Archive for August, 2013

Great weather for ducks…

What a rainy week it’s been! It really has been too wet and windy even for me. I’ve had a few quick trips out into the garden to pick produce, but other than that, I’ve been indoors. I thought I’d take advantage of the inside weather to use some of the limes that we have all over the tree. I’d had it in my mind to make lime and ginger cordial for quite a while, but I didn’t have a recipe or any idea really whether it was a bona fide drink or not. I bought a good sized bit of ginger at the supermarket, but by the time I got around to the cordial, there was only a 2 inch piece remaining, due to a lovely curry and another dish during the week. Still, not knowing how much was needed, that amount was as good as any. The end result was quite nice, but not as gingery as the cordial of my dreams, so I’ll double the ginger next time. Apart from my raspberry cordial, I make my cordial with a recipe from my sister in law, which is 2-4-6. 2 cups of juice, 4 cups of water and 6 cups of sugar.  yes, 6 cups, so it’s not something we drink every day). The ginger I sliced up thinly and added with some lime rind right from the start.
Once the sugar’s dissolved in the water, I add the juice and boil for 5 minutes. I usually add a tablespoon of citric acid.
These bottles have been added to my lemon cordial (1st prize at the show), and raspberry (2nd!) in readiness for summer nights on the back verandah. Just as soon as we get some SUN!
I’m not usually so worried about the weather. Having come to Gippsland from Perth, where I felt like we were in a permanent state of drought, I still love the rain, even after 9 years. As my good friend always says when it rains: “Good weather for ducks and Donna”. At the moment though, the desire to have a nice garden for Gardivalia is overriding my love of rain.

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Our beautiful broccoli

On the positive side, the broccoli are the best I’ve ever grown and there’s not an aphid (or is that an aphis?) in sight. I’ve always had broccoli which was smaller than shop broccoli, so I assumed they used chemical fertilisers (I use none), but this year, I got the seedlings straight from the punnet to the garden, and got them in too early for the bugs. Yay. Note to self for next year to do the same.

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Some of our lime surplus

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My lime and ginger cordial on the windowsill, with a few pumpkin seeds on the left. look at that rain!

I’ve got some seedlings in, after a very sorry start (see the pic below). I’ve been reading the “weeks until harvest” information with renewed interest. I’ve always just gardened with a view to a succession of harvest, but with a date for Gardivalia very much implanted on my mind (just 9 weeks to go), I’m also trying to have a good looking garden for visitors. I don’t want 100 tonnes of produce all ready the same day, but I want something that’s worth looking at, that will show and provide talking points about what we do here. I really want my visitors to enjoy their time here.

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The wind blew my seedlings over. I had to start again!

The weather this week looks much better; Friday’s forecast is even promising 20 degrees. I hope to plant my potatoes, and  sort out my alstroemerias  this week. I wonder whether there’d be interest in them if I dug some up and potted them?

I expect my first tulip, and the big magnolia to flower this week. I’ll keep you posted…

In which we make some paths, and some order from the chaos

The repairs have begun. I’m nursing sore muscles today, from carting and laying brick paths yesterday. Laying the paths highlighted the differences in Mr Gorgeous’s method of operation ( getting a level) and mine ( that looks pretty level) It seemed to take forever to get the sand down and compacted, but the laying was super quick, slowed only a little by the fact that our reclaimed bricks are all different sizes. We just ran rows of bricks next to each other, as there’s quite a curve, and that matches the other paths that we did 7 or so years ago on the other side of  the garden. ImageImageImageImageOnce all the bricks were laid it was just a matter of sweeping some sand over the top and into the cracks, ( which is taking a bit of time, as it keeps raining) and leveling the ground on the side up to the height of the bricks( 3 trailer loads of shoveling)  and getting  some more grass seed in!

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In which our garden is absolutely trashed!

We have been hard at work these past holidays. In particular, the Hungry One, who is now 15, has been working like a Trojan. He’s keen to go on a school mission trip, so we made a deal. He would give me 60 hours work to earn half the cost. The rate of pay works out as fair to fairly good, and I get some work done!

He has been digging out a particularly annoying weed, moving bricks and rocks, and generally following in my wake and dealing with my inevitable trail of destruction. Things were in fact going along swimmingly, until it was time for the carport to arrive. Last week  saw a man with a digger going up and down our garden moving dirt, camellias and rhododendrons that we wanted to save, and flattening the side of the house ready for the concrete pour.

It will be very nice I admit to have the car under cover (no more dealing with a frozen car on winter mornings), but the backyard is a mess!

imageMoving the camellias was soul destroying, as they were just about to flower, and I had to cut off hundreds of buds. You can see what they were like in the pictures. The plants are now just glorified sticks with a few leaves. The bobcat man did a great job, and left plenty of root ball, so I have high hopes. Hopefully, the radical pruning will help them settle into their new homes.

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As you can see, we have a lot of tidying up to do!

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In which we tour the garden together

In honour of wordless Wednesday, which I’ve seen on other blogs, here’s an almost wordless tour of the garden as of yesterday morning.

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Azaleas out the front

The proposed herb garden

The proposed herb garden

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ready for the concrete pour

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The brassica patch is in full swing

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jonquils along the back fence

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Sweet pea transplants ( I hope they survive) in the new vegie patch

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The lime tree is overachieving. I still have lime juice in the freezer from the last crop

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The orange tree is doing well too.

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The newly pruned apple trees

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The strawberries are still not much chop

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The green manure crop is on the move

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Snow peas. Now cropping!

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Some of the onions starting to really get going

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broad beans and parsley, and some garlic and artichokes in the background

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