82/366: renovate or relegate?

The rose arbour was becoming a problem. At the rear end it was leaning to one side due to the weight of the overgrown climbing rose, and it was too high and too late to try and start pruning the rose, as we didn’t have a ladder high enough. Then, if we did actually prune it, we still had the wonky posts to consider.

Decision made, we compromised and got rid of the back and sides of the rose arbour, leaving the front arch only, which always reminds me a little of the Stargate.                   Wish we could use it to travel to other planets!

56/366: out with the old, in with the new

Already mentioned was the fact that the only plant on our block of land in 1985 was a mangy-looking cotoneaster at the front of the house. We finally removed it before rotary-hoeing, sowing and growing our front lawn. It was time to choose what we wanted to have, and put it in the spot we chose for ourselves.

We chose for a feature tree, an Evergreen Alder, which we planted on the corner next to the driveway. In those early days we didn’t understand that you had to allow growing room for plants. Another lesson well-learned, but at least that tree would provide shade in years to come, before we built our garage twelve years later.



15/366: sexy legs

I had three lovely Silver Birch trees up in the back corner of the garden, but they succumbed to the severe drought Melbourne suffered a few years ago. However, I love the bark of these trees, with their monochromatic trunks, and when we chopped them down I was inspired by one of the trunks to create some garden art.

Adding a pair of my husband’s discarded runners/trainers/joggers, this trunk becomes a pair of sexy legs, or perhaps the bottom part of a scarecrow.

6/366: the tomato competition

My husband and I (no, it’s not The Queen speaking, although it is princessprattles!) enjoy a spot of healthy competition, and when I decided to plant some tomatoes, he decided he might buy his own special plant. Then suddenly it was a competition to see whose plant would bear first fruit. I won!!

Mine: A Floriana Hand-grafted Apollo Improved, citing “more tomatoes per plant:”

His: Beefsteak:

In all fairness, we have planted different varieties, and I deliberately bought a couple that will mature either early or late in the season. The others are a Grosse Lisse and two cherry tomato plants:

5/366: getting stoned on our anniversary

It’s not what you think, but a worthier pursuit, finishing the garden path with the purchase of a number of bags of river pebbles to complete the task. It was a satisfying way to celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary while my husband toiled away at work.

Unfortunately I had to go back to Bunnings as my estimate was incorrect, and I required two extra bags. The whole project came in at eleven bags, just under $250.

4/366: hooray for herbs

It’s really nice being able to pop out into the garden to obtain fresh herbs. I have had rosemary growing for some years out the back. You can dry it out and save it, but it flourishes so I tend to use it straight from the bush. Imagine a succulent leg of roast lamb embedded with fresh rosemary sprigs. On those rare occasions when we do have a roast, I mix up some garlic, oil and rosemary to brush onto the potatoes for extra flavour.

Mint is best grown in a pot, to avoid it taking over the whole garden, although I have to admit I have managed to kill a mint plant before today. Make your own pot of herbal tea by steeping it for a few minutes. The longer you leave it, the stronger the taste. Combine it with some lemon for a refreshing change.

Recently I made a mixed pot of herbs in an old round pipe, planting parsley, basil, oregano and chives. As well as being useful, it looks pretty as well. Just like I try to be!

2/366: my secret garden

Look at the two photographs and see if you can spot the fake.

The large fern sits in the corner of the patio and has led a charmed life. Although it is under the cover of the pergola, it gets enough light to flourish. Occasionally I will give it a large drink by putting the hose into its centre and watering it for half an hour. Over the summer months I might follow this procedure four or five times, and at other times of the year maybe once a month, but it seems to have worked. Hopefully I’m not jinxing it by stating that.

I have often used some artificial help in the garden. In this case, the tree ferns you can see have had some cosmetic surgery. Originally, they were planted down the “dead” side of the house, or the utility area where the washing line is located. It is a fairly sheltered area because of overhanging native trees next door, which monopolise any rainfall. Consequently, the ferns died, and I was left with the trunks. Fern trunks are pretty by themselves, but some greenery finishes them off. A lot less expensive than replacing the ferns, I purchased artificial fronds and embedded them into the ferns. From a distance you would hardly know the difference, and if I hadn’t let you into this little secret, you would be none the wiser. Feel free to copy the idea in any little corner of your garden that needs brightening up without the hassle of watering. Shh!