Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It may not look like much

But there's some serious work gone into this!

I ran out of go before I finished planting these - some lovely Phormium and Liriope "Evergreen Giant" will be a great contrast.

I did get these few in the ground....

I added two more Acacia Cognata then just moved some of the silver-leaved Cushion Bush for more dramatic effect. I replaced those with Liriope Muscari.

I also decided I didn't like the positioning of the Dietes, so those all got moved to the bed next to the driveway, which looks much better. Of course, now I have this big empty bed. Hmm, what to do....?

Now I'm thinking of moving the green Cordylines near the house too, and replacing them with bigger ones. And maybe those Libertia would look better somewhere else...?

Intervention required?

I just picked up a few more plants..... uh-oh! Somebody save meeeeee: my plant addiction seems to be kicking in again, after being dormant for quite a while...

It's going to be interesting - most of the plants I'm putting in are things I've never grown before. Our old garden was quite traditional. I had begun to replace a few things with more drought-tolerant species shortly before we decided to sell, but mostly it was filled with plants that I was very familiar with. Like these:

Now it's less flowers, and more ornamental grasses and the like. I guess I'll find out what works and what doesn't....

The real thing

As everyone has no doubt noticed, I've updated my header. Instead of a photo of the display home, we now have..... OUR home. :o)

I'll try to get one with better lighting. Maybe I should be less lazy and haul out the tripod and actually use something other than the auto setting on my SLR.

Anyway, now that the deck is all done and the basic landscaping in place, it looks just as I imagined. It's quite hard to picture during the build, with no driveway, no landscaping, a bare concrete porch and mess everywhere, and you can really doubt your choices. But it turns out that all that agonising over colours and finishes actually was worth it.

And the portico beam? The one they rendered by mistake and then tried to tell me didn't matter, it looked fine? I'm so glad I kicked up a fuss about it and made them paint it in Ironstone. I wanted that "floating" effect, and that's exactly what I got.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gardening - good for the soul

I've been exercising my green thumb today - I've always loved gardening and really missed it while we were renting. Watering and weeding someone else's garden just wasn't the same. The layout and plant choices weren't mine, and I wasn't about to spend time, effort and money on something that I'd have to leave, so I really lost interest.

I'm very pleased to rediscover the joy of getting my hands dirty. This is gardening on a much smaller scale than I'm used to, but I can't say that's a drawback.

I headed out this afternoon in search of the perfect pots. I found a great place on High St Epping that sells discount pots, urns and water features, but every time I found just what I needed, there was only one in the size or colour I wanted. I have my eye on a few future purchases though….

I ended up back at Bunnings, since I needed a light globe and a power point anyway – and found the perfect narrow black glazed pots for my yuccas. I then spotted some pots that were almost right for the front yard - right size, shape and price….. just the wrong colour. But since they were some sort of cast resin, that was nothing that some leftover Ironstone gloss wouldn’t fix.

Finally, something to look at from the lounge windows other than the fence!

Cheap resin pots came up a treat with some gloss paint

The burgundy leaves of Cordyline 'Red Star' are a great contrast to the Ironstone pot.

The other pot waiting for its occupant (I underestimated how much pottimg mix was needed) .....

.....the Dragon's Blood Tree I got for a bargain price

There’s still some more planting to be done, but I’ll aim to pick up a few plants at a time till I'm satisfied. At least I now know what I want, so that's a start!

Since the garden was looking so nice, I couldn't stand the dust and dirt any longer, so I swept, scrubbed and washed and we now have gleaming windows and clean decking and driveway. Domestic skills aren't exactly my strong point, but there's a limit to how much dirt even I can stand.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Three months later....

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog front this month, partly because I've been busy, but mostly because nothing much has been happening. We're sitting back and pondering the rear landscaping - we have some definite ideas and some maybes...so we need to make a few decisions before we can begin work on anything permanent. Don't want to spend time, effort and money on something and then decide that it has to be moved because we want something else there.

I've been a bit slack on the decorating front too. I have some ideas, but can't find just the thing I need. I do have a couple of small projects underway, but can't seem to find time or inclination to get on with them. Perhaps over Easter.

Today, I made a small contribution to the work that still needs to be done in the front garden. I bought three acacia cognata "limelight", and got those planted. I also picked up a red cordyline, which will go in a large pot as a feature. Now I just need to find the pot.

Acacia cognata "limelight":

Cordyline "Red Star":

I might get inspired to go hunting for those pots I need tomorrow. I think this is the style I want (the tall ones):

I wonder if they can be painted. Ironstone would be nice.

