together people assume you collect them and are more than happy to increase the number you have, whether you like it or not!

Looking around my house and garden, I have numerous collections: cats, dolphins, pandas, zebras, bells, arches, art deco items, cherubs, animal print, with tropical items being the current flavour of the month. However, just because I love something doesn’t mean I buy anything that fits that description. Perhaps the secret to having a good collection is being selective.

327/366: case of the collapsing conifer

Beside the pile of mulch, which incidentally is taking quite a while to totally diminish, we have three conifers next to the driveway. They are the pencil pine variety, which I prune at the top to make them all the same size.

However, two of them were in a state of collapse. I almost considered getting rid of them, but decided to try to fix the problem. A little bit of support was all they needed, utilising cable ties and garden wire.

326/366: a comfy corner and gratuitous cat photo

I’ve been tidying up the patio area under the pergola as I continue my tropical makeover. In this corner I have put a couple of director’s chairs, a table and a potted palm.

Look closely, and you may see that I will never kill this plant. Yes, it is artificial. In some areas I like to do this – one less plant to remember to water, with a guarantee that it will last years with little or no maintenance, other than an occasional wash.

Then I spotted Zorro, and plonked him onto the chair to add a bit of life to the photo. It could almost be one of those “spot the difference” shots.