Saturday, 21 April 2018

27 Feb to 3 Mar 2018

The next day (25th) I decided to do other things and have a bit of a rest day and the following day it was raining. The only thing I made a decision on was to start putting the chooks back in their coop each night. They had taken to roosting in the trees over the patio and that leaves a lot of chook droppings all over the patio. Good for the garden but not so much for sitting up there!

On the 27th I popped into the local garden centre and bought a few packets of seed and some Iceberg lettuce seedlings.


I'm going to try growing the tomatoes in the greenhouse. Not really the time of year to be starting them off but I'll see what happens.

Later in the day I dug over garden 7 and put the large frame over it. It needs a few repairs so hopefully Boar will be happy to do them. Before I went to bed I soaked the lupin seeds ready for sowing in the morning.


A few days later we went to Bunnings and I bought quite a few more packets of seed. The basil to go in the greenhouse, the heartsease in a pot outside the front, the cottage garden mix in another pot, marigolds for the garden beds as a companion plant and the wildflower mix to go right up the back. I'll need to fence the area off from the chooks though.

No notes for the 1st of March but on the 2nd March I watered the Lupin seeds. I was given a drying flower of renga renga by C next door. I've wanted some for ages so later in the day I shook all the seed out and collected it in a small jar. There must be hundreds of seeds, way more than I need but they don't usually all sprout.  


My mission for 3rd March was to reclaim the compost bin. It was well hidden by a hebe. This self-seeded as they all have. It took me some time but after an hour or so I managed to get it out.


Quite a good sized trunk, which will become firewood! The root system is fascinating too, all those wee feeder roots!

I also cleared around the peach tree, which actually had a peach on it. Just a small one but one never-the-less. I pruned it a bit, just the dead wood and need to do a bit more. I also put a layer of grass as mulch.

According to my notes I bought a bag of Lupin seeds from Bunnings as well as 2 seed trays and some Freesia bulbs! The problem with not writing straight away is that I forget, especially if I don't write notes down in my wee book at the time.

Checking the Lupin seeds I sowed on 28th Feb they are sprouting already! The next lot I may sow without soaking to see how long it takes for them to sprout.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

24 Feb 2018

The next day I finished clearing this garden bed and felt a small sense of victory! Weeds: 0 - Me: 1      😀  I also got the path between the two gardens cleared as well. When I got to the end near the steps I spied a bit of green so started tugging at it. It was well covered by earth and grass had grown over it but in the end I got it free. Lo and behold a perfectly serviceable price of windbreak fabric! I got most of the dirt off by shaking it. It is 2 - 3 metres in length, and in the photo you can see it folded up near the right front corner by the steps. For now it is spread out in the greenhouse on the unused garden bed. I'll give it a hose off one day soon . . . or more likely put it out on the patio area on a rainy day and let nature wash it!


I remembered when I made the garden steps waaay back I built a couple of small ones from near the main set of steps to the gardens we first built. There was grass covering them however I was able to locate them and free them of the grass. All the steps make it a lot easier to get around the section. They all need some attention though as I've noticed most of the steel reinforcing rods are poking up above the wooden fronts . . . just waiting to catch toes unawares! Time to replace the wood I think. They have been there for years after all . . . since 2003 according to my garden diary!


In the next photo the hens nesting box is in the lower left corner. Just behind it is the first garden we ever built and retained. It is now bulging out at the front though so needs something done to it. There are tyres with potatoes growing in them and a slightly munted flower windmill which I shall soon replace as it brings a smile to my face when I see it twirling in the breeze 😀


Boar has mentioned building another greenhouse on this site. At first I wasn't too keen but now I think it's a great idea. When I mentioned it the other day he was a bit more cautious about the idea so I shall leave the idea with him and see what happens.

Top left of the photo is a peach tree grown from a seedling. Pa grew it from a peach pit from the tree at his place. Braveheart discovered a lone peach on it yesterday so there is hope for it yet! The grass has grown up around it, and honeysuckle vine and convolvulus both do their best to strangle it  😟

Top middle of the photo is yet another Hebe shrub! It is self-seeded like all the rest. If you look closely you can see a dark patch in the gap . . . which is a compost bin hidden by the Hebe. So the Hebe will be going for two reasons. #1 - I want to be able to access the compost bin again. #2 - If we do build another greenhouse the Hebe is in the way. The bees like the Hebes but I shall grow some other plants and flowers to attract bees.

