Tag Archives: flowers

A Friday fest

Following on from my Pin of the day on Monday, I’ve had the camera out all week and every now and again I’ve just picked it up and click click clicked until I got that “What are you doing? Can you just take that camera out of my face?!” look.

It’s holidays, and my housework has been a bit ignored and we’ve done more out and about than usual, so a few more moments of putting off making dinner or doing the washing and mucking about with the camera instead wasn’t going to add much to the chaos.

Although I must admit I’ve got off lightly, with last week being a short week, and this week offers from both sets of grandparents to have the kids for a day or a night… I’m not feeling that end of holidays insanity at all!

So, our week at home in pictures.

Forward rolls on messy beds, and pyjamas left on the floor all day…

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Books, books, books…0502_0841 0502_0848 0502_0859

New spotty legs under the table…
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“Mum! Did you get the flowers I picked for you at the back door?”…0502_0896

“Oh I did! Thank you so much!”…

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Upside-down pizza picnic on the “new” deck0502_0910 0502_0937I’ve enjoyed my kids these holidays, and am enjoying enjoying that, because it’s not always that way!

And I’m glad for the odd little collection of photos I’ve got from this week, and the reminder that ISO matters. Playing with shutter speed and aperture is pretty straightforward, but somehow I always forget ISO. A few more weeks of the camera out on the desk and hopefully that’ll be a little more ingrained as well?!

But now, I better go tidy up while I have some peace and quiet. The end of the holidays is in sight and that obligation of getting back into routine is feeling closer. Too bad…!

By the way, if you follow me elsewhere you may know demolition has started in our bedroom, so I’ll have some less than pretty photos of that next week!

 

It all adds up

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A month ago this was where we were at. And then I got all gloomy and felt like nothing was happening so I got a little envious over someone else’s awesome (finished) space…

But I’ve just collated all my photos of the last few weeks, and lo and behold – progress!

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If you feel like playing “spot the difference” you’re welcome to. If not, here are the answers:

– New deck joists
– Plants in planters
– New side garden
– All tidied up
– Decking timber ready and waiting!

So, starting with the biggie, here’s deck progress.

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We are extremely lucky to have Andre’s dad doing our building. Not only do we get a deck built, but we get babysitting at the same time. I feel pretty guilty about him trying to get a job done with them underfoot, but I’m assured he doesn’t mind, and I know he adores them and they him. It’s like trying to prise an oyster off a rock to get them back inside or playing in the front yard out of the way. So I’ve about given up, and just send regular trays of coffee and hot chocolate out to keep the grizzles to a minimum.

1029_1715These are from a couple of weeks ago, so there are now spacer bits (technical term!) between the joists to keep everything straight. You might spot them in another photo further down, but no promises.

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For a simple deck we seem to spend a lot of time in contemplation over the details. Andre and his Dad have had numerous discussions and quite a lot of mutterings over the confusing nature of the building code. I had a quick look and left them to it. I’m better at the grand scheme stage.

Polka dot gumboots definitely help with grand scheming (although my feet are starting to swelter in these so it might be time for some new DIY jandals).

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This is us trying to visualise the couple of steps down from the house, and a balustrade along the eastern side. 1029_8281 And the usual messy state of affairs:

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So, we’re excited to have some decking timber now ready to go, but builders between big jobs are in hot demand to complete lots of little jobs so we’re sharing him around and just grateful for the days when the white van pulls up in the drive!

Next. After shovelling a trailer load of dirt out of the backyard, the last thing I felt like was shovelling another load right back in. But it had to be done, and don’t tell Andre, but I kind of don’t mind jobs like this. At least not when I’m nearing the end… there’s satisfaction in shifting a cubic metre of soil!

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It was destined for these gigantic planters now never to be removed from our backyard in a million years. There have been many small steps with these planters in getting to this stage, but I won’t go into the detail just yet. I’m still mulling over my original plans for finishing touches.1029_1710

But one sunshowery day I got them all planted up. I wanted both screen-the-neighbours and fruit trees, so I picked out a couple of feijoas (two varieties is recommended because even though most types are self-pollinating, they still prefer company) and a mandarin. For now, I’ve underplanted with strawberries, just for fun, but once we get a few nibbles off them I plan to replace them with some more permanent ground cover like baby’s tears or Irish moss. We’ll see!

In the biggest pot I’ve just popped in a trio of daisies, for some colour, until our plum tree in the corner is dormant (next winter) and we can gently transplant it. It’s a great producer so I already have my fingers crossed we won’t harm it by shifting it.1029_1724

Last Saturday saw the remaining smaller pipes sitting in our drive cut up into planter sized bits. So we’re not done with planters yet…

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Last Saturday also saw a scruffy little strip of weeds transformed into a promising garden bed. Down the western side of the deck we have a narrow garden space alongside the neighbours fence. Originally it was full of all sorts of jungle-variety plants but gradually we have sent them all to the tip and these scrappy weeds took over for a while.

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Up against the house are were these trees, which we’ve been trimming away at for a few weeks, hoping if we take it slowly the neighbours won’t mind so much that suddenly there are no trees in the backyard offering privacy between us and them. But with a full height panel due to go up along that side of the deck I decided it was now or never and recruited Andre and his long arms to put them (me?) out of their misery.

