Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Spring Garden Update: September.

At this time of the year, the garden, (pretty much like myself), goes into hyper mode.  Early Spring is one of my favourite times of any. Even though I know it's a harbinger of Summer, (my least favourite season, but not without its own beauty, I know), I still get terribly excited about Spring. So I thought I'd do a series of garden updates, because I like to keep a garden diary of sorts, a record of changing seasons, successes, as well as sundry disasters too.

 Like the Great Chicken Apocalypse of March '14 that lost me all my elderberries to their foraging beaks, whilst to their colossal feet I lost my echinacea, and an entire bed of impatiens, hollyhocks, and foxgloves. Bless them. I can't hold it against the sweet dears, as most unfortunately, the Foxy Whiskered Lady dispatched them all at dawn one morning. I miss them them so. And their poo and their eggs. There's been a sufficient mourning period, so now we're keen to get some more ladies into our chicken bordello.

Anyway, back to the garden. I have loads of tasks planned this month including...

Planting some zinnias, (in front of my Giant Russian sunflowers when they go in). I love cut flowers and lots of colour in the garden. And things have to be really tough to survive the harsh Australian Summer. So zinnias will be perfect. I'm going to get some Flanders poppies, cornflowers, and cosmos in there too. I already have evening scented stock getting ready to flower. 

Continue to plant my salad greens (which are growing apace). Popping a new crop in every two weeks or so means that we have year-round salad greens.

Mulch, mulch, feed, mulch, mulch. It all gets horribly dry here during the warm months. I don't envy those in the far northern climes their Winters, but their Summers look heavenly, with everything fertile and healthy. Towards the end of Summer here you'd be forgiven for thinking that nothing will ever flourish again. So, so dry and hot. Mediterranean plants do well - hence my excessive lavender and herb plantings.

We're nearly through the frost period, and after that there'll be beans and more tomatoes going in. Along with pumpkins! 

Trying to keep the 'possums away from my roses. And, well, from everything in general. They're protected here, and are therefore totally fearless and cheeky. Sure, they're cute, but that wide-eyed innocent look is deceptive. They're weapons of mass destruction, notorious for stripping everything even vaguely edible. My roses and fruit trees cop it hard. The other day it was an entire rainbow chard plant. I mean, who eats that much of the stuff? It's a rather...robust flavour non? The 'possum was probably whipping up green smoothies for its mates, and then inviting them over for a party in my garden. 

Anyway, onwards and upwards...

My kitchen garden with dwarf nectarine tree.

I've been planting seeds with manic fervour, and at a rudely early hour each morning I'm out like a General, inspecting my botanical troops. I give them them encouragement, first aid, and sometimes I hand them a stiff drink of seaweed emulsion and tell them to pull themselves together. And together we continue to grow, along with our campaign against the invading slugs.

Just about ready to sow my Moonflower vine seeds in a sheltered spot. In fact, right where we sit outside on Summer evenings. I adore these luminous flowers! The perfume is sublime in the dusk when they open. And they spring open like magic, softly glowing like paper lanterns. They grow rapidly - almost overnight with fairytale-ish speed. A relative of the Morning Glory (one for morning, one for evening hey?), the Moonflower is quite bewitching.

Moonflower. This is actually a picture from last season. I'm currently soaking my moonflower seeds in hot water to help them germinate faster. 
Rocket and russet red nasturtiums.
A tray of non-hybrid organic seeds, including: various heirloom tomatoes, Giant Russian sunflowers, mesclun salad mix, sweet basil, honest, fragrant flower mix, and bantam corn.
Sweetpeas! Very good to see you up! Now, we're relying upon you this season to provide intoxicating beauty.
Pansy Division: impeccable as ever.

Oh dear. There was a storm, and the borage collapsed onto the broad beans and now their both communing with the nettles.

That's better. A moste uprighte community of borage (a feast for the bees!) and plum blossom in the background behind the garden seat. They are truly amazing plums too! A good spot to sit with a cup of the Grey Earl, and watch my vegies grow. Please ignore the weeds. Ahem. Like me, my garden is a little wild.

Chinese Lantern flower. So pretty. Looks a bit rude doesn't it? 

Have to run, I've got meetings today and deadlines to meet. Happy gardening!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The First Rule of Broom Club.

Not that it's necessary, really, but I had thought to give you a potted history. A backstory. Wot I've been up to the past couple of years.

However I suspect I'd just end up saying, "...and then, well, I. The thing is, first there was...no...that came after. Before that...".

A pox on't! Yawnsville.

So much has changed m'lovelies. So let's be delightfully random instead! But first, let me pour a cup of "gypsy garden tea"*, and adjust my stripey tights, (a required accoutrement for this chilly Spring weather). I love Spring! So often it brings with it a burst of creative energy.