Late in the afternoon our neighbour, D, gave me some lupin seed. He had mentioned it as a nitrogen fixing crop the other day and I'd said it was something I would like to do. It is very timely as I will sow it on the garden bed I just cleared.

Today I remembered another reason I often found it a challenge to get up to the garden for any length of time. Soon after I got my boots on and got up the back to do some clearing I heard wee voices, at first happy but then squabbling, sometimes crying . . . the usual things that seem to happen when a few children of similar age are together. "That's right!" I thought to myself. "I remember getting all the way up the back, not being there very long and having to go back down to sort out squabbles, fights, feed young children, have willing helpers disappear after a very short time etc." The difference today was that they weren't my responsibility - they were their parent's! So I was able to carry on and spend a couple of hours up the back. When I'm the only one looking after any/some of the grandchildren I might get a little bit done, depending on what else is happening at the time.

I remember chatting with my late mother-in-law around 25 years ago and sharing how lovely I thought her garden was and wishing I could get mine looking better. She thanked me and then quietly said that her garden had not looked as it did now when her children were young - they used to dig roads for their toy cars in it! Her comment has always stayed with me and given me hope that eventually I will get on top of it - it just takes time.  😊


Monday, 5 March 2018

23 Feb 2018

It's so easy to get a bit behind . . . Hopefully I'll catch up a bit this week. Although it has taken me a few days to write this post so we shall see!

The 23rd Feb was last Friday and a special day for Sunshine who turned  years old! Sunshine loves unicorns!


We all went to her party at home, a family dinner, hosted by Moneypenny and A-M Prof. It was a lovely time. Spending time with the grandchildren is always special. I had cuddles with Blossom as I walked her in the baby carrier. At nine months old she is a bit heavy for me to just carry in my arms. She was tired and I was able to get her off to sleep for a while.

Earlier in the day I went to my Life group and when I got home I found Braveheart, Halfpint and Battler had come over. Frosty got busy with the weedeater and later Braveheart got stuck in as well. It was great as they got a lot of the backyard mowed which means it looks quite a bit tidier  😁

While Frosty was busy further up the back I got busy picking up all the fennel I'd cut down a couple of days ago. I filled a whole chook feed sack!


A number of years ago Boar brought home some old ceramic stormwater pipes and dug them in as garden features. There was one that had a sycamore growing out of it and Braveheart managed to get that one out . . . after removing the pipe from the ground! Another one had a clump of grass in it and I managed to get it out without removing the pipe from the ground.


The roots had found their way all the way to the bottom of the pipe!


I think I'll plant some herbs or a creeper type plants in the pots. Something useful and pretty to look at.

The next challenge was to clear one of the gardens. In the photo below there are two gardens. The windbreak and wood sticking up in the air is actually a taller frame we built quite a number of years ago. Underneath it is one of the shorter frames. They are both on the higher of the two gardens. The one I began clearing is below it . . . yup, the one with all the blackberry, long grass and weeds etc! According to my old garden diary notes it is garden number seven.


I pottered away, after putting on my leather gloves because blackberry = thorns. Over about an hour I had cleared half to two-thirds of the garden bed. It was made a lot easier as the grass had been mowed in front of the garden. Before this it would have been quite high, nearly the height of the garden, if not higher! There is still a clump of fennel in the corner of the garden, well the stalks have been cut off. It will get dug out.


I cut up all the blackberry stems and for now have put them under the seat so no young children stand on them. They run up the back barefoot so thorns in feet would not be a good thing!


That was it for that day! A good day where quite a lot was done. The party at the end of the day was a lovely way to finish the day  😊


Saturday, 3 March 2018

22 Feb 2018

Here is a photo of one of the weeds the day after having salt applied. It's already starting to wither.


The ivy below has a few spots of burnt edges, but I suspect will need multiple applications. I may end up just pulling it all out!


Today the one thing I wanted to do was to cut down the Hebe by the trampoline. I know the flowers are good for the bees . . . but there are a few that have grown in places where they're in the way. The one below has grown out over the trampoline which is not helpful for the grandchildren who want to jump on it!


In the photo below you can see how the trunk is growing over the step Boar made for the children (ours!) to climb onto the trampoline.


