A journal of my favourite pastimes gardening, farming and sewing.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

State Rose Garden visit

We had a day out today.  With my Dad here for a couple of weeks I wanted to show him the State Rose Garden in Newtown Park in Toowoomba.  He and Mum had always wanted to go there, but never got around to it, so today we headed up there for a look around.
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I had been there a few times with my Toowoomba friends, and even though it is surrounded by houses and busy streets, I find it tranquil and quite restful.
It is also Jacaranda time
Dad intends visiting Singapore for one of the orchid exhibitions they are famous for; and I thought today would be a good day for him to brush up on the close-up settings on our camera.
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Although there was some evidence that the recent wet weather had impacted some of the blooms, there was still plenty to see and smell.  I noticed there had been some additions and changes since I had last been there, including a recent War Animal Memorial Garden opened only a week or so ago.  This lovely sculpture stands beside the war memorial, surrounded by Charles de Gaule roses.

The War Animal Memorial Garden
As always, the Gardens were a joy to visit and well worth making a trip to Toowoomba for.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Greenhouse - nearly finished

Hello all,

Firstly, I hope everyone got some rain; here we have gone from a very dry spring to a lovely green, growing spring in a matter of a couple of weeks.  We've had 70mm since the beginning of the month, and the garden is looking so much better.

Over the last couple of weeks we have planted out close to 50 tube stock and small plants for shrubs, trees and what I call filler plants - those that like to spread out and cover bare earth.  All these look well settled in and on their way.

I can now happily report that we have had the 'soft opening' of the greenhouse.  There are still some shelves to be delivered and Peter has to set up the sink area, but the potting bench and the flooring is down and already having their 'sea trials'.  I have put some pics up for those who might be interested.


The structure runs roughly north/south with a door at either end.  The shade cloth is currently 50%; time will tell if this is enough but we can put another layer over the top of the original layer if we need further protection.  I can certainly feel the difference in the sun intensity when I'm working in there as opposed to outside.


This is inside, looking northwards to the "back" and out to the vegetable garden.  You can see the frames for the shelves on the right hand side and in the middle, and there will be a similar set on the left hand side.  The galvanised mesh shelves are being made for us and hopefully they will be ready soon.  Nanna Chel might recognise the lemongrass plant in the left corner :)


My potting table.  The top is galvanised steel and on a slight slope for water to run off.  The bins underneath hold potting mix and DIY seed raising mix - there will be bigger containers for these once I am in full production in here.  Today I planted out several seed types and my Dad potted on some cuttings and seedlings.  


This is a motley collection of cuttings, seedlings and odds and ends, sitting waiting for the real shelving to arrive.  Some of Dad's orchids are on the wall; something tells me they won't be the only ones either.


The sink is waiting for its bench to be welded - it will be to the right of the potting table.  This will allow washing & disinfecting of pots etc, as well as washing vegetables as they come out of the garden.

When I was in there earlier planting my seeds, I felt happy as a clam so I think after all this time, we may have got it right.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Garden Update

Finally, after some very welcome, and needed rain, things are starting to get moving in the garden around here.

My bauhinia trees are flowering their heads off, and they have the most delightful vanilla fragrance.  The bees love them of course.


The agapanthus are already forming flower heads.


Our old apricot tree has some fruit, not much due to a haircut during winter, but hopefully enough to satisfy the anticipation of the fruit.  Last year the fruit ripened in a matter of 3 days or so, and was fly blown into the bargain so a nil return.  We tried to get a net over it this year, but its just too large.


My natives are really starting to get a go-on in my front border garden.  Lots more infill planting to happen over the next couple of weeks.  Aren't the weeds a delight - actually some of those super green plants are African daisies which have self seeded.  Love that.



Now, this next one is exciting for me - my greenhouse is finally nearing completion.  As you can see, it is a decent size 3m x 8m I believe and my potting table has been constructed with a galvanised top with sections below for potting & seed raising mix in bins.  There is still some mesh shelving to be constructed and then the gravel floor.  The wind chime is already in position so its very close now.  Gee what a crooked picture.  Anyway that's the potting table to the left of the door, there is another door at the other end. 


The next project to complete is a garden shed for my stuff and I'm gently pushing on this one.  But the next one that I'm excited about will be my sewing room or as some call it, my "She Shed".  We bought this new 20 foot container and it will be fitted out with a sliding entry door, some windows, lighting, m-a-n-y power points and then all my bits and pieces can go in.  Much of my stuff has been stored in our shed so I can't even remember all that I have.  There will be climbing roses & jasmine growing over the sides/top to hopefully soften the "container-ness" of it, but I can't wait to go hide out in it.



I'll leave you with this evening's sunset, a lovely one for sure.


Saturday, 9 September 2017

BUSH FIRE SEASON


We had a bit of excitement in our area this afternoon.  One of our neighbours was doing some work with an angle grinder and sparks caused a grass fire on his property.  We are tinder dry at the moment, not having had any decent rain for a few months.  The fire spread very quickly fanned by a gusty wind and before long the fire had spread to the adjoining property and was fast coming towards our place as well.





You can see in the above two photos, just how quickly the fire increased in size as it raced up the hill with the wind behind it.  


The power pole on the LHS of the road is where our transformer is located, and this was where I positioned myself with one of our hoses to damp things down to try and stop the fire jumping the road if necessary.  You can see my little, inadequate hose in the photo below.  


