Posts Tagged With: garden

Garden Update and Goodbye.

We have been here 8 weeks that only seem like 2, the time has slipped by so quickly. Tomorrow Naomi arrives home from her adventures in Indonesia, and it will be time for us to move on.

But before we leave I would like to show you how the garden has grown. Do you remember the post 6 weeks ago? It hadn’t rained for a long time, the 3 rainwater tanks were almost empty and I had to nurse the tiny seedlings along with regular watering. Then it rained. Since then we have had showers on a couple of days every week, and the plants have thrived.

 This was 6 weeks ago, look at them now.

The beans are flowering

The beans are flowering

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These are the last 2 tomatoes from this plant.

These are the last 2 tomatoes from this plant.

No worries here are the next ones.

No worries here are the next ones.

Cucumbers flowering well and if you look closely you will see a tiny cucumber.

Cucumbers flowering well and if you look closely you will see a tiny cucumber.

I will maybe get a meal from the kale before we leave

I will maybe get a meal from the kale before we leave

A couple of dragon fruit have just ripened in time for Naomi to enjoy them

A couple of dragon fruit have just ripened in time for Naomi to enjoy them

We have enjoyed our stay but next week it will be back on the road again. So it is “Goodbye” for a while. We will not have a constant internet connection, in fact maybe none. I will miss my daily fix of meandering through cyberspace visiting my lovely community. But I will no doubt have hundreds of photographs to sort and show and tell in a months time when we settle in to our next house sit at Canberra. 

Categories: Australia, garden, Geraldton, house sitting, photos, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , | 37 Comments

Travel Theme : Close-up

IT RAINED LAST WEEK

“So what” I can hear all my Northern hemisphere friends saying.

Well that is the best rain that has fallen in this area for about 2 years. There have been light showers during that 2 years, but on a sandy soil that has not helped the parched and struggling vegetation. Last week after 3 days of light showers the storm clouds gathered and it poured down. Approximately 50-70mm. The farmers were ecstatic, perfect timing for sowing the spring cereal crops.

It made me happy too as I had just planted more vegetable seedlings the day before the rain came. I’m sure it made the plants turn their faces to the heavens with a huge, happy sigh.

Raindrops are falling on my head

Raindrops are falling on my head

Then I looked around and look what I saw…

Dragon fruit flower

Dragon fruit flower

These beauties flower overnight and only stay open for 1 day. It then takes 3-4 months for them to produce the edible fruit. Fortunately there are some that flowered a while back and are now ready for picking and eating.

Dragon fruit, ripe and ready to harvest.

Dragon fruit, ripe and ready to harvest.

After a day in the fridge it is ready to cut open, scoop out the inside and savour the delicious but indescribable taste.

Delicious, sweet and juicy

Delicious, sweet and juicy

Have you ever tried a dragon fruit? Have you ever seen one but not known what to do with it? Next time you see one in the green grocer’s buy it and try it, I’m sure you will go back for seconds…

Footnote… The farmers are now praying for more follow up rain and the forecast is for another storm on Sunday…

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To closely follow more blogs in close-up go to Ailsa’s challenge on her blog “Where’s my backpack?”

 

 

Categories: Australia, close-up, garden, Geraldton, photos, travel theme, vegetable garden, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Gardening in the Round.

I have mentioned that I love gardening and one of the pleasures I get from house sitting is to see and learn from other peoples gardens. Every one is different, every one is a joy to look after.

Now this garden is probably one of the most challenging. Being so close to the ocean the soil is pure sand. I’ve mentioned the strong winds (see my previous post here about the leaning trees) Great for wind surfers and sky divers, but plants hate the strong, sand ladened winds. To top it off it is a very dry climate. I don’t know when they last had a decent rain here, but of the 3 large rain water storage tanks only one has a small amount of water left in it.

Naomi also loves gardening, she likes to grow her own organic vegetables and being a very resourceful person she has installed old corrugated water tanks and created raised beds.

Come for a look round

, Come for a look round

Gardening in the round

Gardening in the round

This summer has been exceptionally hot and dry and at the moment not many veggies have survived, with the exception of chilli bushes, lots of them, lemon grass and a few other herbs. Before Naomi left she scattered seeds around. The weather should be getting cooler and normally some rain arrives during the winter months. But so far it has just been clear blue skies, sun and relentless wind. I water the raised garden beds each evening and amazingly seeds are popping up every where. At this point I can’t identify them so treat them all with loving care.