One of the girls came to see what I was doing. They are pretty tame. We only have the two now . . . maybe time to get a few more.


The hebe took me only around 10 minutes to cut down with the pruning saw. It looks clearer now  😁


Later in the afternoon I was looking after Mr Magoo, who turns 5 soon, and I suggested we go up to the trampoline. He jumped happily while I cut down the other Hebe beside the trampoline.


Again it's in the way and will only get bigger. They self-seed really easily . . . At least they seem to on our place!


A lot clearer 😀 Now there's only the honeysuckle, gorse, blackberry, convolvulus, wandering willy and long grass to get control of!


I get a lot of pleasure from these wild flowers I planted late December. It was a wildflower mix and once they took off they grew quite quickly.

Today was one of those days where I was reminded why the place gets so wild and overgrown. It's what I call "an in & out day." In other words I seem to be going here, there & everywhere most of the day meaning getting up to the garden can be a real challenge! I got done what I wanted to though so was happy about that.

This is the first post I've done partly on my phone. We are down to one computer - my laptop. So I need to share it with Boar, which means he uses it in the evening. If I want to keep up with my blog posts I need to use some evening time too. So time to get used to doing it on my phone. As long as I load the photos during the day it works out well 🙌


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

21 Feb 2018

It's been a few days since I got back to writing a post. The morning of the 21st February I salted the patio and the brick path. The patio I did after I'd hung out some washing.


I took a couple of photos before I did the job of salting the path. These are the lower few steps.


These are the rest of them and as you can see they are rather overgrown!  First job was to cut down all the fennel so I could actually apply the salt.


A little less wild in this photo, and the salt has been liberally sprinkled.

The other thing I did was to make up a weedkiller. Similar to the one I used in October but this one has salt added as well. The link is here. I sprayed all the weeds and ivy at the back of the patio and under the wooden steps.


Then I scooped up all the chicken poo and leaves that had accumulated under where the chickens roost at night. I've started putting them away in their coop each night so that the area will stay cleaner.


The other thing I did was pick up a whole lot of Karaka berries as they drop about this time of year.



Saturday, 24 February 2018

It's nearly the end of February . . . already!

It seems as though not much time has gone by . . . until I see the date of my last post! Then I realise 4 months have sped by.

Christmas and New Year have come and gone. We've been away camping, come home and then Locket and I took Brains back up to Auckland. He was best man at his best friend's wedding at the beginning of February, and soon begins his second year at Unitec. We stayed with E & E at Waihi Beach for a couple of days as well and it was great to catch up with cuzzies too. Especially T & C who were over from Old Blighty (England!).

Late last year I was chatting with our lovely neighbour about plants and discovered she had some Chatham Island Forget-me-nots. C said she was dividing them and when I commented that I was wanting to grow some she offered to bring me some. They were quite wee and fragile, so I carefully potted them up and they took off pretty well.

I was checking on them early in January and noticed a fair bit of one leaf was gone . . . then the next day the entire leaf had been eaten!


Not so easy to tell from this angle . . .they're looking pretty healthy.


There it is, the telltale sign! The leaf eaten leaving just the stalk! A hunt was made and on the underside of another leaf I found the very hungry caterpillar!


A good size, and I found a new home for it on a nasturtium leaf. I do not know if it eats nasturtiums, but I figured it was a good place, and it would hopefully find the food it liked if it didn't eat nasturtiums!


Alas, alack, the patio has grown a good crop of weeds. They need to be dealt to. Most likely they will get a liberal sprinkling of salt.

Time marched on and the weeds and grass grew prolifically. I hadn't been up the back much since October and when I ventured up there on Tuesday of this week I found it more of a wilderness than ever. To the point that it was quite overwhelming!

Since there is a whole lot to do to get it under control I decided to try and commit an hour a day to the outdoor areas. Why an hour? I have seen 15 minutes suggested, or even 30 minutes. The problem with that is by the time I've got changed into older clothes, put my boots on and gone up the back I'd rather stay a reasonable time. Partly because to get up to the greenhouse area is 20 plus steps for a start. If I go right up the back it's another 30 plus steps.

Once I've got on top of the outdoor areas I might get away with 15 minutes of maintenance in an area but for now an hour gives a decent length of time to show some results.

On Tuesday I popped into the greenhouse and decided I'd just try and clear the right hand side bed. Which has never really been utilised much.


