38/52: freesia jolly good flower

Last year I did a post called freesia jolly good fellow, so I could hardly reuse that title. However, freesias are so beautiful that they deserve a regular place in my blog each year.

Spreading throughout the garden, this is certainly one plant that is allowed to have free rein. Freesias are so typically “spring”, with both their colour and delightful scent.

freesias ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

37/52: tiptoe through the tulips

Partly because they are lovely, and partly because our surname is Holland, it seems appropriate to have the tulip is a recurrent theme in our house and garden.

From the stained glass entry window to wooden painted tulips inside, the theme has now continued outside with the planting of five tulip bulbs earlier this year.

Balinese tulips

Looking at these pictures, you could be forgiven for wondering whether it is life imitating art, or art imitating life, since I had all the artificial flowers before I had the real thing!

??????????????????????????????? leadlight entry My beautiful new tulips tiny tulipstulips tulip candlesticks

35/52: an addition to my mini orchard

Why on earth has it taken me this long to actually buy and plant an apricot tree? We’ve been living here for 28 years; you’d think I would have done it a little earlier than this.
However, in my defence, we have been busy raising children and landscaping and extending and working and living and travelling, and after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Moorpark apricot tree

Anyway, at last we have done it. I adore apricot jam, so we purchased a Moorpark apricot tree, which I believe is good for jam-making. I was all set to buy a bare-rooted tree, but the only Moorpark one available was a potted one, which, at about $45, cost an extra $18.

   somewhat potbound

Then we discovered that perhaps it had been in a pot a little too long, as it was quite root-bound, requiring a fair bit of teasing and trimming of the roots prior to planting. My trusty husband is the planter of trees in our family, with his wonderful digging skills. It’s lovely having my own personal labourer in the garden at times like this.

my trusty labourer

I wonder how many years we shall have to wait until fruit appears. Although I’ve waited so many years to plant this apricot tree, now that it’s actually in the ground I am suddenly impatient for produce!

the waiting game begins

34/52: first plum blossom for the year

   How many trees does it take to make an orchard?

I’ve decided that we have a mini orchard on our property of almost one third of an acre, as it consists of:

* three plum trees, the first of which was transplanted from my parents’ house many years ago, with the subsequent two a result of self-seeding,


blossoms of which have just appeared,


* two blueberry plants, yet to fruit, only planted 15 months ago,


* two lemon trees of different varieties,

* one kaffir lime tree, fantastic for using the leaves in Thai cooking, with the fruit as a bonus,


* one self-sown peach tree, which last year gave me a few peaches,


… and next week you will read about the latest addition to the fruiting family.

And no, it is nothing to do with either a partridge or a pear tree.

33/52: happy blogging anniversary to me

Isn’t that sweet: WordPress just sent me a “Happy Anniversary” notification to commemorate the fact that I registered as a blogger here two years ago.

Part of the reason I started was to chronicle our round-the-world trip in 2011, which prompted the commencement of travels with princess and quiquinou.


Moulin Rouge

I decided that princessprattles would be based largely on my garden in 2012, when I undertook the massive commitment to blog every day for the whole year, which, 366 days later, I had achieved. The blog extended to include my house as well as the garden and my cats at that stage.


I added karaoke kool kats.com, an occasional blog about our Saturday night karaoke gig, which hardly anyone looks at, which probably shows that regular, consistent blogging is more likely to attract views.

Happy Kool KatsA finite blog about my week’s trip to Central Australia, princess wonderland in alice, covered my holiday with my French friend Leslye, allowing  me to showcase the dramatic scenery and colour of the Red Centre.

Clouds above The Rock Tour

gecko blends with the rocksSpreading myself even more thinly, I embarked on scootin’ sandi, reliving some motorcycle riding, along with Calligraphy for Christ’s Sake.

John 21 19b

This year I started princess pop psychology, but am finding it difficult to keep up with all these blogs.

What to do? I’m still searching for my niche. Perhaps I need to write more regularly on each of my blogs? And who do we write for? Ourselves? Others? It varies for me. I am happy to keep an electronic record of my garden and other aspects of my life, and if a few people get enjoyment out of it, it’s a bonus.

Now that I am only committing to blog weekly on princess prattles, I have honed this blog into two things I love: my garden and my cats.

cats as bookends

32/366: dad’s daffodils live on

Daffodils have always reminded me of my dear departed Dad, as he was very fond of bulbs. I think part of this stemmed from his Scottish heritage (my maiden name is Reid), as it is a very cost-effective way of having flowers, particularly compared with annuals. Not only do they come up every year, but they multiply, and that is very thrifty!


I, too, carry this gene, and you can see it often in my recycling ways, saving money and being a creative outlet as well.

budding daffodil


Last year I wrote about a family tradition, whereby Dad would always cut the first daffodils and place them in the blue vase on the mantelpiece. I inherited that vase, and have emulated that habit, except for last year when I couldn’t find the vase. At least I had photos of it so I didn’t mind too much, and blogging about it seemed to satisfy the urge to continue the tradition.

To my delight, while my husband and I were cleaning out and re-organising the garage earlier this year, I found the vase, so the daffodil tradition has been happily reinstated.

   the daffodil tradition 2013

25/52: pebble mix

On the second weekend in May, my husband helped create a Mothers’ Day Memorial garden for our dear departed mothers.

Now it is complete with a variety of pebbles.  The spaces created by the angle of the bricks were a very narrow triangle (actually an arc). With many of my creative projects I need to go through various ideas before I settle on the final implementation.

One of my ideas had been to plant some mini ground covers in some of the segments, or maybe a cottage garden effect with some alyssum, but in the end I thought that would require a lot more maintenance than simply filling the gaps with pebbles.

A friend was getting rid of some scoria, and since I already had the white and black pebbles, it ended up being one of my favourite things – a recycling project! There were two advantages to cutting up some polystyrene to use as a base for the stones: firstly, it saved filling the gaps completely with pebbles, and secondly it should deter weed growth.

polystyrene wedge

different colours and textures pebble mix pebble mixture  viewed from my bedroom windowNow the view from my bedroom window is complete.

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.


22/52: progress of the palms on the patio

Last year we planted a little batch of ferns and palms in the garden adjacent to the patio, which looked like this:

finishing touches cropped-troppo.jpg Silver Lady Blechnum Pteris Cretica Albo Lineata  Phoenix Robelinii Blechnum Spicant one palm and three fernsUnfortunately my laptop has crashed, so this post will have to continue in the next couple of days, with the photo update of this little corner of the garden. Thanks for your patience.


UPDATE: Thank goodness, the problem was fixed. As an aside, if your laptop will not turn on, remove the batteries and unplug it from the power source, press the on button for 15-30 seconds, reinsert the batteries and attach to power, turn it on and hopefully you will shout “hallelujah” as I did.

Now I am able to provide the update of photos, just over nine months since we planted out this area. I am happy with the lush, tropical progress. Hope you enjoy it too.

group of ferns and palm nine months after planting rocks, stones and foliage tropical foliage tropical foliage  (2) tropical foliage  (3)