24/52: a few of my favourite photos of my garden

Since it is a bleak June day, ceaselessly raining, what better way to brighten my mood than with some of my favourite garden photos?

marvellous marigolds fuchsia pensive Zorro cropped-a-bridge-too-far-as-seen-from-bottom-tier1.jpg lovely roses after the rain the cat sat on the mat Beautiful Babiana looking towards the middle tier cats wait patiently for a changeI can’t believe I managed to blog EVERY day last year; it was an all-consuming task. This year I am actually concentrating more on indoor renovations: painting, deaccumulating, rearranging, reorganising, which is quite therapeutic, but I know come springtime I will be raring to go outside in full force.


3/52: minimising english ivy

woven ivyTrying to yank out huge hunks of ivy doesn’t really work, because with years of growth the vines are interwoven and become stronger and almost impenetrable. You need to tackle it in stages and small quantities.

The way I do this is to sit on a cushion and work in the area immediately in front of me, which saves stress on both the back and the knees. Headphones for my music and a sun visor complete the image.

think ergonomicallyTaking up a small handful of vine, I snip both ends, and put them into a bucket or bin. Do this a number of times and then you can pull up the roots more easily. Continue the process until you have had enough and the recycling bin is fed.

tools of the tradetools of the trade

take hold of a clumpgrab a handful

cut at each endsnip each end

sometimes thicker secateurs are requireduse secateurs for older, thicker vines

a handful to recycleanother clump for the recycling bin

then dig out the rootsdig out the roots

off to the recycle binthat won’t grow again

Countless hours have been spent by me working on downsizing the ivy population. I have equated managing the garden with eating an elephant before, and once again, little by little is the key.

break on thruthe last part made me think of the lyrics “break on through to the other side”

the path is clearthe finished path

mulchedanother area completed

It has been worth the effort, with a good sense of achievement at the end, but why can’t we manage to just keep on top of things in the first place? Because:

1) we are human and

2) life gets in the way

Perhaps we should be a little more gentle on ourselves and our expectations.

366/366: full circle

An achievement in itself has been managing to blog every day of the year. I am commemorating this auspicious occasion with some good news. The semi-circle of shame is no longer. I mentioned that I would do the grand unveiling on New Year’s Eve, so here ’tis.

Having weeded it all, it was ready to attack, by removing some soil and recycling some old vinyl and rocks.

weeded and ready to attack

recycling vinyl and rocks


almost finishedAlmost complete, I will probably add more river rocks to the arrangement, but for now it will suffice.

WordPress’s Project 365 challenge has encouraged me to write every day, and it is true: the more you write, the more you want to write. However, I know that on some occasions I was scratching around for a post, so next year I will not be forcing myself to do it daily. Hopefully, my posts can be more thoughtful, although sometimes it’s fun just sharing a photo I like, with little or no writing. I’m looking at posting weekly on princessprattles, freeing myself up to work on my novel, my other blogs, and maybe even introduce a couple more. Yes, addicted to blogging and loving it.

Have a fantastic New Year, and aspire to great things. The possibilities are endless.

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?




255/366: how my garden equates with eating an elephant

Let me start by saying I would never actually eat an elephant, nor would I wish to. It is merely a metaphor.

How would you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

This is how I approach my garden. Though it is only a suburban garden, and not acreage, it is nevertheless quite sizeable, especially now, in days when blocks are getting smaller and smaller. Ours is just under one third of an acre, or 1284 square metres.

Over the twenty-seven years we have lived here, starting with a shell on a paddock we have extended and expanded, landscaped and concreted, to achieve a rather lovely environment, even if I do say so myself.

It seems to be a neverending task, or labour of love as I think of it. There is still so much scope for more landscaping ideas, creating interesting corners in the garden, which are always so much easier in my head than actually doing them.

But there is always maintenance, even in areas that are considered “finished”. Is anything ever really finished in a garden? The way I tackle it is in stages. I get overwhelmed if I just look at everything at once, to the point that it immobilises me.

By compartmentalising my garden, I avoid that immobilisation, by dividing it into different areas, particularly for maintenance tasks such as pruning and weeding. By cutting it up into bite-size pieces, it is an achievable challenge, just as you might do if you did attempt to eat an elephant.

251/366: easy weeding

I love it when a project is completed and the purpose for its completion is fulfilled. Such is the case of the area of garden where I put pavers and pebbles to permanently cut down on weeds. It’s funny though; you sometimes write a post that you are really pleased with, as in the case of that previous one, and yet you only get one like on it, which goes to show that the effort you put into a post cannot always be measured by the reception it gets.

That was four months ago, and by now it would have been chockers with weeds, had I not done this project. As it is, I merely plucked out a handful of weeds and the job was done.

Now that’s what I call a successful result. Not only is it rather attractive, but useful as well, just as I try to be!

243/366: my little black wagon

Knowing how I love gardening, last week my husband pleasantly surprised me with a present of a Gard&Grow. Only problem was it came in a big box unassembled.

However, only a little daunted, I put my handisandi hat on, and set to work.

Finally I finished the job that should probably have taken only take half an hour to complete. Including a rest for a cup of tea, due to the brain strain of following directions, the project took about ninety minutes. But I’m proud of the result, having managed it totally by myself, and it will be a very handy piece of equipment for this gadget girl.

202/366: weeping ghost maples

As I may have already mentioned, many of the trees on our property are evergreens, with the occasional deciduous tree thrown in.

I love my weeping japanese maples, Inaba Shidare, particularly for their autumn hues, but in winter I can appreciate their form when all you can see are the branches and trunk. Annual pruning of these three trees in the front garden helps maintain this weeping effect.

190/366: the birth of the bluestone barbecue

The nineties saw a lot of construction in our garden, once the extension had been built in 1991. Our built-in bluestone barbecue has remained a strong feature and has provided us with many wonderful meals with friends. Attached to natural gas, we never have to worry about the gas bottle running out.

183/366: it’s my birthday and we’re halfway thru

C’est mon anniversaire. It’s 1st July, and in Australia it is the beginning of the financial year as well as my 56th birthday. That may sound old, but not when you compare it with 80 or 90. Have you noticed how “old” seems to always be at least 20 years older than yourself?

My daughter coloured my hair yesterday and I was delighted with the result. Last night at our karaoke gig my husband sang “Happy Birthday Baby” – thank you for a lovely dedication!!

One of the presents I received was a cute T-shirt from our Canadian friends.

For all of us involved in the WordPress Project 365 challenge, today marks the hump. We are halfway through the challenge! Well done to my fellow enthusiasts.

If you will allow me to be a little self-indulgent today (it is my birthday after all), I would like to reassess my theme for 2012, which has been 366 days and 26 years in my garden for the last six months. The cats have sneaked into this blog because they share my love of the garden. Recipes got a guernsey if I had grown the produce in my garden.

But I have decided to broaden the theme for the second half of the year to include my house. It may include interior decorating ideas, inside DIY projects, and maybe even a random recipe or two. Of course, now I will also be able to add photos of the cats inside the house, much to my delight, and to other cat lovers out there in cyberspace. For the non-cat lovers, you are welcome to ignore those posts.

Sometimes I have been a little stressed about “posting my blog” each day, but if I increase the range of topics about which I write, I will have more scope and less hassle. It’s supposed to be enjoyable, so let’s keep it that way.

So now I will be tagging the posts “366 days and 26 years in my house and garden” and then at the end of the year I will have another look at where I am heading. Just like my garden, this blog is ever-evolving, and I appreciate your time and hope you continue to share my journey.