Springtime In The Garden


Well helllooo there!

Can we just skip right on past the fact that I haven't blogged in over a month and move straight into one of the main reasons for why that is so?  Pretty please??

It's Spring time here, or it's suppose to be anyway.  So far it's been one of the wackiest Springs that I can remember.  The weather has been an extension of Winter with the odd sunny day in there just to tease us all.  I'm talking cold, wet and wild with more record rainfalls!  Last week I got another load of firewood delivered which makes two extra tonnes on last year's season.  All of us around these parts have erh well, to be blunt, we've all had a gut full!  Over it, enough, done!  Bring on warmth and sunshine.  Parts of Victoria had snow yesterday... SNOW!  In October!?!!  That's crazy.  And we had an overnight frost which I am hoping against all else wasn't so extreme that it damaged all my new plantings.

Which brings me to the garden.  It's all happening out there now with seeds sown and beginning to germinate and some little seedlings growing inside our craft room - which is north facing and full of glass windows so it's perfect for doubling as a glass house and getting those babies off to a good start.


I couldn't help it on the Wisteria photos... their flowering days are so so brief and this year has been a particularly beautiful year for them, and all blooms really.  Apparently that is because of the crazy of amount of rain we've had, which makes sense, doesn't it?  Anyway, already the petals have mostly dropped and the new leaves are unfurling so I'm glad I took those pics when I did.

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So let's talk about what's growing, what's been sown and what will soon be transplanted, planted or sown.  The snowpeas have now gone from their seedling trays to being in the ground.  There's an entrance point on the opposite side to where I took that pic above and the idea is for it to create a teepee as it grows.  That will be Noah's hut with Evie's pictured below.  She wanted hers to be without food growing on it, so using a bunch of branches we have been saving especially, the making has begun and with a bit more scrap fabric to weave through, it'll be fit for a garden Sprite, Elf, Queen, Princess, Fairy... or whomever else she chooses to be.  I've also built a very basic firepit for these outdoor months to come.  It's nothing fancy but it will do the job!  There was already a mound right where it is that was the earth and gravel left over from transplanting the mulberry (growing happily behind it next to Evie's hut), so it wasn't hard to scrape it, shape it and pack it around some bricks (of which we have plenty on hand).  Then tadaaa... a firepit ready for the outdoor evenings to come.

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That there is a close-up of our mulberry tree and I'm not quite sure what to make of it...?  Our Winter to Spring transition has been out of the ordinary to say the least and I think it may have knocked this one around a bit.  In previous years it is usually the time for mulberry harvest right now but these are not ready for picking and I'm not entirely sure that that fruit is looking very happy.  I have noted some of the other Mulberry trees in the area and their fruit looks to be a little behind as well so given the leaves on mine look glossy and healthy and the rest of the tree is thriving, I don't think it was the transplant that's done it.  In fact I think it's going to love this new spot and perhaps with the nature of our odd Spring on top of the move it might just take until next year before we harvest anything edible...?


In the mean time... looky, looky, looky... the fruit set!  Do you see those wee little green beauties up there?  They are itty bitty baby cherries.  I put two dwarf cherry trees in a half wine barrel each, about two years ago.  Or a little longer I guess given they were bare rooted and planted in the depths of Winter.  They are both Stellas which are meant to be perfect for eating fresh (as against cooking with or preserving) and have a firm skin with a slight crunch to them.  Just the way I like them!  I'll let you know how they rate once they are ready.  This is our first year for these and I guess we must have had enough chill hours for the fruit to do it's thing.  We three are SO excited and we each keep checking them daily, possibly even several times a day, but shh who's counting ha.  I'm going to have to net them soon I think - sorry birdies, I'm not willing to share when it comes to cherries. 

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That there is our new little almond tree.  Oh, I am so sentimentally attached to this tree... it comes with a story and one that I know you will love but far too involved for me to go into now.  I may even save it and pitch the idea for an article... mmm... not sure... either way, you won't miss out, it's a good one :)

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Finally!!!  The beginnings of some natives, yippy yay yay.  I purchased these two plants late last Spring... no kidding!  They sat there waiting for me to get them into the ground but then life happened and the Summer heat took hold and one thing led to another and I just didn't get there.  Thank heavens natives are tough because these two babies really did not get the attention they deserved.  Despite that, they are now both happily planted out into that strip next to the trampoline and as soon as I save up a few more pennies there will be other natives going in around them.

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Woot woot!!!  More looky lookies... we have some banana passion fruits ready for harvest.  That vine has it all going on, there's flowers opening up for pollination, there are little green fruits, big green fruits and yellow ripe fruits.  This is our first year of harvest for this vine and I can't tell you how excited I am about that.  I grew this baby all the way from a little seed!  Isn't that just THE most satisfying, miraculous, rewarding and joyful thing of all.


