Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Frosted Wonderland

Ice crystals on timber, fragile frozen blades of grass, a white blanket over the ground. It sparkles as the morning sun opens the day. Roofs rain the morning melt. We live 200m from the lake and aren't too far off the coast. Surprisingly these past two wintery mornings the ground glistened in frozen glory. Frost. The air billowed white in front of my face as I breathed warmth into the cold on the morning feeding round of the chooks and horse. Overnight the garden hibernates, slowing down in this season of inner reflection. Frozen. I am a child dancing around the garden in the morning in delight, picking at the white dusted autumn leaves discarded on the lawn. I thought we lived in a frost free zone. I've lived in the area 4 years, but no frost had I seen till today. It's beautiful, enchanting. I don't even mind the fact that the potatoes and sweet potatoes are burnt by it as I think of all the fruits I can grow now that I had thought wouldn't as they need a good cold snap to sweeten up.Yum, yum. 


Frosted cabbage leaf



icey grass leaves

frosted potatoe plant


frosted lawn

frosted leaf




Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pen to Paper: Designing a Garden (Part 2)

Notes for garden requirements


To begin I made a list of what kind of space we desired in our garden: a woodland (Cameron said we didn't have enough space, "mini woodland, it can work" I said) a meadow (I said we need more space to pull it off, it needs to be expansive, think 'the hills are alive with the sound of music' kind of meadow space. Cameron thinks we can pull it off.) a food forest, a vegie garden (no difference of opinion here)... Another list of what we want to produce from our garden, what types of outdoor living spaces we require (seating, a hammock?), what animals we wish to have (or rather how many can we accommodate), what wildlife do we wish to attract, what wildlife do we want to deter (I just saw a beautiful fox slinking down the back laneway yesterday morning), what utilities need to be housed and what structures incorporated into the garden. A seemingly simple garden has many functions to fill, and much to think about. See our list below...


Requirements for our garden:

Garden Spaces:             Meadow
                                    Woodland/Orchard
                                    Rainforest/Food Forest
                                    Rock?
                                    Water Garden/Pond/Creek Bed
                                    Edible/Medicinal
                                    Useful Plants: fibre, dye, mulch, construction materials
Outputs:                       Food
                                    Medicine
                                    Fibre
                                    Dye
                                    Enjoyable Space
                                    Wildlife Habitat
                                    Cut Flowers
                                    Excess produce to sell/give
                                    Climate control the house
Outdoor Living:             Outdoor Setting & Deck           - Cool & Shaded in Summer
                                                                                  - Protected from SW winds
                                                                                  - Warm sunny spot in winter
                                                                                  - Insect repelling plants
     BBQ
     Seating by:                               - Stable
                                                    - Back Fence
                                                    - Front Verandah
                                                    - Vegetable Garden
     Hammock
Animals:                      Horse                                       - Paddock
                                                                                  - Stable
                                                                                  - Feed store room
                                  Chooks                                      - House
                                                                                  - Runs integrated into vegie beds
                                                                                  - Access to paddock for grazing
                                                                                  - Feed Storage
                                  Ducks?                                      - House
                                                                                  - Run
                                                                                  - Access to paddock for grazing
                                                                                  - Feed Storage
                                                                                  - Pond
                                  Cat                                           - Outdoor run attached to house     
                                                                                 (sun & shade areas, litter tray,      
                                                                                 grass, climbing apparatus)
                                  Dog?                                         - Secure area away from other 
                                                                                    animals
                                                                                  - Dig proof area

Utilities:                    Clothesline
                                Bin storage
                                Garden tool storage
                                Animal food storage
                                Green\glass house
                                Water tanks off house, garage/carport, stable
                                Compost & worm farm
                                Grey water recycling (reed bed?)
                                Produce storage (cool, good ventilation, dry)
                                Weatherproof mud room


Read: Plotting the Plot: Designing a Garden (Part 1)


Monday, June 11, 2012

Plotting the Plot: Designing a Garden (Part 1)

A notebook for garden ideas


I’ve been making a list of all the plants I want to grow in my garden. The list began a few years ago when I began noting plants that I liked, imagining how they would look in my future garden, well before I knew where or when this sanctuary might be. An artist collecting colours and textures for my paint box. I couldn’t wait to find a canvas. Hakeas, species roses (the original wild roses), a portwine magnolia (note: this can be grown as a hedge), Rosa glauca for its pewter coloured leaves, a mulberry, an all spice tree... It quickly became apparent that the list would require a notebook all to itself. And so it was born, a spiral bound book from the post office, covered in brown paper and the words ‘In the garden...’ inked in black pen across the cover. 

Inside are green tabs down the side of the pages, made of sticky tape and origami paper. A catalogue of each type of plant: ornamental, cut flowers, culinary, medicinal herbs, animal fodder (for chooks and other critters that might find a home in the garden), and dye plants, a ready pallet to indulge my love of putting natures colours into cloth. This is when my garden began, with this notebook. Now that I have an actual space of some 500m square, I feel hungry to begin. 

At the moment the garden consists of a green lawn edged in numerous pot plants, my portable garden. There are two apple trees, a 25th birthday present, waiting patiently in their pots for a roomier home in the earth. The orange trees, a blood and a navel, house warming gifts, still wrapped in black plastic. In the centre sits a relic of the petrified forest that once stood sentinel over this corner of the lake, a piece of stone cast in the mould of a large eucalypt skeleton. I think it once propped up a bird bath. Beyond that are the remnants of a market garden, in which we’ve thrown some vegies to keep our bellies full. 

I find restraint when I pick up ‘Your Garden Design Book’ by John Brookes. The only way I can see to fit in the long list of plants is to plan. The digging can wait. First to plot the plot.

Read Pen to Paper: Designing a Garden (Part 2)...
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