Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Oops I forgot to blog again!

Well, there you go.  Nothing written for ages then the minute I have a few gins under my belt I start spewing drivel.   I HAVE had things to say, even though I've said I haven't. Maybe I just didn't want to say it out loud.  

I really envy those who can say anything on their it about relationships, kids, life or just general stuff.  I worry about who may read it...who may judge...who will think I'm cray cray.  And really bugger all people will read it, so I'm probably quite safe. 

But just in case.  Here is a photo of my garden/cat/vase of flowers.

On to our new venture.  This I know will be life changing for us.  Primarily we are making the most gorgeous kerosene lamps you can imagine.  Just look at the beautiful gentle light these give off, and in winter they will keep you warm!  The vibrant colours are absolutely stunning and will suit any home.  I love them.  In weeks to come our new website will be live, then there will be no stopping us.  We will also be importing things that I dream about having in my home. (No, Not Bradley Cooper)  Lovely garden art, tools, structures and pots. Yay!

This photo was taken at Christmas time.  A pretty cool day compared to most December days.  We had a lovely group for Christmas tea and we basked in the glow of our friends and the lamps! 

At the end of the evening comes the ritual of putting them out.  One feels very Downton Abbey...We really must get servants for such chores, as it's all a bit too much.

Happy 2015, I'm not really late, just celebrating with the Chinese calendar.  Time to kick myself up the arse and get blogging!

xx Lesley

Monday, 7 July 2014

From February to July

 Where has the year gone?  Last time I looked it was summer and now it's freezing and I don't know what happened to the last few months, although things HAVE happened.  Nothing earth shattering mind you, but we've made some small inroads at home, added to our menagerie,  and have some exciting ideas which we hope will begin to take shape soon.  The new door to the bedrooms has been a great addition and a gorgeous skylight above the hall lets in so much natural light. Soon the plastering will finish things off nicely.
I've begun a new direction in work, with 2 jobs added to my CV.  Both which are giving me new experience in the hospitality industry.  They may or may not lead to a long term career, but it all adds to the tapestry doesn't it?  And it seems that one thing leads to another, and another......sometimes it pays to be someone with a lot of interests, but no formal training in anything.  At least it has for me.

The geese we adopted in March are lovely hissy creatures and I've only managed to pat them a couple of times.  I would just LOVE for them to sit on my knee like the chickens do and I'd be so excited to have Lucy lay eggs in the spring or at least show nesting instincts. They may be past it, but nature will have it's way! So I live in hope.  The chooks have been off the lay since March and just added to our list of non-productive stock.  Lucky for them they're back on line as they were close to getting the chop. 

We have had a fairly quiet start to the year as far as social occasions and outings.   A fun day out here and there to a Gallery or exhibition, excursions to nurseries and Joan's annual Earth Hour dinner, which is always an adventure as we can't see what we're eating or who's sitting at the table. A day at the Wooden Boat Centre with some new friends was a fab outing recently.

This naughty cat pilfered our smoked salmon on a visit to Smeaton earlier in the month.  So it ended up with the whole packet, which was cat heaven.  I thought he looked rather stylish up on the pianola enjoying his luxury snack.  The garden has been completely neglected during autumn and the first month of winter. Last year I was so organised and by this time I had the whole garden ready for spring.  I love autumn and always get so much done, but I lacked....everything. Enthusiasm, energy, you name it, I didn't have it.

I probably need just one or two days where I can prune, weed and plant seeds without anything else to do.  (I say this a lot) It isn't the biggest garden, so it's not an impossible task. It's all pretty bare and uninteresting and I couldn't come up with a bunch of flowers if my life depended on it.  I've been picking rosemary and fern fronds just to have something green in the house. Tragic.  Although, the hellebores are about to flower and the bulbs will start to brighten everything up soon, so all's not lost.  

We've spent last weekend in Melbourne catching up with my brother and his entourage, laughing, drinking...much Karaoke happened on Saturday night. Loads of fun.  Then on Sunday met with some lovely people who will become a big part of our lives, and change it in many ways. Watch this space for our new venture! 

