Gifts from a Neglected Garden

The last twelve months have been nothing short of chaotic, resulting in so many things being neglected, one of which is our garden. The vegie patch was overrun with weeds and I felt that I wasn’t getting the produce that I should from it, given that I didn’t have time to care for the soil, plant out all the seeds and seedlings that I had planned to, etc.

I had planted some sweet potato slips in late spring/early summer and they took over, neglecting to climb the wire that I had set up in preference to rambling all over the footpaths and garden beds. I eventually got so frustrated with the mess that, about a month ago, I decided it was time to pull them out, telling myself that I would never to grow them again. I had planted one little row, about one meter, or a tad over 3 feet long. What a surprise when I started digging down. My neglected garden had provided us with a lovely basket full (almost 4 kilograms / 8 lbs) of beautiful tubers destined for our kitchen.

The tomatoes did not do as well as they should, but it appears that it was not the season for tomatoes for most that I spoke to (it was a very harsh summer), however we had enough for everyday use and for making the annual batch of tomato sauce, a much sought after family favourite. The pumpkin vines that I had growing up archways provided a few fruit and the beans were plentiful resulting in a well stocked freezer.

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Persimmons from the Blue Mountains

A recent trip to visit family and friends provided us with the opportunity for a brief stay in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. This was my first visit, and nothing could have prepared me for the majestic beauty that Mother Nature had created. As we walked to the viewing area from our car, I was in awe of what was before me – the size, the beauty, the colours… I had heard of the “Three Sisters” and now here they were before me in all their glorious, natural splendor.

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Apricot and Lavender Jam & Beautiful Memories of La Cascade de Saintonge

I have been struggling to know what to write about since my last post, but recently the inspiration arrived in a couple of plastic bags handed to me by a fellow volunteer at Segue.  When I looked inside I was initially delighted to see apricots, however, upon closer inspection, it was apparent that they were very ordinary looking apricots.

Arriving back home, I walked into the kitchen and put the bags on the kitchen bench while I got on with my work.  It was as I worked that it occurred to me I had been handed the inspiration I needed to write this blog, and also what I needed to do to turn the ugly apricots into little pots of deliciousness.

I would make Apricot and Lavender Jam!

With no French lavender growing in my garden, I needed to try and find some, I knew there was a little over at Segue, so hopped into the car and drove over to check it out.  But there were only a few tiny sprigs, simply not enough.  Later that evening I picked up my phone and sent a couple of quick messages to ask if anyone had French Lavender that I could use in cooking…  Bingo!  The same volunteer who had handed me the apricots, had French lavender growing in her garden.

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Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose!

I’m always on the lookout for new bits and pieces for the garden, not necessarily always plants though. I recently picked up an old patio chair that someone no longer had any use for and had thrown away. I think that Gary thought that I had lost the plot!!! The old chair had plastic straps across the seat which weren’t really strong enough for what I wanted, so Gary replaced them with metal strips. Then armed with a spray can of metal undercoat and a pot of very pretty blue paint, I got to work transforming the dull old grey chair into a piece for the garden. I love the final result and can’t wait for the ivy geranium to get growing and mingle in and out of the pretty blue structure. On the same outing I also managed to get a small broken base of a metal table that has been turned upside down and secured in the raspberry patch – it is holding a little pot ready to be planted up – and then there was the rack from an old golf buggy that I have pushed into the ground and placed an old baking dish filled with stones on, and then topped it with a pot of strawberries – What a wonderful treasure hunt…

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Spring has Sprung!

Spring has sprung
The grass has riz
I wonder where the birdies is….

 

I can still hear my late father reciting this little ditty as he walked through the kitchen door, many, many years ago – Oh how I loved his ability to recite poetry, ditties or sing a tune about a topic being discussed…

With the arrival of spring the birdies are back in our garden… The king parrot, such beautiful bird, and if you didn’t know it, you would be looking around for a squeaky swing, which is the sound she makes the entire time she’s here. Continue reading