I started and this is when I've done a tiny bit . . . and then remembered to take some photos! It's a good record for me to keep as I can see what I've done, which encourages me.


This is what the rest of it looks like! Weeds, ferns, a bit of potting mix in a bag and lots of rubbish! The blue bin holds the chook pellets.



A different view to show how well the ferns grow . . . but unforutnately for them they're not where I want them to be. The black netting is used over the garden beds to keep the chooks off the gardens when I actually grow veges.


And here it is around an hour later! I potter, work sedately and steadily. This soil is pretty compacted though and needs a good dig over. It was raining while I was doing this and it was quite lovely to be pottering away in the greenhouse with the rain falling on the roof.

It had been raining the night before and the water tank outside the greenhouse was full to overflowing. So I decided to use some of the water and liberally watered this side of the garden. The tank filled up again fairly quickly.


The other side, which I hadn't had to do anything to. Looking from the left: under the basket is a bucket full of rain water. I covered it to keep bugs out and I'll most likely tip it on the garden soon. Next the chook bin and watering can. The sacks are old chook pellet ones and they're quite handy for putting stuff in. The one with the red top holds all the rubbish I found, the other one has all the weeds and vegetation I wanted to get rid of.


A view of the other end.


The other end on the other side.

Now to decide what to grow! Watch this space  😀

Thursday, 19 October 2017

A few minutes in the garden

Today I spent a few minutes in the wilderness garden. It's a lovely sunny day here today. Spring, and the grass is growing wild!

I was hanging out some washing and noticed the lilies are back! I've been wanting to try and eradicate them for years. They just take over. I want to use something organic so went searching on google. I found this site which had a homemade weedkiller. Just what I wanted. I even had some white vinegar in the cupboard, only 4% but I figured it is better than nothing. So I put it in a bottle and grated some sunlight soap up then mixed it with water for the soap element. Then I found an old paintbrush and off I went.


These are what I am hoping to get rid of over time, the bright green lily leaves, which do produce flowers. It's not the usual Arum Lily though, I do know that much. These are near the washing line. I painted as many leaves as I could reach. 
 

These ones are further up the steps and have nearly taken over this garden. It is what they do very well. They have bulbs and just seem to multiply so quickly. It is really hard to get out all the bulblets and they grow pretty deep. We've had them take over a number of garden patches.


Another view of the same place. When its not the lilies it is the nasturtiums, or the grass. I have ideas but attempting to keep on top of it can pretty difficult! So I did as much of this bit as I could reach too, until I ran out of vinegar solution. We shall see what happens.

I have tried to find out in the past what this lily is, even taking a leaf down to a garden centre. Today I believe I may have found out. It finally occurred to me to hunt on google!

Source
I believe it is this plant, Arum maculatum. From memory this is what the spathes look like. It is also called Lords and Ladies plus various other names.

I'll try to take a photo a day and see what happens. Plus get some more white vinegar so I can paint them again repeatedly. This will be an ongoing thing I am sure!

I know gardeners say little and often keeps the garden under control. I'm sure it does. It's the getting-it-under-contol bit that I need to work on. Though I guess the same thing applies. So much to do.

Last year - March 2016 - we created this paved area around the washing line. Something I'd been wanting to do for quite a few years. Otherwise the grass grows so long in spring the towels are brushing up against the longest spikes. We grow grass and weeds very well!

 What we got done the first day.




The pile of bricks down by the woodpile


Me, showing my amazing strength carrying 3 bricks up at once 😜

From by the woodpile . . . up the path . . .

Up the rest of the path  . . . then the steps . . . and someone snapped a pic later when I carried only two! Me, in all my gardening glory!

More progress the next weekend

Just a bit to go

Boar creating a wall at the back to finish it off. 

The large square paving slabs are what were set in the grass to get to the washing line before. The upside-down table is right way up and back in it's place by the washing line. Boar made it, possibly over 20 years ago, so I could put the wash basket it on it and not have to bend up and down all the time. It was also used by small children to help peg up washing. And, of course, it made a place for the children to stand on and swing around on the rotary line 😵

As well as sorting the lilies out I need to tidy up the paved area, by which I mean pull out the grass, small weeds etc that have grown over winter. Refer back to the first photo if you want to see what I mean!

Must be time for a wander around the garden. It usually gives me inspiration as the weather warms up and the sun comes out.