Thursday, 19 November 2020

Pink Flowers & Glow

November hasn't been all about Peony Watch 2020. Well yes, it's mostly been about Peony Watch 2020. 
I mentioned a couple of posts ago that my oldest peony (this one in the middle blue pot) had popped out some buds for the first time. This plant has been in this pot for 3 years. Apparently there's an old saying about Peonies: 1st year they sleep, 2nd year they creep, 3rd year they leap. My 3 pots below demonstrate this marvelously. Guess which one is the 1 year old, the 2 year old and the 3 year old?
I have been ridiculously obsessed. And it's been so long since I bought the plant that I had long since lost the label and couldn't remember what cultivar this one was. 

Every morning I would go out to check on my peonies. Particularly Mr Anonymous Bud Guy here.  

Every day I would make sure they weren't getting too much wind, I'd check whether they needed water with my little moisture meter, and every couple of weeks I'd give them a weak solution of Seasol.
The buds grew larger and started to do this.
From their size, I figured they wouldn't be big, fat extravagant double blooms. Maybe a single or semi double variety. I carefully staked their stems as they started to droop from the weight of the buds.
And then the first bud opened!

The perfume was delightful. Not strong and heady, but light and distinctly peony-like!

On this day it was predicted to be a hot day. I actually picked up that heavy ceramic pot and brought it into the house. I knew the hot weather would make these soft petals wilt and crumple.

They were so bright and beautiful. Do you know what variety this is? I haven't quite been able to figure it out.
And they shone in Peony Gorgeousness.
For about 3 days. 
November has notoriously fickle weather here.
After the hot day cooled and the wind dropped, the next day I took the plant back outside but still in the cooler pergola area next to a large potted Daphne that is protected from the elements.

But weather reared it's ugly head. We had another hot, windy blast which kicked in while I was out shopping a couple of days later.  

And despite being under the pergola, I came home to this...
I'm ok. Maybe I just kept my dignity, sighed and got over it. Maybe I had a wailing, ugly faced cry. No one will ever know except me and the tissue box.
I was definitely disappointed but I now know I can look forward to their blooms again next year. And hopefully the next younger sibling will leap as well!

I decided that 2020 has been such an asshat that I should give us a nice extended Chrismassy feeling.
So our tree went up on November 1st.
I know! SCANDALOUS!!!!

Elf on a shelf even made an early appearance by being extra friendly with our John McLane Christmas Tree angel...
Out came the Xmas lights. All the outside lights are solar powered.
You can tell that I kind of didn't realise one set was 'golden light' and the other set is 'white light'. But it still looks magical!

My latest addition is this ridiculously divine 'Uni-Llama'! I love her SOOOO MUCH!!

If you have any ideas on what variety my peony is, please let me know! I'd love to stick a name on it! 

Thanks for visiting!
Red Haired Amazona


Thursday, 22 October 2020

Granny Square Vest is finished!!

I feel like I've been making this Granny Square Vest forever!

It's certainly taken a while but only because I keep putting it down for sometimes weeks as I became preoccupied in the garden.
But at last it's finally finished. I started by drawing up a plan of how I thought it was to be made up.
The colourful little sketch below did get altered somewhat, but more on that later.

Simplistically the whole vest was made of sweet little 3 round granny squares,and some granny triangles to soften the edges. I selected a range of cottons from the Scheepjes Catona range as well as some leftovers from other brands such as from one of local sellers Spotlight etc. I thought of it as a giant cotton stashbuster.
All those colours looked super fun together. 
At this stage according to my original plan, the vest was going to be 9 squares long and 8 squares wide for the back piece.
Partway through the Bear suggested I crochet one large granny square for the back. He said it was like how bikers wear leather jackets with their club emblem on the back, only I'm a member of the Crochet Hook Riders and my emblem is a massive ass granny square.

It was supremely satisfying choosing the colour layout.
I laid all the little squares out for the 2 front pieces and the back piece, then stitched them altogether.
I got to this point where the whole vest was in one piece. I had crocheted the little triangles and stitched them in as well. I tried it on. 

But it didn't look right.
I put it aside for a few weeks to think on it. 
In the meantime the cat slept on it.
I decided it need 2 more rows around the bottom. I crocheted a stack more squares, stitched them around and then crocheted 5 rows of single crochet stitch all around the entire piece. I started from the bottom right hip, across the bottom front, up the middle, around the neck, backdown the other front piece and down across the front,then back. And kept going 4 more times. In round 3 I left 3 gaps of 4 stitch spaces, and chained to create button holes on one side.
I finished off the arm holes with 3 quick rounds of moss stitch.
And after sewing 3 cute little buttons on, it was finally finished!

At first when I was laying out all the little squares, there were deliberately a majority which were finished in dark blue. This gave the vest a darker look. But when I edged it in the mid blue, all the other colours popped out so it looks much more kaleidescopic!

