Friday, December 09, 2005

The Great Escape

We built them a nice little fernery,
Most of them seem quite happy....
I know sometimes I forget to water, and they watch their neighbours wither,
ok - I admit that's enough to make a few plants feel a little insecure and nervous,
but is it any excuse when my back is turned to do a Steve McQueen on me,
and does it have to look so damned happy about getting out!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Garden 2000 by Mark Quinn

thought you might find this interesting,

Garden (2000) by Marc Quinn is a real botanical garden, full of plants and flowers from all over the world. They are displayed in full bloom, and are potentially eternal: the nearly 1000 specimens are immersed in twenty-five tons of liquid silicon....

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Travel: Eden Garden Centre and Mother Earth

Our Sunday drive took us to Eden Garden Centre at North Ryde (NSW)
I'd often driven past the centre and promised myself a look in, but didn't quite make it until I found out that they had an art gallery there and textile artist Fiona Wright has an exhibition currently on display.
The centre is worth a visit, apart from the huge range of sale items, they have a massive display area made up into garden 'rooms' which were wonderful to wander through.
I'm not getting paid to advertise them unfortunately, I just thought it was worth showing.
There were some amazing sculptures scattered through the garden all 'framed' by the backgrounds.

The river feature started here:

and meandered around:

until it finished in the recycling tank (where presumably all the many water features originated and went back to - the tank was lined with beds of rocks and water plants which I'm guessing acted as filters.

Some of the garden rooms:
This one I thought represented the desert until we reached the ground level and found it was the Blue Mountains and the three blackboy plants were the three sisters, can't quite work that out, especially with all the red earth.

The beachside room had a nice curling wave sculpture, somewhat spoilt by the galvanised cover on the lighting attached to the gum tree behind

The japanese room:

The formal garden and more water features, including a fish pond which I thought was very shallow for the size of the koi, and no shelter for them to escape from the sun until the leaves on the water plants grow a little more.


And then we went cross country to one of my favourites, Mother Earth Nursery at Kenthurst (which, it seems, is also for sale) - a totally different style of nursery, smaller, more personal, great restaurant in a lovely mud brick building, where they have someone who will paint Trompe l'oeil murals for your garden (or is that Trompe d'Oeil ? will have to check later) interesting which ever way, nothing like a nice muriel.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


The tag on the catnip plant reads:
"Cool Cats - this plant is for cats who want to turn on, tune in and drop out. Sniffing the leaves makes cats high. They love it"

When I waved it under their noses, my cats backed off and stalked away, now they are staring at me suspiciously.

C'mon kids, one little snort, when did you learn to just say no.

On the other hand, tea from the leaves is supposed to relieve stomach upsets, flatulence and colic in humans,

but don't inhale.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

early start and Charles Austin

Did I say in my intro something about "no longer liking to slog it out in the garden", liking and having to do it are two different things - a hot day was predicted so I thought I'd get an early start at 8 am and empty two compost bins. (well, that's early for me!) Three hours later the temperature must have been well into the 30's, I was soaking, exhausted and was that red face from the heat or was it a glow of satisfaction?

I have a David Austin rose called Charles Austin (I think I read it was named after his father)
at this time of year old Charlie boy really goes off! (charming turn of phrase picked up from my children)
I picked this vase full on the weekend
and this morning I picked another vase

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

10 most important gardening tools

looks like some of us have been to visit Stuart's Amateur Gardening and have wondered about our ten most important gardening tools so I'll play too:
1. hand trowel
(my garden is so overgrown that a shovel and pick are out of the question)
2. secateurs
(I keep buying new ones when they eventually loose sharpness or springs or whatever makes them tick - I have a great pile of dead secateurs, one day my husband is going to teach me to weld and I'm going to make something clever out of them VBG)
3. wheelbarrow
4. electric mulcher
5. kneeling pad
6. saw - this must be accompanied by a man with a strong right arm (fortunately I'm married to him)
7. comfortable chair
8. sketchbook
9. coffee
10. table next to comfortable chair for sketchbook and coffee

Sunday, November 06, 2005

garden seat???

could you honestly imagine working around the garden with one of these strapped to your behind?
garden seat

(enough for today woman!! get off this blasted computer!!)

Grandpa's Garden - a poem

I have a friend J… who is a graphic artist but like me, dabbles in many things. She felt our area didn’t have enough outlets for dabblers so she started a writers group. I was dragged kicking and screaming to the first meeting because, she said, I am a published writer.

