Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Home life in July

The weather has been mostly wet with spots of sunshine here and there. Getting washing dry is a bit of a battle at the moment..the clothes horses are constantly inside like a pair of stabled ponies. I miss the smell of sunshine bleached and dried clothing.

The primulas keep on flowering

As little cublet stretches and grows in my belly gardening is becoming somewhat cumbersome. I can no longer reach the middle of the tallest vegetable bed! Bubby certainly lets me know when it has had enough of being cramped by my bending as I tend the plants and plant seedlings; with a kick and a poke. It is such a wonderful and obscure feeling having a little being wriggle around inside but oh how I love it and recognise what a wonderful blessing it is to be pregnant.

Newly planted garden brightening up a shady spot

Only nine weeks til the expected due date and my last day of work tomorrow. I imagine time will both speed up and slow down as we prepare for cublet's arrival. The nursery needs a sanding and another coat of plaster to the walls. The ceiling needs plastering and sanding too. We have test pots to try out colours and a new-to-us armchair to put legs on, we have the cot to sand and paint, we have lots to do without forgetting to live in the now and savour the coming days as a couple....before we become three.

Broad beans awaiting some sunshine
Our dear friends welcomed their little boy Noah into the world a few weeks earlier than expected and oh how special he is. We went over to meet him in the weekend and had lovely cuddles. Gosh it is easy to forget how little newborns are and their funny little expressions. It both terrified and excited me to think that our wee babe will be here soon.

The primulas are becoming established. 
I'm hoping that this garden, which is is the view from the Nursery window will have colour all year round. I have planted lots of old fashioned cottage perennials in hope that it will be a wild mix of colour and texture.

Over the weekend I planted Larkspur, Canterbury Bells, Hollyhocks and Calendula. I want to find a climbing rose and train it to grow up the big old Gum tree. I have transplanted the pansies that spread oh so easily in the veggie patch into the gaps. The violet is really taking off with the regular removal of weeds and is now a thick carpet in the shadiest part of the section.

Pansies newly transplanted in between the perpetual spinach and violets
They were saying on the radio that in New Zealand we have a short winter and that Spring is really starting now. The sun's rays are feeling warmer on the skin lately and am hoping the soil will warm up soon. There are baby peas waiting to sprout....I forgot to plant some last Spring and am so looking forward to eating a few crops of peas (straight from the pod mostly) this year.

Winter can stay for a little longer though, I'm not quite ready to give up cosy evenings inside just yet.

Stock flowers that now adorn my computer desk and smell divine!

Pretty little violet

Rosemary creeping over the side of the hanging basket...please please survive...I'm beginning to think this basket my just be jinxed!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Ages ago I found this terrarium at the local op-shop. It was a bit unloved.  Having wanted to create a terrarium for a long time but never finding the right vessel I scooped it up.  I kinda love that this is in the style of an old Victorian glasshouse and appreciate the work that's gone into it (since Pa. Fox does makes lead light windows as a hobby). After sitting for months on the picnic table and filling up with water we finally got round to creating a miniature world. 
Terrarium prior to a soapy bath!
 It was fun going around the local hardware shops and nurseries one weekend morning picking out wee plants.  Mr. Fox and I luckily fancied similar plants. We chose cacti and succulents for easy keeping and longevity...the sun blazes through onto the coffee table so the plants needed to be hardy.  It didn't take long to position them in cacti potting mix and arrange two cheeky dinosaurs in the midst.

We both love how it looks and kinda wished we had got our act together sooner. It certainly adds some interest and greenery to our living space......if only we could find the perfect gravel to go on top of the dirt! I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for some. Not sure what I want exactly but know what I don't like. So far the garden stores and pet shops have proven fruitless. The search continues.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Winter in the vegetable plot

The shortest day has come and gone. The weather seems to get nastier after this. Still the vegetable garden is providing us with greens and herb garnishes. The vege plot was pretty neglected this autumn and it surprises me that it keeps giving.

Our brasicca crops were late in and we have yet to reap any rewards. Silverbeet is the winter staple and with the addition of three lovely little hens it is picked daily. The girls love their daily dose of Silverbeet and there is great excitement when they find a bug hiding in the little leafy dimples.

