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We moved house a few weeks ago, not by choice, our old landlady wants to move into the house. She gave us more notice than she had to, and she made sure we knew she loves what we did with the garden, and that she wanted us to keep coming back to pick things til she moves into the house in a couple of weeks. So we’ve been slowly getting things happening in the new garden, mulching one small patch, dead-heading lots and lots of roses, and waiting til the weather cools down so we can get on with proper pruning and planting. We’ve been picking tomatoes at the old place too, but given we haven’t been there to water anything, many of the other things didn’t do so well. Even the zucchini have failed to thrive.
The lad also started school. Which means we get notes from school. The new house, incidentally, doesn’t get as hot or as drafty as the old house, and it has an apple tree.
Actually, the new house has four apple trees. Sadly three of them produce godawful red on the inside hideous apples from the root stock. But they’re beautiful on the outside, so we couldn’t help testing more than one of them.
That’s parsley in the foreground shade, coriander to the left, tomatoes staked and not so staked, hiding the bed now devoid of potatoes and home to broccoli, onions and lettuce seeds. Behind all that (along the fence) are the olive trees, oregano, thyme and sage.
We’ve been tidying and reorganising inside and out. Pulling out pumpkins, digging up potatoes, tackling the enormous number of weeds that grew when we we turned our backs for a few months, and rearranging the living room. The lounge furniture has been turned clockwise, the dining table and toys have been swapped, and a book nest has been created.
We’ve sorted books, cleared shelves of crap and bought more baskets. The secret to a happy toy collection and art supplies is always more baskets. I’ve even sharpened the pencils and thrown out textas that don’t work.
We’re so freakin’ happy to be home for the whole day doing only things we fancy doing. I got excited. I ignored the list of “basic mainenance level housework” (vacuuming, for example) and did several things on the “once a year level” list. I oiled the wooden bowl collection. I even dusted.
The daffodils are up, but when you see them (ok, when I see them) you (ahem, I, this is getting tricky) just want to pick them quickly and watch them open up from the comfort of a spot near-ish the heater. So I’ve got daffodils on the mantle above the heater, and another daffodil on the window ledge in the kitchen to look at while washing dishes. I left a few outside, but I’m tempted to bring them in too. It’ll be a few more weeks before sitting outside long enough to notice the flowers sounds appealing. It’s that time when winter is pretty much finished, but spring isn’t quite here. Stop me if I get too metaphorical.
The blossoms came out while I was working every day in the city, so I ventured out into the garden on Friday during my first full day at home in three weeks, and was confronted with it. We can’t see the backyard from inside the house, so if we don’t go out looking, change sneaks up on us. It was a busy weekend, in between the ceremony that marked the end of my old life, the family lunch and the afternoon tea with our new friends, we managed to squeeze in some garden planning and seed shopping. You know we’ve got our priorities right: a coffee date was cancelled so we went to the nursery. There are now lots and lots of seeds in my little seed box. Reader, I alphabetised them.
I’ve broken up most of the pea straw that has been our garden edging for six months and used it to cover weeds, I’ve planted potatoes and mulched them too, we’ve prepared the tomato bed (every year we debate the best position and spend the longest time on preparing the tomato bed, this year we had the debate early and started preparations with a green manure of mustard) and I’ve pruned. Oh boy did I prune. My father-out-law will be proud. I got in the mood a few weeks ago while helping a friend prune her fruit trees, then came home and did some serious work on the leggy ornamentals in our back corner. I’m hoping they’ll reshoot lower down and be more shrubby and fence-hidey. It’s not entirely coincidental that this lets a lot more light into the back corner and improves it’s veggie producing prospects. I now have a rather large pile of logs and our mulcher is too feeble to deal with them. There are a few days of wind and rain predicted hereabouts, we’re wondering which of the brittle drought affected, borer-riddled trees will fall down.
