Tag Archives: spring

Friday Finds – marking it

20 Apr

This week’s Friday Finds is brought to us by the wonderfully creative souls that you find on Etsy.  There is such a beautiful organic synergy between hand made crafty pursuits and gardening, and it’s no secret that I adore both of them.  As it is spring in the northern hemisphere, garden themes are trending a bit on Etsy, and while we can’t ship plants and seeds down under, we can import ourselves some of the handmade goodies.  I love to browse on Etsy, partly for inspiration, partly for admiration and partly for aspiration.  I love supporting hand made as much as I love creating it.  Please enjoy these plant markers as much as I am enjoying finding them for you…

Swirl plant marker from metalgardenart

Fan shaped garden markers from cynthiavardhan

ceramic vegetable markers from fromArtisanHands

Natural stone markers from sjengraving

Repurposed knife garden markers from Revisions

Searching through the plant markers was inspiration enough for The Drama Queen and I to get out and sow some seeds, though without the time or patience to wait for some beautiful Etsy markers, we fashioned our own out of foam, paddle pop sticks and sticky tape – what do you think????

Have a lovely weekend, hope I’ve sowed a few seeds of inspiration!

Sam

Floral interlude

19 Oct

I’ve found myself taking a lot of photos of flowers lately, and thought I would share a few with you – I love spring!!!

Ahhhh… so pretty!

Sam

Spring cleaning… the outdoors edition

21 Sep

Yes, it is Spring finally.  What do you need to do to make sure your garden is gorgeous? You will want to spend hours in it, but those hours shouldn’t be spent working and sweating, they should be spent enjoying and having fun.  It’s not much fun when all you can see are the things that need to be done, so here are five tips for spring “cleaning” your garden.

Don't let your garden get the better of you this spring! Image from http://www.24x7photography.com/2011/01/06/zombie-garden-sculpture/

1. Does your design do it for you? – Does your garden design work for you? Is everything in the right place and do you have the right structure for your garden.  Do you have a design or  plan, or is it all a bit ad-hoc?  A well designed space will provide you with hours of outdoor pleasure!  Do you have too much garden space?  Do you need so much lawn? Is the paving in the right place, do you need an extra path, could you tweek the levels a bit?  So many questions, but it pays to ask them.  You can do this yourself or pay a professional like me!  Check out Drawn Outdoors at your place for details.  Once you have a design that suits you, the time and resources you have available, and the activities you need, your garden might seem to almost take care of itself!  Here’s a Drawn Outdoors original I sketched up for my Mum a few years ago!

Mum's garden designed for her birthday a few years back.

2. Clean the floor – your hard surfaces need a little TLC too.  Whether you have a great deck, paving, gravel or just a concrete path, each of these does need a different treatment to keep them looking good and safe to use.  Winter tends to create a bit of moss and algae growth, so a bit of a clean and scrub will bring your hard surfaces back to a springtime state (we’re about to give our poor pathways a bit of love).  Don’t forget that decks love a little lick of oil, stain or varnish (depending on how you’ve finished them).  Gravel needs to be raked and topped up every now and again, and if your concrete really is looking a little worse for wear you can always give it a splash of textured paving paint – just check the slip factor first before you apply.  With your hard surfaces looking clean you’re halfway there.  And if you’re not so inclined to be a bit DIY, there are plenty of handymen out there who can take care of this for you!

3. Rip it out, cut it up – You don’t need to keep all of your plants forever, and they are OK if they lose a couple of limbs now and again.  One mistake people make is not being able to let go of plants that have reached their used by date or have just gotten a little too big for their space.  Have a good look, take stock and heave a huge breath then get out your secateurs or pruning saws.  Let rip – clean it out, keep what you love, get rid of stuff that’s taking over, or you just aren’t too keen on.  It’s OK, your garden will thank you for it.  Make room for the plants that you’re keeping to grow or the new plants to thrive.

4. Spread a little love – This comes in two forms – food and clothes (what the?).  Give your garden some food.  Spread a bit of fertilizer, dish out the compost.  You know you love it when someone gives you a box of chocolates, give your garden the same love.  The other thing your garden will love is a nice new layer of mulch.  This is the equivalent of a brand new spring wardrobe.  You’ll be surprised at how much difference a layer of mulch can make to your garden.  A basic leaf mulch will do the trick, though the more decorative eucalyptus and pine bark mulches look fantastic.

