Tag Archives: summer

Farewell to summer

16 Mar


If that was summer, well, I’d like my money back! We just spent the weekend down the coast, and while we did get out to the beach and have some surf and sandcastle fun, at night we were all gathered around the open fire, and autumn’s only just started.

Just when we were grateful that the drought was over, we’re kind of wishing it would come back. After the wettest and coolest summer Sydney has had for a very long time, you probably haven’t taken much time to enjoy what the great outdoors has to offer or to make the most of your own garden space. I think it’s time to cut our losses, look forward to next spring and summer and make like a boy scout and “be prepared”. If you’re like us, you haven’t had either the opportunity or inclination to spend too much time in a very muddy garden, and when you have ventured out there, the weeds are starting to reach triffid proportions, and they are just a bit too scary to attack. It’s time to take back control!

Here are my top 5 farewell to summer garden jobs to get you going.

1. Chop it up
Plants love a good haircut. Your trees, shrubs and even some of your perennials will love having a bit of a prune, re-shape and also spreading out. Autumn is the perfect time to give your deciduous trees a prune before they head into their skeletal winter dormant phase. Effective pruning not only improves the appearance of the tree, but it also promotes growth next spring. Shrubs also appreciate a trim, and it’s a great opportunity to have a good look at what is and isn’t working, and be ruthless with what needs to go. Clumping plants like agapanthus also benefit from a winter culling, thinning out and even spreading apart. You can double the area covered by effectively de-clumping and spreading out ground over species ready for the next growing season.

2. Dig it in
I love bulbs, I’m not sure why, but I think it’s the mystery of what is going to appear each spring and then the burst of colours the flowers provide. My only problem is that bulbs need a lot of planning. You need to plant them a good 3-6 months before they grow, and generally that’s just way too much forethought for me. But now that we have our own garden space this might be the year to give the bulbs a go. Spring flowering bulbs like Daffodils, Jonquils, Tulips and Irises need to be planted in autumn, between March and May. Planting methods vary between the species so it is best to follow the instructions on the pack. Bulbs can be purchased from your local nursery, supermarket or BigW or Kmart. If you want to be a bit more exotic you can order them through catalogues or on line at sites like Bulbs Direct or Garden Express. They all need a good rich loamy soil, so spread a fit of fertiliser and make sure that the garden drains well so they don’t get soggy feet.

3. Feed it – yum
If you have to have a lawn, then autumn is the best time to give it a bit of love. Some fertiliser, aeration and some extra grass seed to fill in the bare spots. It’s also a great time to start a lawn. While the weather’s cooling down and the soil’s still warm, the turf will thrive before winter strikes.

4. Recycle it
If you haven’t started a compost pile yet, then now is the perfect time to do it. You’re going to have heaps of pruning and culled plants after you’ve given your garden a hair cut, plus you have all the leaves that your deciduous trees have shed, so give them a suitable place to rot so you can re-use them on your garden as yummy compost. I’ve written about compost and worm farms before, so you can check it out here at To wriggle or rot

5. Think it through
If your garden leaves you less than inspired and you’re just not sure what to do with it, it’s time to re-design. While you’re cutting, digging, feeding and recycling take a step back and have a little dream. How do you want to use your space? What do you want to feel when you’re there? Grab a pencil and paper and start to sketch it out. And as always, if you need a little help, you can give us a call. Drawn Outdoors specialises in helping you to realise your dream garden! Check us out at Drawn Outdoors at your place.

The great part about Autumn is that the foliage is spectacular, think I might need to plan a trip to the mountains to be inspired by the autumn colour.



Sydney – sun and sand minus the surf

28 Feb

I was inspired to create this post by Design Mom, a blog I have fallen in love with, particularly since it helps me deal with the Drama Queen’s current French obsession. I’m posting as part of her love the place you live theme.

It’s not hard to love the place I live. It’s hard to fault Sydney, she is so pretty, but the postcard image of the harbour bridge and the opera house, while spectacular, is only the tip of the iceberg. As a family we love to spend our weekends outdoors enjoying the sunshine Sydney normally has on tap (though the sun does seem to have been on holiday this summer). The beach is a favourite for all of us, and last weekend we headed to one of our favourites, and a Sydney gem, Shark Beach at Nielsen Park.


There are two types of beach in Sydney, the surf beaches like Bondi and Manly, and the calmer harbour beaches. Shark Beach is one of the calmer harbour beaches, and while the Drama Queen and Daredevil are still so young, it’s a great place for them to run around, splash and build sandcastles without too much stress.

The beach is part of the Nielsen Park heritage parklands that form part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. We love setting up on the grassy banks above the beach under the shade of one of the well established trees. The park is really popular with families, so there are always crowds of kids in the park and the beach. It’s not uncommon for the Drama Queen to make a new best friend while building sandcastles on the beach.


Nielsen Park is located in Vaucluse, in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and in the latter part of the 19th century formed part of the Vaucluse House Estate. The parkland, including the Heritage Greycliffe House and it’s estate we’re dedicated as a public reserve in 1911, and it was then that many of the gorgeous historic parkland features, such as the kiosk, change sheds and beach wall were constructed. In 1975, the park became part of the Sydney Harbour National Park.


If we’re feeling a bit more adventurous, we have been known to tackle the Hermitage Foreshore Walking Trail. This walking track links a lot of the quieter and smaller harbour beaches and provides spectacular views of Sydney, the harbour and some of the more impressive harbour real estate. Nielsen Park is one of the highlights of this walking trail.



Yes, that last photo wasn’t from last weekend, it was a while ago, and the Drama Queen has grown up a bit since then, but it is a great view!

My favourite part of a lazy day at Shark Beach is the almost compulsory coffee, baby cino and cake that we enjoy in between swims and sandcastles.


What do you love about where you live?


Summer days…

2 Dec

Ahhh… Summer how I love you.

I want to be here

Create this

Drink this

and leave these

What’s your summer outdoor dream?


P.S. yes, these are my photos and it was wonderful!

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!


%d bloggers like this: