Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Timaru Garden Tour #2

This is the garden of Janet and Joe Young, and it is three years old.
The sunny vegetable garden overlooks strawberry cages and chicken coops.

This little arrangement caught my eye, in particular the fluffy pom pom aquilegia.

The garden has such a stunning backdrop. Mountains in the distance, a lovely pond and grazing sheep. You almost wouldn't want to let the roses get any bigger.

This flower garden is looking pretty established. I was especially taken with the drifts of snow in summer.

I sowed this as seeds this season and mine's nowhere near flowering, so I took this photo to remind myself what I have to look forward to. (A great groundcover for a hot dry area, like my front garden.)

This gazebo was a lovely spot to sit in for a few minutes and rest out of the sun. I wish I could fit one in my garden. I'd need to bring those mountains to look at too.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Timaru Garden Tour #1

Here are some pictures from the lovely established garden of Jane and Tom Coughlan.

It is wide and sweeping, with gorgeous views over lush paddocks out to the sea in one direction and mountains in the other. Plenty of established trees provide shelter and shady nooks to sit in.

This elegant fountain is almost hidden by tall spires of foxgloves and roses. I like how the plants are asserting themselves here, not taking over but definitely making a statement.

I'd enjoy weeding the vegetable garden if this was the view!

A sweet little gate complete with climbing rose. 
And a sweet rustic shed. I'm not sure what the climber is as it looks to have just finished flowering.

An avenue of white roses leads to the house.

Monday, 28 November 2011

You go away for one weekend...

...and look what happens.
 Sexy Rexy is the first of the new roses to flower. Only the one bloom, and it was almost overblown by the time I saw it, but I appreciate the effort.

I also spied one tiny bloom tucked away on Cecile Brunner. I cut this rose back hard every year (because she can take it!) so she takes a little longer to bloom than other people's.

I've been away this weekend doing garden tours for the Timaru Festival of Roses. Eight gardens were open to the public and I took pictures at each, so there will be plenty to show you over the next few days. I tell you what, my own garden looks shabby in comparison! Not to mention weedy. I got to work today with a big sprayer full of Roundup and felt slightly more on top of things. Slightly.

See you back here tomorrow for the first garden tour post!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

November flowers

 I'm early with my monthly flowers post, because I thought this time I'd sync it with Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. If you are curious to see what is flowering in gardens around the world, pop along to the post and take a look!

My garden is spilling over with lovely frothy blooms this month. I need to cut some back a bit, especially the borage which has turned into a big floppy monster, but the bees love it so much that I might leave it another week or two.

So far the only one of my new roses to make much of an effort is Sexy Rexy (left). This bud is very small, but at least it's there! The rose on the right is one that was already in the garden when we bought the house. I don't know the name of it, although it looks a bit like a peace rose (yellow petals edged with pink).

Outside the back door and it's a colourful clashing jungle. You'd never know this area was swamped with liquefaction for the second time just five months ago.

This is one of my favourite little groupings on my new patio. The heliotrope at the back in the blue pot smells just gorgeous. In the front three pots from left to right are pulsatilla, paper daisies and chocolate cosmos mixed with tiny violas.

And here's the pencil conifer, with a funny little petunia blooming in the front. I'm expecting to get my money's worth from the petunias again this year, they are such great little performers.

You might think this stylish beauty belongs to a clematis or other exotic climber, but actually it's my boysenberry vine. It's completely covered, so all going well there will be plenty of berries for the Christmas trifle!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Oh the cute!

Lui and I have a cute new book to share with you today. Yes, you read the title right, it's called Crafting With Cat Hair. Yes, that does mean you use your kitty's excess fluff to make cute little things. Don't shave your cat though - the book's author expressly cautions against it.

The first project you can make is a cat hair finger puppet! Customise it using your cat's own colours of fur! I do think this is super cute, and I'd like to make a little mini Lui. Probably I would just use shop bought wool roving, since Lui's lovely black and shining white fur combines to a not very attractive grey mass.

Step by step instructions are included for collecting cat hair. My favourite is this: "Even if you usually forgive your cat for scratching you, you should still do your best not to get scratched in the first place." Good advice.

This book is translated from Japanese. Japanese craft books are the best! They have nice projects, cute turns of phrase, and beautiful photographs.

And at the back of the book are bios of all the kitties who contributed their hair for the projects!