5. Style it up –   Add the right furniture, a bit of bling, some pots and a touch of colour and you might just transform your garden into an irresistible and inviting outdoor room.  Everyone has their own taste and style.  You can make it rustic and build your own furniture out of recycled materials or go for something in a sleek stainless steel finish.  Whatever you do make sure it can withstand the elements.  There’s no joy in hauling furniture in and out of storage each time you want to use it.  Here’s some inspiration…

Colour can be so much fun in the garden, give it a try. Image from http://rhsblog.co.uk/category/anewgarden/

Maybe you just need one key piece of furniture. Image from http://www.cankulagi.com/2011/04/08/beautiful-outdoor-furniture-design-2/

Whatever it is you need to change, add or just spring clean, make it fun and enjoy!

Sam

Let’s go fly a kite…

12 Sep

For a 3 year old with a minor Mary Poppins infatuation, the Festival of the Winds at Bondi was like a little piece of Mary Poppins by the sea on a huge scale.  After listening to lets go fly a kite about a dozen times on the drive to Bondi (yes, I’m so glad I purchased that CD!!) we were well and truly in the kite flying mood.

Through the sea of kites and sunshine on tap, smiles radiated from every face at Bondi on Sunday.  What a way to spend a sunny spring day in Sydney!

The best part bout seeing all those kites, is knowing there is someone holding onto the string with a little bit of grit, a little bit of determination and a whole lot of happy!

Sam

Weeding it out take 2

24 Aug

So much can happen in such a small amount of time.  It feels like yesterday I was telling you all about the massive effort the Gardeners had made clearing the common gardens in our complex of some very nasty weeds.  If you missed it, catch it here.  And then we bade farewell to our Bangalow Palms. If you missed that one, it’s here.

When the Bangalows bit the dust, the arborists also removed some Cotton Palms and de-fruited and de-fronded a heap of Cocos Palms (almost 50!).  They were here for ages. Then the next day the gardeners came back and finished mulching the gardens and removed a few more weeds.  The complex looks like it’s had a mini make-over just from the quick tidy up.

There’s nothing like seeing someone else doing the hard work for you to give you a small case of the guilts and motivate you into action.

We are guilty of having one of the worst and weediest front gardens in the complex.  It can only be described in one word – appalling.  It has suffered from years and years of complete and utter neglect.  We are partly guilty for this.  While we rented out the place, we didn’t pay any attention to the gardens, and neither, it seems, did the tenants.  Theoretically the gardens should be maintained as part of the strata maintenance regime, but as I’ve pointed out before, there hasn’t been enough of that going on either!  So, let me share our guilt and shame…

This is the weedy unkempt garden that greets our visitors!

So, with a whiff of spring in the air, a growing case of the guilts and massive sense of shame, we got stuck into the front gardens.  This was our Saturday job.  After Mr Perfect made a mercy dash to Bunnings to get some heavy duty garden tools (a shovel and a mattock) we rallied the troops (The Drama Queen and Daredevil) and set to work.  The troops really weren’t much help, and Mr Perfect took on the role of troop wrangler while I got stuck in.

There was so much wrong with what was there.  Mountains of fishbone ferns, Kikuyu, thorny Gleditsia suckers, overgrown and unruly Dietes, and weeds I couldn’t even name.  The stepping stones that Mr Perfect had put in when we first moved in (only to provide a safe pathway) were crooked and didn’t quite fit.  There was rubbish, timber, bricks, rocks, and we even found a service pit we didn’t know was there!

It really didn’t take as long as I thought it would, and after a break for lunch and putting the Daredevil to bed, we managed to clear out half the garden.  The other half has to wait for a couple of weeks until our green bin gets emptied.

The best bit is we were able to realign the stepping stones and widen the pathway a bit by recycling the timber and bricks we found in the garden.  This will do until I manage to put together a better design, and it’s much safer for the Daredevil to navigate!

