Showing posts with label garden tours. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garden tours. Show all posts

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Gardening for the Soul


Hello luvs.
 The world has changed a little bit since we last chatted!


The pollution levels in major cities around the world has dropped to record lows.
The water in the canals of Venice have cleared up due to the decreased boat activity.
People have started spending more quality time together, planting and digging in their gardens, playing board games and taking time to teach their kids life skills.

Some people have stopped eating little animals that they shouldn't be eating. Like bats and pangolins.

We all know why. But let's not talk about the awful reason why. It's rather shit. And I've heard enough shit news over the past couple of months.

Let's just chat about nice stuff here. 

It's Autumn. I don't mind Autumn. The sun still shines warm most days at the moment and we have ALL THE TOMATOES IN THE WORLD!!!
I haven't been online very much as we have been out in the garden and enjoying our own fruit and vegies.
Below is a basket of 8.5kg of freshly dug potatoes, fresh cut dahlias, asters and roses, red shallots, and the colander of tomatoes, cucumbers, and a button squash. 
And Chuck.
 Lebanese cucumbers growing on a bamboo pyramid.
 Two tomato plants have grown over an arch and are tumbling through it. One the left hand side are  a mini tomato called 'Rapunzle' and 'Black Russian Cherry' tomatoes on the right.
 Basil.
 They look like bunches of grapes. In fact these are Black Russian cherry tomatoes.
 Mariposa plums and strawberries harvested in late January.

We are pulling out some summer veg such as yellow button squash, throwing in more cow poo and mulching up.

I planted a punnet of broccoli. 

I wanted to plant some lettuce and silverbeet, but our local garden centre has completely sold out of all vegie seedlings and seeds!

On one hand I was supremely cranky at nutbags buying up as if the apocalypse was upon us and they're all going to grow these things so they don't have to go to the supermarket.
But I realised that I was being a hormonal grouch and this is a wonderful opportunity to get people into the garden and gardening! Non-gardeners can discover what the rest of us already know! Growing your own food is so therapeutic and rewarding!
So get out there! If you only have a balcony or sunny windowsill then use that! Just having a little pot of mint is awesome. 

Here in Melbourne it's time to start planting broccoli, onions, garlic, peas, broad beans and the leafys such as lettuce, rainbow chard, kale and spinach. You could also plant brussel sprouts but they take so long to grow. Watch our for those pretty white butterflies as they will make lots of little babies in the form of green caterpillars which will eat EVERYTHING!!!
Although I couldn't buy any vegies, I bought my spring bulbs and extra sweet peas seeds in case we progress to more severe lockdown restrictions. The sweet pea seeds can be planted now, the daffodil, tulip, hyacinth and Scilla bulbs are going straight into the fridge until after Easter.

In February I flew down to Hobart in Tasmania for my cousins wedding.  I had never been to Tasmania before. It is so beautiful!


In the weeks leading up to it I was watching a murder mystery series on Stan called The Gloaming which was filmed in Hobart. So I had an idea of what the city looked like. It's such a unique town as it was settled in colonial times.
There are loads of original colonial buildings and houses. Green, lush parks and peoples front gardens are overflowing with roses and vegies together!

I travelled down with the Parental Units.
We were extremely excited to visit the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG) in Hobart.
Would you like to take a walk with us?







 This little guy is a bandicoot! Some bandicoot species are striped. This guy isn't. He was running around on one of the lawns. 
The wonderful thing about where we were travelling around Hobart is the unique Australian wildlife which aren't easily found on the mainland. I had never seen one before!
 An archway of Pierre De Ronsard climbing roses.
The gardens were established over 200 years ago.
Below you'll see a honeybee and a bumblebee. Mainland Australia does not have bumblebees.
Not a single one.
Tasmania has bumblebees. This totally blew our minds!
Bumblebees are super gorgeous and so.freaking.HUGE!!!!
Mum and I spent 20 mins right here photographing them and filming videos of them to show people back home.

 
"...language Mother!"
Apparently the reason why Tassie has them is because some naughty codger smuggled some over from New Zealand in the 1990s. They are considered a pest as they have had a negative impact on native bee populations.
There are no obvious bumblebees in the next photos.

Every Friday night after dinner, I sit down with my crochet and watch a tv show called Gardening Australia. There is a presenter for most of the states of Australia. For many years one of the most popular presenters was Peter Cundall who filmed some of his gardening segments about vegies in the vegetable garden plots at the RTBG in Hobart. This area is called 'Petes Garden'. Now that he has retired from presenting, Tino Carnavale has taken over the Tasmania bit and also films his vegie gardening tips in Petes Garden. Mum, Dad and I loved walking through this section...



 The Fathership kindly stands in to show how freaking massive the sunflowers were.
 Kiwi fruit on massive trellises...



I hope you stay healthy and safe. If you are healthy, safe and are able, plant something. Or plant many things. You can plant one seed in any container. Or you can dig a garden bed. Plant flowering things, edible things, or just green things that you like to look at. It will be good for your soul.