Spring onions, garlic and brasicca

Chooky, Heihei Marmite and Dotti are the cutest gals and such characters. On the sunnier days they are great company and entertainment whilst I sip some tea al fresco. They hail from my parents' place and flew up with me on my last trip home (probably the most expensive bantams in NZ now) but Chooky and her daughters are pretty special.

 Chooky was the tiniest and cutest little thing, raised by Ma and Pa Fox but completely besotted with my father. She jumps onto his hand and loves to be in his company. Now that Pa. Fox is back to work the number of animals to tend was too many....so they joined our Foxy clan. They have settled into West Auckland urban life quickly and will hopefully produce eggs in the coming days.

New family members

Their housing is not ideal with a wooden floor and no access to scratching but until our bathroom renovations are complete they must wait. We have two coops that we will modify so they can scratch the ground and do normal chicken things but remain safe from the neighbourhood cats.

Herbs on a sunnier winter day
Garlic did OK in our garden last year although it had been planted too late. This year I planted out many more cloves and within the recommended month. Already the shoots have come up vigorously and I love their bright green against the earthy browns of winter. This year I planted them with soil from the worm garden and a generous helping of sheep poo, fingers crossed it will be a bumper crop.

Garlic planted...underneath a protective shield of wire to deter cats

Our rhubarb plant has been battered by wild winds and is struggling to become established. I think it will be fine with a little TLC but am looking forward to harvesting it next year....mmm dreaming of stewed rhubarb on porridge and rhubarb crumbles.
The wee Pak Choy are now nearly ready to add into stirfrys. We improving at planting in smaller successive crops this year. We have a row of carrots ready to start eating with another two rows about six weeks behind them. Carrots are not my favourite vegetable when cooked but homegrown ones are so much sweeter.

Rhubarb pre the gale force winds, and baby Pak Choy

The broad beans are starting their upward climb, these poor fellas were in the $1 bin at the Nursery so came home with me. That first meal of broad beans I can nearly taste...although many don't make as far as the kitchen. So tender and sweet will when fresh from the pod..YUM!

Broad beans
Sweetpeas have been on my mind. Not sure if I have missed the boat this year so will have to do a little research. Pretty sure they were meant to have been in the ground weeks ago. So that note it might be time to boil the jug and reach for the gardening books.

Flowers make me happy

As the winter set in with all it's windy and wet fury the garden slowed it's growth. I'm enjoying the quieter pace and pottering around when the weather allows.

Pansies are prolific in the vege plot.

Since Mum's passing I have found great solace in the garden, her passion was flowers and herbs; mine the vegetables but I have noticed myself gravitating towards the flower section in Nurseries. Foxgloves, stock, primulas and other cottage dainties have found homes in corners of the garden. Their cheery little faces bringing colour to our winter landscape.  Bringing a few of the blooms inside has also brought me joy. Mum always had floral arrangements inside in nearly every room. She knew how to make a house feel like a home and it's comforting to have this echo in our place.


 Violets never seem to last very long in a vase but gosh they smell heavenly. They grow like a weed in our most shady, damp corner. I just love them and although the practical side of me knows we could utilise this space better, the happiness these tiny blooms give is enough for them to remain safe.

The primulas below have put on quite a show even on the most dreary days. The yellow ones have the loveliest perfume and last for ages in little jugs. They are much happier with the added mulch. Our little lavender bushes are becoming established and I can't wait to harvest their flowers in the summer. 
We recently caved and brought a wisteria bush...Dad has the most awesome wisteria plants growing along the front of the verandah at home and we have visions of creating something similar here.  They tend to grow quite rampantly in the Auckland climate so we have to be vigilant with keeping it in check.

Front garden getting established.
Normally I wish away the winter months in terms of gardening (especially as our lawn turns into a swamp) but this year I'm in no rush. Our little one arrives in the Spring, and so as much as I look forward to the new green growth and abundance the returning warmth brings the slowness is good. It reminds me not to rush..too enjoy the time that my little cublet is tucked up warm and snug. To savour the long winter evenings and the birdies who crowd around our feeder. To relish those last few months as just Mr. and Mrs Fox before we become three.