Having moved into our house 28 years ago this month, I realise we have come a long way from a “shell on a paddock” to a comfortable home on a lovingly landscaped block.
As I sit at the laptop I glance out at the front garden. From my vantage point I look through the lovely timber full-length bay window. I can see two of the three weeping japanese maples, Inaba shidare, a greenstead magnificent, a couple of pruned english box shrubs, and another whose name I am unsure of. You’d think I would have kept records of everything I planted, and I probably did, somewhere in the archives, in a safe place. Ask my husband about me keeping things in “safe places” and he is likely to mutter something about a black hole in which items notoriously disappear.
Last but not least, as I look out the lounge room window, on the right is a slow-growing conifer we planted way back in 1987, as part of a group of plants which looked so tiny in amongst the mulch, but provided a nice view for us from the master bedroom.
The last conifer on the right grew up like this:
Fortunately on that occasion we had the foresight to plant it well back from the footpath, to allow room for growth, which could be a subject for a lengthy post, as we have learnt from other less successful planting experiences.
Our current cats, whilst not pedigreed, are very special to us. At fourteen years old, Shadow and Zorro continue to give us lots of happiness, and occasional mischief. Today I am going to feature our black and white boy, Zorro. How did he come by his name? If you can’t tell by the photos, he bears a striking resemblance to the man with the sword, as you can see by his black mask, moustache and cape.
I am always amazed at the diverse purr-sonalities and character traits that all our different feline companions have had. When we use the term “pets”, it is only because we enjoy patting and cuddling them. We really know who is in charge, but sometimes they let us believe that we are in control.
Take, for example, Zorro. A creature of habit, he lies across my husband’s legs when we go to sleep, but then halfway through the night, usually when it gets a little cold, or closer to dawn in the warmer weather, he moves towards the pillows.
If I am facing outwards, lying on my side, Zorro taps me on the back of the head. When my response is a little slow, he unsheaths his claws and gives me a gentle scratch on my scalp, never hurting me, but enough to make me move. I am well-trained, and roll over, facing the middle of the bed, so that he can curl up on the pillow next to me and have his obligatory cuddle.
Some projects take longer to get off the ground than others. Take, for example, my bridge project. A year ago a friend gave me a pre-loved wooden bridge needing a little TLC.
I had grand plans for this bridge, and was going to repair it, sand it back and re-varnish it. Meanwhile, life, conifers and rocks got in the way and the bridge project was put on the back burner.
Finally the task is complete, and the bridge is safely ensconced in the middle tier of the back yard, surrounded by an imitation river bed, which utilised many of the river pebbles I was given by some neighbours undertaking a dual occupancy of their block. Rather than see all their rocks and pebbles go to waste, they have been recycled here.
With the addition of a number of palms, the bridge has added another aspect to the tropical makeover of my garden.
Sometimes you can spend ages on a garden project with less-than-perfect results, whilst at other times a few adjustments can make a huge visual difference.
This week, in keeping with my plans to de-accumulate and organise the inside of my house, it has spilt over into the garden. Somewhere I read that you should only keep something because it is useful, beautiful or you simply love it, which in turn led me to look outside with a fresh eye.
Just because something has been there almost forever, doesn’t mean it still works in that position, either functionally or visually.
With a little tweak or two, I tidied up a couple of areas nicely. The first area took a little time, involving trimming back the notorious seaside daisy (Erigeron) and pruning a couple of dead branches to reveal some semi-forgotten rocks and succulents.
The other mini makeover entailed simply removing an almost dead golden diosma, relocating one of the potted olive trees, and getting rid of some elephant ears, resulting in a much cleaner, sleeker look for minimal effort. A tweak or two at times can certainly work!