Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

What’s going to work?

August 20, 2012

Our freshly-landscaped front garden is starting to look loved.  The bulbs we planted are coming up, and it’s a lovely surprise to find out what they are, because we planted a mixed bag.  There are little drifts of white crocus, some bright pink hyacinths, beautifully scented erlicheers, daffodils starting to open and I’m still hoping for a tulip or two in there somewhere.  Ranunculus are showing plenty of leaves but no flowers yet.

Poppies are starting to look like the buds might open soon.  The nemesia has bushed up nicely and has a sprinkling of purple flowers.  Elsewhere in the garden, the plum blossom is almost all gone and new dark-red leaves are bursting out all over the tree.  Peas are flowering, and the delphinium has sprung back into life with lots of new leaves.

The most exciting development is tiny little green/white baby strawberries starting to appear!  I hope we get to feast on those in a few weeks, not the birds.

Of course, lots of weeds are popping up too, even faster than the new lawn.  A little while ago I took the kids out with me to look at the new flowers, and showed them which ones were weeds.  They all set to with a will, and Babess led them in a sort of spiritual chorus, chanting, “What’s going to work?” and then they’d all sing, “Teeeam-work!”

I think it’s from a TV show they had been watching, but it did feel a little bit like having my very own child-sized chain gang.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

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Good clean dirt

June 2, 2012

We’ve had some landscaping done recently, and our front lawn is now a front dirt-patch.  Finally the builders and digger-drivers have finished, and we are able to start thinking about grass again.  Of course, it’s winter now, so we may or may not be very successful, but we’re going to try to plant the lawn.

Today we went and bought grass seed, and some plants for the border, and a new garden broom because ours miraculously broke a couple of weeks ago – apparently after the children had finished playing witches and sword-fights and who-knows-what with it and put it away.  It must have just broken in two pieces while no-one was looking, as there are NO witnesses.  Hmm.

Pearl helped me choose some seedlings.  I wanted some snapdragons, but they all looked sad and scungy, so we chose love-in-the-mist, lupin, larkspur, and pansies – hopefully lots of glorious colour in a few weeks!

So this afternoon’s job was to clear the mowing strips and dig some compost into the borders, which have had clay and mud and all sorts of “stuff” dumped in and on them during the works.  While The Dad attempted to dig out a long and recalcitrant sycamore root we found sticking up in the middle of the “lawn”, I worked my way along the border, clearing the mowing strip and turning over the soil in the border.  It was hard work!

Fainjin rode his scooter up and down the driveway like a demon, narrowly missing the seedlings in their box each time and gleefully skidding on the corners.

Babess kept bringing the pansy seedlings up to where I was working, and asking whether I was ready for them yet.  Then she wanted to dig.  She took her trowel out into the middle of the “lawn”, just where we don’t need a hole at the moment.  I called her back, and pointed to the border I had just dug over.  “How about you help me here?” I suggested.  “Dig in that bit, that will make the soil softer for our flowers.”

“OK!” and she went to it with a will.  I kept clearing the mowing strip and working along the border.  After a little while I looked over my shoulder.  She was right behind me, digging all the soil out of the border and onto the mowing strip.

She was quite disappointed when I (with muttered imprecations) shovelled it all back in again, but eventually we finished our task and the border was ready.  Babess went back inside to watch from the lounge-room window, nice and warm, but Fainjin was very keen to help.

He stood on the driveway and told me where to put each plant.  That’s his idea of gardening!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Plum birthday cake

January 14, 2012

We have had a terrible wind storm the past couple of days, and it was a relief to wake up to relative calm this morning.

The children played outside, The Dad hung some washing out, and I gave our poor old tomato plants some TLC – they had all been blown over at least once each during the storm, and were looking battered and dried-out, so I watered and fed them and trimmed off any damaged branches and dead leaves.

As I was disposing of the trimmings, I came across a “birthday cake” Babess had made.  She had gathered a dozen or so windfall plums, and piled dandelions, buttercups and daisies on top.  Yes, our lawn desperately needs mowing, but at least she has plenty of flowers for decorating with!

I looked at the plums.  Most of them were still in perfect condition.  I “rescued” them from the birthday cake – that game had been abandoned anyway – and checked the plum tree.  There was still lots of ripe fruit on it, mostly within easy reach.

The Dad and the kids helped me, and we gathered an ice-cream container full of small, dark plums.  Only about a kilo (2.5lb), but enough for five jars of jam I would think.  Fainjin is very keen to help me make jam again, and Babess wants to help this time too – I think she wants her name on the labels!

I hope it’s as good as last year’s plum jam.  Mmmmmm.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Thinking ahead

December 24, 2011

Babess had picked some pretty pink geraniums from the garden this morning.  She had been carrying them around for quite a while, so they were starting to look a bit wilted, then she asked me to hold them for her.

“Shall I put them in water for you?” I asked.

“No!,” she took them back from me, lest I wet them.  “They’re for my wedding.”

“Your wedding?  Are you getting married?”

“Not yet!” she laughed.  Silly mama.

“Oh, when then?”

“When I’m big!”  Honestly, the strange ideas you mothers have some times.

“Sweetie, I don’t know whether they’ll last that long…”

She frowned at them, then shrugged and offered them to me.  “Actually, they are for you.”

