Tag Archives: nature

Glass Beach

29 May

What happens when people dispose of their waste in the most irresponsible way, try to clean it up, until it all gets a bit too hard, then when they can’t think of any other way to repair the damage, they close up and move on?  OK, maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but I’m filing this one under “what the hell were they thinking until it becomes wow that is just too spectacular for words”.

I am a beach glass collector.  I like to find it, feel it, decorate sandcastles with it and then leave it for the next person to enjoy.  I rarely take it home with me unless it is quite spectacular or the Drama Queen insists.  I love its smoothness, the way that time and energy have ground down all the sharp bits to make something soft and subtle.  I really like the blue ones, though they are really hard to find.

I think I would be in beach glass meltdown if I ever manage to visit Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California.  In the early part of the 20th century the residents of Fort Bragg disposed of their waste by hurling it off the cliffs onto the beach below.  No object was too big, too toxic or too much.  Household appliances, cars, trash all were tossed over the cliffs until the 1960’s when attempts were made to clean up the dump.  Despite clean up attempts, nothing could be done about the masses of glass that remained on the beach.  This is the result, a now protected altered beach landscape.

Pity it took such a gross act of human laziness to make something so beautiful.  What do you think?

Sam

images from digggsmeganpru,lee rentz

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Planting our babies

28 May

We had another clear sky sunny autumn weekend.  No rain to complain about, a bit of a chill in the air, but perfect weather for vegetable garden creation.  While we’re waiting out my garden design and construction procrastination phase, I’ve been creating little bits of gardens, filling in some gaps with herbs and vegetables, and the odd flower.  The rest of the time the garden is pretty well occupied by weeds and whatever opportunistic plant species decide they need a new home.  Without the rain (take a look here) I had no excuse left to put it off, it was time to find a permanent home for the Drama Queen’s seedlings.

While I always dream about gardening in style, the reality is that we put on the daggiest clothes we could find, collected our tools and equipment and hit the courtyard.  I had assembled my rag tag team of three.  Two of them wanted to be there, and the other one just wanted to avoid too much carnage.  The Daredevil got to put his new birthday garden tools to the test and the Drama Queen helped him while I got stuck into the hard work of turning the soil and preparing the beds, and Mr Perfect supervised to make sure that no one and nothing came to too much harm.

Before we started

We had built some trellises for the pea plants to trail over, and the Drama Queen was so proud of them when they actually stood up in the newly prepared beds.

Pea trellises are in

The Peas ready to plant on their new trellises

Small plants and small children are not always a great combination, but as the Daredevil bored of the fiddly work, the Drama Queen took over and started giving the plants names and calling them her “babies”.

The Drama Queen and Daredevil hard at work

Everything is in the ground

We planted three kinds of Peas – Sweet Peas, Snow Peas and normal peas, broccoli and gourds.  All the peas should do well, we had a pretty good result from the snow peas last winter, so I’m pretty optimistic.  The gourds already look like they’re about to jump out of their skin, so I’m hoping they don’t take over completely.  The broccoli I’m not so optimistic about.  We planted some last year, and it didn’t survive the insects or creatures who feasted on its new shoots, and to be honest we didn’t give it the most delicate planting into the ground – they were the last, and the attention span was waning.  Plus they probably should have been a little bit bigger before we put them in the ground, but you never know your luck in the big city, fingers are crossed.

Finished pea trellises

Sweet pea plants ready to take on their trellis

After a covering of sugar cane mulch and a drink of seaweed fertiliser, it was time to pack up, clean up and let our babies get used to their new home.

The Drama Queen and her dirty behind!

I checked on them today, and everything is still alive, the broccoli is even looking happy.  I’m looking forward to our harvest!

Sam

Friday Finds – Chelsea Fringe Festival

25 May

Everyone knows about the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, but did you know that this year there is a Chelsea Fringe festival running alongside the flower show?  Described as the flower show’s punkier upstart cousin, in their own words, “It’s all about harnessing and spreading some of the excitement and energy that fizzes around gardens and gardening.”

The fringe festival is highlighting more alternative garden themes such as guerrilla gardening, sustainability and art and poetry, and the events look intriguing.  Completely run by Volunteers, it’s inaugural year looks like a winner.  It seems to have a perfect balance of design, eco-warrier and food fun.  I know I’d be taking my munchkins down for a spot of seed bombing if I could!

The festival opened on 19 May and is running until 10 June, so if you’re after something a bit out of the box to do this weekend, and you’re in London or close by this is where I would be heading.  With so many events and activities, you’ll need to visit their website here.  There’s way too many for me to show them all, but here’s a selection.

Guerrilla gardening photography exhibition

Pothole gardening

Boot and shoe gardens in Don’t let the grass grow…move on

Floating Forest on the Grand Union Canal

Pimp your pavement

Edible Bus Stops

Bicycling Beer Garden – my favourite!