The final stats are:
Small granny squares- 166
Large granny square- 1
Small granny triangles- 8
Hidden cat hairs from when 8Track slept on it- infinite

If you would like to make your own granny square vest, I have included some charts I whipped up on Stitchworks Crochet chart software.

Here's a standard 3 round granny.
And here's a standard triangle granny...

If the charts below look different from what I wrote in my book (photo up top) it's because I decided to add 2 extra rows to make the vest longer which is reflected in the charts below.

You make 2 front pieces, making sure one is a mirror image of the other and making sure your granny squares are facing the right way to show that.

And of course one back piece with the large granny square in the top centre. You an also choose to just have all small granny squares, so you would need to crochet an extra 16 squares.

Thanks for visiting!

Red Haired Amazona

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Everything is growing in October!

Howdy! I've spent the last couple of months living in the city with the harshest lockdown laws in the world. And do you know what? It's totally been ok! It really has. At the start of our lockdown we were getting over 700 cases per day just here in the city of Melbourne. And today it was announced that we had 1 case. 

And they aren't quite sure it really is a case as apparently the person had covid a few months ago and may have tested positive as they shed dead virus cells or something something medical etc.

I don't know about you but I think that's freaking fantastic. More than 700 per day down to 1.

So to all those dickheads overseas protesting because their governments are thinking of closing the pub at 10pm because you have thousands of cases a day I say shut the truck up you silly twat. 

8Track continues to dominate the house. 

His favourite day is bag day. AKA Shopping day. 
He likes to sit in front of the screen when I'm watching my current favourite garden show Gardeners World from the UK. There's something about Monty wielding his secateurs! He really is the gardening womans sex symbol...

And he has the smoothest, most honeyed voice. Seriously, this guy needs to do readings for Kindle!
Watching an hour of GW inspires me to run out and work in my garden. Because I've had to work from home I can go outside and potter around in my lunch breaks and immediately after i finish work. It's so therapeutic don't you think?
Even the pets benefit from it. They all munch on a basket of cat grass I have growing in the pergola...
Have you ever had someone take a photo of you when you were partway through a mouthful of food? It always looks hideous! So I took a photo of Chuck Norris while he was eating cat grass...
I grew these purple runner beans from seed. Now they are a good foot taller than they were in this photo.
Bijoux managed to escape before I could take her photo of eating cat grass, but deigned to let me photograph her stretched out on the warm concrete.
This rather weedy, unattractive mass is one single borage plant that's gone rogue. I have let it continue to grow for now because it is always covered in bees.
I have never had so many bees in the garden before. If I have to let the borage stay to support the bees, then I am happy to sacrifice the space!
Not having access to a garden centre has meant that for a couple of months i was receiving regular packages of bulbs and seeds. I even had some live plants delivered in the form of 2 Clematis. Despite the delays of a lot of mail, the live plants arrived within 2 days and were really well packaged.

There has been some crochet. I also finally finished my granny square vest which I'll post about later. 
Some of my plants are absolutely covered in flowers because they have had a regular and thorough deadheading. When we are all recalled back into the office, I will strenuously argue against going back in because I will fall behind on my deadheading.
This is Hymenosporum flavum or the Native Frangipani. It grows into a super tall tree and the flowers smell like frangipanis. It's delicious!
I cleared an overgrown and unproductive fuscia out of this front garden. I cut it back and potted it elsewhere but have planted in a mixture of foxgloves, cosmos and hollyhocks as well as a hydrangea. I hope they look massive and blousey when they grow up!
This next bit is super exciting for me. Peonies. They tend to prefer cold winters. And Melbourne doesn't really have cold winters, This winter was actually quite sunny and warm. I have never been able to get any to flower. I usually kill them with too much love. But I have persevered. Apparently the old saying is: 1 year they sleep, 2nd year they creep, 3rd year they leap.
So these are my 3 peonies. The one on the left is 1 year old, the middle one is 3 years old and the blue potted one on the right is 2 years old.

And now the 3 year old peony has given me a batch of these!
Tomato and Forget me not seedlings that have been potted up.
I took the garden arch that supported last years tomatoes in the Lemon garden, and moved it to the vegie garden for a grand entrance. On one side is a blackberry plant, and a passionfruit vine on the other. We are also trialling growing potatoes in those black bins. We cut the bottoms out and planted Kennebec potatoes.

Sonofagun No.2 finally returned to school a couple of weeks ago after 106 days of 'remote learning' at home. 106 days! And that doesn't include the time spent at home for the 1st lockdown. One of the last art projects he had to do before going back was to create a piece of street art that incorporates something about Covid. We put our heads together and he came up with Surgical Mask Stuart  who lived in front of our house for a few weeks until it rained and his eyes fell off.

 So mask up, wash your hands, stay at home and stay safe and healthy!

Red Haired Amazona