The two properties opposite us have quite a bit of fence damage, but the four rural fire brigade crews that attended did get on top of it eventually.  It was very lucky that today was less windy than the last couple of days, otherwise I think it might have been more difficult to contain.

From our point of view, it was a good exercise - I had recently been thinking about bush fire plans and such, and there's nothing like a live run to sharpen the mind regarding these things.  We will now be changing some things to be prepared should this, or worse, happen again.


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

THE HITS KEEP COMING

Just when you think things are getting better, they get worse again.

Peter is doing well, for that I'm so very grateful.  He has blitzed the driving assessment and the Occupational Therapist is happy to recommend to our GP that he return to driving.  Happy days!

However, we lost my lovely Mum, Lisbeth on 8th June.  I miss her every day, and I'm realising more and more just how like her I'm becoming. 

She was ahead of her time in many ways and she was, and continues to be a role model to me, from gardening to living simply.  I love you Possum.

30/04/1939-08/06/2017

Now my Dad has been admitted to hospital, with some prostate issues.  Since the moment our phone rang at 740 am on Sunday morning, I've had that familiar tightness in my tummy - the 'here we go again' feeling.

I headed down to visit him on Monday and he's in good spirits.  Hopefully he'll be discharged in the next few days.  He kept saying "driving for four hours to visit me for two".  I just needed to see him with my own eyes, you know?  I'm heading back down to Brisbane again tomorrow to spend a few days there and hopefully have him discharged into my care.

There has been some activity in the garden though.  My brassicas are doing very well and are netted of course.  I also have some beetroot, kale and silver beet in, although, two errant chooks have caused some destruction that will need to be replanted.

The mild winter weather has been handy to get things going early.  I have tomato, bean and lettuce seedlings coming up; and I hope to seed out some other veg next week.

It looks like I may have success striking some apple and stone fruit cuttings; also wormwood.  The African daisies have self-seeded and I need to dig up the seedlings to plant out and share with friends.  So much to do and I never seem to be here to do it bah!

Photos to come.  Best wishes to all.


Saturday, 8 April 2017

AROUND HERE...

In my last post I was thinking about the potential success of growing sub-tropical & tropical fruit here on the southern Darling Downs.  Thanks girls for your suggestions and encouragement; it has spurred me on.  I am planning for a mulberry and perhaps some blueberries.  We have some papaw trees growing on the western side of our carport and they have survived.  When we had frosts I put a couple of old sheets over them and it seemed to help.

The suggestion of rocks or bricks around the base of trees to retain the heat into the night will be taken on board as will all the others.  Peter is getting more active outside now - he seems to like mowing at the moment - I suppose he can sit while doing this - whereas digging is limited as you can imagine.  He's now got a program of hydrotherapy and also exercises he can do at home so things are improving there.  Its more the memory/cognitive function that we may need to spend regular time on.

We have had a couple of chooks who always like to escape the chook yard working in a tractor over veggie garden beds and that is giving me valuable help in doing over the gardens for winter.  I've yet to plant any seeds, having been away more than I've been here the last few weeks due to my Mum being in and out of hospital.  As she says 'getting old is a bugger'.

Anyway, I'll leave you with some weather type pics this morning, mainly because I haven't taken any garden pics in a while.

Looks like it is on fire     

Looking NW towards Toowoomba


 And perhaps a sunset for good measure...


Like my visitor bell? - an op shop find 
I will have some garden pics soon, promise :)









Wednesday, 15 March 2017

TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN'

My friend Chel at goinggreyandslightlygreen was talking on her blog recently about letting her veggie garden go due to the extended heatwave Queensland has experienced this summer.  I did the same but it was for a different reason, but really, unless I get the whole veggie garden under shade cloth, it seems pointless to try and keep things limping along in the height of summer these days.

The other day I was pondering how hot the summer are now and how the last two winters have been relatively mild in my area, and I wondered about the possibility of planting more sub-tropical suitable plants, particularly fruit trees.  The climate in our area varies according to which website you look at, but they predominantly say warm temperate to temperate.  It is definitely warm, can be slightly warmer (but less humid thank goodness) than coastal areas most of the time.  Our winters are colder yes, but not for all that long and day time temps are not unreasonable.

I'm not getting into the whole climate change debate except to say that gardeners and farmers would have a pretty good feel for how things are changing weather-wise.  I'm off the trawl through some catalogues just for a dream of what might be possible in the future.
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Monday, 30 January 2017

GARLIC 2016

As usual, I'm about two months behind other gardeners who probably harvested their garlic back in December.

I finally dug mine up a couple of weeks ago and this evening I cleaned it up ready for sharing and using.  I'm sure I didn't dig up all the bulbs, so at least I'll have a head start on planting time.

It was very relaxing just sitting their with the garlic skins all around me.  That is my little hand embroidered garlic bag that I hang on the side of the fridge for easy access.


I want to mince some in oil for keeping in the fridge as well as infusing oil in bottles for gifts.  Perhaps I'll also try drying some to make garlic flakes and salt.

We had our first full weekend on leave from the hospital this weekend, with family joining us for lunch at a local pub.  Peter did very well but was very tired and in some pain by the end of the four days.

This week we have a meeting with the health care team at the rehab unit which hopefully will give us an indication of discharge date and the potential return to work outlook.  It has been a long road and no doubt further to travel yet, but things are moving in the right direction.  I want to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers, we are just so grateful. From us to you xxxx...