Garden at Home: Winter Morphing Into Spring




Spring is here. Well, supposed to be. I was doing office work here at home at Angaston on Tuesday when the sun lured me into the garden. Here’s a few images to show how the garden area at the front of the house is progressing and how it looks at this time of the year, the end of winter.

A few weeks ago I was looking for some male help around here, somebody who could help me on this small property (12.5 acres). As luck would have it I found Mr. Man Helper. Man Helper assists with basic jobs around the property including the garden.

NGE is not interested in running the property. His focus is on off-farm work i.e the law practice. He’s definitely the urbanite right now. Spends most of his life in the office, in the courtroom or in a jail. Hmph. Of course, having our own law practice means working for ourselves which brings freedom and autonomy to do what we want. I have been and can be the urbanite, the city-slicker, having lived in cities like Dallas, Orlando, Adelaide and Sydney. I love the urban. I love the dirt too. I grew up a rural child. I can move between both worlds. As of now I’m the head honcho/manageress of this property on top of being a lawyeress. How’se that mix of interests, skills and demands gonna work?

I digress. Those who know me know I’m not, not, NOT a gardener. I’m averse to spending much of my precious spare time in the garden. Rather be sewing and crafting or antiquing. So, yes, Man Helper is much appreciated. He is polite and prompt, he is strong and efficient. Most importantly, Man Helper ‘gets’ my idea of a garden. Doesn’t try to tell me there’s a right and wrong way to ‘do’ a garden.

Anyway, the first image above is the front of the house reached via climbing up the slope on brick steps. Here’s a few images from the day we moved the urns to the front along with the cats.




So there I was Tuesday and the spring sun turned up! Moving slowly southward from the northern hemisphere, it brought its big warm light and bright yellowy hues. God, I miss the warmth!

Alas, the sun’s visit was short. Yesterday, it packed up and left leaving us in the depths of winter again. Was chillingly cold up here yesterday and much the same today, wet and windy and not nice outside. I had to take Leadbelly to the vet and that was enough. Central heat is on. I don’t do cold well. Never have. Last summer came and went for me without any real memorable hot days. Disappointed I was. I’m over the cold winter weather thanks!

This image above shows one view from the front veranda/porch. There is a dam (pond) down there somewhere still waiting for its earth-moving days to arrive. Sigh … .




I have lots of easy plants like lavender, rosemary and creeping geraniums. There are some Madeira plants (echiums) soon to spring flower and the irises are starting to flower. There are gorgeous pink daisies, there are salvias and hollyhocks waiting for spring and summer. All easy to grow and mostly available from cuttings and seeds or they self seed. Nothing too fastidious. Good for gardening dummies as they generally mind their own business and look after themselves!

While there are conifers or cypress interspersed here and there, nothing matches the tall beauty of the gum trees (eucalypts) some established before we arrived.




The front garden part is just a few years old so it has a lot of growing to do. There are young trees starting to take off such as lemon scented gums, silver princess gums and spotted gums as well as non-natives like elms and ash. There are a couple of young gleditsias and a few sapphire dragon trees at the bottom of the garden mainly for shade.

And, yes, there are some bougainvilleas. I love ‘bogies’ not only for their flamboyant colours but for their durability and independence! Funny these bogies. While some people were adamant in advising me that “bougainvilleas won’t grow around Angaston because of the cold” I knew they thrived in the Riverland where below feezing temperatures occured regularly. Ignoring the naysayers I planted a few bogies and all survived. Stick them in the ground and ignore them. If they look dead or mangy don’t be fooled. Once they get going, which can take a few years, you have brilliant colour from mid to late summer right through to the start of winter sometimes. You don’t have to do a thing. How good is that?

Very few roses as too hard, too fiddly and, um, too much work! The few I have are easy growing, basically thornless like climbing pinky and china doll. A garden for non-gardeners it is! The plants and trees are all easy to grow, hardy without much need of human help. Water is not an issue here as we have a bore.

The above image looks down to the front drive and parking area.




I enjoy the colours of the garden right now even though winter hasn’t quite left and spring is not quite here. Some of the conifers have brilliant golden hues as do the golden wattles which are flowering so vibrantly right now.

These colours and the dull blues and greens of the native gums are complemented by the pink, lavender, blue, mauve and purple shades of the other plants. Well, I think so anyway 🙂

Honestly, it’s all ephemeral in the end. Nothing set in stone. I look, watch and reflect. If I don’t like something, or like where it is, I get rid of it or move it. No designing here. No straight lines. All ad hoc. Just evolution. I like it that way, the freedom and autonomy to play around. One of the few straight lines would be the front steps not installed by me of course. I’m not one to follow rules, trends and sales pitches of gardening stores, gardening magazines or TV shows and so forth. And I won’t abide these so-called gardeners or gardening experts thank you very much.

If the garden looks good or pretty or alluring or whatever, it’s all an accident. The garden fills up, grows and changes incrementally, bit by bit, as I find things to plant, to plonk in the ground. I try to get cuttings or plants that are ‘seconds’. Some of the lavenders self seed as do the echiums and so forth. Salvias and rosemary grow from cuttings. Gum-trees pop up everywhere. Bulbs multiply . . . .  nature at work.

This image shows the front entrance to the house at thetop of the steps. The climbing glory vines around the veranda (porch) area are still dormant. Soon their fat buds will burst open wrapping the house in an explosion of cascading green leaves extending out onto the front pergola area.

Stay tuned . . . .



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