Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I've closeted myself away a bit while being sick and all and not wanting people to catch this nasty bug. Thanks for all your lovely comments and support on this blog, it meant so much! But now I am on the mend I am getting out and visiting places (starting with trivia at the Drunken Poet last night, with our team taking out 1st place!). I haven't been all alone though, luckily I had a few visitors to the balcony garden to keep me company in my week and a bit of illness.

Number 1 has visited before, and special housemate H took some pictures of him which I am still waiting on. He is a praying mantis, and we are in the process of coming up with a name for him. I'm thinking Marcel, but we will see. Sorry for the blurryness of the photographs, but you can only work with what you have, and the camera I have is still a sub par number.

Number 2 on the visitors guest book is the ladybug! He was happily cutting down the aphid population on the white hibiscus.

Alas one ladybug isn't enough and the garden is currently full of aphids, green caterpillars, snails and other nasties. You can tell they've been having ball in my smorgasboard of a garden!

I even found some scary yellow mites on the succulent, but they were quickly disposed of. Yay to being much better and hopefully posting more!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Back from the Brink

You may recognise this basil from other posts such as The Basil Stripped Bare, although it looked pretty different them. Eaten to within an inch of its life I was close to throwing it out, but whether it was due to laziness, illness, forsight or something completely different I didn't. Lucky because it is now one very healthy looking small basil plant.

And on a similar line, I am on the mend too. Gone are the chills, fever, tap-like nose and other unpleasantries, what remains is a cough, but that's minor in comparison.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Harvest Monday

This is just a short post as I am short on energy. What looked like hayfever yesterday has turned into a different form of illness today and it has taken all morning just to get out of bed. Harvesting veggies is the last thing I want to do today as it is hard to even stomach water. Ahhh these glorious bugs that go round at this time of year. Not due to illness but due to forgetfullness I don't have any pictures of the 3 baby eggplants I harvested friday night, nor the lettuce and silverbeet and yellow carrots and more.

I do have a photo of something I harvested last Monday, before I left Mum and Dad's house. Almost the last of the mortgage lifter tomatoes! A little bit less than perfect on the outside but yum.

There are a few more left on the bushes as you can see here, but they are definitely on the way out.

While I was there we harvested half of the basil (yes it was originally TWICE this size!!!)

Future harvests at Mum's include these lemons, capsicums, chillis (scotch bonnet and otherwise)

Given how sooky I feel today I wish I was still in Adelaide with them both and getting the parental sympathy and love. Although I'll end this post on a happy, funny note. Mum and I were potting up some new plants while I was there but we ran out of potting mix. Dad in his infinite loveliness went to the hardware store with strict instructions from Mum on what to get and where to find it. She gives excellent directions, foolproof even. Not too hard??? He came back with Mulch!!! Priceless. :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blooms Elsewhere in the World

Garden bloggers blooms day gives all us garden bloggers an excuse to photograph and highlight the floral goodies in our gardens each 15th of the month. I spent two weeks in Adelaide and did not get the chance to show you all the lovely flowers in Mum's garden this time of year. So in honour of her handy work here are a few pictures of her blooms.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lego and the Grown Gardener

James May likes to play with toys, or so he says in his TV series where he supersizes childhood favourites for the amusement of the masses. One of his meanders into toyworld was to build a monument out of lego, not quite channelling the majestic wonder of lego statue building contests but significant nonetheless. Well I am here to tell you that lego isn’t just for James May, or for kids, it is for the grown up gardener where they can use it to add whimsy to their greenery.

Why use lego in a container/pot garden? Glad you asked, well here are just a few reasons:

1. It is colourful
2. Despite the watering, pests, soil and plants it stands the test of time
3. The former is probably because I use it in pots. Not only does it fit in pots so neatly, often perched right on the edge it is away from any harm
4. Do you get it??? If not let me repeat lego and container gardens are made for each other
5. If you don’t like what you made you can build it again

The lego and plant coupling in the balcony garden started with an indoor tomato plant and some spare time in an afternoon. As a matter of ego, or self-referential art I figured the placing of a single apartment-style lego creation complete with a balcony which in turn was complete with a balcony garden would be a laugh. And it was. As the garden grew, so did the lego ambitions. It went from small apartment avec balcony garden to two story house with balcony garden, to castle, to cafe, to bar and lately to Mormon style meeting house.

Lego doesn’t just have to be something you played with as a child and pull out of the cupboard when the grandkids come over (note I am not of grandmothering age, and consider myself not even of mothering age, ok maybe I am of mothering age but am not of mothering stage.) So next time you want to add a little something to your pots, add something green and then something red, yellow, blue, white and black, though remember black lego is sometimes hard to come by!