The kid’s irises have been producing new leaves in the spot Nanna said wouldn’t be any good, the collection of rocks and god-knows-what out the front has been softened somewhat by several new native ground covers and grasses and today I found two worms in the patch near our gate. The worms are remarkable because the patch was mysteriously free of weeds when we moved in, and the bamboo next to it was (and still is) harbouring an oil slick. The kid helped me plant giant sunflowers there with some poppies and nasturtiums. The Bloke wants to plant out our front “lawn” with pumpkins. Pumpkin growing efforts at our last house did not result in any pumpkins, but they did act as an interesting ground cover (and concrete cover, they spread enthusiastically and headed towards the back lane) and kept the weeds down for a few months, so I’m thinking it’s a good idea. I don’t like mowing grass, and I like mowing weeds even less. I certainly have no intention of watering grass or weeds, so in summer the whole thing will turn into a dust bowl. I am prepared to lug watering cans of tank water about the place for a pumpkin. Even a pumpkin that might not fruit.
Tomorrow there’s another trip to the nursery for seed raising mix, calls to the compost and straw suppliers, some potting under the cover of the carporch, and playgroup. Mustn’t forget playgroup.
In shocking news, my garden blog will have pictures of, wait for it, my garden! These are from earlier this year, in response to Dr Sister Outlaw’s post at Progressive Dinner Party. I’m kinda jealous of her chooks.
This is the ‘soil’ in our front yard. It’s mostly sand, the lad is sitting quite near to where next door’s cat likes to poo. The gnome has met with a sad fate since this photo was taken, and so have a couple of the pots. The pots are all empty since we moved out of flats, they were quite handy when we gardened on windowsills, but they do dry out rather quickly.
The blind on the left is our kitchen window, straight ahead is the loungeroom, and on the right is the next door neighbour’s kitchen. The white thing up the back of the garden bed is the plastic cover on the compost, the plants are corn, eggplant, capsicum and marigolds. The beige pot is the one we were collecting broken glass in. We found enough of it that we had a designated spot. This garden bed gets around two hours of full sun a day, needless to say, it’s less than ideal. However, it’s worth growing veggies, even for a small crop, rather than leaving it bare and having to weed it. We grow excellent nettles. We did grow tomatoes there the first summer we lived here, they weren’t as good as the sunnier spots in the garden, but they grew and they produced fruit.
Finally, here’s the view from the backdoor. As you can see, we’re practically on acreage, with a dam there on the right (um, baby bath, catching rain fall), rolling lawns native reserve toward the back and tomatoes to the left. There’s also a sunflower in there, some tyme and oregano, chives and marigolds and basil. We didn’t buy any tomatoes last summer. Off to the right, out of shot, there’s a small clothesline which is too low for me to stand under, so we’ve grown a couple of things there, largely unsuccessfully. Immediately below where I was standing to take the shot, to the right, I had a couple of good rosemary bushes. In an effort to make the place neat and tidy for the upcoming move (no, I still don’t know where or when, but soon) I moved them around the corner to a spot where the landlord would see them. They died. I should have known they would. In the spot above where you see the sunflower there is a sage bush, since then it’s become enormous and floral, I’m very proud. Next door’s cat likes to sit on it, I’m less excited about that. It now has a big empty patch in the middle of it where it’s been squashed and broken. The sage bush that is. I haven’t caught the cat.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned the carrots and daikon (Japanese long white radishes) that I planted in the front yard a few weeks ago. I forgot at the time that when the weather cools, and the rain falls, our front yard sprouts with weeds. So now we’ve got lots and lots of sprouts.
And I have no idea which ones are veggies, and which ones are weeds. I can see some of them are looking like they’ve come up in rows (veggies, obviously) but there’s lots of other sprouts that may be carrots, or daikon, but might not be.
In other news, the broccoli seedlings seem to have survived the week of fence-related neglect, the garlic and onions were planted, the tomatoes have been ripped out, and there was a distribution of bunny manure and mulch over the garden this weekend.
Finally, on a non-gardening note: If you ever find yourself making a quilt in indigo fabrics, and then think “I’ll get a quilting thread that doesn’t show up so no one will see how crooked and uneven my stitching is”, stop, and reflect that you will not be able to see the stitching in progress either. Slowest quilt ever.