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Spring Sings

Spring is one of my favourite times of the year.  All those beautiful flowers blooming, baby everythings everywhere you look (finally got some GORGEOUS broods of cygnets at the local lake – I just want to squeeze them!), blue skies and glorious sunshine (well, some of the time anyway…so far we’ve had a pretty cold and wet Spring).  I love how the evenings change – there’s that particular feeling in the air.  The feeling of change and of warmth coming.  The days are longer and the mornings brighter.

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My garden, such as it is, also changes with the coming of Spring.  The majority of my plants are in pots – I just haven’t had the money or energy to create a proper garden yet.  I mostly have weeds.  Lots of weeds.  I’m a bit ashamed of them, to be honest.  My neighbour’s gardens are all pristine, well-manicured and tidy.  Mine is the feral one.  I try not to look at it.  My back has been playing up such a lot lately that I daren’t do any weeding or any activity that requires much bending in the garden.  So, weeds it is.

This weekend I was surprised to find this glorious bloom in my courtyard.  An Apostle’s Iris.  So pretty!  I got this plant about 18 months ago at a Quiz Night and had no idea what it was.  I figured it was probably an iris of some kinds, but I wasn’t sure.  I have neglected it totally and haven’t even repotted it into a decent sized pot.  Then, yesterday morning, this beautiful flower appeared.  The plant also has a baby that has taken root in another pot, so I’ll have two plants soon.  Yay!

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My pelargoniums are always cooperative and do very well, even with my slack gardening efforts.  I have had this one for a few years and the flowers are just gorgeous.  So bright and cheerful, and long-lasting.  I’ve taken lots of cuttings over the years and so the original plant is now growing in lots of different pots and other people’s gardens!

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I often go for a little walk during my lunch break and the bushland nearby has lots of pretty natives (and a few non-native interlopers) blooming.  I love the bright and cheery wattle – I don’t suffer from hay fever like so many other people – and the colour is always so lovely against the greens and browns of the bush.

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I believe this lovely purple climber is called “Happy Wanderer”.  It’s from the pea family, so it creates its own food by bringing nitrogen to the soil.  It’s so pretty.

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This bright pink beauty is a type of wild geranium.  It grows pretty prolifically and is common around coastal areas as it is very hardy and doesn’t mind a bit of salt air.

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And then we have good old freesias.  I LOVE the smell of them.  I pick lots and lots in Spring time and have them in the library.  Their scent is so gorgeous and fresh.  They are not a native, and in some states are considered a pest.  So I can pick as many as I like 🙂  I even had them in my wedding bouquet, a million years ago.  They make me happy.

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The best thing about Spring, besides the flowers and baby critters, is the promise of Summer.  THAT is my favourite season.  The heat, the sunshine, the balmy nights (that everyone else complains about but I love because it’s warm, warm, warm) and the blue skies.  But, Spring is a pretty close second.  It’s Mother Nature’s party time, her extended prom night, her chance to show off a bit.

Do you have a favourite season?  Does spring bring you joy or does it spell runny-nosed-sneezy-wheezy hay fever hell for you?

Either way, hope you’ve got some spring in your step today (or some Autumn Attitude for our Northern Hemisphere pals!) 🙂

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My Week in Pictures

It’s been a hectic week.  I have been madly making cards and other crafty goodies for my upcoming market stall.  I’ve been organising things to sell at a car boot sale this weekend (I have so much junk-that’s-not-really-junk to get rid of).  I’ve been organising quotes for air-conditioning in my rapidly heating up house.  I’ve had several birthday events to attend and catch-ups to arrange before Christmas.  It’s all happening.

I finally updated my phone and now have a much better one that doesn’t take blurry photos and doesn’t keep shutting down for no reason.  My old phone looks and behaves like something from the stone age.  Well, to be fair, it was about eight years old which, in phone terms these days, is practically a millennium.

I can take selfies now without having to guess if I am pointing the phone camera in the right direction.  And then edit the photos on the spot if I am not happy with them (ie don’t like the way I look in them).

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I also managed to fit in a spot of op-shopping.  I haven’t been for aaaaaaaaages, mostly due to lack of funds but also I just haven’t had time.  I broke my shoes this week so I actually did need to go and find a new pair.  Not wanting to spend a fortune, I of course when to the op-shop to check out what they had available.  I scored these lovely buckle-detail wedges.  I cannot walk in wedges, normally.  I fall down, a lot.  I wobble and am very unsteady because my ankle tends to turn in and I am a super klutz.  But these had a nice chunky heel and were very stable and comfortable.  And my perfect size! Better still, they were only $3.00!  I mean!  How could I not get them?  I wish they had been black as they would be more practical for work, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

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My garden has gained a critter.  This VERY LARGE grasshopper.  Who only has one back leg.  He has been on the same tree for about a week now.  I am not sure if he is resting or waiting for a bus, preparing to die, or just hanging out.  I must admit to being a bit squeamish about crickets and grasshoppers but I wouldn’t hurt one and, as I have no garden to speak of, there is nothing for him to destroy, so he can stay.  I don’t know if he can get around on one back leg – I’m assuming they don’t grow back like a spider’s does.  He is quite magnificent though – he looks like he is wearing armour.  He was kind enough to let me get in his face and take his picture without leaping off and scaring the bejeezus out of me.  But I do fear he is not long for this world, which is a shame.