Those are some mystery leaves.  I mixed a few seed packets together... some herbs, Asian greens and lettuces so I'm not entirely sure what these ones are but, all the same, I'm happy to see them poke their little leaves through.

Photo bomber!  AKA Snowy ;)

Photo bomber!  AKA Snowy ;)


HELLLLP!!!  They're at it again!  Urgh!!!!  Those little devils are the bane of my gardening existence.  Oh what to do, what to do?!!  Perhaps I should barricade that one strawberry plant and make it the sacrificial plant to the destructive force that is the slater beetle.  Do you think it would work?  You know, allow them the feast of that one plant while using a barrier around it to keep them away from the rest of the patch?  None of the others have much developing fruit as yet so I don't know if there are other plants affected but gee, can I just have a few homegrown strawbs, please???  I've companion planted some borage and pyrethrum in among the plants but with all that wacky weather they are slow to get going and I'm not sure how effective they are against slaters...?


Garlics, oh the garlics.  I was a bit worried about them towards the end of Winter as I thought we might have had too much rain and maybe not enough frost but the last couple of months have fixed that.  Yes there has still been the rain (sooo much rain!) but we have definitely had a good dose of frost too and over the last month or so those stems have really fattened up (which to me indicates a bigger bulb and more garlic per clove.. yum, plus a much easier job with peeling).  The tops are just starting to die off a bit so I think we are on schedule for a mid-November harvest.  In the past I have loved timing my garlic harvest with Beltaine, it always feels so perfect to do it on Halloween, but not this year.  The 31st of October is only one week away and I'd like to see those tops brown up just a little bit more before I pull them all out.  We'll see, there are some very beautiful warm Spring days forecast in between now and then so you never know what next Monday may bring... perhaps a Beltaine harvest after all?

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Ah the crab apple.  We're so close, so very close.  When that tree bursts into full bloom that is when I officially know we are into the warmer months and our nightly fires become fewer and farther between.  Not to mention the fragrance and the sheer spectacular sight of all those pink flowers.  Oh I long for it every year, in fact, I think most of the neighbourhood does as it is a bit of a show stopper.  Each year it becomes the local talking point that tree and already there have been a couple of comments over the fence... "look at that, looks like it's nearly there".  Yep, yep it sure does!

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I gave our bay tree a pretty heavy prune early in the Winter and now it is shooting out with new growth all over the place.  Having fresh bay leaves on hand... I tell you, never again will I be without a bay tree.  I do however, really need to dig it up next Winter and transplant it into a barrel or something.  I have a better spot for it than where it is and I want to keep it to a smaller more manageable size.


And at last our newest babies.  I picked these up just yesterday.  The top one is a Japanese mandarin, easy to peel and sweet as sweet when left to fully ripen, or you can pick them a little earlier if you're like me and prefer some tartness to your manda.  The bottom one is a pomegranate which are tough and tend to thrive in our temperate climate.  A pomegranate isn't on the garden plans and I didn't even know I wanted one until I found myself looking at them yesterday at the nursery.  I actually went there to get myself some Blueberry plants for our three empty pots by the veranda steps but as it turned out, they were out of stock and will call me when they have more.  Well I'd driven all that way, I couldn't possibly head home empty-handed could I?  Nope, I didn't think so either!  And just on the side, things are changing a little from those garden plans.  Nothing significant but small refinements as things take shape and evolve, just like Nadja said they would.  I love this process!

So there we have it - an update on all the Spring-time garden action.  It's busy out there these days and underneath all that mulch you see below are lots and lots of seeds getting ready to burst forth.  I'll be sure to keep you posted on their growth and all the yummy bounty.  Tomorrow promises 27 degrees (Celcius) with warm sunshine and I have plans to be sowing another round of tomatoes, corn, cucumbers and whatever else I get inspired by in the moment.

Have a great week friends!  If anyone needs me, I'll be out here ok ;) xo

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Introducing "Harvesting the Heavens"


Good golly I'm excited to be announcing this today!  It has been such a long time in coming, but finally here we are.  Here I am, a happy little home-owner, sharing the news that as of the last week in June (nearly three months ago! Really?), we are now officially harvesting rainwater.  Woot woot!! 

To top this off, South Australia - 'the driest state in the driest inhabited continent on Earth' - has just had one of the wettest Winters on record!  And then match that with the craziest of early Spring downpours where last week, over a twenty-four hour period, we received more than 100mm of rain!!!  That's nearly the average for a whole month during the depths of a wet wet Winter and this was just one day, and a Spring day at that!  There was flooding everywhere, including our cellar... eeek!  With my gumboots on, I waded down into that cellar to investigate only to learn that the water was not coming in through a leak in the walls or the ventilation grid, but it was ground water.  The earth was so saturated the rain could no longer penetrate and soak into the ground and so above the surface it sat until over the following few days it drained away.  I need to do a little clean up down there and hopefully a few heatwaves over the Summer and maybe a fan to circulate the air should dry it out again.  I'm also thinking some hessian bags filled with peat could soak up some wetness and then I can use it in the garden afterwards.  Although if I'm honest, it's the original cellar for this 136 year old home and so that typical damp mustiness is just part of the territory. 