Accepting her rejected goods with a smile, I put them in water.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Daffodils

September 12, 2011

For a change of scene and of pace this weekend, we decided to take the children to the Carterton Daffodil Carnival.

Spring is here!

This was a lovely way to spend the day, an old-fashioned country town fair, with lots of stalls selling lemon honey, relishes, home-grown citrus fruit, hand-knits and crafts, as well as the ubiquitous South American knits, finger puppets and pan-flute players.  We bought some lemon honey and fresh-made candy floss (of which Fainjin was deeply suspicious and refused to try), and the kids rode on merry-go-rounds and miniature cars.

Then we drove out to Middlerun and picked 6 dozen daffodils to bring home.  Fainjin initially picked just the tops, but I soon showed him how to follow the stem down to the ground and pick from there.  He carefully stepped over plants to get to one he wanted, then sat down on several surrounding plants to pick his flowers! Oh well… plenty of little kids were doing the same.

Pearl & Babess gather daffodils

On the way there and back there was plenty to do and see – baby lambs and calves indeed, although sadly no baby hippos.  We also saw pigs, horses, donkeys and alpacas, to great excitement.  There were Georgian flags everywhere, a cheery sight no doubt for rugby players a very long way from home.

And in Masterton we had plenty of time for what was pronounced “the best playground in the universe!

It was a good way to welcome Spring.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Scenes from the day

January 22, 2011

– Fainjin and Babess on their bellies in the driveway, looking at ants and claiming excitedly to have found “a goldbug”!  (Not Edgar Allen Poe’s one, a character in Richard Scarry’s “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go“).

– Babess carrying around hydrangea flowers bigger than her head, and asking whether she can have them in her bedroom.

hydrangeas on the windowsill

– Having filled the house with huge flowers, we “planted” the rest of them in the garden:

a definite improvement

– Fainjin and Babess making a Lego “farm” together – Fainjin specifying exactly where the trees and flowers would go, and Babess gathering up the various animals to put them where he showed her.

– The pair of them sitting on the back doorstep with mugs of milo and asking, “Can we have some fud?” not knowing I was on my way with a gingerbread man each.  The surprise afternoon tea was met with great approval.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Make way for…

October 28, 2010

Fainjin and Babess’ daycare had a “teachers-only” day today.  Luckily, it was a sunny and warm day, although a bit windy, so we were able to get out and about.

Our first errand was to an art gallery-bookshop, which is a truly lovely shop but a little scary with two busy preschoolers.  However, they were very well-behaved, right up until they decided to be puppies and lions but it was time to go by then anyway.

We decided to walk back to our apartment through the gardens, keeping a sharp eye out for baby ducks.  And sure enough, there by the fountain, ducklings!  The ones we had seen a couple of weeks ago are gangly-looking teenaged ducks by now, still a bit fluffy but more duck-like than cute.  But there’s a new batch, eight little fluffy balls tumbling after their mother chasing up the breadcrumbs offered by another visiting toddler.

Babess had gathered up some wisteria petals on our walk, and she now dropped some into the pond.  “Look ducks!  Flowers!  Eat my flowers!” she called, and they came rapidly over, to her delight.  Of course, they didn’t eat the flowers, despite her continued entreaties.  I tried to explain that ducks don’t eat flowers, but she still thinks they should.

The second-best thing about the gardens, after the ducklings, is the flower trail – bright flowers painted on the path at intervals of several metres.  Even the most “I need to be carried” toddler can be persuaded to chase her big brother from one flower to the next, for a surprising distance.  They also make a great spot for big brother to be told to wait for Mummy to catch up – “Stop on the next flower and wait for me!” “Ok Mummy!”

It all made for a very pleasant morning indeed.

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Sunflowers

October 26, 2010

One of Pearl’s birthday presents, from her best friend at school, was a packet of “heirloom” sunflower seeds.  Apparently they have many flower heads on each stem, with colours like red, chocolate, yellow and orange, sometimes all on the same flower.

Quite often we just sow sunflower seeds directly into the ground in our ex-vege patch (now mostly devoted to flowers), but since they’re special seeds and we’re not home to look after them, I got a seed tray and some special mix so we could do things properly.  By the time they’re big enough, we should be home again to transplant them into the garden.

The packet says there are 20 seeds, and I got a seed tray with 20 little pottles.

I sowed 2 seeds per pottle, and I think there are about 35 seeds left in the packet.  I guess the seed company didn’t want anyone to feel shortchanged!  We should have a great crop of lovely sunset-coloured flowers in a couple of months, though.

© UpsideBackwards 2010.

Ideas

September 27, 2010

I was pondering where to take the girls for lunch in town today – reasonably healthy, reasonably priced, not too far out of our way… when Pearl pointed out that we were right next to a supermarket.

“We could get some bread rolls and take them to the gardens with us and have a picnic,” she said.

“Perfect!” said I, and that is what we did.

As we sat in the sunshine admiring the tulips and magnolias, I thanked her for having such a good idea.

“Oh, it wasn’t my idea,” she demurred. “It was just my mind, the idea just… popped out!”

I chose not to pursue a line of questioning on where her ideas usually come from… and went back to enjoying the tulips and the sunshine.

Spring is here!

© UpsideBackwards 2010.


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