Can you see the beans?

Can you see the beans? look carefully and you will see the Indian Ocean…

A couple of the beds are still empty so on Sunday at the markets when we came across a delightful bloke called “Freddie Fresh” who specialises in seedlings of all sorts we bought some lettuce, basil and 2 tomato plants. That evening, when the heat had gone out of the day we carefully planted them. First digging a large hole, incorporating compost and soaking the area before tenderly bedding them in.

Mescalin and cos lettuce with an existing plant of eggplant. A very healthy dragon fruit is climbing the trellis

Mescalin and cos lettuce with an existing plant of eggplant. A very healthy dragon fruit is climbing the trellis

Have you ever tried Dragon fruit? They are delicious and this plant is laden with them. I hope they ripen soon.

More lettuce and basil, with the tomato planted against the back pole

More lettuce and basil, with the tomato planted against the back pole

They are all going to need more help if they are to survive the 30c+ temperature of the sun. These beds are in the full sun. So to give them a helping hand until they have settled in we searched around and found some shade cloth that Jack put up.

 

Maybe doesn't look very attractive, but it should do the job

Maybe doesn’t look very attractive, but it should do the job

Follow me around the side of the house.

The side garden. Can you see the Huge spider web?

The side garden. Can you see the Huge spider web? Lets take a closer look…

 As I said before this house is built on sand and the back of the garden is a large sand-hill. Naomi has come up with a clever solution. Using old tractor tyres that she has sourced from a tyre firm in town, collecting them in a trailer, pulled by Troopy, then, one by one, rolling them into place. (Go here to read about Naomi’s hard labour in creating this monument.)

This is finally taking shape, “the great wall of Drummond’s”

First roll the tyres into place

First roll the tyres into place

Rendering comes next

Rendering comes next

Still a lot more to do...

Still a lot more to do. The hole in the sand is going to be a pond with a waterfall cascading into it.

I feel tired just thinking about all the work.

So let’s go back up to the deck to watch the sun set.

The garden shows a collection of Naomi's interests.

The garden shows a collection of Naomi’s interests.

Looking out to the west the setting sun lights the deck in a golden glow

Looking out to the west the setting sun lights the deck in a golden glow

Have a glass of wine and watch the sun set

Have a glass of wine and watch the sun set

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The inspiration for this post has come from Sue of “A word in your ear” this week her challenge has been the word “ROUND” that has popped up from her dictionary.

I hope you have enjoyed this walk with me around the garden.

Categories: A word a week photo challenge, Australia, garden, Geraldton, house sitting, photos, round, sunsets, vegetable garden, Western Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

A bouquet of tropical flowers to brighten your day

Yellow water lily

Yellow water-lily

Tropical water lilies

Tropical water lilies

Tropical water lily

Tropical water-lily

Water Hyacinth

Water Hyacinth

Heliconia

Heliconia

Heliconia

Heliconia

Nepenthes, insect eating pitcher plant

Nepenthes, insect eating pitcher plant

Frangipani

Frangipani

bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea

Here is a splash of colour and the scent of summer for my Northern Hemisphere friends. I hope this will brighten your winter day and remind you of the summer to come.

For the short time I am at home I love to spend time in the garden. This morning I went round to record what is flowering at the moment.

Categories: Australia, flowers, photos, Queensland, tropical garden | Tags: , , , , | 27 Comments

Garden Makeover

The rain settled in for almost 24 hours on Saturday. A fine soft mist that soaked into the soil and washed all the dust off the trees and plants and came at just the right time to prepare the area previously shaded by the palms. (go here to see the palms being cut down) 48mm fell that also filled the rain water tank.

The area had been a shade garden and now bathed in sunlight it needed a make over.

On a visit to Bunnings, the large, local hardware and nursery store, I found some gems. Hidden away on shelves at the back of the nursery section they stacked the unloved plants, pot-bound and drooping waiting for some one to rescue them and give them some TLC. Instead of being $10 to $15 each they were $2 to $4. Just what I needed. Daisies, Petunias and Pentas all sun-loving and cheerful colours.

After an overnight soak in water and Seasol and all the dead heads cut off they bounced back to exuberant life.