Don't you think you should go and order this book right now?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A wander through the potager

Here are some photos taken in the potager last weekend. As you can see the mizuna edge has grown nice and thick. I gave it a light trim to get rid of the flowers, which promptly started to grow back again. I've sown a row of phacelia behind it, which should bring in some beneficial insects.

Chives are also making a pretty edging. I'm still undecided about whether I should edge the entire garden with chives, but I'm definitely lining each side of the main pathway.

The potager is a circle divided into four sections. To help me keep track, I named each quarter - First, Second, Third, Fourth. Those are the back, half round sections - the four middle quarters don't have names because they are kind of decorative, and I'm trying to grow similar things in each one to keep the look cohesive.

I'll show you what's in each section...

Third quarter - potatoes. I've got the left side already planted with Heather, and I've got some Desiree sprouting for the rest. The rather wilted plants at the front edge are calendula, volunteer seedlings that I had to shift to make room for peas.

Fourth quarter - contains broccoli which I looked after all winter, and which rewarded me by going straight to seed. Its days are numbered now... I'll be ripping it out this weekend and preparing the bed for beans and tomatoes.

First quarter - I just put in the stakes for the peas. The wonky line of the top stakes makes me think of several people breakdancing and doing the arm wave. There are cosmos seedlings at the back, which will fill out and make a nice feathery backdrop. I still love my leek and cosmos combo from last year, so I'd like to do that again.

Second quarter - kind of has the leftovers that didn't fit anywhere else! From left to right - carrots, garlic, cabbages,  leeks and broccoli. I don't think the broccoli will come to much, so I will probably pull it out and replace it with zucchini and peppers.

There's been plenty to harvest lately - peas, carrots, spring onions, lettuce, mizuna, rocket, silver beet, strawberries. I'm looking forward to plenty more to come.

How is your vege garden shaping up?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

White butterflies

White butterflies, the scourge of the summer garden. Everywhere I turn there is one flitting and fluttering, swooping down to drink the nectar of a flower before laying its eggs on anything green and leafy. Then the armies of green caterpillars appear, munching leaves and growing their fat bodies and forming their fuzzy white cocoons in nook and leaf and crevice.

You can spray, or dust, or squash, or, apparently, you can trick. I read recently that white butterflies are territorial, and can be fooled if you make a fake butterfly and stick it in the garden. Then they think that someone else is fluttering in that spot, and will take off over the fence and lay their eggs on your neighbour's cabbages.

I made my butterflies using a craft punch, and punched them from an empty cream cheese container. Then I glued them to a bamboo skewer.

They looked so pretty when I put them in a vase while the glue dried. I think they would make a pretty centrepiece for a summer gathering.

This geranium was looking quite sad after being feasted on by caterpillars all through winter. I've squashed all the buggers now, so it should be easy to see if the decoys work here. And if not, at least they make a nice decoration.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Focal points

Now that the weather has warmed up, the flower garden is filling up fast. Plants that self seeded last autumn are expanding and putting out blooms. It's all starting to look rather full and luscious, a sea of purple catmint, silver lambs' ears and feathery gilia and linaria.

In the few gaps, I've added focal points. One is this log planter with chives and a little pot of rhodohypoxis which will shortly emerge.

I've also started more earthworks. I decided to curve the edge of the lawn, to echo the curve of the paths in the potager. First the layer of turf has to come up, then I'll remove the sleeper edging and dig over the ground. There's more digging still to do - I have to curve it out around the apple tree and back.

These two pencil conifers will mark the walkway through the garden, one on each side. One has been planted but as you can see, one is still in its pot until I finish the earthworks. The bit I've been digging is just out of shot to the left. The apple tree is Baujade, and I'm hoping it will spread to provide a bit of shade. I'd like to put a bench under it, maybe set back a little into the garden that will soon be there. I'm also considering an arch between the two conifers, maybe with a climbing rose. But that's in the future.

In the meantime, I put the conifer into a terracotta pot and popped it into the border. It looks great - a bit of height is just what this area needed. In fact I really like this tree there, and only the fact that I need a pair of trees to flank the walkway will make me remove it. But what to replace it with? Maybe a red Japanese maple? Or another almond tree? An obelisk for twining clematis?

As much as I love the look of a neat and tidy perennial border, I don't think I'll ever be able to get rid of annuals. As long as they continue to self seed they will be welcome in my garden.

Anyway, I've got my work cut out over the next few months. It's lucky this is my idea of a weekend well spent!


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