Friday, March 19, 2010


Here's a funny thing: numerous people have asked us whether we're going to enclose our alfresco room, with cafe blinds or windows or something. WTF? We have four (indoor) living rooms - why on earth would we want another?

The outdoors is exactly that - OUTDOORS. I know Melbourne's climate means that we won't get an enormous amount of use out of it throughout winter, but hey; that's life. And thinking about it, the covered deck at our old house got used probably nine months of the year. That was open on two sides; this has three sides enclosed, plus a fairly protected area immediately outside. And we have the gas patio heater....

I'm not one for hanging up blinds, putting down carpet (outdoor rugs? What is THAT about?) and sticking a bloody great plasma TV on the wall. I don't get it - why try to turn the outdoors into a clone of the indoors? Beats me.

I just want to sit out there with a drink in hand, maybe some music playing softly, and enjoy the sight of the garden, the sounds of birds and frogs, and comment, a la Darryl Kerrigan: "How's the serenity?"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

At last

I feel like it's finished. Even though it isn't quite....

Long time coming!!

Ignore the neighbour's house poking over the fence there - I haven't finished planting yet. That's going to become invisible soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Loving it!

I think I've barely been indoors for the past five or six days. Barbecued something is on the menu every night, because who wants to spend time in the kitchen when you can be out here in these beautiful surroundings?

We're making the most of the good weather while it lasts. Winter will be here soon enough. Bleurgh. Although.... then I can turn my attention back to furnishing and decorating the inside of the house.

I'm steadily working at the planting, and it's all coming along nicely. After tossing up between tiled feature, urn, garden art and other options, we've finally decided on a water feature for our bare bit of wall in the middle of the planter. We've even found a design that Bike Boy can DIY a copy of....we just have to agree on the materials. It's an Asian-influenced trickling spout, and if we ever get it done, it's going to be perfect.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Break in the weather

I'm beginning to ache all over and I suspect I'll be spending some quality time with my ice pack tonight, but I got heaps of planting done today. I've been out there most of the day, in spite of the 60kmh winds and a few showers.

I'm nowhere near finished, but here are a few pics anyway.

That's better! A much nicer view as you walk through from the front door:

I tried to get a photo of the view from the dining room window, but the camera kept focusing on the blinds. Next time, switch to manual focus, dummy!

The table and chairs had a brief outing in the sunshine, but thanks to the foul weather, they're back under cover for now:

This section of the planter box is done. At least as far as plants go:

I love how this area at the side is shaping up:

The back is mostly done. A few more things to go in, but it's looking good:

Tiger grass, Lomandra, Acoris:

A couple of yuccas, an agave and some echeverias. I may plant out the cacti too. Might need tongs for that job...

A few close-ups. Tiger grass:


Nandina "Nana":


Cordyline "Sundance":

And I've adopted a bonsai, a gift from my Mum. A gorgeous Nandina and (I think) blue sedge:

I'm still figuring out exactly what to put in the back corner and how to arrange it all. That might be a job for next weekend.

All I want now is a fine and warm weekend so we can spend some time enjoying our new outdoor space. Please?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tropical resort, anyone?

The vision is beginning to become reality:

Now I'm just impatient for the plants to grow!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

We made a friend!

Tonight I drove down to the local shopping centre to pick up The Middle Child from work, and The Baby decided to come along for the ride. On the way back, I was telling them about our froggy visitor last night, and as we turned into our estate, I thought we'd take a detour alongside the wetlands and listen out for gabonka frogs.

The boys really weren't into the idea (teenagers, ugh!), and The Baby was making pretend frog noises, trying to persuade me to give up and head home. Whatever...

When we got home, I was amazed to see a teeny-tiny froggie on the porch again. Did he make his way back, or is this another frog altogether? Whichever it is, I'm thinking it's a sign of a healthy ecosystem, and that we must have some frog-friendly plants in the front garden.

This time, I persuaded Bike Boy that he didn't need rescuing - he obviously likes some plants or insects in our garden and can find his own way back to the creek if he wants to. I also managed to grab the camera and get a pic, so here's the little feller:

He's only about 2cm long - to give you a bit of perspective, here's a shot of the decking. I would have circled him, but I don't seem to have any editing software after the last laptop rebuild... *sigh* If you look closely, you can see him - he's the light-coloured splotch near the corner of the bricks:

A froggy blog

I went shopping yesterday and now have plants galore! I was planning to spend today toiling, and post some photos of my "instant" garden tonight. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas, with thunderstorms and nasty high winds.

So instead, I'm blogging about..... frogs.

We have a creek at the end of our street, which has been mostly dry since we've been here. Except after rain, and even then it dries up into a chain of muddy puddles pretty quickly. But there's a permanently boggy area in the cow paddock round the corner, and over in the grandly-named wetlands, we have some big ponds too. Which is apparently water enough for the local frog population.

On my walks around the estate, I love to hear the frog calls. I never have any idea what kind they are, but the croaks and clicks always make me smile. One has a really funny call, that goes kind of like this:

Ga-bonk, ga-BONK.

So I named it the Gabonka frog, much to Bike Boy's amusement. (Remember this, I'll come back to it later)

Last night, I went out to pick my husband up from the station at 11:30pm (long story) and almost stepped on what I thought was a moth on the front porch, partly under the door. I closed the door and looked closer and realised it was actually a tiny stripey frog. When we got home, I warned Bike Boy not to step on the teeny weeny frog on the porch. He immediately decided that he had to rescue the little froggie and return it to its environment, right NOW.

I was then treated to the hilarious sight of my slightly beer-affected spouse chasing a frog around the porch at midnight. He did catch it eventually, and toddled off down the street, with Froggie cupped in his hands. He let it go on the creek bank and came home happy.

Today I decided to find out what kind of frog it was. Turns out it was a Clicking Froglet:

The Frogs Australia website is awesome - it even has audio of the calls of most frogs. So that got me thinking about my Gabonka frog..... which I found via his funny call:

....and here's the bloody hilarious part: one of this frog's common names is (wait for it)..... the Pobblebonk. POBBLEBONK????

And Bike Boy thought MY name for it was funny!

If you want to hear him ga-BONKing, go here, scroll down to the bit that says Call, and click on the audio link.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

All done

Planting still to go, outdoor dining table and chairs to be brought back from the garage, but apart from that, we're finished:

View along the side of the house....

And looking back the other way....

Ready for mondo grass....

My pet cumquat - had it for the past 20 years....

The G & T sipping area.....

BBB (Big Bastard Barbecue) in place....

Until we get a smallish Balinese daybed, this will have to do....

Looking along the back of the house....

Buddha seems happy....

I have an extra-long 5-day weekend coming up, so I think some plant shopping is in order.