Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Garden makeover

AS you are probably aware the sister bought a new house earlier this year and its internal paint and decorate is nearly complete.  Now that spring has sprung it is time to look at the outside and start with the garden makeover.  Apparently I am the only one in the family that actually enjoys mowing but as I have the classic quarter acre here I'm not so keen to take on hers as well.   So we have decided to create a no mow front lawn.  The plan, well if you can call it a plan, is to kill off the lawn with newspaper and mulch and plants a zillion flowering plants and shrubs to totally alleviate any mowing.  The front yard is not huge, but we intent to make the driveway wider and link it to the front steps on a solid base, possibly pebble, but maybe concrete. Then the rest of the yard will be planted out.  We will leave a rambling walkway of mulch to the far northern side gate, which is not ever used, but it does provide an alternative walkway to the backyard.  Ultimately the house will be painted too because the colour now is a bit ordinary!

The lawn itself has a small slope from north to south, so taller plants will be at the top nearest the neighbours fence and lower ones towards the front.   There is already some established plants.  A HUGE camellia, 3 azaleas and a big tuft of french lavender.   To supplement this I have bought 3 more camellias, 4 azaleas and 2 lavenders. The general tone of the garden is in purples and pinks with the exception of one "beachy" style daisy which is bright orange.  There are also 3 big brown Yukkas and a stump!  The stump is pretty much centre of the current lawn and sits about 20cm proud of the lawn.  It is too big to dig out and "mostly" level.  As we can't realistically remove it, it will house a   feature of some sort. Perhaps a wire structure, a hebel sculpture or a big timber birdhouse.  Two roses  and two mankey plastic pots with grey/white strappy leaf plants in them are currently accommodated in the yard, but they will all go.  The grey/white leaf plants will be separated and spread thru the lawn and the roses will make their way to the recycling bin, but everything else stays at this stage.

The current layout is that there is a metre wide flower bed running north south on the front boundary fence.  A single height run of coppers log keeps that in place.  The only other bed is 2x1.5m and runs north south along the front of the house. Its held in place with terracotta edging, the majority of which will be removed.  The edge facing the path and steps will be replaced with something else, possibly brick to tie in with the brick steps.

The soil structure is best described as impoverished.  It is very poor quality, dry and devoid of nutrients, but unfortunately healthy enough for grass and weed growth.   By comparison the back lawn is rich and green, but also in need of a good mow!  The back yard has a veggie bed running the full length of the communal southern fence.  It is only about 400mm wide and has some established veggies.  Nero kale and celery mostly.  It will look good with more planting.  There are two other beds in the back yard that need attention. At the moment the front is the priority.  None of the garden has a watering system and there is no rainwater tank.  The garden when established will have to survive on rain alone.

So thats the plan.  Lets see how it all turns out.
The first shot is day one.  The weedy grass is long and Georgia nearly disappears in it.  Visible are the two rose bushes and the terracotta tile garden bed edging.

This shot was taken after I'd mowed down the weeds!

The next two photos are at the end of the day. Both rose bushes are gone, as is the terracotta edging.  Two new camellias, an azalea and a lavender are planted. The grey/white strappy leafed plant in the plastic pots have been divided and planted under the new layer of mulch.

It is an ongoing project and one I am enjoying thus far!

December update:   We spent another day planting some new plants and laying more mulch and the result is shown below.  Since the initial planting there has been very little weed break through and what has come has been removed instantly so as not to get a toe hold back in the garden.  We calculate we need another 16 or so plants in 8 inch pots or bigger and about 6 cubic metres of mulch for get it finished.  Then we can start on removing the remaining grass and enlarging the drive area.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Facebook ... thanks heaps!

Dear Facebook... I just wanted to say thanks!

Thanks for taking away hours of my week, allowing me to stalk people anonymously,  making me laugh at videos of cats and idiots practicing for the Darwin Awards, but most importantly for bringing together friends both new and old.

A few years ago a Facebook friend request popped up on my screen.  It was from a girl from High School.   I clicked appropriately and we began chatting.  She put me in contact with another old girl. "Old girl" in an educational sense of the word!  Since then we have all chatted endlessly on the interwebby (Facebook chat function).   Not long after rekindling our friendship we met for lunch at the Florida Beach Bar at Terrigal for a catch up.  It was a long way from where we went to school, but close to where we all live today.   We've met quite a few times now and really, these girls have not changed a bit!    The subjects of our conversations have changed, dramatically.  The ease of our conversations has not.  The years have melted away and the conversations are amazing!  The laughter is contagious and I am still learning things about these two that surprise and amaze me (today being no exception).  The people we met along the way must have burning ears and one's obsession with high end toothbrushes is a riot!!

40 years have passed.  Their memories are by far better than mine!  Too much Cointreau in the 80's and having some holes burnt in my brain in 2013 have made it harder for me, but many names do cause the links to come together.  I have a couple of photo albums from the late 1970's hidden away in the garage and I promise I will locate them before our next meet.

I had to laugh when the girls were describing yet another name known to me, that I was unable to put a face to, used the words "long dark hair". They described about 8 blokes this way today and I do laugh... ALL the blokes had long hair back then!!!   There were some people that the mere mention of a name brought an image sharply into my minds eye.  They must have made enough of an impression to still be buried in my grey matter all these years on.   Strange how some memories last 40 years, yet others don't !!!  I recall who had a Sandman Panelvan, Who drove a bronze Torana and the name of the German Shepard Guard Dog in a neighbouring yard!  But people..ppffft  that was way harder!

So I do want to thank Facebook for bringing these wonderful people back into my world. I enjoy my life today far more than I did in high school and I am so lucky to have been found by the old girls.

As usual ... some images as a thank you for reading this far.  One diligent old girl found the top two photos, on Facebook of course, and a lovely stranger took the third today.