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I had a lovely afternoon of Lego and tea with my Mum, brother and his brood.  Playing with Lego is an age-old tradition in my family.  I don’t think we will ever tire of it, and I am so glad the littlies enjoy it (because it gives us an excuse to play too).  That’s my castle there in the middle of the table – it’s been demolished by Master Nine, despite my protests.  I used to love hanging out with my big bro’, back in the day, building all sorts of creations.  I’m lucky I even had a big brother who didn’t mind his little sister hanging around playing with his stuff and probably taking all the good bricks.

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I went walking with a friend and found this beautiful cockatoo feather (shortly after having a spectacular fall and landing on my face).  Isn’t it gorgeous?  The Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo is endangered and always having its habitat destroyed by various construction projects and deforestation.  They are lovely creatures and it would be a shame to lose them.  I have treated them when I was a vet nurse and, despite their large size and FEROCIOUSLY STRONG beak, they are quite a gentle bird and very intelligent.  I love this feather and it will have pride of place on my hall table.

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I have not been looking after my plants at all, but they continue to amaze me with their resilience and growth. My “Mother of Thousands” plant is doing so well and is producing so many babies I feel I should open a nursery.  It is doing so well despite my neglect and  inability to remember that plants like water occasionally.

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Even the “dead” leaves from my Kalanchoe Feldtschenkoi I threw into the garden have sprouted bubbies and they are so cute!  They’re like tiny little rose buds at this stage.  I love that they propagate like this.  This is why I never throw any part of a succulent away – it still has life in it even if it looks dead!

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I got glasses.  Proper ones.  Not over-the-counter-chemist ones.  Actual optometrist-prescribed ones.  I am still getting used to them.  I really only need them for fine, intricate work, particularly when crafting and drawing, so I keep forgetting I have them.  They are currently buried under a pile of card-making supplies.

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My cousin in England sent me this STUNNING photo of my Mum.  I have never seen it before.  She looks so beautiful.  She would have been about 18 years old, just engaged and living at home with my grandparents.  Check out those nails!!!  They’re her real nails – not some fake stuck on ones.  And her hair is amazing (although I know now where I get my split-fringe issue from!).  The photo would have been taken by my Grandad who loved to shoot very posed pictures – he would always have a prop and a theme going on, ha ha.  No candid happy snaps for him, oh no!

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Now I just have to concentrate on my market stall on the weekend and then I can relax or, at least, make sense of my house and maybe start decorating for Christmas before Christmas has actually been and gone.

Hope you have a wonderful week and accomplish everything you you have planned (even if your plans include lots of napping, day-dreaming and generally lounging about 🙂 )

Thanks for reading, as always x

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Spring Finally Arrives…

This has been a weird Spring.  Many people have reported on the Spring Deficit experienced this year.  Everything from people feeling more moody due to the extended SAD we’ve been subjected to throughout September and October (where is the sun?!) to business experiencing a down-turn in revenue (you try selling ice creams in the middle of a freezing cold, wet and blustery day that goes on for weeks!).  Neighbourhood plants have been very confused too – never knowing from one day to the next as to what season it is.  My garden (such as it is at the new house) is a bit hit and miss, with things that should be flowering NOT flowering, and things that should have stopped flowering STARTING to flower.

But, as of this last week, Spring appears to making some effort to show up.  We’ve had some lovely sunny days and temperatures have started rising.  My garden is responding to the warmer conditions and beginning to look a bit more colourful and I, in turn, have been whinging less and dressing more like someone who lives in Australia, rather than a native of Antarctica.   My beautiful pelargonium is finally in flower – isn’t she a stunner?  I’ve had this plant for years and have had many cuttings from her, all of which have flowered prolifically.  She’s actually a little more purple than the picture shows, and I think she is a Spanish Angel, but don’t quote me on that – the label disintegrated a long time ago!

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been busily re-potting a lot of my poor plants that have been very neglected during my move (and the months preceding it, if I’m honest).  Even my cacti were feeling a bit sad and unloved.  I re-potted them and in a matter of days they started to look happier and less, well, dead.  My little bunny cactus is much more sprightly looking now (if a plant can be sprightly!).  He is an off-shoot of my original cactus from a few years back, and is only a couple of inches high.  Adorable.

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My much-loved aloe is doing really well (he never lets me down even when I treat him badly and forget he exists) and is even sprouting a flower spike, which I take to mean he is happy.  I have given him a bigger pot and he is going great guns.  If he could smile, he’d be giving me a big, toothy, cheeky grin.  Possibly a wink and a “How YOU doin;?”
He’s just that sort of guy 🙂

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I even have a couple of sad little lemons starting to develop on my potted lemon tree.  It desperately needs feeding but I keep forgetting…

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My white geranium is blossoming too.  Love a nice pristine, white flower.  I also bought this one at the same time as my original bunny cactus, and it has been a regular healthy bloomer ever since.  I love geraniums – they are essential in a low maintenance garden.  So pretty and prolific and easy to take cuttings from.  They don’t die very easily, which is a bonus when you’re a black thumb kind of gardener like me.

