Thursday, 18 May 2017

Mother's Day Gifts

I hope all the mothers had a lovely day last Sunday. Due to previously mentioned illness at our house, it was a quiet, stay-at-home day for us. We did some reading, some gardening, played UNO, made a puzzle and watched a movie. Very relaxing - I always find simple days are the best. My second daughter works at a cafe and they served 485 meals on Sunday, covering breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea. Very hectic!

Here is one of the gifts I received:


I have named him Billy Bob and he is in the garden bed I can see from the kitchen window. 

I have placed him in the ranuncula bed from last year - you can see some of the ranunculas already coming up at his feet.


And the card from my eldest daughter is hilarious!


My 12 year old son is the worst culprit for this! He always says no one else would worry about it, but now I have proof that they do. Or there would not be a card for it!

Some flowers for the house from this week. There are very lean pickings in the garden at the moment!

Chrysanthemum, carnation, penstemon, salvia, one little dahlia in the very front and some random foliage that I use all the time as it is lovely and weeping.
Protea, rosemary and salvia

And if you have a baby girl to knit for, this is the cutest knit!


And it is free on Ravelry hereStitchylinda Designs is hoping to repay all the free patterns she has enjoyed from Ravelry by donating her own designs for free. And if this is anything to go by, I think I will be checking her designs regularly!

Hope your week has been wonderful so far!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

I Need To Get Out Of Here!



Even I, a self-confessed homebody, feel that eleven days in the house is too much! I am going slightly stir crazy!
That being said, I have managed to get lots of planning and reading done. But there is only so many days you would like to be confined to barracks with no sign of release.




These are the times that I am extremely thankful for my stockpile. Hubby has been to the supermarket a few times for milk, bread, fruit and veggies, but I haven't had to send him with a huge long list to re-stock heaps of items.


Times like these are when the pantry really comes into its own, not necessarily when the zombies come!




Of course, I am preparing for big picture changes in the world, but as we have seen with natural disasters and other interruptions in supplies, there are going to be plenty of minor hiccups along the way.




I am really enjoying this pantry series.


And hopefully I will get out of the house soon!



Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Flower Farming

For a while now, my dream has been to turn our property into a food and flower farm.
Slow Food has been around for a while now and most people are familiar with the concepts of reducing food miles and supporting local farmers.


 
And now Slow Flowers has become a hot topic. If anything, flowers tend to travel even further than food and be produced in less fair conditions for workers. In Australia, roses, orchids and carnations will often be imported from countries like India, Kenya, Thailand, Colombia and Ecuador.




This is an interesting article by Choice, investigating where cut flowers come from, particularly those sold in supermarkets, the health and safety issues, including workers' conditions and chemicals used, and quarantine/contamination issues.


I have started growing some flowers (and per my previous post, I am planning on planting some more roses!)
I had great success last season with a trial of growing dahlias from seed. I am trying to start on a very tight budget, so dahlia tubers at $7-$8 each were just not possible. Growing dahlia from seed means that you cannot select varieties and the colours will be whatever turns up. But I loved that part of it! It was like waiting for treasure, waiting to see what colours would appear. These are some photos of the dahlias I grew this summer.










I had a little rummage around and all the plants have formed good tubers. So the question will be, will they re-grow next year from these tubers? If so, I will be able to grow a paddock of dahlias for next to nothing!


I also grew some carnations from seed which are growing well. I have planted a few salvias, gerberas, yarrow, lavender and penstemons.


I have finally finished bulb planting as well - 800 ranunculas, 1000 daffodils, 300 irises and some tulips. The chickens keep getting into the ranunculi bed and digging them up, so I am hoping they will be OK.


I am planning lots of sunflowers as I feel they are always popular. And we all know my obsession with having a field of sunflowers one day!




It has always been my dream to have a little farmstand - does anyone else do this? I would love to hear your successes and pitfalls to avoid. Especially if you are selling farm grown flowers - what are your go-to flowers and how do you present them?



Monday, 15 May 2017

Winter Is The Time For Roses!

I have been away for a while, haven't I?! It is surprising how quickly it creeps up on you - and then you haven't posted for nearly a month!


Firstly, I hope everyone had a delightful Mother's Day yesterday.




Mine was lovely, despite the fact that we have all been sick for the last two weeks.
And a friend received the best Mother's Day card ever. As quoted from an eight year old girl's card - 'I love you so much my head could explode.' Love it!


As we have all been ill, I have had plenty of time to do some garden planning, in particular drooling over the bare-root roses catalogue. Luckily for me, Treloar Roses is less than an hour's drive away (or maybe that is a dangerous thing, as my wish list is extraordinarily long!)


These are my particular favourites for this order, although any David Austin rose is welcome at any time!


Image from Treloar Roses


Julia's Rose is a coffee/fawn coloured Floribunda.


Image from Treloar Roses


Addictive Lure is a Kordes modern shrub rose with a powerful sweet scent.


Image from Treloar Roses


Charles de Gaulle is a lilac blue hybrid tea which has been released for a special cause.


In 2017 the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation (AWAMO) are establishing a war animal memorial in Pozieres, France where the Charles De Gaulle rose will be planted. In support of this project, Treloar Roses are donating $1.50 from the sale of each Charles De Gaulle bush rose to the AWAMO.




Image from Treloar Roses


Caramella is a Kordes modern shrub rose in caramel apricot tones.


These, of course, are only my particular favourites. The first time I went through the catalogue, I think I had $500 worth of roses in my cart, so had to do a bit of pruning!


There are no pinks or reds here, as I inherited about ten existing rose bushes when we bought this property and they are all pink or red.


I found this very helpful article on rose growing, including a homemade rose food recipe.
And I will definitely be trying this interesting propagation technique this year. I have never propagated roses before, but all my current rose bushes are getting very old and woody. They hadn't been pruned for ages and I think I should try to propagate them before they die off.


Do you have roses? What are your favourite varieties, or varieties that you would love to have?



Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Couch Grass Is Not My Friend

Couch grass has to be the worst plant ever. I'm sorry, I am quite happy to find a use for everything, but I challenge anyone to come up for a positive use for couch grass. It is a weed, no matter what place it is in!




This variation of the quote exactly describes couch grass!




It invades our backyard veggie garden constantly. For the past three years, I have told hubby that I WILL win against the couch grass and rid the garden of it entirely. He just shakes his head and lets me try. I have been determined that couch grass will not get the best of me. But I think I will have to concede defeat. It has beaten me! There is no way that I can eradicate it - I can only hope to keep on top of it before it inundates every other plant. This is not easy, as I am fairly sure it grows as soon as you turn your back on it!


Do you have couch grass? Or do you have a different weedy nemesis to battle?