This coming weekend, I'm hoping for a little bit of sun...well enough to prune the roses and hopefully do a bit outside so I don't have to walk around covering my eyes.  Its pretty lousy.  I actually have no flowers in the garden at all....I had to nick the camellias from Joan's.
I'll also see Ballarat National Theatre's latest production, and maybe a vino with my pal Jamie after.

Happy Tuesday to everyone! 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Rotting away the summer

It's too hot for this freckly girl to go outside so I amused myself indoors. What to do? Rearranging!  While last years pumpkins were still looking fresh I thought I'd make an early Easter centrepiece.   My little grassy bunny is enjoying the scenery, but looks like he is trying not to be tempted by the kale. I loved it - Clever me! Day 2 about 1000 aphids escaped the kale and swarmed all over the table, and the kale stank.  Does this ever happen to the Country Style stylists?  I doubt it. Sodding aphids. 

It's always frustrated me when I try to replicate an idea or take inspiration from a magazine, instead of it looking cool and effortless, I just look a bit try hard.  So I may never be a trendsetter, but I'll give it a red hot go and be the first to laugh at my feeble efforts.  Today Mr Rabbit has a pretty pink impatiens sharing the table and soon I'll have other little pots of colour on rotation.  I'm no threat to Vogue Living or Country Style, but I'll enjoy the changing palette until the pumpkins shrivel up!

Note:  I used the word palette instead of colour...not at all wanky.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Post Christmas Post

The Christmas rush is over and the resulting hangover has is back to normal!  As normal as it can be. I'm struggling with being at work when I feel I deserve a mini holiday at home. A week, not too much to ask? But yes, bills must be paid, food on the table & petrol in the car.  We had a lavish Christmas in Sydney with Chris's family which was just lovely..perfect even! Chris and I gave each other small presents. The little chicken clock he gave me is a joy, so cute & colourful with a pecking chook. 

The garden was hit a bit with heat while we were away and many things had just finished when we got home.  So things are becoming a bit drab and blah.  I've dead headed the roses, so will wait for a bit and enjoy the second flush of blooms soon.  The sweet peas have been gorgeous I'll definitely be working on a display for next year.  I picked this little vase for the window sill and another bunch for mum and that's it for them.  The smell is divine.  I also picked a great bunch of Mr Lincoln roses, so the kitchen smells like a flower market! It's such a wonderful feeling to go out and pick a big vase of colour after a long, boring winter.

If dreams came true and I had a week off I would:

Weed, weed weed!

Harvest seeds


Take time to look and care for all my plants

Sit outside with a cup of tea & talk to my plants

Clean out the greenhouse

Stake tall, leggy plants

De-stress (again) sleep in and go for a long walk every day!

A month has passed since my last post, frankly working in retail was just too exhausting over Christmas to even think of it....and up until flying off to Sydney had no time to write.  I had some really nice times in the lead up though...My birthday was lovely, I'm very lucky to have a close knit circle of friends and family.  We also had a fab early Christmas with Mum and my brother and his partner from Melbourne.  A very happy day!

I've not bought so much as a pansy for the garden in a month, and most of my potted plants are looking dreadful.  This weekend I'll clean out the dead annuals and dried up bulbs, re plant and give the place a bit of a lift.

All the best for a happy, healthy 2014 & plenty of restful times in our own slices of heaven!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Outing to Musk Farm

Recently Stuart Rattle opened his stunning gardens to the public and my friend Joan and I had a marvellous few hours going into raptures over pretty much everything.   Even the rain couldn't dampen the spirits of the hundreds of gardeners who drove to Musk, just outside Daylesford.  Stuart opens Musk farm every two years and has this year donated the proceeds to Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens.  Paul Bangay's garden, Stonefields was also open, so it was a big weekend for the area, the cafes, restaurants and nurseries were buzzing all weekend!
I must have taken over 100 photos while there so it was hard to pick a couple to use. There were hundreds of people and a sea of umbrellas at every turn, but it was still possible to have a good look at everything.  I loved his garden rooms, and the use of bright red for the cushions  which was sometimes picked up in red geraniums.   Privet, viburnum and box hedges created different yet connected rooms with rustic gates and arches tempting us along.  The garden is less than 15 years old, what a wonderful job he's done.