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The pink flowering one was first to go (it was always a little neglected and scrappy looking, as well as scraped annoyingly on the windows in the slightest breeze) and bit by bit we started cutting down the tall one. At the very last minute, it got a reprieve. We decided it’ll probably be happy to share with the new planting we had planned, and will actually be helpful in providing an illusion of shade (it’s on the wrong side of the sun to really give any shade) over the deck. So it just got a severe trim in order to fit the panel alongside it.1029_1873

While Andre had yet another discussion with his Dad over the finer details of the deck plan, I got busy with some rocks that had been put aside after the big hole dig.

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Then we all pitched in to clear those pesky weeds and fill in with some leftover topsoil, before planting some gorgeous scented jasmine, and a few ferns that were growing mad up under the trees. Originally we were going to use some of the old decking timber to re-edge this garden bed (the railway sleepers that were there were a bit rotten and fell apart during the clear out stage) but the spur of the moment decision to make use of the rocks was a good one, even if we can’t remember whose it was! It’s the little unexpected jobs like this that really make a day feel like an achievement – completed in less than half an hour, and only using what is to hand. (A bit like this temporary sandpit of many months ago.)

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As for the jasmine… I chose it because it ticks a few boxes like fast-growing, minimal maintenance (once it grows it’ll be a bit tricky to get to in this narrow space), and good screening, but also because of its bonus smells so good factor. Because we need it to fill the space and not grow primarily on either the neighbours side fence, or the panel on the side of the deck, we have staked out (hah!) a frame for it to climb on right between the two. Of course it’ll grow where it likes, but I want to be able to trim it back off the fence or deck panel if/when necessary so this middle-ground structure is where I’ll do my best to train it to.1029_8346 1029_8345I did underestimate my staking requirement initially, but now have another pack waiting to be added to this frame so there is somewhere for my little jasmines to aim for next.1029_1877

And that yucca-y tree at the north end… days are numbered. Neighbours love it, I hate it, Andre’s somewhere in between. So until my little jasmines grow a little, it stays put. But the day is coming when the jasmines and I will slowly but surely prove it’s ugliness and uselessness. All it does is drop those annoying fronds and it doesn’t even smell nice – right jasmines?!

It’s a little hard to tell in the latest “after” photo, with the new stack of decking timber under cover (here it is again so you don’t have to scroll all the way back)…

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…but Andre had a huge tidy up out the back here. Piles of timber got shifted and nails and sawdust cleaned up. I was out first thing on Saturday and came back expecting some “real work” to be underway, but was pleasantly surprised with this. If ever you’re feeling disheartened about progress or lack thereof, just opt for a real good tidy up instead. It works wonders and feels just as good as progress.

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While we’re on the progress train, here’s another something to keep it going…

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The front yard is looking fabulous with spring helping the front garden flourish. My hydrangeas have taken off, after more than a year of being less than impressive, and sending me running for more ground cover plants and some sweet flowers to fill in the gaps, and even wondering if I’d have to pull them out and put something else in. But they’re telling me “not so hasty naive new gardener – good things take time!”

1029_1865Delighted to bring them inside to enjoy too!

Enormous post – thanks for sticking it out to the end!

Pots on the patio

0606_0264Warning: this post may contain a few mildly irritating references to pottering.

Some days are just plain old rewarding. Saturday was like that. After a morning doing kid things like the crazy-long-queue Lego show, the afternoon was spent pottering outside in the front yard. It was looking a little sad after some battering rain, and a little inattention since we’ve been out back for the last month of weekends. It’s still looking a little sad because the lawn is a mess, but I had yet another chat with the guys (they’re all just lovely old dads, with dad kind of advice) at Newton’s Seed this morning and came home with another bag of seed, some fertiliser, and some nutritious soil. Hoping for sunshine this weekend.

So, pots. Pots and pots!

And chairs and potting mix and plants and garden tools…

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It got pretty messy for a while. But there really is nothing quite like planting fresh new plants – there’s so much excitement in a teensy little plant and a pile of rich brown soil. I can’t wait until they grow! Here’s how it looked after a minor hose down:

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And today, on this beautiful sunshiney day, here’s some more patio prettiness:

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I got all my plants from Roger’s nursery in Mangere. It’s pretty cheap, but I go there for the entertainment if nothing else. It’s jam-packed full of goodies, but if you can find one of the chaps who work there they can always point you in the right direction (if you can turn your wheelbarrow around that is). And Roger can always be heard shouting tidbits of advice from his hut at the entrance as he takes your money (cash only – go prepared).

As for my plant selection… I had a short list – lambs ear, some herbs, succulents… then just filled up the wheelbarrow with whatever else I liked the look of. And Master W picked out a plant for himself too. Some others that I already had waiting for pots came from my Poppa – let’s hope my ones do as well as his own patio full.

0606_7164As well as pottering on the patio, I had a tidy up of the garden bed on the other side, and filled in some gaps with a random assortment of flowers. Some of my hydrangeas have done really well, others have barely grown – not sure why, but I’m done waiting for them to fill out.

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When you live amidst the chaos of so many unfinished projects and rooms and outdoor areas it is nice to have something that feels a bit more done. Someplace you can just go and admire and feel a bit satisfied with how it is right now.

The front yard is in no way complete, but for now it feels like we’ve done enough (apart from rescuing the lawn) and the rest can wait. It’s winter after all!