(I should point out here that I wrote one article for our local family history newsletter, I should also point out I am editor of said newsletter – it really helps getting your writing published if you are the editor)

So I spent the afternoon listening to singers, musicians and writers perform their original work sinking lower and lower into the floorboards each time J… introduced me as a writer and I thought about how far one can go in literary circles on the strength of one small article, not too damn far at all I decided.
I also decided that the writers group was not for me, but I as pondered on the literary world in general I was inspired to put pen to paper again and wrote a 'pome', here for your entertainment is “Grandpa’s Garden”

(note: I had to give myself a sex change in the poem because the only thing I could think to rhyme with joy was boy – another reason it’s probably good that I gave up the group – I’m sure Thackeray would never have had that problem)

Grandpa's Garden
Grandpa has a garden,
It's his pride and joy.
I remember playing in it
when I was just a boy.
Trees were wide and spreading,
limbs reached to the ground.
Hedges thick and verdant
cast their shadows all around.
Ivy clung tenaciously, the agapanthus flourished
as every spring, with cow manure,
the garden was tenderly nourished.
Paths wound past scented petals,
grass grew long and green.
Oh, the sprouting in this little patch
just had to be seen.
To a small child at play, the garden
held many a nook and cranny,
it even had a secret place
where granpa hid from granny.
Now I am grown and a gardener I am not,
but even I can see a change happening to granpa's plot.
The change has been subtle, it began last May
when we arrived with presents laden, for granpa's birthday.
We gave him lots of potting mix, blood and bone, and Zest,
then one present stood out from all the rest,
when my little 'nipper
gave granpa a whipper snipper.
Do you know the change that happens
when a man gets a new power tool -
Granpa has become a clippin' snippin' fool.
The trees are bared,
the beds are squared with nothing out of order,
I even found the pathway really has a border.
And the neighbours gaze with reverence
at granpa's topiary elephants.
Now is it my imagination,
or is there a trembling in the hedges
when granpa says to granma
"I just go and trim the edges".

Saturday, November 05, 2005

health warning

It doesn't pay to read health warnings if you intend to ignore them and you are inclined to be an LNH (late night hypochondriac)

As I shoveled bags of cow manure and pot 'n peat around my wheelbarrow yesterday, I scoffed - yes, *SCOFFED* at the warnings.
"HAH" I said to the bio-aerosols and the micro-organisms "HAH"

Then I woke at 4 am with a tight chest and dry cough convinced I had Legionnaires disease - so do I lie awake until daybreak wondering how much life span I have left or do I get up and make coffee and watch the sunrise.....

I went with the coffee...

feeling better now,

things are always different in daylight

Wollemi pine in danger

Well, good onya mankind, you've done it again. Not content to leave the location of these rare pines a secret, people have been actively searching them out even using helicopters to fly over the national park, and wow, how clever they were - they found them!

The Wollemi pine http://au.news.yahoo.com//051103/2/wne3.html

Friday November 4, 01:01 AM AAP

Tree disease hits historic Wollemi pine

A cluster of one of Australia's rarest trees has been infected with a disease thought to have been brought in by unauthorised visitors.

The Wollemi pine, which dates from the dinosaurs' era, was thought to be extinct until park ranger David Noble discovered the species in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, in 1994.

The NSW Department of Environment and Conservation said tests this week had confirmed the presence of the plant disease phytophthora cinnamomi in wild stands of the trees in the Wollemi National Park.

The Botanic Gardens Trust will carry out further testing to map the extent of the infection.

The department's deputy director general, Tony Fleming, said the infection was found in material taken from an individual pine during routine monitoring of the grove by rangers last month.

Experts met to devise a contingency plan, which will include extra surveillance of the area, treatment of affected trees with fungicide injections, widespread soil sampling and isolation of the affected trees.

"Phytophthora is a soil-borne fungal disease that causes root rot in many native and introduced plant species," Dr Fleming said in a statement.

"While it is controllable in horticulture, phytophthora can be devastating in the wild, which is why we need to act immediately to establish the extent of the infection, isolate any diseased material, treat the infected tree, and stop the phytophthora spreading."

Dr Fleming said it was not known when or how the plants became infected, but it was likely to have been introduced to the grove by "unauthorised visitors".

The site where the Wollemi pine was discovered in 1994 has been kept secret ever since.

Fire and phytophthora were considered the biggest threats to the species' future, Dr Fleming said.

Friday, November 04, 2005

boosting the economy of the gardening industry

The nursery industry in Sydney is supposedly in a slump due to the continuing drought and water restrictions so I thought I'd help them along a little yesterday.
Pots were on half sale and I bought a couple of pretty little drought resistant kangaroo paws.
My helper (the dog from the hell dimension) otherwise known as Betty, is ready to supervise the repotting.
Plants won't know what hit 'em when we get started!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

rainy Sunday

Lots of lovely wet stuff falling from the skies over Sydney, started last night and has kept up all day so the garden is getting a really good soaking, let's hope some of it is landing in the catchment areas.
So what do you do on a rainy Sunday, you surf the net of course.
Sonia left a comment on my lilium so I went across to Brazil to visit her garden where she has the most amazing fruit tree called a Jaboticaba tree (Jaboticabeira)
I think sometimes we have such preconceived ideas based on our own experience (such as what a fruit tree looks like) and to see something so exotic and different is to understand how wonderfully diverse nature can really be.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Drum roll please........

the mystery whatsit bulb has flowered:
what do you reckon? a lillium?

romantic roses

Way back in 1996, (I know it was then, because I still have the catalogue) we visited Honeysuckle Cottage at Bowen Mountain (in the Blue Mountains of NSW)home of "Roses of History and Romance" and I fell in love with a exuberant weeping miniature rose, spilling lush, luxuriant and copiously from a large pot.

