World in a fishbowl

Two of my girlfriends have been getting their craft on lately. Abbey wanted to tackle terrariums, Jade thought we should have a ‘crafternoon’ (love it!) and I couldn’t think of anything better than hanging out with the girls, drinking vino and making stuff so the first crafternoon was officially called to order. It’s the first time I’ve done something like that with friends and it just added a whole layer of fun to being creative.

After deciding to have a crafternoon it was a mad rush to try to source materials before the weekend. When I think of terrariums I immediately think of moss. Moss seems to be one of those things that you suppose might be everywhere, lurking under logs and growing in the back corner of your garden. Wrong. Unless you live in Pandora, moss is damn hard to find in an inner-city suburb, at short notice, even if you’re willing to pay for it. We were at a loss for moss. To compensate I ripped up some baby’s tears (or Helxine soleirolii) from the front garden although I’m not sure my method of just laying it on top of the soil is going to actually work (to be honest I’m not sure if my method of putting a dry-loving cactus next to a damp-loving plant like baby’s tears is going to work either). We also had a glass vessel each, stones, potting mix, small succulents and some jungle friends…

So, stones in first, potting mix and then plants and voila! A little world in a fishbowl.

Mine has a little giraffe called Frankie. I like Frankie the giraffe. He is a little tribute to Dave because Dave is South African and now I always get warm fuzzies when I see African animals. Except Hyenas. They give me the creeps.

For more lovely terrarium inspiration check out Apartment Therapy’s guide to 25 Terrariums to Try, Buy & DIY.

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The birds & the bees…

and the butterflies & flowers.

Dave and I have been taking a few day trips over the holidays and everywhere we go seems to be bursting with colour. There are butterflies everywhere, wild flowers, birds enjoying the bounty of wild fruit and busy little bees collecting pollen and making it all possible.

We’ve taken walks along the Yarra River at Warrandyte, through the Mt Dandenong Ranges at Olinda and one of my favourite places, Lavandula, the Swiss Italian lavender farm near Daylesford. Daylesford is another of my favourite places. We spent Easter there last year in an adorable little cottage and we still talk about it all the time. I think there is something special in the air around those parts.  It’s the perfect place for romance, lovely walks and amazing food, and it doesn’t get much better than that for me!

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How does my garden grow

Things have been getting rather dirty around here lately, literally. Dave and I have been tending to a small veggie and herb garden and getting some dirt under our fingernails. Since I’ve only successfully grown succulents before, and let’s face it, they pretty much do all the work for you, vegetables and herbs seemed like a good challenge to tackle with my partner in grime. We planted some cucumber seedlings, rosemary and oregano struck from cuttings, basil seeds, and three kinds of tomato seedlings (cherry tomatoes and two Italian varieties that produce big old fashioned fruit and aren’t usually available in Australia – thanks Nick!).

The basil seeds were knocked over by the dogs and only two sprouted but seem to be thriving despite a late night snail attack. The rosemary is doing well. The oregano, not so well (aka dead). The cherry tomatoes have had a tough time being moved from under the car port, to the blazing sun and then to the sanctuary of ‘next to the shed’. They have plenty of fruit and we have had one delicious harvest so far but the leaves are drying up here and there which is a bit alarming. The cucumbers were not doing much at all, or so we thought. The runt of the four seedlings never really took off and the few little cucumbers that came after the flowers on the other plants shrivelled in the heat and fell off. During one of our evening inspections I think I scared the neighbours with a “oh my god!” when I found a fully grown cucumber in amongst the vines that had either grown entirely overnight or had been hiding behind one of the tomato tresses and disguising itself as a bamboo stake every time it heard us open the back door.

We were pretty much ‘winging it’ with our first veggie patch and it is really nice to watch the plants grow and be rewarded with vegetables and fresh herbs but I think next time we plant I will do a bit of research first as it’s frustrating when things aren’t going well but we don’t know how to fix them.

As for our one cucumber it’s ripe for the picking but I want to leave it for as long as possible as a testament to our efforts and living proof my thumb has turned from black to green (a very pale shade of green).

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