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The aeonium cuttings I pinched from my rental unit are doing nicely too.  They are all in flower and just so pretty.  I’m glad I managed to salvage a few pieces when I moved out – they are such great plants and so easy to look after and keep alive!  Plus they grow so quickly and are very water-wise.

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Also in my garden area, but not something I have potted or grown myself…this little guy.  I believe he is an Australian Jumping Peacock Spider .  Isn’t he cute?  I didn’t get the best photo because he was so teeny-tiny and my camera is pretty rubbish.  Also, because he wouldn’t keep still and kept leaping about (as jumping spiders do).  He is about 5mm long and has a bright red and blue pattern on his butt.  The blue is hard to see in this picture, but it is very striking.  I love jumping spiders – they’re awesome.  I’ve never seen one like this before – or maybe I just haven’t paid attention (more likely).  I hope he is good at eating mosquitoes…

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So, Spring has sprung and is working its magic, not only on the garden but on me as well.  I  just function so much better in the warm weather and get a lot more done.  I think my house is going to be pretty hot in Summer, so I may be regretting those words soon.  Until then, I am happy to see the sun shining every day and feeling its heat in these old bones.

Hope your day (or at least your heart) is full of sunshine today 🙂

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Pottin’ Up

As mentioned before, I am quite a neglectful gardener.  I go through phases where I am all about gardening and taking care of things, and then I fall into a state of meh.  Translation : I forget to water things, allow plants to become root-bound, let things die, and basically just get really slack where anything plant-related is concerned.

Moving house is a time in which you forget all about your garden and focus entirely on more pressing matters.  Your garden does not get a look in.  It withers and crumbles in front of your weary eyes as you stumble about looking for boxes.  When you’ve actually moved into your new place, you notice how sad and near-death everything looks.  Then you pretend you didn’t notice and avert your eyes.  Or, if you’re a crazy person like me, you apologise to your plants on a daily basis and promise them the sun and moon if they will just stay alive until you can sort them out.

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This weekend I did lots of re-potting.  Many of my succulents had outgrown their pots and were trying to escape by falling over and/or sending out roots into the air in the hope of finding new ground.  It was a sorry spectacle.  My kalanchoes were so pathetic they barely resembled kalanchoes at all, and I had a couple of cacti that had definitely seen better days and probably wouldn’t see many more if I didn’t attend to them soon.

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I have a very sunny, enclosed outdoor area which is pretty perfect for succulents.  It’s warm and protected from the weather.  It also means that, when I am little Miss Green Thumbs, I am also warm and protected from the weather.  I have some fears that, in Summer, it will be like a hothouse/sauna, but for now it is useful and perfect fro my needs.  I have my little citronella candle a-burnin’ near my potting table, so I don’t get eaten alive by mosquitoes (they love me) and it is suitably near to the kitchen so I can make tea (very important).

Anyway, I re-potted kalanchoes and echeveria, pelargoniums, haworthias, cacti and aeoniums and gave them all better homes.  Some will need re-potting again soon but at least they can have a bit of respite in the meantime.  And I can feel less guilty.  I have some other plants that need my attention too, so will try and get those done this week.

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So, my plants and I are settling in to our new digs and trying to make sense of a different environment and lifestyle.  I was starting to feel a little bit root-bound myself, so it is good to start afresh and make plans for the new growth, instead of letting rot set in (did you like that little analogy there? 🙂 )

Hope you are blooming wherever you are planted x

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Quote for the Day : Bees

“… the world is really one big bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places: don’t be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don’t be an idiot… If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts a bee’s temper… Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved…”

— Sue Monk Kidd : The Secret Life of Bees

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Winter-Spring Beauty

Despite my ever-neglectful approach to gardening, I am lucky to have a garden full of colour at the  moment.  My succulents and other hardy plants are blooming and sprouting all over the place – I love the little buds and new growth.  It’s always amazing to me that such beautiful things can develop from my sad efforts at green-thumbery.

Everything needs re-potting and moving – you can see in some of the photos how the poor little buggers are reaching desperately for the sun and light – but, as I myself am moving very soon, they will have to wait a bit longer.  Hopefully everything will survive the move and the new surroundings.  I don’t know what kind of sun/light situation I will have at the new place, whether my garden will be in shadow or full sun for most of the day – this remains to be determined (ie I didn’t actually think about it at the time of purchase).

I’ve noticed a few early tulips coming up in my neighbour’s garden – every year they have a beautiful display of bulbs and annuals.  Maybe down the track I will try those too, when I am settled and feel I have properly put down roots of my own.  Not sure how long that will take and whether I will feel right at home straight away.  I really do hope so. I’m going to try.  I need a place to call my own and to be proud of and want to welcome people into.

I hope to grow some vegetables and herbs, as well as purely decorative plants.  It’s so nice to cook with produce you have grown yourself and makes everything taste that little bit better.  I have lots of plans – let’s see how many come to fruition!  You know I will document both my successes and failures 🙂

Enjoy today, wherever you are, and try and see some beauty in it, if you can x