Garden at Home: Winter Morphing Into Spring



Spring is here. Well, supposed to be. I was doing office work here at home on Tuesday when the sun came out luring me me into the garden. Sharing these few images of the garden area at the front of the house to show how it’s progressing at this time of the year, the end of winter in the Southern hemisphere.

Which reminds me. A few weeks ago I was looking for some male help, somebody who could help me on this small property. It’s only 12.5 acres I know but a lot of work when it comes to the frotn garden! As luck would have it I found Mr. Man-Helper. Man-Helper helps with basic jobs around the property including the garden.

NGE is not interested in running the property. No, his focus is on off-farm work i.e the law practice. Definitely the urbanite right now and spends most of his life in the office, in the courtroom or in a jail. Hmph. Of course, having our own law practice we work for ourselves which brings freedom and autonomy to do what we want. I have been and can be the perfect urbanite, the city-slicker, having lived in cities like Adelaide, Sydney, Dallas and Orlando.  And I love the urban, the busy buzz of downtown and all it offers. I love the dirt too. I grew up a rural child. I 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. Ugh!. I’m averse to spending precious spare time in a garden where everything is repetitive, never -ending and monotonous espeically when I could be sewing, 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.  He comes and does the work.

So, the first image up top is the front of the house which you get to via a long line of brick steps up the front slope. Old reds were used for the steps.  Recall these 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. Slow in it’s move southward from the northern hemisphere, it gave us a little taste of it’s warm, bright light. 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. 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. Never have. Last summer came and went for me without any real memorable hot days. Disappointing. I’m over the cold winter weather thanks!

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




Yes, I have only the 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 (mums), salvias and hollyhocks waiting for the real warmth to set in. All easy to grow of course and mostly available from cuttings and seeds or they self seed. Nothing too fastidious. Easy to maintain. Good for gardening dummies as they generally mind their own business and look after themselves. Hallelujah!

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 shas a lot of growing to do. There are young trees starting to take off such as the lemon scented gum, silver princess 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 decor and 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” it never quite made sense to me as they thrived in the Riverland where below feezing temperatures occur regularly. Ignoring the naysayers I planted a few bogies and all survived. Just stick them in the ground and ignore them. If they look dead or mangy, don’t be fooled, they are fine.  Once they get going, which can take a few years, you’ll 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 here as too too fiddly and, um, too much work! Oh pretty they are and I love them but not too many here please.  Fine at other people’s places. The few I have are easy growing, basically thornless types like climbing pinky and china doll. A garden for non-gardeners I have! Plants and trees are all easy to grow, hardy without much need of human help. I am lucky in that 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 🙂

Anyway, 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. Evolution. I like it that way, where I have the freedom and autonomy to play around. I don’t like following 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 quite accidental. The garden fills up, grows and changes incrementally, bit by bit, as I find things to plant, to plonk in the ground and as I come to watch, observe and learn about the plant. I try to get cuttings or ‘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. Simple really.

This image shows the front entrance to the house at the top 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 a border of cascading green leaves extending out onto the front pergola area.

Stay tuned . . . .



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