The summer garden

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Daylesford has had splendid weather so far this summer. Cool nights, warm afternoons, occasional rain. The garden has certainly loved it. Gooseberries are plentiful at the moment, other things bud with promise still… It has just had a major haircut and is looking neater than what is perhaps the wilder norm. Actually, looking at these pictures I think it looks pretty rampant still but that is what happens, look away for a second and the wily tendrils are running the show again.

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Birdsnest in the vines

The back veranda has started to smell like a winery with the overwhelming amount of grapes being over ripe, so I decided to cut some back. Had to stop though, as I found a birdsnest. I think it is a honey eater, I have had a lot of them this year. It’s amazing that they have chosen that spot as it is right outside the back door. Clearly it takes a lot of noise to bother this little bird.

The bees like the grapes too, if a bird has pecked a grape, piercing the skin, the bees have access to the sweet grape and hurry to get some back to their hive which is only next door.

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Think of something pretty

and it won’t be this.

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Nor will it be this tree, embedded in the wall. As you can see, I have ringbarked it so it at least won’t get any bigger until I can get around to it.

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Before I start fixing up the building I will have to remove this mess. Digging, digging…

Here is something pretty instead. The grapes are nearly ripe! They may be small, but so sweet and delicious.

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Hello Possums! The boat is done.

Because I have the benefit of being 12 inside yet with the decision making capacities of someone WAY older, if I feel the urge to have a boat in the garden then I can! Hooray! See the older Boat post if you like, here’s a recap picture: Actual boat and the general plan.

It was in worse nick than I had hoped for. Here is the floor once I ripped it out. When I tried to scrape the old paint I was actually scraping away the boat itself. There’s no denying it, this will always be a fragile friend.

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Once the floor was gone I could see the sleepers I had rested the boat on. I covered the whole lot with weedmat, byebye ivy! Water will still be able to run through the weedmat. Then I used three lengths of sturdy treated pine and nailed them down. The well itself is 1,8 metres long, it is a deceptively large boat really.

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From here it was a simple thing to screw down some decking. Just a little fiddly as each board has to be slightly longer than the next (and angled) as the well is shaped from narrow to wide. The thing in the middle is to take the centre support for the seat which will come soon.

monets boat 7On On the outside I attached braces to the sleepers to keep the boat steady. New seat, some new ply on top of the old, some fibreglass work  which is a delight, like papier mache for outdoors but HARD to get right, I am settling for strong and not pretty. The whole job is a bit rough really, but I feel there are limits to how much money and effort I am prepared to put on something essentially quite derelict.

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Monet’s boat would not be that if it didn’t have a hut at one end.

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I also made an awning in very thin plywood to keep most of the leaves out. As for durability, the whole boat is made from that stuff so I guess it will last for as long as the boat will.

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The possums play pirates in the boat at night. Or something. It became an obvious name! It is no longer Monet’s boat, but Dame Edna Everage’s.

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Rain at last!

Rain today, a good time to photograph a grateful garden. Victoria has only had a fraction of its normal rain for the season, so I (and the garden) enjoyed it tremendously.

rain9For the first time, the gooseberries are actually fruiting! I am so excited. It’s been three years of waiting… Apparently, gooseberries thrive on neglect so they are a good plant for me. You can take upright hardwood cuttings in autumn, might try that and grow some more. I have read that they really like windy sites, and I have just the spot outside the front. Merciless winds come straight up the hill. This particular bush is in a sheltered location and receives no particular favours at all, apart from an annual sprinkling of organic fertiliser. And rain, today.

rain7rain4Both honeysuckle and jasmine flower at the same time, such beautiful scents.

rain3I lost a packet of snowpeas a while ago, only to find it had dropped in the laundry trough and was totally soaked. Of course, this meant I now had to plant snow peas everywhere. Some didn’t come up, but the potted fig tree has a successful friend, and the strawberries have unexpected company as well. My garden is a surprise, sometimes!

rain5rain1I love how the garden is growing up and filling out. Only three years ago it was mostly lawn and concrete paths. Obviously the big established trees and shrubs were there before. I can’t do lawn. So much care, growing, growing, mowing, mowing. Planting something I don’t have to constantly care for is far superior for me.

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It is officially spring

You know that spring is on the way when…

The buds are breaking on the magnolia.

spring3The rhubarb pushes up through the ground.

spring4The flowerbuds hint at beauty to come (the dovecote is new, by the way. Sometimes I make one for the gallery too)

spring5… and the woodshed is very nearly empty.

woodshed¬†spring2Nearly t-shirt weather, bare legs and no socks! Though I confess that I will miss winter, it is a season I love. An opinion not shared by many but what is there not to love about grey skies, a total absence of insects and snakes, the beauty of a bare landscape, fog, frost, layered clothing, I can go on forever. Farewell winter, ’til next time. It’s been fun.