We had our three month maintenance inspection a month ago.... some of the items have been fixed, a couple of others are booked in, but we're still waiting on the rest. Yesterday we had one of our French doors to the ensuite replaced, a few doors that were sticking fixed, a privacy lock that wasn't working sorted out, some mortar cleaned off the brickwork and the PVC pipes to the rainwater tank painted. There were also some paint touchups. And we had three plumbers turn up to replace the too-short arm on our dumper shower head with the longer one we should have got in the first place. No idea why that took three men. I'm sure there's a joke in there: How many plumbers does it take to change a shower head?

The renderer called in to check on colour and to see where touch-ups needed to be done, and said he'd be back in a few days. Yet another service on our bifold has been booked for the week after next, and the cabinet people are supposed to come and fix the doors on our bathroom vanity.

No word on when the rest will be done, so I think I'll be making a call on Monday. I'm sure builders think that it's nothing for us to just rearrange work or other commitments at a moment's notice to fit in with tradesmen.

Hmm, did I say nothing much has been happening?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Landscaping - collecting ideas

I took these photos at the Garden Show back in 2007, and had forgotten that I had them filed away. There are some great combinations of plants among them.....

It's on again next month - I think I need to go with camera in hand.....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Mrs B tagged me, and I'm afraid I've dragged my feet about doing this meme, but here you go. Six interesting(?) things about me:

1. I love reading. All kinds of stuff – novels, biographies, poetry, plays. Even technical research, if the subject interests me. As a kid, I used to spend weekends and holidays curled up on the couch with my nose in a book. I’d be completely oblivious to anyone or anything else. Drove my mother crazy!

I don’t have as much reading time as I’d like nowadays, but I read in bed almost every night, even if it’s just a couple of pages before my eyes get heavy.

Oh: and as well as “normal” books, I like to read atlases, dictionaries, street directories….is that weird?

2. I’m the mother of three sons. I never envisioned myself as the matriarch of a totally male clan – maybe that had something to do with being one of four sisters? So it was kind of a surprise to find myself in a house overflowing with testosterone.

I like it. Being the only female means I get to be Queen. No votes required, no democracy to get in the way. :o)

3. I’ll apparently be 50 next year. I’m still trying to figure out how the hell that happened. But while friends are freaking out over the impending “Big five-O”, I’m just quietly ignoring it. Because: a) I’m busy living my (slightly insane) life; and b) I have no intention of EVER acting my age. I’m quite happy to swing on the monkey bars at the park with my kids – except they think THEY’RE too old for that now….so looks like it’s just me. Oh well.

4. I hate revolving doors. I’m not scared of getting trapped in one or anything, but I have definite ideas on personal space…which many other people appear not to share. The confined space of a revolving door compartment is a little too cosy to share with anyone I don’t know and like.

The entrance to my office has a revolving door, and I have a habit of pausing, then stepping in at the last possible moment so that nobody else can get in with me. I’m sure it annoys the crap out of people who are in a hurry to get in, but tough. MY space, people, MINE!

5. I grew up believing that I was a klutz, that I had no sporting talent at all, and that I just wasn’t cut out for anything physical. Somehow in my 40s I ditched those beliefs, got fit, became a personal trainer and took a side-trip into bodybuilding.

Turns out it was a lot more of a mental challenge, and less of a physical one. Who knew?

6. I’m struggling with number six. Everything I think of, I’ve already written about on my other blog. The 13 surgeries I’ve had, the archery tournament I won when I was 17, my deep and abiding love for chocolate, my lopsidedness, the fact that I’m a natural brunette, how I met the love of my life at age 19 and we’re still together…. What more is there to say?

Yes, that’s a cop-out. So sue me.

I'm not going to tag anyone else - I'm always afraid that somebody will be offended at being left out. But play along if you like!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Batten down the hatches!

I've just been outside and moved all my pot plants into the al fresco room, put away watering cans, brooms and so forth in the garage and made sure there's nothing loose lying around to be picked up by the ridiculous WINDS we're expecting tonight and tomorrow.

Hope the experts are wrong. I'm sick of this fire danger crap. And I need to water my garden tomorrow - doing that in a howling wind is no fun.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Times change

I was thinking about my grandmother this morning (long story - see my post about passionfruit on my Day 85 blog if you want to know why), and that got me thinking about her house. And THAT got me thinking about what a contrast MY very modern home is to the lovely old weatherboard Edwardian where Grandma lived.

The photo above is Grandma's actual house, but it was taken quite some time after her death, when the new owners had completed a beautiful extension and renovation. They added the second storey and completely changed the interior and rebuilt the back. But if I cover the top storey with my hand, this is exactly how I remember the place.

I always loved those double doors with the leadlight panels. And the timber-floored verandah was the stage for many childhood dance and drama productions. There was lily of the valley and baby's tears growing under the verandah steps, and roses along the front boundary. And of course, a thick green lawn.

I wonder what she would have thought of our place?