The reason for all this rain talk is that in the two and a half months since those rainwater tanks of ours were installed and officially plumbed, they are now at CAPACITY!  Unbelievable!!  They were each sitting at about half full at the end of last month (end of Winter) and with that rain last week I witnessed the overflow pipe running!  Apparently there is more rain coming over the next couple of weeks so I'll have to attached some flexible temporary piping to channel anymore overflow to where I need it most but right now, there really is nowhere that actually needs it.  That's quite a rare thing to be able to say and I am thrilled that this dry dry corner of the world is entering into our warmest and most searing months with full reservoirs, hydrated earth and for us in our own backyard, two 10,000 litres of rainwater with which we can nourish our garden over the Summer.  Thank you Mother Nature, I am ever so grateful!

So finally, without any further adieu, I bring you the newest page under the Creating heading...

Harvesting the Heavens

Enjoy friends, click through for a read and have a great week ahead xo


The Craft Sessions 2016

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Today it's all about the photos!  There's plenty here but you may notice a few gaps from the weekend - I'll tell you why in a sec. 

When I went to The Craft Sessions last year I chose two full day workshops, both exploring skills I was interested in and keen to try, but had not yet done so.  They were dyeing with Australian native plants and textile collage.  I loved them both but this year I decided to get a little more practical with my preferences.  It was possibly the only way I was going to narrow down the delicious smorgasbord of workshops on offer!  I very nearly put spoon carving and ceramics down for my first choices and I most certainly did add them to the preference list, but this time I really wanted to practise areas that I am more likely to truly use in my everyday crafting life.

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So my classes for this year were:

Garment Sewing - Knit Leggings with Anna Ng (Friday afternoon)

Knitting - Clever Cast Ons and Bind Offs with Kirsten Johnstone (Saturday morning)

and Handwork - Embroidery Sampler with Elizabeth Barnett (Sunday)

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And here's where I'll explain about the gaps!  The knit leggings class was fantastic and I can't wait to sew many, many more and then I can actually have some decent leggings to wear - am I the only one who struggles to find such things?  I came away with a great pattern and enough confidence in knit fabrics to be able to select wisely.  I can certainly cheat with the waist band but if I want to get all fancy then I now have a double needle and I've even discovered what on Earth stretch nylon thread is and looks like.  The class ran for four hours and there was a lot to do!  So much in fact, that I did not stop to take one single photograph!  Not one!!!  And that is the reason for gap number one. 

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After some much needed sleep I woke to have a yummy breakfast on the Saturday morning and made my way to Clever Cast Ons and Bind Offs with Kirsten.  And here is the second gap.  Part way into the class I went down with the vomits.  I know right?  Boooo!  Who knows what it was... tummy bug?  Dodgy airport food from the day before?  I don't know.  It came out of nowhere and came on hard and fast.  After delicately excusing myself from class I spent the rest of the day and evening holed up in my room with the bathroom bin next to me in bed.  My roomy came in sometime in the afternoon and sounded the alarm.  Fel and the girls took such great care of me with text messages to make sure I was okay and room service for dinner, by which stage I had started to come good and actually felt hungry again.  I did keep myself quarantined and my roomy relocated to another cabin just in case.  So anyway, that's why I missed getting pics of Kirsten's class and I missed the mini-market on Saturday afternoon too!  Last year I picked up the most gorgeous yarn and fabric from that market... ahhh sigh, maybe next year :)

On a brighter note, I woke up Sunday morning back in action and eager for breakfast and a day of embroidery.

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Not mine!  This beautiful rosette was a sample stitched by Elizabeth, as are the two works below.

Not mine!  This beautiful rosette was a sample stitched by Elizabeth, as are the two works below.

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This one is mine, or the beginnings of it anyway ;)

That one above is mine, or the beginnings of it anyway ;)

The results from all of us students at days end.

The results from all of us students at days end.

A small word about something else.  Once you collect your key from the TCS gals and make your way to your room, there is something so very super duper special that awaits you.  It's your Goodies Bag!  Oh . My . Goodness . Gracious . Me!!  The Goodies Bag!  Let me tell you it is FULL of the most exquisite crafter delights.  There's fat quarters, a pattern, samplers, discount cards galore, mini skeins and so much more.  I could show you pics of the whole lot but I think that would be teasing, instead, I'll leave you with this wee little taste...

Happy week ahead, friends xo

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ps/ excuse the wacky light tones... golden in the dining room from all that warm timber paneling, and all sorts in the Falcon Room.  It's really hard to get some kind of balance so I didn't bother fiddling with settings, I just snapped away merrily instead.