Anyone want to shout me a return ticket to London??

Sam

The rain washed away our garden!

24 May

Well, OK, there’s not much of a garden there to start with.  Every time we begin to think about making a good start something, and by that I mean rain, gets in the way.  Sydney had an exceptionally wet summer, and while we have made a start, a lot of the hard clearing stuff out kind of work is done, we haven’t quite gotten around to the fun constructing bit.  So really the rain has washed away our garden dreams!

The cleared front garden with makeshift pathway waiting for the new design to take shape… yes it’s still waiting!  Though we have mulched it to prevent weed growth.

the mountain of weeds and unwanted plants cleared out of the garden.

After we mulched this garden ready for the plants and new pavers it rained, rained some more and when we thought it had finished it kept right on raining.  Throw in there a hospital visit, a few birthdays, a bad back and a run of sniffles and the end result is that we still have a mulch garden without the schmick new pavers.

The Munchkins and I have propagated a whole lot of plants ready for our winter vegetable garden.  We have broccoli, snow peas, sweet peas and normal peas as well as gourds and strawberries.  They’re all ready to have a go at growing on their own in the big bad garden, but just as we had set aside today to make their new home, it has started raining.  After one of the driest Mays on record, the one day we want to go out and get out hands dirty it pours!  I had planned on blogging about our gardening successes for today, so damn you unpredictable weather patterns!

A plethora of peas

Beautiful broccoli

Gorgeous gourds

The seedlings are stacking up next to the pavers ready to go into the front yard, the 2 Kangaroo Paws that have been waiting way to long to let their roots run free and the tomato stakes that just completely missed their opportunity for last seasons tomatoes.  The Drama Queen has been so proud of them, she carefully planted them (check that out here) and has been watching them sprout and grow.  The Daredevil has been my chief watering can manager, and so far as a team we’ve done a good job.  We just need the weather to come to the party and not rain on our parade.

So far my gardening activities have added up to a lot of weed pulling, a bit tomato taming and a bucket full of thinking and planning, basically not much doing.

For this weekend, rain rain go away, its time our garden had a play!

Sam

Friday Finds – the growingest kids party

18 May

As you know, We’ve been putting together the Daredevil’s second birthday party for tomorrow, so I have been spending a bit of time trawling the interweb for kids party ideas.  I found one that I’m putting in the memory banks for when my munchkins are just a little bit older.  The Green Thumb Barbers Blog had the absolute best birthday party idea – “My first herb garden”.  I love the idea of teaching kids about growing their own in a fun party atmosphere.  I’ve borrowed a few of their photos to give you an idea of how fantastic it looks.  The best bit was that the kids were given food that could be made from things growing in their own garden which closed the food loop.  Check out the full story here.

Can’t wait until I can host one of these parties for my kids!

Sam

The cliffs of insanity

17 May

I love when landscapes, whether they be natural or designed, remind me of places from movies or books.  When we travelled the Great Ocean Road a few years ago this place reminded me of the Cliffs of Insanity, they were simply inconceivable!  I’m showing them today because that’s a bit like I feel with so much to do before the Daredevil’s party.

If you haven’t seen the Princess Bride, and have no idea what I’m talking about, what are you waiting for?

Sam

Climbing a mountain

15 May

I’m having a love / hate relationship with my post a day May idea.  I love writing my blog, I always have, but hate (well, probably not hate, but mild dislike) that I’ve tied myself to posting each day and thinking about what to post.  I’m sure that I’m going to be extremely proud when I’ve achieved the goal, but for now I’m starting to struggle a little.  It’s starting to feel a little bit like an uphill hike.  You start out fresh, excited, ready conquer the peak, but as the trek wears on your breath shortens, you need more  breaks and it feels like you’ll never make it.  The good news is I’m half way, so to mark the half way point I thought I’d show you my favourite mountains. Theoretically, the rest is downhill!

The weather in Sydney has been pretty chilly this week, apparently they’re starting to get their first snow down in the Mountains.  OK, so we’re in Australia and we don’t have really impressive mountains.  On a global scale they’re more like hills, and the fact that we get excited about skiing these tiny mountains with the smear of snow that we get is a bit comical to those of you who are more enhanced in the alpine stakes, but we love them.  The Snowy Mountains National Park which contains Australia’s highest peak – Mt Kosciuszko, is a fragile Australian Alpine ecosystem.  The Australian high country is characterised by the Snowy Gum which helps to give it it’s unique character.  It’s an area that I find extremely calm and peaceful whether it is covered in snow or spring wild flowers.

Hope you enjoy my downhill slide!  Hopefully we will get to take the Drama Queen and Daredevil to see their first snow this year.

Sam

Photos from Drawn Outdoors, http://www.godadgo.com.au and http://www.boardworld.com.au

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