Winter may have just begun, but we’ve already had the shortest day of the year. It’s all up hill from here. The winter solstice fell this year on June 22. The days are gradually getting longer now as the sun rises a little earlier and sets a little later. Mind you, it’s still very dark here in Tassie even at 7.30am. Continue reading
My first thoughts on seeing red and white spotted mushrooms popping up in my garden were fairies and elves. Fairytale storybooks tell you that these handsome structures are homes for the little people so who am I to argue! Continue reading
Our yellow-flowered dogwood put on a wonderful flower show that lasted right through Christmas. The flowers have been followed by small, round red fruits – masses of them. The fruit looks like a cross between a cherry and a strawberry. About the size of a small cherry, its bumpy surface resembles a strawberry. Continue reading
‘Garden Pests, Diseases & Good Bugs’ by Denis Crawford (ABC Books) – I have to put my hand up straight away and admit that I did work with Denis on this book and indeed championed its publishing with ABC Books while I was editor of Gardening Australia magazine. Denis wrote about pests, diseases and beneficial insects for GA magazine for many years and continues to share his knowledge with gardeners through his stories in many magazines. It seemed a natural step to turn his stories and information into a reference book. Continue reading
Read any recipe for a gourmet salad and it’s sure to include something crunchy for contrast to the softness of the usual vegie staples such as tomatoes and leafy greens. Usually it’s a sprinkling of toasted seeds or nuts that’s called for, but don’t stop there. There are lots of plants to grow in your garden to give your garden salad the edge and turn you into a masterchef.
I recently enjoyed a delicious salad made by gardening friend Sharon who served up a bowl filled with small cauliflower florets and finely sliced, freshly harvested asparagus all topped with lightly toasted walnuts and drizzled with raspberry vinegar. Continue reading
When I was growing up we had a red chow dog called Tanya. Chows have a thick furry coat so keeping cool in summer is a priority. Tanya made a shallow dug out area in the cool soil under the crabapple where she could stretch out on hot days. Some months after she died we noticed a mass of flowers under the tree right where she used to lie. Looking at them my mother remembered she had planted bulbs there many years before, but assumed they’d died.
It has been nearly five months since we sold up at Kurmond in the lower Blue Mountains west of Sydney and moved to northwest Tasmania to live. It was mid-winter when we arrived and we’ve had all sorts of weather since, so seeing snow on ‘our’ mountain – Mt Roland – this morning shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise. Continue reading
Here in northwest Tasmania the daffodils are painting gardens, roadsides and even paddocks yellow. Along with the wattles flowering in the bushland and by the roads, they are making sure that spring is celebrated in gold and green. Continue reading
It is early July and the first frosty morning this winter. The sun is just coming up and it’s distinctly chilly. The weather station in the kitchen is showing the temperature outside at 2 degrees C, but it is always colder at ground level so I’d say it’s around zero outside. Continue reading
I must say I’m really enjoying the red-hot pokers flowering in my garden at the moment. Red-hot pokers or Kniphofia to give them their genus name, live up to their common name by sending up blazing torches of red and yellow flowers just when the garden needs a winter warm up. Continue reading
A satin bowerbird has built its bower in a garden bed under one of our bedroom windows. It is partially hidden by an abutilon and a border of clivias, but clearly visible from inside our house. Continue reading
I am sure my love for hydrangeas is part of my genetic make up, even though they are disparaged by some as ‘nanna plants’, and others see them as water wasters. I don’t agree with either view, although my Nanna was responsible for my love of these fabulous summer-flowering shrubs. I’ve also discovered that hydrangeas are facing a very 21st century problem (read on for more on this!). Continue reading
We’ve long harboured a desire to live in a beautiful house and garden in Tasmania. It seemed like a dream – not something that would actually ever happen – but recently several things changed in our lives and we realised a big move could be a reality. Continue reading