I think a lot of the problems we have here is that we lack imagination. Let me qualify that! When we leave Europe and come to the far flung fringes of the Southern Hemisphere, we tend to bring our ideas of gardening with us. So, we plant the flowers we are used to, we plant good old European Lawns – in essence we seem to make every attempt to recreate the kind of garden we left behind – the kind that our parents lovingly tended and we, their children, spent our youth in. So we plant our garden , watch things die and come to the conclusion that the problem is not enough water, so we water the plants and lawns with copious amounts of water morning and afternoon. However, with the drought of recent years and water restrictions the cost of continuing with this has become prohibitive. I have gotten rid of lawns and replaced it with weed matting and treated coloured pine bark (red) I have tried roses without much success and out of the dozens that I bought three are hanging on for dear life. I have planted other pants and watch them burn up and die in the sun – despite watering mulching and soil treatment that didn’t work. So, native plants it is. I have started with two Sturt’s Desert Roses and two Sturt’s Desert Peas. I have also planted four silver leaf Eremophila – two out front and two at the back. I will wait to see how these all survive before I do anything else. A neat European style garden and 40c heat just don’t go together.Not up in this little corner of the Commonwealth. And it’s only taken me 20 years to figure that out!
Oh what a joy! We had a major thunderstorm last night. It started about 1:30 am and I was up and trying to comfort a dog who believed that the sky was falling. The vet had given me medication (ACP 10 mil.) to calm her down so I gave one tablet to her. I also brought both dogs into my room so that herself would not be wakened. The little man curled up on my bed and went back to sleep. Chienna kept pacing up and down and stressing out. I really feel sorry for her and the combination of noise and pressure really gets to her. The way she stresses out and the constant panting, I am surprised she doesn’t have a heart attack. But she doesn’t want to be comforted or reassured because when we try to hold her she breaks free and continues her pacing and panting until the noise and the pressure stops- which it did around 4am but by then she had started to clam down. She settled down at the foot of my bed and we all went to sleep until my alarm went off at 6:30. I gave them their sticks, let them out and went back to bed for an hour.
Winter might be heading off for a holiday but it will not be going quietly. The forecast is for rain and a bit of wild weather. The trouble with weather like this is that it tends to make a fellow feel homesick – (yes, I come from Scotland) I’ve only been here for 25 years so I’m a relative newcomer. The Refrigeration Engineers are supposed to be coming today to install the new split level air-conditioner system. The current system decided to give up the ghost – or whatever a/c systems do – and die on me. It was going to cost XX to repair and XX+x to put in a new system. The Insurance Company were not too happy and paid out, but only if we got the new system because the old system is just on the ten years and they are reluctant to insure any system that is more than ten years old. At the moment we are using an electric heater and thus far it cast cost an arm and a leg in power bills.
In my previous post I made mention of phILOFAXY and posted a photograph of my Scanda. This will be retired at the end of this year and it you look at the photograph you will see to the left of the Scanda what looks like another Filofax- it is. This is my “Filofax in waiting” This is the Filofax that will replace my Scanda – Cuban Zip Personal. Out of the picture, to the right, sits a Cuban Zip A5, which stays there and I work between the two. I think, regardless of what I said the other day, if anyone uses an Organiser of any kind, you should look at phiLIOFAXY because there are some really interesting things, helps and tips on there. Filofax is just not popular where I am and I am probably about the only person who uses one, thus there are no supplies in this region and everything I want has be to brought from the UK or the USA. Unlike the people on the blog, I can’t go down to the local Stationery Shop and I would kill for a WHS ( which I remember with fondness) People use a diary but not an organiser, so it is possible to pick up any range of diary, from Academic to Household Shopping, but not get inserts for a Filofax. David Jones, in Adelaide used to stock supplies and a range of Filofaxes but these days their range is very limited and inserts thin on the ground. The photograph above is the Cuban Filofaxes – the front one being the Personal and the rear one the A5 and yes the Personal is sitting open and flat..
The engineers have arrived and are working on installing the new AC System. At least it’s not raining and even if it were, the AC Unit is under the carport anyway, so they would get some shelter. I’ve just left them to it as they move in and out of the house. The only good thing about winter is that you can leave the door open and not be invaded by flies while you slowly freeze to death. Have to love Australian country towns – 20,000 people, 50 million flies.
