Saturday, November 19, 2011

Horticultural happenings

Having been away for a few weeks, I was itching to get out into the garden this weekend to take care of some overdue tasks. The weeds have gone feral while we were away, a whole bunch of plants need pruning or light trimming or something, plus I want to deal with a snail plague and a minor case of scale on the citrus before it gets out of hand.

Of course, the weather has turned absolutely vile and I have no hope of doing any of it today. Instead, I'm stuck indoors thanks to violent storms. Luckily, I managed to chuck some snail pellets around on Thursday night. The rain we've had since has brought all the little snails and slugs out to play, and they've been enjoying the "treats" I left for them. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than the sight of a bunch of dead snails:

Our fejioas have put on phenomenal growth while we've been away, and all four have burst into flower.

Let's hope we get a slightly bigger crop than last year's....

In other news around the garden, I'm finding I've made a few bad decisions when it comes to plant placement. These kangaroo paws have quite tall flowers, and tend to hang out over the path. After heavy rain such as we've had the past couple of days, they like to have a little lie down...

The bed along the rear wall of the house is really narrow, so I'll be moving them to a wider spot and replacing them with a dwarf variety, I have a couple of those further along the wall, and they don't get in the way of pedestrians at all. Live and learn...

Whilst a lot of our plants are still coming out of their winter shabby-ugly stage, the good old cannas are already putting on a spectacular show. These are outside the dining room window, and just gorgeous:

Tomorrow I have to take care of that scale and the weeds (should be easy after the rain), do a little pruning, and go around the garden taking note of the other jobs that need doing. We need to oil the deck and merbau screens before summer and give the bamboo screens a coat of sealer, but I'm sure there's a lot more to be done.

Once we have the (slightly late) spring maintenance out of the way, we can relax and enjoy summer in our outdoor "rooms".

Saturday, November 12, 2011

There's no place like home

We arrived home yesterday from a lovely two-week holiday in Thailand. We saw some amazing sights, ate fabulous food and spent almost half of our time there lazing around in the paradise on earth that is Krabi.

Ao Phra Nang, Krabi - a photographer's paradise, just a short walk from our hotel

In spite of having had a wonderful time, I'm happy to be home, and feeling grateful for many things, such as:

- The absence of smelly drains
- The relative peace and quiet of my neighbourhood (apart from that damn dog barking from over the back fence!)
- The lack of humidity. I truly love Melbourne's mostly dry summer...
- The order and tidiness of the streetscape around here. No rubbish, no piles of sandbags, no broken-up footpaths or drain covers, no mould covering buildings, no cars, motorbikes and street vendors parked all over pedestrian thoroughfares.

I think I even missed the noisy clamour of the cockatoos and corellas squawking every morning and evening.

We're not holiday shopaholics, and were on a reasonably tight budget, but we did pick up a few pretty things to decorate the house, including:

Silk fabric, Chiang Mai
Hand-painted silk cushion covers, Chiang Mai
Block prints on rice paper, Bangkok
Hill Tribe silver necklace, Chiang Mai
I won't be wearing the necklace - although it's beautiful, my preferred style in jewellery is far more delicate. Instead, I plan to mount it on black fabric, frame it and hang it on the wall. I've seen similar framed pieces for sale here, priced at around $700. I paid 250 baht (less than $8) for this, and if I DIY the framing, total cost should be under $50.

I also picked up a few ideas for furniture and decorative accents. Unfortunately, carting home heavy teak furniture was a no-no. The shipping costs were a bit high, and the fumigation process to satisfy our quarantine laws cost as much again. But I'll be keeping an eye out on eBay and cheap import shops for things with the right "feel".

It might take me a while to get our souvenirs sorted, but I'll post some updates along the way.