Sunday, July 30, 2006

No room for plants

Son has just moved to a flat over a factory with no balcony, so he brought his plants for me to mind - he has great faith in his mum's gardening ability, we could almost say I taught him all he knows about plants - but when it arrives looking like this.... I guess there are only two options, grow or the compost heap.

Once the Australian dream was the suburban house on a 1/4 acre block, now those 1/4 acres will fit a block of units or a row of townhouses, as we lose more and more space people are losing the chance to get down and dirty in their own garden, I was doing some web searching looking for an art gallery in the Sutherland Shire and on the council site stumbled on their council run community garden
Will this be the future for city gardeners?


On those days when you've laid on your back and found horses and castles and dragons in the clouds, did you wonder if there was a word for what you were doing (no - "skiving off on the back lawn" is six words)

The word is nephelococcygia - apparently thought up by Aristophanes for his comedy, "The Birds" (414 BC). In the play, two characters turn into birds and plan a cloud city which they decide to call "Nephelococcygia." another character in the play calls them mad so the word came to mean Cloud Cuckooland
You can hear it pronounced here

This cloud is called "Betty eating her green chew stick"


Friday, July 28, 2006


Great minds etc...was taking a look at the garden today and decided I have just the spot to try some tomatoes this summer, and then Sweetpea wrote about her tomato obsession, her perfect tomato is called 'brandywine' - I'll have to have a look for it.
My past tomato growing attempts have been a bit of a disaster, back when the children were young, they didn't trust my tomatoes, we had to cut them open and watch to make sure nothing was moving inside them, kept telling them it's all good protein but they didn't believe me.
My mum would say "if the bugs won't eat them, there must be something wrong with them!"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Travel : Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

tags: travel

Picked up some friends yesterday and the five of us went to Penrith for the day - first stop was the mid week markets at the Paceway, it's not an arty crafty type of market, it's fruit & veg, cheap clothes, bags, plants and lots of dust collectors for the house.
One of our favourite stops there is Henny's paper - Henny sells all kinds of luscious papers and card, pens and all kinds of scrapbooking supplies - I don't do scrapbooking but like browsing all the products, so I bought some nice embossed cardboard from her but was very restrained with the rest of the market.

Then we had lunch at Panthers and off to the combined Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest Gallery where they are showing Operation Art - a collection of work from NSW school students, 50 of these works will be selected to become part of the permanent art collection of The Children's Hospital at Westmead, these will also be exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW in December and tour regional art galleries across NSW the following year.

Other selections will become part of Operation ArtBank, some will be presented to the children's ward of a country hospital and others will be on display at various other sites.

Still more will be chosen for GlobalArt and will hang in children's hospitals overseas.

One of the friends with us yesterday has a grand daughter with art in the exhibition.

This was taken inside the Penrith Regional Gallery section of the building, isn't it a great space!

Penrith Regional Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

It was interesting reading the childrens' comments on their thought process for their paintings, saw a lot of teachers influence in some of the 'art speak', but then a piece of direct innocence like the 8 year old who painted Sydney Harbour, he said "I like fishing, last week I caught a snapper and an octopus"

The Lewers Bequest Gallery was established on the site of the former home of sculptor Gerald Lewers and painter Margo Lewers, the Regional Gallery was added in 1981 with a large purpose-built exhibition space. It's presently undergoing a lot of building alterations to extend the newer gallery areas, but the old historic house will remain the same.

The history of the house and the Lewers family is here

This is the entry area to the old building which houses the Lewers Bequest Gallery section:

Lewers Bequest Gallery and Penrith Regional Gallery, NSW

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

More of the exhibition inside the house:

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

Looking through the front door into the garden, where the gardener was getting ready for spring - lots of winter flowers were blooming

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

This boab tree was in the grounds, I wonder how old it would be, compared to these it looks like it has a way to go yet.

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

Lots of bird baths around the garden, this one sculpted by Gerald Lewers

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

A rather strange thing to have in a public building space was the thriving vegetable garden, but I'm guessing it was probably there when the Lewers family lived here, and the grounds are being kept authentic to the era.

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

and this next? how to disguise your water tank so no-one will notice!

Lewers Bequest Gallery, Emu Plains, NSW

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Friday, July 21, 2006

on a cold wet winter day

Betty on a cold wet winter day

We haven't been doing any thing in the garden, it's been too cold and wet and I've been spending solid time on the computer setting up my Etsy shop

This morning the sun was shining after a wet night, so I dragged Betty from under her blanket and we had a quick wander around the yard.

Lovely little raindrops on each plant:


the freesias and bulbs are all shooting:

bromeliades are blooming:

then our little patch of blue sky disappeared so we scuttled back inside:

Monday, July 10, 2006

Snakes alive!

I'm a city girl, born and bred, give me a nice solid pavement under my feet, my rare bushwalks are limited to well trodden tracks, rustling in the shrubbery is enough to send me scuttling back to the car park.

I've had two close encounters with red belly black snakes in my life - as a child, we were on holidays in Queensland, snake was sunbaking on a footbridge over a stormwater canal near our bungalow, I had new shoes with slippery soles and as I ran back up the concrete path to the house my shoes kept slipping, I had nightmares for days of me sliding down the hill into the snakes' gaping jaws.

Next encounter was as a teenager, again on holidays, (why do we have this urge to escape the city on holidays, cities work for me!) friend and I were sitting on the lawn sunbaking when my father said quietly but firmly "don't move!" we froze as a red belly slid between us and went on its way, so you can imagine why this site really gave me the shudders, and another reason to stick to the city.

thanks to Barista for the link and lots of other interesting reading.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

moon planting

If you are a gardener who takes notice of the moon cycles for your planting, then the Cosmic Gardener has a chart July planting guide for Australia listing the dates for each moon cycle and the plants according to the areas (cold, temperate, tropical etc.)

Haven't much to report from the home front - husband has been under the house with what I think in the trade is referred to as an 'acro, jacking up the house supports and putting packing under them - the last several years of drought has resulted in the beams and foundations parting company in several places, with walls inside developing cracks and floors creaking and big gaps between floor and skirting boards.

I'm just hoping he doesn't get too carried away with the packing, I worry that if we ever get back to normal rain and the ground swells again, the house will just go 'pop' and bounce right off its' foundations.