As you can gather I have not been doing a lot of work in the garden. Tomatoes are coming along nicely as are my new venture in Purple Carrots. Don’t really know if I like the idea of Purple Carrots but I thought I would give it a try. Parsley seems to have taken over the herb garden, overpowering the Mint and other odds. Just as well I like parsley. Most of the roses are doing well. I think I have lost a few and it’s too late to replace them now. If I were heading off to Adelaide anytime soon, I would most likely still get some to replace the dead ones, but not here. If you ever hear that the world is coming to an end – come to South Australia; everything takes fifty years to get here.
I have been working part of the week and never really managed to get much done. However, I did trim the trees at the side of the washing area – or what will be the washing line area – and as soon as I get some good and dry weather I’ll set about cementing the new unit into position. I gave a fleeting thought to murder – dogicide – when I discovered that my delightful Chienna had dug up two of my plants. Well, I guess that’s what dogs do – so get over it! Actually, she’s not really guilty of digging things in the garden so this was unusual. I can forgive her!
A lovely lady, whose posts I follow has cancer and recently had a bone marrow transplant. She was ok for a very little while but the cancer has come back more aggressive than before and the outlook is not as good as we would like it to be. She is also a Christian lady and has asked us to pray for her – which we will.
I am a bit unsettled at the moment and I have changed my page three times already. I am trying to find something that I can relate to and that I think would be easy on the eyes for other people, so I am still experimenting.
Yesterday was quite nice but I left the concreting and decided to plant the roses I bought recently. I have not planted any out front because I am still waiting for the standard roses to come in and I want at least two of them – probably not many more at $45 each. I think this is a bit much but even in Adelaide Standard Roses are at least $39.00. I have no idea why they are so expensive, but there you are. I might look at a Nursery in NSW just out of Curiosity and compare prices.
On the coming Friday I will be going down to Adelaide at the invitation of my son and his Girlfriend. They will pick me up in the morning and take me into town. Trish has training and Andrew is going to his Adelaide office, but I will be with Andrew for most of the day. They are staying overnight and I am coming home on the coach. I will get my extensions for the gate and Andrew can bring it back with him on Saturday.
When I was over in Port Augusta I bought three rose bushes, two lemon coloured and one white. I felt these colours should be right to contrast with the red wood chips. I have now planted them and I hope, early next week, to get two standard roses on 90cm canes. They will go between the three roses I planted yesterday, so it will be bush, standard, bush, standard, bush. It should look ok. I won’t be able to get much done next week because I have to go away for a funeral. It’s an 800 klm. round trip so I will be away for a two days. This is the funeral of a former Pastor who helped us out many years ago when we lost our Minister. He and his wife were willing to travel the 400k to take our services and help us through the transition, so I feel we should be be there to says our farewell.
I know it doesn’t look much on the photograph, but there are three rose bushes there – New Season Roses, I might add. The soil is not the best and I do hope that the roses will take and not be like plants of the past – I touch em – they die!! Anyway, it’s only the first bush so they are still a bit on the small side, however, if they survive they should look good and grow to a reasonable height. My other alternative, if they do not survive, is to plant them into large pots and have the post buried in the ground – same effect I think. I am quite anxious to see the effect when the Standard Roses are planted.
Yesterday afternoon I started clearing the bark away and within an hour so so I had filled the trailer. What surprised me was the small amount of space cleared in relation to filling a 6×4 trailer. With dump fees at $15 per trailer load, this is going to be quite expensive. I am now considering the wisdom of doing the clearing myself and wonder if it will be just as cheap to get someone with a backhoe to come and do it for me. That being so, I have arranged for this to be done. So what’s the deal about the bark? Well, it’s not just bark that has fallen from trees, this is pine bark chips that have been used as a ground cover. It’s cheap, no maintenance and looks good until the weather takes its toll and leaches all the colour out of it. Then it turns black and looks really dirty. It’s not something I would consider using. In a small area it’s managable but this is in a good sized area and I think it really detracts from the house. I’ll edge the area off with treated Pine Logs and use a particular wood chip that has been treated not to lose its colour. It looks attractive and is created as a decorative feature. However at $90 per cubic metre it is not cheap. In the back section I will have the area slightly raised and plant Roses and in the centre, the bird bath. I think it will look quite good when it is finished.