This is now a sunny spot

This is now a sunny spot

In a few weeks I hope this will be a blaze of colour

In a few weeks I hope this will be a blaze of colour

2 palms round the back did not get cut right down, now they have young stag horns on them

2 palms round the back did not get cut right down, now they have young stag horns on them

 

I am missing all the beautiful vegetables we had at Malanda. Our garden does not have a suitable spot or the room to put a full size veggie garden so I have compromised with some lettuce, rocket and basil in a Styrofoam box I brought home from the fruit market. Remember the Black Russian tomatoes? (go here to see them) I took some of the laterals and potted them up. They are growing well so they are now in larger pots and I hope they will produce some of the delicious tomatoes like we had at Malanda

Now they have to be nursed through our hot humid summer and I will post photos of them in a few weeks to, hopefully, show them filling that corner with lots of colour.

Categories: Australia, garden, Goldcoast, photos, tomatoes, vegetable garden | Tags: , , , | 14 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge : Habit

When I am at home one of my regular habits is to walk around the garden every morning before breakfast. It is a visual treat.

I have been away for the 4 months of winter, house sitting in the warm tropical North Queensland area. (If you would like to see more of our time up north click here) Now I am home it is a pleasure to wander out into our patch of paradise each day. We have good friends stay in the house and look after the garden for us. It has been a dry and very windy winter and Rex and June have watered and nurtured the garden through this difficult season.

So come with me as I wander around…

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Bromeliads and succulents love this hot dry weather

Bromeliads and succulents love this hot dry weather

Jack created these ponds from 3 old bath tubs

Jack created these ponds from 3 old bath tubs

 

Buddha sits and meditates

Buddha sits and meditates

Matilda sits and relaxes in her corner wondering what the next adventure will be

Matilda sits and relaxes in her corner wondering what the next adventure will be

 

I hope you enjoyed your wander around our garden, now it is time to go inside and have breakfast

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Michelle has invited us to show a part of our life that is a habit. It will be very interesting to see the habits of other people from around the world. Click here to explore other people’s habits.

 

Categories: Australia, garden, Goldcoast, habit, photos, post-a-week, tropical garden, Weekly photo challenge | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

Harvest time then heading home.

Just look at these beautiful Russian Red tomatoes

Just look at these beautiful Russian Red tomatoes

It has been a productive and enjoyable 3 months staying here and for the past few weeks we have enjoyed the fruits of our labours. The garden has flourished and I have had fresh vegetables from the garden every day. Beans by the bucket full, silverbeet, lettuce, radish, carrots, celery, zucchini and tomatoes. Lyn had planted 6 different varieties before we arrived and I have nurtured them and just look at these beauties. They are a variety called Russian Red and they are the most delicious tasting tomatoes I have ever eaten. They are juicy and thin-skinned and give a burst of rich tomatoe flavour. They taste like summer.

6 different types of tomatoes

6 different types of tomatoes, can you spot them all?

Lyn and David arrived home from their adventures on the weekend and we have spent 3 delightful days swapping travel stories and sharing meals together, But now it is time to head home.

Matilda is packed and today we head south. It is going to be a slower journey than the trip here, the weather is hotter and we do not have a time frame so we will meander back 2000 kilometres and possibly take about 2 to 3 weeks depending on what discoveries we make on the way.

Internet connections will be sporadic so you may not hear from me for a while so until I reach home “Cheerio” to you all….

 

Categories: Australia, garden, house sitting, photos, tomatoes | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

How does the garden grow?

Our own private rainforest

Our own private rainforest

We are custodian/house-sitters of a 2.5 acre tropical North Queensland property. It is lush and green and has a small stand of tropical rainforest surrounding it. So far I have not seen any snakes or tree kangaroos lurking in the bush or up in the canopy, but I love to wander through it. Though first of all I smother my skin with tick repellent to prevent those insidious little nasties latching on to me.

Come with me for a look at part of my backyard…

Does anyone know the name of this creeper?

Does anyone know the name of this creeper?

Just look at this gorgeous flower. It is a vine and twines its way through the trees. I do not know what it is called. Here is another unusual tropical climbing vine.

Thank you Deanna Tennant Masterson for identifying the plants for me.

The yellow flower is: Thunbergia mysorensis (Wight) T.Anderson Common name(s): clock vine, lady’s slipper vine, dolls’ shoes, brick and butter vine.

The red flower is: Scientific name: Passiflora racemosa Brot. Common name(s): red passion flower

I wonder if anyone can tell me the name of this unusual flower.

