Sunday, 25 May 2014

A wander around the garden

Life has been so hectic lately I don't often get time to just wander around the garden and appreciate what is there. Sometimes you just have to "stop and smell the roses". Well, I don't have any roses but there are other flowers. Aren't there?

Driving off to work, I'd noticed the Gymea lily  Doryanthes excels had sent up a flower spike (its first) so had to check it out.
The flower spike is about two and a half meters tall. Just a baby.
I can't wait for the bud to open.
Then I noticed the poinsettias were in flower.
How had I not noticed?
I had to check them out
In the rainforest area, the Golden Penda are just starting to bloom.
Hopefully they will be a mass of bright yellow soon.
Walking back up the driveway, I noticed the white calliandra
and the climbing bauhinia
In the backyard,
the Brazilian Red cloak is still covered in blooms, and the red calliandra is out

A few heliconias are hanging in there over Winter

Snowflake bush Euphorbia leucocephala is looking good.
It's a close relative to the poinsettias so flowers in the cooler weather as well.
Mmmm.... might take some cuttings for the new garden.
We will need some Winter bloomers.
The mandarin tree in the chook pen is laden with fruit. I've been having one each day for the last couple of weeks.
That tree produces the sweetest juiciest mandarins I've ever tasted.
No wonder. 
The ladies take good care of it.
Lemons are looking good too. Not quite ready to pick yet.
Limes will be ready soon too.
Note to self: make sure we have a couple of citrus trees in the new garden
I see these guys every morning but never tire of watching them.
John moved the Thalia into their pond and seem happy with the new décor.
They love hiding in the root system.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Checking on progress

Well, our block of land is still just dirt, but they have made quite a deal of progress. The road has been built and services like electricity, phone and water are connected. We have had some rain lately which has slowed them up a bit.

Our block is at the end of the street and they are building a block retaining wall and fence along the side. It's exciting for us to see the progress, but I suppose to everyone else it really is still just a pile of dirt.

While we were there, of course, we visited the beach and we had lunch at a local beachside restaurant.

This was the view from our table.  People are constantly fishing from this jetty. I don't know if they catch anything.

This is close to where we will be living - where I plan to go walking. You can see the bridge across to the mainland near the horizon.

Looking in the other direction - it was so calm and peaceful.  I can't wait to move here.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Designing the New Garden - Part Two

We are still at the stage of very basic planning and collecting ideas and inspiration.
This will be a small garden so my mantra is Keep it simple… less is more!
I envisage a fairly formal easy care front garden with plants such as frangipani trees, cycads and xanadu philodendrons and some cordylines for colour.
The back garden is quite small - 18m x 5m along the back fence (facing North) and approx. 20m x 3.5m along one side (facing East) plus a 2m strip along the other side of the house.

Keeping in mind my wish list we've decided on the basic purpose of each area. The house opens onto an undercover alfresco area that will be used for outdoor dining and entertaining and as my studio. I predict it will be used more than any room inside the house. We still haven't decided whether or not there will be a small pool.
So many decisions to be made!
There will be shade and shelter, but should we add more? There will be high fences around the perimeter. IF we have a pool, it will need to be fenced. There will be garden beds. What shape should they take?  The vegetable garden will need sun for most of the day, so which area gets the most sun?
John and I each have some sheets of paper with an outline of the garden. We are both drawing up ideas and I'm sure between us, we'll come up with a plan.

The general style of the garden will be tropical - What else? However, in contrast to Missy's Garden which has quite a jungle feel, I think this garden will be more formal and structured.

So many ideas - from the internet, books, gardens I've seen and my own imagination  - they are just all ideas floating around in my head for now. Some will be discarded some will settle and grow.
I have a few books on tropical gardens and recently bought one more. In searching for inspiration I came across a garden designer from West Australia - Janine Mendel. Her philosophy of garden design is to integrate the indoors and outdoors - just what we want to do.

As you would in designing rooms inside a house, I'm thinking about the décor of the garden - the floor, walls, furniture, the colour scheme, etc. Since the garden will essentially be an extension of our house it needs to match, or at least coordinate with the interior design.

The Floor
Keeping in mind the purposes of the various areas of the garden, I intend using a combination of materials. The utility area and outdoor sitting areas will have grey paving. Pathways will be either spaced pavers with stone between them or wooden walkways.
There may be areas of grass or maybe not.

pathway idea
I love the look of wooden walkways over a dry creek bed
maybe a pond with stepping stones
The walls
The external walls of the house will be a pale grey, almost white, so I’m thinking the side fences might look OK painted a darker shade of grey as a background to the plants or left as natural wood. There will be a hedge along the back fence.
There may also be an additional screen or two to define and separate areas - maybe raised garden beds.

The garden borders (the skirting boards) will be grey &/or white rendered block.

Perhaps somewhere there will be a green wall.

The furniture
We already own a wooden outdoor table and chairs plus a daybed. These will fit in well.
I’m not sure yet whether we’ll build the outdoor kitchen or buy one. It will come down to cost and if we can find one suitable.

What about this for cooling down on a hot day?
Is it a water feature or an outdoor shower?
I know a few children that would love running through it.

The décor
I’m choosing grey, brown and white landscaping materials . BORING?
Then we add the plants. And the pots. And the water features. And cushions. And candles and lights. – All the things to make the garden come to life. This is where designing a garden becomes fun and where you can let your inner artist play.
maybe splashes of aqua or teal
maybe splashes of hot pink 

I need to remind myself - Keep it simple!
 It's fun to dream though.


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