postheadericon Update on our pond

More photos of our pond as it develops.

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postheadericon Building a Fishpond

Well, we finally got around to doing it!  We built our fish pond outside our bedroom window.  Took two whole days and my husband, our son-in-law Ben, and his father, Dave, assisted with the project.  We were very grateful for their assistance, especially in transferring rocks from our bottom paddock up to the pond site and Ben for meticulously placing the rocks onto the lining and working to make it all smooth as the water filled. Below are the images of the progress.  We added the fence around the pond a month later.

postheadericon My gardening plans

There is so much we still want to do to our garden. We want to do a rock garden with pond and fernery outside our bedroom facing into the backyard.  We already have frogs in the garden so don’t see that as a real problem, i.e. we’ve gotten used to hearing them.

We want to line the backyard with low growing plants that flower so probably bulbs and perennials to crowd out the weeds.  These will sit under existing trees and bushes.

The strip along the front of the tennis court will be our butterfly garden.

The garden beds on the other side of our house (driveway) are gradually getting filled with bushes and bulbs and perennials. Same with the two island beds in the lawn of our ‘park’.

And the front garden has natives, rose bushes, sword ferns, bulbs and other items.

We’ve finally settled on where the vege garden will work best – below the chicken pen where it gets good afternoon sun and where we can put the lovely maturing compost the chickens have created from the leaf litter and mulch we regularly put into their pen.

Once we’ve got this lot done I want to concentrate on the bushland area where the sheep are and gradually turn that into a garden too, with rhododendrons, camellias, grevilleas, callistemons, grasses and other more native stuff. But it will take quite some time to do and we’ll probably have to do some temporary fencing in sections to stop the sheep eating young plants.

Finally, want to dot the entire garden with small statues, bench seats to sit on, water dishes (both high and low for various birds, wildlife and butterflies), etc, etc. Exciting.  Love planning and look forward to the progress of our garden!

Weird Owl Yankovic  84-366 Our bird bath and small statue

 

postheadericon The Butterfly Garden

It’s 21 July 2013 and last night I watched Gardening Australia. Nothing unusual about that. I watch it every week and love the show! You can find their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/gardeningaustralia

What particularly inspired me last night was their segment on the Butterfly Garden. I was enthralled by how easy it is to set one up. I’ve always loved going to the Melbourne Zoo Butterfly House but it never occurred to me I could set something up here at home.

After reading some articles about it online at http://www.zoo.org.au/sites/default/files/10-steps-butterfly-gardening-zoo-highlights.pdf and http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/better-homes-gardens/gardening/articles/a/-/5832424/how-to-attract-butterflies/ I started to put in some steps towards this.

First, I printed those articles off and they are now in a green folder for my gardening inspiration.
Next, I took stock of what plants they listed and discovered I have several of them already, in the one section – right near our tennis court. We’ve been gradually adding plants and bushes there to crowd it so we don’t have a lot of weeding to do. The plants we already have in that section that are Butterfly attractions are:
– Bottlebrush
– Buddleia (dark purple and a pink one too)
– Grevillea
– Kangaroo Paw

What we have in other areas, and I’ll either take cuttings or buy more to add to this section are:
– Lavender
– Wattle
– Crepe Myrtle
– Native violets.

Some of the above are attractions for butterflies (they pollinate) and the others are ideal to attract larvae.

The next thing I did was set up a Facebook Page so I could journal my progress and get other people involved in what is happening.

Butterfly on leaf

So I’m going to use the Facebook page to document the progress of our butterfly garden and I’ll report back on it regularly.  You can read my progress and view the photos at my Facebook page. I also have a Facebook group you can join if you wish to participate and comment. It’s linked at the Facebook Page.

The Butterfly Garden

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postheadericon Adding to our family

It’s been awhile since I’ve written here but we have had things happening in our garden.

Probably one of the most significant changes is that we had a chicken pen built early this year and on 23 February got 6 chickens. 2 Australorp, 2 Rhode Island Red, 1 Golden Laced Wyandotte and 1 Plymouth Rock.  They were aged between 8-14 weeks and around 5 weeks ago the first began laying – one of the Australorps.  Then a week late the other began laying, then a week later a Rhode Island Red and this week another has begun laying but we’re not yet sure who.  4 eggs a day we’re getting now, which is wonderful.

We’re a family of two, plus pets, so we give some away to our elderly neighbour and our two closest living daughters. Not sure what we’ll do once we’re getting 6 daily – I suspect give or sell some to members of our church.

We didn’t realise what a delight it would be to have chickens. They have personalities and we’re just starting to pat and pick up some of them – not all yet.  Four will hand feed but the other two hold back.  We give them fresh leaf litter and wood chips (we have our own mulcher) and they love that.  We just hadn’t realised how well the chickens would turn that into well developed compost. So now we can plan a bigger vege garden and other things and know we have quality compost, mulch and leaf litter to put into our gardens around the property.

Day 4

Our chickens are growing

Our chickens are growing

 

postheadericon Taking the Yates Vegie Growing Challenge

With winter just about over and Spring literally just next door (well, tomorrow actually) I’ve been prompted to once again start on my vegie garden.  In the past a few factors have gotten in the way.  The plot was large and and weeds and lilies were fast taking hold.  My husband had a serious accident April 2011 and that put paid to that for the next year. I spent a couple of months visiting him in hospital and then the rains came again and before I knew it the time for working in the vege garden had passed again.  Then when I tried again last summer I had an accident, only 8 months after my husband had and badly broke my leg. Another four months passed before I could walk again and longer months before I could kneel down again (I still struggle with it). Another winter and a year had passed.

So now it’s late 2012 and the above explains why I haven’t written here for 2 years.  I was looking out the front window the other week and thought about the small plot in the front that had silver beet growing in it, amongst flowers and weeds. I’m still not sure how the silver beet got there. I must have mixed up the seeds at some time when planting flowers. I did have cornflowers, cyclamen and other things in there but the weeds and long grass took over and it was looking a mess.

Seeing the silver beet inspired me and I decided I was going to start a vege patch all over again, on a much smaller scale, closer to the house where I could see it every day.  Hopefully this time on a more manageable scale and hopefully without incident (God permitting).

So, below are images of what the messy plot looked like when I first got started.  The second image  was taken with my phone which was rather misty from being in my back pocket while I worked.

Above: a mixture of all sorts before I began.
Below: just the silver beet has been left.

In my email just this week the Yates Vege Growing Challenge was announced and I decided, here’s an incentive to get this plot the way I want it to be.

 

postheadericon Spring in the Dandenong Ranges

It’s Spring here and I have to admit I’ve never really made the effort to explore this area at Spring before.   Although last year I did visit the Tulip Festival with my heavily pregnant daughter.

I’m loving it this year and getting so many ideas for our own property.  There was a 2 page spread of gardens opened for display from Sept through to Nov so guess what I’m doing most weekends? 😉  It truly is a beautiful place here in the Dandenongs.

We have bulbs growing and flower buds just starting to show. I plan to share images of them with you very soon.

postheadericon Fascinating Fungii

Our new home is producing new delights as the seasons change. We have some of the most amazing looking toadstools and mushrooms growing on our property. Here’s just a small selection of them – and yes, they are all real.

postheadericon New delights in the garden

Now we’re settling at Selby we’re starting to see a range of birdlife and some animal life here.  I’ve planted a lot of new roses and relocated two older ones from our old home.

In the first week we lived here I saw a bird I’d not seen before. The previous owners had left a couple of bird posters on the wall in the kitchen and I’ve found these invaluable for identifying birds. From that day I was on a mission to see this bird again – an Eastern Spinebill but it’s taken weeks before I was rewarded.

Late yesterday afternoon as I moved a potted azalea around to our front door I spied the bird in the grevillea by the front fence. I quickly went to get my camera and was thrilled to get several shots of the bird.  Here are just a couple.

postheadericon Perfume Delight

Since my last post we have shifted to the country and now live on a 2 acre property. It has gardens but we’ll be adding to them and changing them over time.

It already had a few roses and I’ve put in several more since. This particular one, the Perfume Delight, lives up to its name and is in its second flowering since we shifted in 9 weeks ago.

It’s it gorgeous?  It smells just as beautiful too but I don’t have smellovision 😉