For a more complete post of the lego constructions that inhabit balcony garden see the guest post by the lego inhabitants themselves.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers Blooms Day

Flowers and aphids seem to go hand in hand in the balcony garden! Instead of the aphids, I think I'll just post about the prettier side of life. In bloom today in the balcony garden:

The cornflowers are lovely. Alongside the blue and black ones pictures there is a set of white cornflowers in one of the carrot pots.

Violas are popping up everywhere.

One of these pansies has been a victim of the evil snail or caterpillar lurking on the balcony.

Sunflowers are everywhere and in all different colours.

The Geranium is still going a year on, red and sturdy.

And in equally red splendour the lantern is still flowering strong.

That's it for blooms in the balcony garden this bloggers blooms day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Familia Familiar

Sorry for the lack of posting. I think the loveliness of being home with family coupled with the stress of thesis work/writer's block (on both the academic and blogging front) meant I just sunk into the couch with the two lovely spaniels and didn't move for a week. I did do a bit of a jigsaw (2000 pieces, alas unfinished) and watched way too many documentaries on serial killers and umbrella assassins, but it was necessary respite. I also managed to get outside and help Mum in the garden, putting in silverbeet and broccoli (Mum hates store bought broccoli but after my urging decided home grown might be good.) I felt like I was home, 'home' home not just in a house. I guess I am a family girl, not a daddy's or a mummy's girl but a family girl. If I lived there again I mightn't feel the same way but at the moment home is a lovely treat I get a few times a year.

That is not to say that Melbourne, my University home, and my balcony garden dwelling are not home either. Maybe someone can have two homes! Returning to find the garden looking lovely, well cared for by special housemate H (who has since moved back to her home, good luck!!!) made me smile. The gurgling of my ears from the place ride meant the smile didn't last long but that's just what happens when you have mangled inner ears.

Anyway enough musing about home and place and blah, blah blah. Now I am back I have to dive headlong into thesis, and blogging and my Melbourne life. But one last point on home - seems my attempt to create the Sagrada Familia went horribly awry, all the towers joined as one, and this latest lego mansion resembles a large, masonesque monument rather than Gaudi's creation. Still it comes complete with swinging doors and flag poles!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Basil Stripped Bare

Yesterday I posted about my little tummy ache from an over-indulgence of jelly beans. Methinks another soul had a bit of a belly ache the other day. Just before I left I noticed that a transplanted basil plant was looking a little naked, and on closer inspection realised he had been stripped bare - OVERNIGHT!!! Sid the snail (not the actual Sid but an aggrieved relative) must had inflicted this damage.

Hope his tummy hurt as much as mine! Luckily there is still some other basil around the balcony, or at least I hope there will be when I return. Speaking of basil, I don't have a pic of it yet but Mum's basil is absolutely thriving. It is almost a metre tall!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sunny disposition

Owwww my aching tummy. I just ate way too many jelly beans. Oooopsss. While some people are sporting Easter chocolate binge related stomach grumbles I am super bouncy on the sugar in the jelly beans, though still slightly ill on the inside. The Easter bunny knows that I find chocolate OK, but that jelly belly jelly beans touch the part of my inner soul that smiles 24/7. Do feel sorry for my parents who are housing me at present (but who are also probably slightly to blame (in a good way) for this sugar rush.)

One thing that was also bursting, at least before I left Melbourne was the red velvet sunflower.

These pictures just don't do it justice. It was super red when I left and the petals were lusciously soft. Probably as red as the red cherry jelly beans. I'd have said as red as the raspberry ones but they don't come in the 20 flavour pack. Don't worry there wont be many/any more jelly bean sugar highs in the near future, I've eaten all the good flavours!!! Who wants watermelon or juicy pear (that tastes like soap)??? Blech not me. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Harvests past, harvests future

I hope everyone had a happy Easter, or whatever you did over the last few days. I am in Adelaide with my lovely family for a week and a bit of rest. I just love spending this time of year with relatives even if I do need to spend half of it working on the thesis. I have left the balcony garden in the care of special housemate H. Wonder how things will go? While I haven't got a proper harvest post this monday this is an ode to future harvests and harvests past that did not go into my belly. A few weeks back I began the autumn planting, mostly broccoli, lettuce and snow peas, with a few parsnip seeds thrown in for good measure. These are some pictures of the Autumn newbies and future harvestables.

And for more future havests? I spied a possible tomato resurrection! These were written off for dead a few weeks ago, the wilt attacking even the highest of the hanging pots. Yet as I left, this one remaining pot seemed laden with green tomatoey goodness. Fingers crossed they are ready when I go home.

As for harvests past that went elsewhere, five minutes before leaving for the airport I decided to harvest the beetroots due to constant attack from pests. I left them as a pressie for special housemate H.

One other harvesterific moment happened the day before I left. With hints of orange I stripped most of the habaneroes off the laden mini bush and handed them over to friends.