Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our new neighbours are so plastic

Had some new folks move in near the balcony

Indeed the tomato plant in our window by the balcony that once looked like this

now houses a family of three

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Post-Christmas Post

Five Christmas Meals
Four Days
Three bowls of custard (sans pudding)
Two Parents Visited
One Messy Apartment

but no Christmas Ham!?!?!?!? I can't believe that the traditional Christmas Ham did not make an appearance at any of our functions. Twas not because inept balcony gardener and family miraculously turned vegetarian overnight, nor did we realise that pigs are beautiful and intelligent creatures (a truth rather than simply a myth created by the producer of Babe) but just an oddity that shall be remedied next festive season.

However here are some piccies of how my new garden joined in the festivities

First we have an updated picture of the Christmas succulent, and yep the big box was for me!!!

The table decoration for the first ever Christmas Eve meal at my place (and yes i omitted ham, but i omitted Turkey too so maybe it was not a traditional meal afterall

And a salad to accompany said meal, with produce entirely procured from the balcony

Suffice to say my mother's face when she saw the garden for the first time was priceless, and I am still smiling from it

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When is a garden not a garden?

At the 30th Birthday where the marrow dip platter made its grand entrance (though its exit is as yet unknown, i never saw it later in the night) there was one of the best gifts given that i've witnessed in a long time.

Still in its 1970s-esque box was a Magic Garden, this miniature crystal set wherein the garden grows before your eyes. The first attempt to decipher the instructions were met with some confusion and a battering by the wind. The second attempt, held inside the country homestead was much more successful and the magic garden grew and grew throughout the night.

I popped back in sporadically, taking photos when I remembered (campfires, Moet, and citrus vodka don't aid the memory so well). These few shots were the best i could manage to witness its progress.

Such a lovely present, so kitsch yet fun, it kept us late-twenty-somethings (and the birthday 30 year old) mesmerised.

So the question remains - where is a garden not a garden? Is it a garden when there are no flowers? Or is a garden something which mystifies and mesmerises its audience? Or is this just an ersatz Mt Fuji in 'bloom'?

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Marrow Mould

I said i would do it, and i actually did!

The marrow from my birth dad's veggie patch became an unusual but well received dip platter, and contained an interesting version of Beetroot and Mint dip.

Awesome party
Awesome dip platter
less awesome dip but will just have to play with the recipe

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The harvest from down south

Not only did my birth family's veggie garden look superb, and the time away from the city provide me with a serenity that you just can't find in a main road abode, but i was sent home with bagloads of vegetable goodness.

Seriously look at it all!

While the marrow will double as a dip container this weekend, and some of the beetroot be the dip that is contained, i have no idea how i could possibly consume the rest of it! What with the wonderful housemate away on the other side of Australia at present, my fellow gourmet off on his overseas academic jaunt, and other friends tied up with Christmas eating elsewhere i think i am going to have to do a quick spot of experimental preservation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Inept BG goes as visiting

Ahhhh the festive season is well and truly upon us, which means copious amounts of celebratory activity and catching up with the various relatives and friends spread out around the near (and not so near) vicinity.

I took a quick visit down south(ish) to visit my birth family at their lovely country home, complete with country garden. I took the time to snap a few piccies of their amazing veggie patch and a few other floral goodies around the place. It may not be the balcony but it is just beautiful.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunset on the Balcony

I took a few pictures of tonight's sunset to send to a friend on his academic voyage in Austria and thought i would share them here.

Balcony Boozing Nearby

I was out and about in North Melbourne last Sunday after a delicious (though servicely-challenged) Yum Cha lunch. We ended up at a local place, the Warehouse, sipping Pipsqueak cider and Gin and Tonics and lapping up the late afternoon sunshine. It it a place that is crowded of an evening, not something Inept Balcony Gardener deals well with, but lovely and chilled during the day, and its quasi-balcony-outdoor-greenhouse area contains some lovely greenery.