Gypsy Garden tea in the making...

The first rule of Broom Club is...I don't talk about my work these days. So you won't be reading about that, (I can hear the sighs of relief from here). I have left naturopathickal things behind and have embraced the Arts once more with feeling. But this is the stuff I share with intimates only. Salacious and fascinating as my professional life is (not), I'm keeping work and my Other life very separate. I do have a very exciting project bubbling away in the cauldron at the moment. Maybe one day I shall share. When it's a bit more cooked.

Having sold our city pad, we, (the Bloke, myself, and the lovely Moon-girl), are now living in the country. We're perched on the side of a mountain, in a Crooked Cottage. It's all quite Withering Heights. It really is utterly lovely. We've done a ton to the house, inside and out. I have a garden! And my own studio! The villagers are a bit strange, (think Deliverance meets Wolf Creek, or possibly Shaun of the Dead). There's a reason why cultural (and er, genetic), diversity is a good thing, and should be encouraged. 

My garden studio. A Room of My Own. Where all manner of things Moste Wicked are brewed.

Creatively, I've had a huge boost from professional people who know their business well. They've been so lovely, generous, and supportive about my work. My confidence had gone down there for a while, (a long dull story that may involve energy vampires), but these days I have a quiet "I can do this" confidence that I've never allowed myself before, and that I will never again allow to be diminished. That's why I keep it to myself. I do what I do for love, and in memory of someone I loved deeply. I plug away and try to keep the faith. Little by little, step by step, word by word.

I also have those days when I look at my creative work and horror washes over me. I curl up into a ball like a distraught ginger hedgehog and wail. This is entirely to be expected, apparently. Not dissimilar at all to doing a PhD. Tea really does helps one's sanity issues. So too Pinterest.  

 This quote I like, for I have never subscribed to the clich├ęd idea that creativity and scholarship are mutually exclusive.

"Originality is the essence of true scholarship. Creativity is the soul of the true scholar".
~ Nnamdi Azikiwe

And this quote, which is beautiful...
Be soft.
Do not let the world make you hard.
Do not let pain make you hate.
Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.
~ Kurt Vonnegut

Since I've been working more than usual of late, I found myself disappearing into a tea-and-toast vortex. Even though this was counter-productive, and I know better, it's so easy to do. I swear I was courting scurvy. So, for the past few weeks, on a daily basis I've been concocting juices in my Apothecary. Lemon, ginger, beetroot, celery, carrot, cucumber, and pear (or apple) to be exact. Not only is it enough to make your eyes roll back in your head with ecstasy, it's also made a huge difference to how I feel. As so often, it's the little things that do hey?

Well then, must dash. Hope you're having a splendid start to the week. Tomorrow I'll be back with a quick garden update. Because I'm not obsessed at all. No. 

*Thusly named by my Moon girl. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Fresh Start. Of Sorts.

There I was thinking that I was done with blogging.

Then, on a whim, I slipped in here through a secret door, (it's been locked, and all boarded up for an age). I found myself wandering about these ghostly halls, (yes, I have delusions of grandeur), feeling uncharacteristically nostalgic; noting the festooning cobwebs, and all that dust on the damask curtains.  Something scuttled along the candelabra, (moste disquieting). I even stumbled upon a dishevelled phantom, slouched as she was in the corner, and engaged in some thunderously fat snoring; whilst clutching a bottle of ghost gin to her breast.

Before I knew it, I had my broom sweeping out the corners, and I was going at it all with a feather duster fit for a mardi gras. I left some of the cobwebs behind, because I like 'em, and also don't like to provoke friendly spiders.

Having Spring-cleaned the place almost by accident, I then realised that I felt quite at home again.

Spring tulips popping up beside my herb spiral. Because yes, it is indeed Spring in these 'ere parts, (no filter, or re-touching as the tulips are luridly bright all on their own).
But still, I wasn't sure.

And then I observed a lovely friend start all over again just this past week. At digital zero. And I thought, how very fucking beautiful and liberating that would be. To start again, yet not in exile from a place that feels so very much...home. I've tried out other spaces since, and they never felt quite right.

So, along with some other completely unrelated ideas that occurred to me at 2am t'other night, I thought, maybe I too could just...start again. And I danced at 2am, and spoke to the portrait of Frida on my wall, and asked her, "what would you do?"

It's nearly 7 years to the day since I started this blog, and now I'm back at digital zero.

There will be tales anon, of living in my Crooked Cottage in the mountains, of a Moon-child who is now 12, (12! Pass me the smelling salts!), and who can play a pretty mean fiddle. There are also tales of darkness, and the veritable strangeness that may accompany a Tree Change; as well as Delightes, and new friendships.

Of books and stories, gardens, and cats; moonlight and frog music, and sundry mishaps.

There's a spell in that...

Until then, as you were.