It wasn't for sale but I bought one of the same variety, planted it into a pot, put it in a sunny spot next to the swimming pool and waited....and waited...

Mine was far from lush and luxuriant, it was more lax, limp and lacklustre....probably because it had moved from the cool Blue Mountains to the sweltering west...and probably because I often forgot to water it.
My guilt about this pretty rose got the better of me and I moved it to a spot where it is much happier and I can enjoy it with a clear conscience.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

banksia rose from hell reincarnates

why can't the plants that I *want* to grow be as stubborn as this one,
haven't looked at this corner of the garden since the weather warmed up and look what the determined little buggar has done!

I'm warning you buddy, the napalm comes out next!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Travel: Sydney and Redcliffe Qld

there are just a couple of photos I can show
This is my view from the plane window as we left Mascot on an overcast day, just before we reached the cloud cover, my beautiful Sydney, I love this town, with all its faults (like greedy councils, see below)

and this next is the free council swimming pool at Redcliffe, Brisbane Queensland, near my brother-in-laws place.

It looks more like it belongs to a luxury resort, the water is pumped and filtered from Moreton Bay which is just on the right. The bottom of the pool is sandy and goes from a childrens wading depth to swimming in the centre, there is a lifeguard on duty and all around are childrens play areas with wading pools, fountains and slides.
The path on the right goes right around the bay from the beach at Margate and on to Scarborough.
The main pool here is not fenced off, you just wander in from the path or the shops on the left, I couldn't believe how nice it was, if it was in Sydney, the council would have a wall around it with a $5 charge to go in.

avocado and orchids

oohhh, I HATE it when I exceed my downloads for the month and optus slows me down - how did we get by on dial up....
anyway, we're back from Queensland - hot, humid Qld. and it's only October, there is no way I could ever move there, I would never survive summer.The wedding was nice, and we had a good couple of days catching up with relations.

Here is the progress of my avocado seeds, they are all starting to sprout after about 2 months sitting half in water

and here's a couple that have been growing in a pot,

and here is another of my rescued dendrobiums from our friend.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

another gardener

Have just discovered Melissa's gardening blog Sweetpea's Garden, after she left a comment on my wool blog (Melissa has one of those too!)

Husband and I are off to Queensland tomorrow for a nephew's wedding, will be back late Monday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

the first rose of summer

...and those droplets on the rose are rain! yippee!!

(we are on level 3 water restrictions here in Sydney - that means we can water the garden with a hand held hose twice a week - my garden doesn't even get that, so it's smiles all round when we get a rare drop of the real thing)

g'dammit - I broke the whole stem off my cattleya trying to photograph it - oh well, it looks nice in the vase

we have a friend who grows orchids, these were his discards, he called them rubbish, luckily I was visiting that day and caught them on the way to the compost heap.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

the plot thickens....

....as my mystery bulb grows (I think it is some kind of lillium)

ummmm.....just wondering.....is anyone actually reading this? would you like to say hello in the comments (and maybe pull a couple of weeds while you are there?)

Friday, October 07, 2005

yippee!!! we have frog spawn!

tag: frogs

Thinning out the water hyacinths from the frog pond and found that we have frog spawn -

lots and lots of frog spawn

wow, things will really be hopping around here soon!

Travel: Bowral tulip festival

I've been away for a week at a craft show in Bowral as part of the annual tulip festival, we were here:

right across the road from the tulip gardens, so I was able to escape for a short time to take these photos:

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

the banksia rose from hell

I've been on a mission to get rid of the banksia rose from hell.

It's looking very picturesque here and is a beauty to behold when it's in flower, but in reality it sends out 10 foot canes that take over the path and need continual trimming and I'm sick of listening to DH complaining about the flowers and leaves dropping in the pool, poor dear doesn't complain about much - and I'm just getting to the stage of life where I want to sit and enjoy my garden, not slog it out with plants, so I've decided to get rid of the things that need high upkeep (DH has been warned he could be next)

(looking really bare) - I put all of this through the mulcher, gawd blimey I ache!!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

it must be true....

......I read it in the newspaper

(thanks Chris Henning, Sydney Morning Herald)

Friday, September 23, 2005

easy peasy...

there's a reason I avoid temperamental plants,

the petulant, the moody, the highly strung, the sensitive, the touchy,

the ones who like their compost just right, not too much sun, not too much shade, not too wet, not too dry..

it's because there ain't no room in this garden for both of us

that's why I get on so well with nasturtiums, daisies and calendulas - they don't try to compete with me

so imagine my surprise when I found a camellia thriving enough to actually flower

not a big flamoyant flower, it doesn't pay to be an exhibitionist

... just a sweet little flower to start with this year, then maybe next year.....if it behaves and keeps a low profile....

Thursday, September 22, 2005

days like these.....

There are days when something happens in the garden to lift the spirit and make it all worthwhile...

that's how I felt when I saw my little visitor.....

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

short term memory

One of the features of ageing is that you start to forget things....

this can truly be an enriching experience as you discover things you put away and forgot about.....

like this,

I vaguely remember finding a little struggling bulb in the garden and sticking it in an empty pot and telling it to try harder next year....
and it did!!

have no idea what it is.