Posts Tagged ‘build a brick pond’

My winter photo


Over the years my daughter Maya has taken pictures of me in my garden, usually in the middle of winter, starting in 2009, our first winter in this house. My husband had died the previous month, so the look on my face that year was a bit not me. But over the years things have improved, on my face and in the garden.

I did not realize that the winter photo had become a tradition until I looked back and saw that I had done it most years (except for 2012).  I have never made the photos public, because in them I am wearing my worst clothes, clothes which I very often wear in the garden.



The pond, five years on

And didn’t it rain!

The only trouble was that we missed it. We were away, so the garden still got it. Five inches of rain one night in the middle of April. More rain in one go than we’ve had for years.

I’ve always said that for us to get a good rain (=2 inches), Melbourne has to be under about a foot of water. So it wasn’t surprising that the weather that brought the five inches turned into something that killed people in NSW a few days later.

After that I was finally able to start my autumn digging, and watch a few late crocuses poke through at last.

By the pond

By the brick pond

I also got some mulch from the dump and a few ‘finds’, cacti and succulents that had been thrown out, which I rescued and planted at home.

By the carport

By the carport

Pond #3 with mulch after a rainy night.

Pond #3 with mulch after a rainy night.

Something done finally

Not much has happened in the garden lately or on this blog; school started again, and then my eldest moved to Adelaide to start uni – before he left I got him to help me install the bath pond under the verandah where the little fibreglass one used to be.

April 2015

That bath had sat there 6 months on rollers waiting to go in, but it was so dry I did not bother trying to dig. Then along came some nice rain in January, and once it soaked into the soil I was able to dig. Antonio helped me with the bath just before he left towards the end of February. It annoys me by looking lopsided even though according to the spirit level it is almost perfect. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait until the plants grow some and disguise it.

I have also finally got back to working on my dry creek bed, which I’d not touched for two months. Some of my excuses involve the hot dry weather, but I’ve also embarked on a couple of writing courses which have taken my attention away from Gardiner in a dry land.

April 2015

Over summer I had put all my water plants back into the brick pond and covered it. Late March when I take the cover off, which I love, because I can see the sky reflected in the water again, I began planting things out around the other two ponds.

April 2015

After that I drained all the water from the brick pond into here, gave the brick pond a good mucking out, and then set up the little fountain once again.

April 2015

I really do love my ponds. When I was a kid I wanted a pond badly, but the answer was always no. My parents had a whole set of reasons. But now I have three!

What’s it all for?

My son Antonio recently expressed concern that all my work in the garden might be all for naught. That in the future, when we leave this place and new owners move in, they might take a bobcat to all my labours and reduce it back to nothing but mud in minutes.

When there was nothing

When there was nothing

We have all seen it, the work done by loved ones being undone when new owners come in, and in the case of my grandparent’s front garden, put back similar to how it was before sometime after that. Only the rare garden outlives its owners by decades or centuries.

Sometimes I wonder what a new owner might do, and my main concern is where he or she will erect their large shed, as all people these days seem to want huge sheds alongside their houses. The days of a small collection of sheds down the back of the garden have passed. So I’m hoping future owners will put one where the caravan and vegie patch are, and leave the rest of the garden in tact.

I have had other discouraging moments when I’ve planted trees thinking, “what’s the point, I’m going to be dead before they reach maturity,” but the years are going to pass whether or not I plant trees, so I might as well plant them.

I can also ask Antonio a similar question, “are all those boss battles worth it?”, because to me they aren’t. I chuckle at him sometimes, because he considers Facebook games to be beneath him – a total waste of time, while he, discerning gamer that he is, is actually doing something worthy.

And then I’ll quote Beth Chatto at him and tell him that there is more enjoyment from the achieving, rather than the achievement. Although without the achievements there is no further achieving anyway. One thing I love to do is look at photos of my garden this time last year, or however many¬† years ago and look how far it’s come in that time. I love to watch plants suddenly take off after 3-5 years of putting down roots. I love seeing the proof that that particular year, I actually finished something!

Just last year.

Just last year.

We have gotten much joy from the improvements that have been made since I really got going early 2011, from the pond, the big slide, watching the cats run along the stone walls, the lovely shade of the carport and verandah, the feeling of safety the came from putting up walls and putting pavers and grey shale over what was once mud. Although even though we no longer step out into mud when it rains here, we still manage to find plenty of mud to step in!

And then there was the comment made by a great lady named Coral I met through the Port Augusta Garden Club; she felt that you would never have a nervous breakdown if you had a garden.






Goodbye Leyla

Last weekend we said goodbye to our old cat Leyla, who was aged 15 years and 8 months.

She had been with us since late 1998, when it was just me and my eldest son Tony, who was 2 at the time. We had moved to Alice Springs the weekend she was born, her mother Midnight was a Russian Blue belonging to relatives of mine, Sue and Neville Otto. Out of the three kittens the little black and white one was the most adventurous, so they named her Leyland after the Leyland brothers. As she was a girl the name was shortened to Leyla, which turned out to be an Arabic name meaning ‘dark as night’ or ‘black-haired’.

With one month of life left.

With one month of life left.

She was with us for many seasons, for the 2 years of fulltime work and single motherhood in Alice Springs, for the years of marriage and babies after that. She was with us when we relocated to Quorn and set about building our own house, and for those awful years of Edi’s illness and death, the grief that followed, and the murder and court stuff that came after that.

Over the past summer she slowed down a lot, and as the months and weeks went by she gradually stopped doing the different normal routine things. Finally she stopped eating, and a week or so after that was gone. The final days were awful, they dragged on but she held on to the point where we had decided to take her to the vet, but she wasn’t having that, and finally died last Saturday morning at 9:30am.

I will remember her as a young cat who got along with everyone, then an older grumpier one. For 10 years she was the only cat in the house, and when we got Misty, she was in a bad mood for a year. She liked to be top cat and managed to exert her seniority on all others. Even though Misty was bigger and tougher and she wouldn’t dare start fights with him, he would always let her eat dinner first.

The garden is rather empty without her, no longer will she inspect the grounds morning and evening. I will miss how she used to talk when things got too quiet for her, she would try to talk with one of her meows sounding like ‘hello?’ and sometimes I’d hear ‘Mum’.

She chose her own final resting place, a spot near the pond where she would head before she was too weak to do so. Goodbye Leyla old girl, and thank you for all your love

Leyla's resting spot (at left).

Leyla’s resting spot (at left).


May the 4th and 6th

On May the fourth, 2009, a couple of years before all the Star Wars stuff started appearing on that date, I began a garden. I finished clearing the last of the junk away in the area facing my kitchen window, and the first things went in.

On May the fourth

On May the fourth

Two days later, when my husband died, the area became Edi’s garden.

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