Bamboo and Palms add a green tinge to the seating area

Pots a plenty on the walls

Even the toilets contain greenery (albeit half-fake, half-painted)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A quick one for Kirsty, orangeness and bug issues

I told you all it was orange

But if the spider mite problem is not rectified soon I am afraid the Dahlia (all three pots scattered around the balcony garden) will be destined for decomposition


Solutions that don't involve heavy miticides or individually meeting and greeting each mite then crushing it between my digits???

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Midnight in the Balcony of Good and slightly Evil

There have been some lovely nights here in Melbourne and it is not ever mid summer yet! The sun is staying out longer and longer and has drawn us out later and later in the evening. It is always lovely to have a bevvie or two (or more) on the Balcony as the sun goes down, shining off the Docklands' architectural mysteries and enjoy the cooling greenery on offer.

But i have since discovered it has a certain magic even after the sun has left the sky, as the pictures below hopefully demonstrate.

The Dahlia was getting ready to burst forth (turns out it was orange) although the evening lack of lighting shows just how awfully infested with spider mites this bush is. Alas it will be culled shortly, after the Dahlia flowers, to save spreading these little pests. The marigold too seems even more intensely yellow after dark and is also similarly inflicted with little red menaces

It was in the evening when i first discovered the ripening of the tommy toes

The straight truss of the random k-mart (now identified as red cherry tomatoes as shown in the second photo) almost defies gravity.

New yellow tomatoes almost sparkle in the night

The new celosia are equally stunning in the eve

Hanging pots in the night

Thyme, lemon thyme, yummmmmmmm

No wonder i adore sitting by my bedroom door at night reveling in the beauty of the balcony (even if i do have to share it with the rather evil little spider mites, if only the lady bug in the coriander would diversify her appetite)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The things we learn


never knew!

Coffee and ...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Christmas Succulent

Behold the Christmas Succulent.

This is the second year the Christmas Succulent has featured in my household, and i think it is about time the history of the Christmas succulent is told (i am an historian after all)

About this time last year, it being my first Christmas in my own home (i don't count the year i spent it abroad in Prague, travelling is not living, it is just plain, good fun) and although my parents were not visiting i thought it wise to follow tradition and put up a Christmas tree. Alas my housemate at the time was not a fan of Christmas, and thus wished me not to put such an abhorrent amount of plasticised or living festive greenery in our apartment. Apparently a black fake Christmas tree would be acceptable but at over $100 i wasn't going to fork out that sort of cash for a one off bit of cheer. She also approved of the chocolate Christmas tree i made, another tradition i picked up from my lovely mother, but as tasty as it was, it did not really invite one to place presents underneath its nutty, honeycombey, chocolatey branches.

Several days later i liberated this succulent from a friend's garden waste and planted it on the balcony. It was happy in the balcony paradise, and fitted into the home almost immediately. Then i struck up an idea - the housemate had said no Christmas Tree but she never said no Christmas succulent.

So out to the shops i pranced, picked out some colour co ordinated sparkly goodies, and a black star (black tree, black star, i could simply claim to have misheard her) and ran back with glee to decorate my new succulent quasi-Christmas tree. He looked such a treat in all his finery.

This year, he is bigger (in major need of a prune, a pot change or a relocation to my birth mum's backyard) but just as beautiful. My folks are visiting this Christmas so they can enjoy his Australianish Christmasness.

And the new housemate loves him too (as she does the rest of the garden for she is a top inept balcony gardener housemate)

Thus is the history of the Christmas Succulent. It may not be 'traditional' but it is becoming tradition here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

And the winner is ...

... Me! Well ok i had to say that because not only have i had the pleasure of watching this little guy ripen over the last few days, such a pleasant form of procrastination from the PhD, but i also got to consume him.


But in the race for first ripe tomato, line honours most certainly went to the yellow tumbler.

Let's look over the short but sweet life of Inept Balcony Gardener's first ripe tomato.

Here he was as a toddler, precociously popping out to say hi before any of his friends

he wasn't a loner for long and played happily with his mates

But at one point things changed, his body began to undergo a transformation and life was never to be the same again. He tinged yellow, and while his friends tried to follow the trend they were simply left behind.

he progressed quickly, maturing at such a rate until ...

i picked him

and he became my lunch.

* Hmmmm upon reflection i am wondering what made me gender my tomato? Odd