I just loved this little potting shed/storage room.  The octagonal windows let the garden in and I'm sure I'd work like a busy bee in here potting and sorting seeds....yes thank you, I'll have it.  Garden tools hang on the walls and although it's small there's room for extra pots, and hanging space to dry flowers (to my surprise there was even a loo!)  Not sure how long I'd have everything so nicely arranged, I'm thinking he must have tidied up for his visitors! Anyway, it was a fun and inspiring day, now I'm full of plans and ideas I can't begin to achieve!

PS: Sadly, Stuart died the week after we visited Musk Farm.  A great loss to the gardening community.  Condolences to his family and friends.

Monday, 11 November 2013

A couple of nice birds.

Chris found this lovely little kingfisher up in his skylight in the new shed.  He flew in the window but wasn't able to find his way out. Chris got the ladder extended and was able to get him out easily, only being pecked a few times on the way down the ladder.  He seemed very annoyed at being handled but posed for this shot before being released.  We only see these beautiful birds for a short time while nesting, but really look forward to them busily flying back and forth feeding their babies.  They have a sweet trilling call.
This cocky is intrigued at our lifestyle.  Once in a while he flies in and just hangs on the window frame looking in.  The day I took this photo I took out some seed thinking he was hungry, but he was just happy to look in.  He'll fly up to the window until I go out and say hello, then he'll fly back to the tree until I go inside, then up he comes again.  I know they all look identical, but I know this is the same one every time. 

A few months ago he started having a chew on the cedar windows and I put the stuffed hawk in the window thinking it may deter naughty bird behaviour.  I don't think it really worked and I like him having a look inside anyway.  There hasn't been any chewing lately.  I'm calling it a 'him' I have no idea what it is...anyone know how to tell male and female apart? (without losing a finger?)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

The November Garden

 The garden is finally looking good!  There is colour everywhere and plenty to pick for the house.  The irises have been gorgeous, purple and yellow, and I've decided I need more.  We have a fairly close neigbour who grows the most magnificent irises and has a stunnning garden - time to pay her a visit!

I'm loving the ornamental kale at the moment.  They just keep on flowering, the leaves look lovely in a small vase, or you can pick the whole flower and it lasts for ages.

This is a rose I don't see in gardens every day.  Mutabilis.  I was attracted to the difference in colour and the simple open blooms. The flowers change from deep yellow to a pretty crimson, so you get a lot of variety in the one bush.  It's a bit of a leggy rose, I had wondered if I had just pruned it badly, but upon researching I find it is what's classed as an open variety. Once it grows a bit higher I'll probably train it along the veranda wires, as I worry about it on windy days.
I bought this one online at, but I'm sure they are available at large nurseries.  I only have one of these old fashioned roses, I wouldn't mind having some more here and there. It's not a rose for cutting, so just enjoy this one on the bush.

This patch is a bit of a rough and tumble mixture where I have shoved things in the ground and hoped for the best.  It's a spot I use if an annual has almost finished;I'll pop it in here and then they can re seed to their hearts content.  I'm waiting on the penstemons and the buddleia to fill up some gaps in the middle and then I'll be happy.  I have a dahlia just a few inched tall who has made a reappearance and a struggling peonie, which may have to be moved.  I bought a rose "bright eyes" last year and it's a bit small for the spot, so it needs to come to the front in June next year.

Jobs for the weekend:  Make the vegie garden chook proof and pot up some tubs of cucumbers and tomatoes. I also need to find a place to plant pumpkins.  Last years were a bit of a disaster, they had thick skins and little flesh.  They looked cute though.