Thursday, 19 September 2013

Food for the Soul

Oh, what to do with old sneakers long past their Best Before Date?  Garden Art.  Simply screw them to the fence and hey, presto!  Instant garden artwork!  Maybe a little bird might even eye them out for a birdie condominium.  Who knows?
Garden Art
More inexpensive garden art -
shells threaded onto thick wire.

The garden is actually starting to spring to life (s'cuse the pun).  I eagerly waited and watched with bated breath - I was given 4 orchids which I had planted at the back of the house in a shady area, and one was promising to bloom. Now orchids fit into a strange category for me - I don't immediately feel drawn to orchids in the way I am to lavenders and freesias (nice smelly olfactory highlights), or dahlias and daffodils (bursts of brilliant colour, candy for the eyes) or even chammomile and rose geraniums (edible delights).  They fit in the category - "soooo ugly that they are rendered exotically beautiful!"   Well, I waited for the flowers, which took a week to open..... and between my snapping of this pic below, and picking the bloom - the bloomin' snails decided to snack on them!  To the point that they were rendered really, really just plain ugly!  Lots of frilly holes, which all edged up in oxidised brown, like a floral rust!  I was not impressed.  Note to self:  lay snail-fighting Quash thickly around the orchids!

Snail Fodder

The rosemary bush has gone BUSH!  It is as tall as I stand, and covered in tiny little purple blossoms which the bees just love!  So why is mine so large?  My rosemary is hugely under-utilised, given the fact it has so many properties to stimulate hair growth and condition (an infusion can be used as a hair-rinse), a mouth wash, it is a liver and gall-bladder stimulant and helps aid digestion and circulation.  I guess one can't keep up with all their is to do, with part-time home-steading! 
Rosemary blooms

Spring is a time to start thinking about the birds and the bees, the butterflies and the trees.  I have planted many chamomile plants out for the bees, and my lavenders are showing signs of new growth.  I watered the bird bath yesterday and was amazed to see a brown bird happily sipping from it this morning.  I have begun to refill the bird feeders dotted around the garden, to encourage the little winged creatures back.  The next day, they are empty!  I think it is mostly the little house sparrows we seem to be feeding.  The kowhai trees on our south side have already attracted a few sweet-singing tuis (also known as the parson bird).  And I have put out a pheromone trap for the coddling moth, to lure the males to a sticky death, so they can't mate with the females who lay their eggs in our pip fruits!  I have also added corrugated cardboard collars around the trunks (so the females, who manage to mate the only few viable males, can migrate up into the cosy nest of cardboard and lay her eggs there instead of in my apples and pears!!).  Set!

Kowhai flowers hanging in clusters brighten any dull day

An A-Frame feeder with spikes to impale fruit for
fruit-loving birds like wax-eyes

The fig and lemon tree reflected in the cottage window
The garden is again producing enough food to harvest every week.  Broccoli, lettuce, peas, jerusalem artichokes, yacon, citrus, silverbeet, parsley and kale.  We still have heaps of yams, a few leftover pumpkins and frozen beans in the freezer.

Beautiful vitamin C and fibre-rich broccoli

Plum tree candyfloss

Little blue-centred beauties

Slow-growing Viniglia  Acid-less Orange - looks like an orange but inside it's pink!
Tastes like a watermelon.  Strange but true!  A very old Italian heirloom variety.
Cat-ching Gardens for Felines
Our cat is a born garden fiend.  She's lazy and if left alone, will gladly choose the Snooze Option (or catnap) unless cajoled into a walk in the garden. 
Shanti at one of her many natural scratching posts outside
 She follows us like a dog, stopping to sniff things on her way, or playfully hide-and-seeking herself in a bushy caryx grass like a kitten.  She hides and then runs at you, at the last minute, avoiding a head-on collision with a deft alteration of her course, like a stunt pilot.  She will patiently sit and watch me sow my seeds, sometimes choosing to sit right in the pots I am working with, or just jump from raised veg bed retaining wall to the next, like an agile gymnast.  And lately, I've discovered her newly emerged legal cat high - catnip!  I wondered what it was that she was sniffing continuously, like a drug addict, and then remembered that I had sowed some last summer and forgotten about it.  It must have died down and then re-emerged in the warmer weather.  It is highly entertaining to watch!

The cat looks on to the garlic crop

Mmmmn, Love this smell!

Catnip up close - a cat's eye-view.

Weekly harvests looking like this at the moment
I am loving the colour in the garden.  Below are a few captured images to whet the appetite.......
The double beauty of freesias - to smell and to see




Shade-loving Cyclamen

Early Cheer

Little Turkish fairy lamps (fuscias)
There is even beauty in the edibles.......
The edible beauty of calendula

Red-stemmed silver beet (bright lights)

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