Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Brave paving

Michael has begun to pave a path and a small seating area in the backyard. It's slow work because the weather hasn't been cooperating. There's also his desire not to put his back out trundling loads of earth and sand around.

All the same, it is gradually taking shape.

The dark earth is part of a load of soil mix that we shared with some of our neighbours. Once the paving is completed I will spread it around more evenly.

Meanwhile, I've planted sweet peas up against the new wood fence. They are not up yet, but I'm quite proud of my twig trellis ready for them to climb.

The shadow against the fence is from the pallet of pavers stacked in front of it.

There's still a long way to go to make a garden here, but my cheery little 'Minnow' narcissus are blooming. I hadn't realized that they were heliotropic ( ie. they turn their heads south to face the sun.)

And along the front sidewalk, I've put in a row of 'Munstead lavender'. The leaves are not as silvery as 'Hidcote', the other popular variety, but the flower is paler and to my mind a more classic hue.

Although they are tiny plants, they should flower this summer. Eventually, I hope they'll grow together to make a low hedge. The chicken wire that now protects our yard from passing intruders, though practical, is not a pretty sight

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Flying Belindas

Years ago, when we had only been a short while on the farm, I went to a nearby garage sale and came home with four carved Indonesian figures. A friend dubbed them the Flying Belindas (after the world-famous family of trapeze artists known as the Flying Wallendas). For the rest of our tenure at the farm they hung in  the shack, aka Michael's studio, aka our guest quarters.

When we moved to Australia, they moved too and graced our little front sunroom for three years. Somewhere along the way they became our goddesses of good fortune. It's taken a year to rescue them from the depths of a chest and hang them on the front porch, but seeing them spiralling slowly in the breeze makes me feel we are truly established in a home once more.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbours

It's a year since we bought this property, and all that time the vacant next-door lot has looked to the casual passer-by as though it belongs to us. We could wish it did but failing that, a clearly marked boundary would be nice.
And now we have one. In collaboration with us, our neighbours hired a couple of guys to install a wood fence to match the rest of their fencing.

 I had to rush out and protect a few emerging perennials from their work boots, but otherwise all went smoothly and efficiently.

What I'm seeing is another good surface to trail some climbers on. There are already a couple of clematis there, one of which is purple - a jackmanii I think - and was obviously planted to grow into the old plum tree.

I was a bit concerned that we would lose light into our basement windows, but the fence is low enough that it's not an issue, at least not yet. When a house is built next door, that will change, of course.

Looking towards that future, I'm planning to plant some shade lovers like hostas and tiarellas in the narrow strips along both sides of the path.

Oddly enough, our backyard looks larger now the fence is in. I think that our imaginary boundary followed a line back from the bit of old fencing at the front of the house, which encroaches about 4 or 5 inches over our property line. The new fence is where it ought to be, so we have gained those extra inches symbolically as well as actually.