Louise
Red Haired Amazona

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

All of the Tulips! Floriade Canberra

It's no secret that I love Spring and all of the flowers!
In April I planted dozens of tulip and daffodil bulbs in the gardens. They were mixed packs of early and late flowering ones.

This gorgeous double pink frilled tulip below was my favourite!
This year the Bear and I planned a trip to Canberra for our year 10 high school 30th reunion. I was one of the organisers so kind of maybe scheduled the reunion event to coincide with Floriade.

Floriade is the largest flower festival in the Southern Hemisphere and is held every year in my home town of Canberra. I hadn't been to Floriade in around 15 years so have really wanted to go back.

So the Bear, Sonofagun No.2 and I jumped in the car super early and drove 7 hours up to Canberra.

We arrived at lunchtime and decided to sample the local beverage. Choc mint milk named after the local football team.


We stopped by our old high school. See that class room inside the yellow dots? 

31 years ago we met in that classroom. Year 9 English class!


We had a few hours to kill before the reunion, so we stopped by Old Parliament House to visit an old friend from school who worked there. We took the opportunity to look around.

So totally NOT my photo. It was raining on the day so I was too wussy to go out and take a pic of the front of the building. Pinched from www.anao.gov.au
Old Parliament House is now used to show a stack of ever changing art exhibitions.  The image above is from Behind the Lines. An exhibition of political cartoons.
This years' theme is Alice in Wonderland inspired 'Curiouser and curiouser'...


Much to my absolute joy there was a Craftivism exhibition!

The piece below was designed by artist Hiromi Tango. She makes large installations of yarn and found fabric scraps as a way to deal with her anxiety. There's so much info these days supporting what we already know: craft is great for our wellbeing and mental health.

I'm super sorry this is blurry!

The two pieces below are by artist Kate Just. She has an series of knitted images called Feminist Fan. These two below are dedicated to Pussy Riot.  Using knitting to create works like these just freaking BLOW ME AWAY!!!!

Love, LOVE LOVE! So inspiring.
This installation called Archiloom was amazing. The artists Chaco Kato and Dylan Martorell invite people to come in and tie stuff on, move stuff around as Archiloom resists a state of completion. It encourages people to take time to produce, assemble and experience creativity.
So Bear and Sonofagun No.2 got their creative on!
We then wandered through the rest of the building until we found the Prime Ministers Suite.

Still looking very authentic 1980s with typewriters, ashtrays and clunky little TVs.
 

The last guy to sit behind this desk was good old Hawkie... The Honorable Robert J. Hawke....

Our high school reunion was fantastic! So many gorgeous faces, most of whom we hadn't seen in 30 years!
Much drinking, chatting and hugs happened.
The next morning with a teensy bit of a hangover, I dragged the Bear out to the place I had wanted to visit this whole time.....
 

 
Floriade takes place every year at Commonwealth Park in Canberra.
Are you ready for some pure, unadulterated FLOWER PORN????    (I use that word desperately hoping Google search bots don't associate my page with the wrong thing leading a whole bunch of horny teenagers here hoping for boob pics....)
Yeah baby, show me them sexy stamens....


Just a small selection of entrants in the Garden Gnome decorating competition.

The Parental Units joined us so the Mothership and I decided to twin out with matching hats.
More flower lurve...
Many years ago when I was as a horticulturist, I worked in a local Canberra garden centre.

And I loved to give my customers the talk about the birds and the bees...
They'd come in and say, "Why is my blah-blah plant looking spindly? It had heaps of flowers, and now it looks yellowy and a bit thinned out!"

"Ah-ha!" said I!
My favourite audience was the little old ladies from a nearby retirement village because they loved it when I said the next bit:

"It's just had lots of SEX!" 

"OOOhhhh! You're funny!" and they'd give a scandalous little giggle...

"Yep, that whole plant has just had lots of glorious colourful flowery SEX!  Now it's lying back slurping the dregs of a glass of wine, sucking back a ciggie and feeling a bit worn out. BUT VERY HAPPY!"

And they'd giggle again. Then I'd tell them to buy a bag of fertiliser to replenish the poor bush after all of the plant sex, so it can get ready for the next season of plant sex.
My manager hated me telling that story. He was a bit of a prude. 
But it turns out sex sells fertiliser. 
So he let me keep telling it.
Close your petals Poppy! We can see your anthers...

These creamy double tulips look like vanilla ice cream!
What really makes the colours in these tulips pop are the underplantings of pansies, violas, english daisies and polyanthus. Really beautiful and clever landscaping...
 Whoever designs the beds each year does amazing things with colour.

I had never seen this gorgeous yellow and red double tulip before.


The black violas make the double pink tulips burst out.


The sign in the photo above showed the garden bed (below to represent Nordic knitting designs. Not all the tulips were out yet but hopefully you can see some of the blue and white from the design.
If you can't make to Floriade this year (it finishes on the 13th of October),mark it on your calendar for next year. It runs for a month and is completely free!
The next day we drove back to Melbourne where I got to enjoy my own very, very mini-Floriade.

Louise
Red Haired Amazona