Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rainy day project

There's been no progress on the landscaping front, thanks to the appalling weather, so I had to think of something else to occupy myself. Since BBQ season is on its way (not that you'd know it today with the wind, rain, hail and freezing temperatures!), our outdoor furniture needed some attention before it was usable.

The table needed a sand and oil - no big deal really, just some time and effort. The chairs were another thing. I thought we might have to chuck them, they were looking so bad, but some thought, a tiny bit of skill and some hard work converted this:

to this:

The table looks as good as new. Now I just need the wind to stop blowing so I can sweep all the dust from the sander out of the al fresco room and tidy things up a bit.

They'll do us for a few more years now, I think. :o)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Relaxing? Not quite....

How did I spend my weekend? Let's see.....

I removed FOUR wheelbarrow loads of weeds from the back yard. We may not have finalised our landscaping plans, but knee-high weeds is not quite the look we're aiming for. This is the final two barrow-loads:

The charcoal pavers down the end? Those had to be moved from the nature strip to the back yard. Heavy buggers. The other stuff is leftover materials from the front yard landscaping - that'll be put to good use:

I weeded and reorganised my various pot plants - some are awaiting a new home, others (like the herbs) just need a sunny spot to sit:

I also threw out a few dead relics and emptied potting mix from the other billion pots I've accumulated. These are going back to the nursery for recycling:

And the blue pots are being donated to my mother (the colour doesn't go with the new house...). The terra cotta pots are surplus to requirement too, so they're up for grabs if anyone wants them:

I also washed every window we have, apart from the five removable sliding panes (flyscreens were in the way, that's a job for another day). I swept out the garage and the al fresco room, the front porch and pulled a few small weeds out of the front garden.

And I had nothing whatsoever to do with this, but Bike Boy is very happy with his new sink in the garage. Plans are afoot for a new, more compact home brewery setup than he used to have; one that'll fit along the back wall of the garage. We have some tiling to do yet, but at least it's usable in the meantime:

It's good to get some stuff done! Shame about the inside of the house. No time for cleaning in there....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Our newest addition

The front garden is now almost finished. Just a few border plants along one bed and it's done.

I knew when I designed the front for our free landscaping deal, that the plants being provided wouldn't be enough. If you have a big traditional lawn with narrow garden beds around it, 30 plants probably goes a long way. When you have NO lawn, even a small front yard takes some filling.

So today I did a head count. We got two trees and thirty other plants as part of our package. We've added four more trees - the mulberry and three Little Gems that (luckily) I happened to have received as a birthday gift before we moved in. We've also added thirty-nine more plants.

So if I deduct the four plants lost in the heat wave last summer, there are seventy-one plants in total in our front yard. No wonder it looks fairly well established. There are numerous houses nearby who've gone for the no-lawn option, but have still followed a design that pretends they do have a lawn: a big rectangle of mulch or pebbles, surrounded by narrow beds with the bare minimum plants and maybe a tree in the middle. Most of them look awful.

The ones that do look good are where the owners have put some real thought into the design and spent some time adding extra plants and maybe a feature of some kind.

You can't just chuck in half a dozen plants and expect to get an instantly "finished" look. You also don't have to spend a fortune - if you're prepared to hunt down some bargains, do a section at a time, and get your hands dirty digging and planting and fertilising, the result is pretty satisfying.


Thinking ahead, I have a small collection of plants for the back already - another Litte Gem, a few good-sized Agave Attenuata, some small Yuccas, ten Blue Fescue, a palm (forget what kind) and a lovely potted Cumquat that I've had for 20 years.

There's also a collection of shade-lovers that I'm not sure what to do with until we actually have some shade - a huge bird's nest fern, a staghorn, a large ginger and a couple of others. And my mother has been babysitting some gardenias and camellias for me since we moved from our old house two years ago.

By hook or by crook, next weekend I'm making a start on that back yard! My babies need a home, and my impatience is getting the better of me...

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Check out the comparison between March (or was it late Feb?) and September 2009:

It's great to see a bit of progress somewhere ....hopefully, some Spring growth will push things along a bit faster, but I'm pleased with the progress in just over six months. The only disappointments are the Strelizias (Bird of Paradise). I think the ones planted against the house don't get enough rain, and the one near the letterbox is a bit peeved at the frost and wind. I'll let them go over Summer and if they don't perform, they're gone.

I actually did a bit more planting in the front garden today. Moved a Magnolia "Little Gem" and added it to the row along the side boundary, planted a group of small groundcovers (forget the name and can't be bothered going out to check) in a blank spot and added some liriopes to another vacant spot.

Tomorrow we have a six-foot weeping mulberry tree to plant.