Posts Tagged ‘garden’


April 7, 2010

When we planted our vegie garden I intended to document its growth regularly, both photographically and in words, to record, both for you and myself, its development. Wouldn’t it be nice, thought I (with the best of intentions), to be able to look back, once we are harvesting our vegies, and see how far they’ve come?

Yes. Well. Haven’t heard much, have you?

In fact I don’t think I even mentioned that our new garden was for vegies, or that our newborn seedlings were broccoli and brussels sprouts, with baby carrots, spinach, snow peas, dwarf beans and purple beans yet to be sown. And my photojournalism aspirations didn’t come to anything much either. This is the last photo I took, just after the dwarf beans sprouted, on Valentine’s Day.

The next photo I managed was on Saturday.

The row of dwarf beans is on the left, with, moving towards the right, a row of snow peas easily as high as my chest, and finally the towering purple beans—or rather, purple beans that would tower if we had taller stakes. They make do with twining around the neighbouring snow peas, twisting around each other, and growing back down to the ground.

So yes, rather a lot of growth between those two photos. But most excitingly of all, we have harvest!

We picked our first lot of dwarf beans on Saturday afternoon, and they are lovely—crunchy and sweet with that especial ‘I made this myself’ savour. It seems like there will be lots more too. We also ate the first of our spinach on Monday, and it was again first rate. I am definitely into this gardening lark.


Cloudehill Gardens

March 29, 2010

Phil and I recently had a weekend away in Melbourne, and instead of spending all of our time in the city we decided to spend a day and a night in the Dandenongs. This region is a mountainous, forested paradise only an hour from Melbourne. Of course we didn’t have time to explore all the gardens, little shops, and quirkily named restaurants, but the places we did manage to visit were all beautiful. There’s one place I particularly wanted to share with you.

Cloudehill nursery and gardens is located in the village of Olinda. The hosts at our bed and breakfast told us that Burke’s Backyard had rated it as one of the top ten gardens in the world, a claim which, having visited it, I can readily believe. Cloudehill is beautiful.

The garden occupies several acres of sweeping hillside with views to the tranquil Yarra Valley, and is surrounded by a forest of mountain ash. The garden itself is planted in the style of a formal English garden, with several different ‘rooms’, allowing different styles in different areas. There are herbaceous borders, rose beds, ponds, sculptures, trees, lawns…everything.

Best of all, you can visit Cloudehill at any time of year as there’s always something to see. Bulbs peeking out in the meadows, japanese maples blushing pink, huge rhododendrons, neatly topiaried shrubs.

There is a small charge for admission, from memory it was about $7, and well worth it. Attached to the gardens is a plant nursery and a restaurant—we didn’t visit either but both seem to have earned good reviews. The neighbouring gardens, Rangeview, are also accessible from the Cloudehill grounds, for the cost of a gold coin donation. This wilder, more foresty plot brought back strong memories of Enid Blyton books.

I would recommend Cloudehill to anyone visiting the Dandenongs. It’s beautiful, peaceful, good value, and lovely at any time of year. Even if you’re not a fan of formal gardens—and I’m not—you will love this one.


February 7, 2010

Some of the seeds are already beginning to sprout.


February 6, 2010

We’re adding a new garden bed.

Things I’ve been doing

September 15, 2009

I had a lovely weekend. Here are some of the things I did.

Went to the handmade markets with Amanda and bought a cute summery clutch purse. There were lots of awesome things there but it was so exciting I didn’t take any photos. Then we went home to knit and that was also so absorbing that photos were not taken. But cute clutch, no? I can just imagine it with a few of my sundresses.


Discovered a red camellia bush in our front yard, and filled a float bowl with the flowers. Pretty! The best thing about living in a slightly neglected house is the surprises in the garden every spring.


Baked a strawberry sour cream streusel cake. I have made this recipe a couple of times before but had completely forgotten about it. It takes a little more effort than some cakes but is well worth it, for the dense, tangy sour-cream cake parts, the sweet, fresh, baked-in strawberry puree, and the crunchy topping. Very apt for the beautiful spring weather we’ve been having.

tasty spring cake

Bought some plants for my new office. I particularly like this trailing, tropical-ish one, though I have no idea what it’s called as there was no sticker on the pot when we bought it. Colleagues have suggested it is killer ivy, that one morning they will discover the office a mass of vines, and on hacking their way in with machetes will find me strangled by creeping tendrils. I am unfazed. I also have a maidenhair fern and a peace lily, happily brightening the room and filtering the air.


And planted some tomatoes in the backyard. Well, technically Phil did it I guess, but only because he’s a much better gardener than me, and I was hanging out washing at the time. One plant is in the main garden bed and one around the side of the house, as part of the plan to foil the possums in their attempts to eat them. I’ll let you know how that goes.