Unfortunately I think we’re living with the mantra of “it’s got to get worse before it gets better” because while the weeds and palms are gone, I wouldn’t exactly say we have an award winning landscape yet!  Check it out…

Eeeek! At least it's less a LOT of weeds, but there's still so much to do!

...and after the stump grinder, the back is looking a little worse for wear. Only 3 of the Drama Queen's Snow Peas survived, and none of the Broccoli

At least she has some back ups ready to go!

At least we’ve made a start, and I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it’s time to get cracking!

Sam

Spring, it’s so close I can smell it.

10 Aug

I feel like I’m starting to thaw, that my little soul is starting to sprout little green shoots ready to spread in spring.  I’m not a winter person, and would much prefer to bunker down in June and re-emerge after a winter hibernation at the end of August to watch the flowers bloom and the bright green new growth sprouting.  Now that we are finally at the green and flowery end of winter I can feel the crankys lifting and my step is getting a little lighter, and there’s definitely a fresher, lighter smell in the air.

We haven’t had a great winter in Sydney, and health wise we have suffered EVERY winter kiddie illness you can think of, The Daredevil is currently on antibiotics for a particularly nasty ear infection.  The first few signs of spring emerging have been a welcome change.

Mr Perfect had a day off on Monday, and it was a beautiful late winter day.  The sun was shining, the skies were blue.  It was t-shirt weather.  The last few days that he has had off we’ve spent organising, unpacking, tidying and sorting – not something that is incredibly exciting or enjoyable, but I was expecting a bit of the same on Monday.  I was pleasantly surprised when he headed down to the garage, fished out the baby backpack and suggested a walk through the bushland behind our place.

Mr Perfect and the Daredevil on our bushwalk

It was soul warming.  Mr Perfect hadn’t ventured out for a bushwalk before, the rain had hampered any attempt he had made.  He enjoyed it despite opting for the short way home (I think the backpack may have outstayed its welcome!).  I think there will be a few more bushwalking forays, how can we miss the opportunity when it’s on our back doorstep?

The best bit – the wildflowers are starting to bloom – a sure sign that the thaw is on.

Only 3 weeks until spring and I can’t wait!

Sam

Weekend party time

24 Jun

It’s going to be a party kind of weekend around here.  The Drama Queen is heading out to her first real “school” friends birthday party, every other party has been a relative or friend of the family, so this one is just a little bit exciting for her.  Mr Perfect and I are also headed out to a party.  We’re on different ends of the spectrum, The Drama Queen will be celebrating a very auspicious 4th birthday, while we will be partying down for a major 4-0 milestone.  Both will be equally loud, probably silly and definitely heaps of fun.

Unfortunately we are in the midst of a very chilly Sydney winter, so we probably won’t be enjoying much of a garden party, though it is something that I would like to design for in our courtyard. Garden parties in spring and summer are a perfect way to enjoy the outdoors, friends and family and good food and wine.  They are perfect for little girl’s birthdays and also for the big kids!

To ensure your garden space is party ready in spring, there’s a few key components that should be included to make sure you have the space and the setting right.

Space – you need to leave enough room to set out some picnic blankets or garden tables.  This doesn’t have to be lawn, unfortunately not all of us have the space to afford a lawn, or the time to maintain it!  It can be paving or concrete, but you need enough room to both sit down and move around.

Shade – is really nice to have in summer and the warmer spring days.  You can get this through trees or structures, but if you don’t have the opportunity to provide permanent shade, don’t dismay, there are some great ways of creating temporary shade.  Gazebos, tents or just fabric strung up between trees or poles, can create fantastic atmosphere.

A tent made from patchwork scarves - spectacular! from http://douglasandhope.blogspot.com/

Personality – bright, subdued, formal, fluid, your garden reflects your style, and so should your parties.  You can dress up a garden into a party space if you have the basic bare bones.  It is fantastic to have the ability to string bunting, shade, lights or other decorations.  Garden beds can house decoration and lights, and tables or picnic blankets provide opportunity to really set the scene.

Light – remember if you want to continue into the night you need to allow for electric or candle light to be provided.  This could mean that you need electricity connection to be provided.

Most of all you needs the friends and family to give the party heart!

Sam

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