I wonder if anyone can tell me the name of this unusual flower.

Here is a closer look.

Here is a closer look.

Meanwhile over in the vegetable patch every thing is flourishing. despite the up hill battle against slugs and snails, caterpillars and a sneaky little bandicoot. He finds the smallest gaps in the fence to push his way in. He does not eat plants or seedlings but digs down to find a feed of worms and in the process up-roots any thing in his way. At the moment I am winning the battle against the bandicoot after Jack reinforced the bottom of the fence. Pyrethrum, derris dust and a dish of beer seems to be helping keep the numbers of slugs, bugs and insects down.

Gardening is a challenge, but a pleasure to see the plants growing. Nothing tastes better than home-grown produce straight from the garden to the plate.

Part of the vegetable patch

Part of the vegetable patch

Courgettes and sweet corn

Courgettes and sweet corn

The tomatoes will soon be ready, but who will get to them first the bugs, birds or me

The tomatoes will soon be ready, but who will get to them first the bugs, birds or me

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, house sitting, Malanda, photos, rain forest, tropical garden | Tags: , , , , , | 21 Comments

Magical misty morning

My early morning walk around the garden became a wander through a mystical paradise, shrouded in mist, a sure sign of a beautiful, clear winter day to follow.

misty morning

Misty morning

A place to sit and contemplate the beauty as the sun rises.

A place to sit and contemplate the beauty as the sun rises.

Winter on the Tablelands is a beautiful place to be. Most days are mild and sunny with a temperature around 25c-27c degrees. The evenings are 10c-12c cooler but we are lucky to have a wood burner fire-box to keep us and the cats warm and cosy.

Today the weather was perfect to visit one of the waterfalls the tablelands are renowned for and take a walk through the rainforest. Malanda Falls is only a short drive away.

malanda falls

Malanda Falls

Malanda Falls, autumn had been a very wet season so the falls are in full flow.

Malanda Falls

Malanda Falls

A swimming pool  at the base of the falls  it is a very popular place in the heat of summer. Today it is too chilly for a swim.

A large part of the Tablelands is fertile agricultural land and the main type of farming is dairy-farming. The original rain forest has been left around the falls area as the basalt rock made cultivation of this land impossible and it is now a national park area with well-defined walking tracks.

Come on let’s explore…

Track through the rain forest

Track through the rain forest

Buttress roots of a rain forest giant

Buttress roots of a rain forest giant

malanda falls rain forest

Fungus

Fungus

Bumpy satinash tree

Bumpy satinash tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, Malanda Falls, photos, Queensland | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

Living the “Good Life”

Do you remember the TV series “The Good Life” ? Or was it before your time? It was about a couple turning their home and garden into a suburban farm.

Well I am not actually in suburbia and this life-style property we are house sitting is larger than the average back yard but I love that it has a large vegetable garden, lots of fruit trees and 24 multi-coloured chooks scratching around and laying us lots of eggs. I pick the oranges to squeeze a fresh orange drink each morning, I wander through the veggie patch deciding what we will have for dinner that night. The garden is organic with a thick layer of horse poo covered by a straw mulch and a couple of worm farms creating their magic tonic.

I am a farm girl at heart and I’m loving being back on this mini-farm.

This is the beauty of house sitting, you can sample all different life styles for short periods of time.

I have introduced you to the cats, now I would like to take you for a walk around the property.

Part of the lawn with the rainforest on the left

Part of the lawn with the rainforest on the left, I should take the washing in…

 

Take a walk over to the veggie patch

Take a walk over to the veggie patch

The veggie garden

The veggie garden, looking back toward the house

 

Lyn made the beautiful sun hanging and all the stained glass pieces

Lyn made the beautiful sun hanging and all the stained glass pieces

More stained glass

More stained glass

Veggie patch

Veggie patch

good orange crop

good orange crop

 

Even though it is winter there are still some roses in bloom

Even though it is winter there are still some roses in bloom

Just a few of the 24 chooks

Just a few of the 24 chooks

 

He is such a lovely colour

He is such a lovely colour

Here is one of our alarm clocks

Here is one of our alarm clocks

The boss and 2 of his girls

The boss and 2 of his girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Atherton Tableland, Australia, garden, house sitting, photos, Queensland | Tags: , , , , , | 28 Comments

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