Zucchini relish

Zucchini relish

Wrapping up my pickles series (part 1: green tomato mustard pickles and part 2: sweet fruit chutney and apricot jam), I did finish the zucchini relish. It was made from two thirds of a freakzoid zucchini, sections of which were also grilled on the barbie and added to a curry. It was a seriously large [...]

Sweet fruit chutney and dodgy apricot jam

Sweet fruit chutney and dodgy apricot jam

Here's Part 2 of today's New Year preserving extravaganza. Having turned unripe cherry tomatoes into green tomato mustard pickles (see Part 1), this evening I got stuck into the ripe tomatoes. Another idiot-proof recipe courtesy of The Australian Women's Weekly Cookbook of 1970. This was followed by a less successful attempt at apricot jam. Sweet [...]

New year pickles and chutney

New year pickles and chutney

'Tis the season for a glut of tomatoes, and at my place that means pickles and chutney. I have to confess that I am a very poor vegetable gardener, because I hardly ever water. And then if anything survives, I forget to harvest it. Hopeless. But I am quite good at growing cherry tomatoes, because [...]

Spring in the backyard, starring Paulownia ‘Powton Sapphire Dragon’

Spring in the backyard, starring Paulownia ‘Powton Sapphire Dragon’

I have to admit I'm not really that fussed about big spring flower displays - my aim is to have happy plants in summer and autumn, when we spend a lot of time outside. But there are some plants that just go off like firecrackers in spring, and the paulownia is definitely the star of [...]

New growth

New growth

One of the pleasures of going away for a few days (or weeks) is coming back to all the changes in the garden. Especially when it's spring, and we've had some rain, and everything is budding and sprouting all over the place. The lime tree is coming back to life! Cistus (rock rose) Corymbia 'Summer [...]

‘Tis the season for brutal pruning

‘Tis the season for brutal pruning

Well, I finally got my front path sorted, having managed to find some gravel: A few weeks back, I loaded up the green bins after doing the Big Cut-Back. The garden is looking pretty gappy, and I'm looking forward to the new spring growth. I'm also dealing with an unfortunate victim of the past summer [...]

Backyard playgrounds

Backyard playgrounds

I've been thinking about reworking the backyard a bit (or a lot, maybe) to make it more play-friendly for my kids. The space worked well when they were preschoolers. I resisted the traditional cubby house - kids seem to get bored with them fast, and I saw so many unused cubbies that were damp and [...]

Plumbago and Pokemon

Plumbago and Pokemon

Until my son was 6, he didn't like drawing at all. We were one of those families who brought home cereal box sculptures from kinder, never paintings. Then I told him about scientific illustration - looking at something and drawing it accurately, rather than imagining a scene. He sat down and drew the plumbago outside [...]

Lazy winter gardening

Lazy winter gardening

It's FREEZING today. Well, actually it's 10 degrees Celsius, which I know is really quite pathetic in the coldness stakes - I thought we must surely be in single digits. But hey, we did get a little sprinkling of teeny weeny hailstones earlier today, so it must be cold. Winter brings out the Martha Stewart [...]

My olowne day

My olowne day

The wind picked up last night and stripped the paulownia of most if its leaves. Lots of big, crunchy brown leaves underfoot; the air strangely mild and muggy. Less than a week till winter. Although the paulownia is spectacular in flower and lush during summer, I do enjoy its winter sillhouette against a grey sky. [...]

Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’

Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’

Another favourite - Salvia 'Indigo Spires'. This beauty grows as tall as 1.7m in my garden, though it's supposed to be 1.2m (do nurseries deliberately understate plant sizes so as not to disappoint?). I think I bought three plants to start with, but I've since taken cuttings and spread them around the garden. Four to [...]

Euphorbia rigida

Euphorbia rigida

Anything that thrives in my garden has got to be tough. I grew up in New South Wales and Darwin with the typical Australian misconception that Melbourne is cold and rainy... kind of a damp, English climate. SO wrong, of course. When I moved to Melbourne and started planning my garden, I learned that Sydney [...]

No more green shag pile

No more green shag pile

After the welcome autumn rain (and removal of the old weed mat due to an invasion of runner grass), my front path looked like a leafy flokati rug. This week, my mission is to restore it to a vision in white gravel. I don't like using herbicide - who knows what else I'll kill off [...]

Baby front garden

Baby front garden

Digging around (digitally speaking) in my old photo archives, I found this photo of my front garden in spring 2003 - about 6 to 18 months old for different areas of the garden. The shrubs so small... the iris leaves so green... the path so weed-free!

Backyard…background

Backyard…background

When we bought our house in late 2001, our backyard had a neat lawn, some newly planted federation daisies, and an eclectic collection of bits and pieces - a small sick apple tree, a few umbrella plants, lots of aggies and diosma, and a thicket of rampant ivy. Also a bare brick garage wall, a [...]