Saturday, April 30, 2011


I've been thrilled today to hear a family of kookaburras chortling away in the front garden. I've heard them nearby only a couple of times in the last 3 years.

I'm sorry these pictures aren't close-ups, but it's the best I could do.

Along with butcher-birds, magpies and cockatoos, my favourite birds.

Jerusalem Artichoke Field Trip

Apart from some herbs, I haven't been a vegetable grower. But the benefits of home-grown food appeal. Along with leeks, shallots and mushrooms, Jerusalem artichokes ( Helianthus tuberosus ) are one of my favourite vegetables. I like them roasted.

This last season, two or three of my plants grew to 3-4 metres, from only a few fridge-battered tubers roughly buried. So for this coming season, I've built a circular bed, hoping to repeat the performance, but on a larger scale.

 They will screen the fence next door and yield wonderful yellow, daisy-like flowers too. Then I can eat them!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Some bits and pieces from out of my hands...

The above photos show: my back step, with an array of small pots, including a clivea, some Sth African star flowers and a Kalanchoe ( 'chocolate drops' ). A bromeliad with thorny spikes. An Aloe barbarae, wrapped in hessian. A pot with a succulent I've been calling 'Dead man's Fingers', which isn't. A small pot with Plectranthus argentatus ( Silver Spurflower ), and beside it, a small oak, grown from an acorn found in Woodend. Glaucium flavum ( Yellow hornpoppy ), in a state of retirement. One of several old taps. And last, a 'Glen Iris' brick, circa 1955.

Steadying with Autumn

Here are a dozen current highlights: a new, oblong frame made for some Miscanthus zebrinus got from William Martin at 'Wigandia' -the purpose of the frame is purely aesthetic. South African starflowers, yet to bloom, on a new bluestone (?) plinth, one of 4 plinths I've been given today. Japanese sweet flag ( Acorus gramineum ), whose form and vigour I love. The Xanthorrhoea I grew from seed 15 years ago, with its wonderful, first flower-spike. The last of my Japanese anenome. Centaurea gymnocarpa - 'Dusty Miller' - one of my favourite shrubs. A patch of unmown grass, with acanthus and fishbone fern in the background. Amaryllis seeds. Muehlenbeckia, a wonderful native creeper. Last, a bromeliad.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Eva Fernandez

An artist I've just found out about is Eva Fernandez, who does beautiful work. Upcoming is an exhibition: '( terra ) australis incognita' at Fremantle Arts Centre 21 May - 17 July...on the other side of the country to me, so I won't get to see it. Look at her website:

-scroll down my Blog List to access directly.

A Classical Excavation...

I was up early on Sunday in order to begin to define a path in the back of this garden. I inserted a 'plinth' in the lawn to mount a box of freesias ( not yet blooming ), and to mark a straight line in an otherwise free-form space. I like the idea of  installations pertaining to site in a garden and I like formality in otherwise 'wild' landscaping. Apologies for the dim lighting. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lost and Found

Since July last year - that's over 9 months ago - I've been unemployed. I have been looking for work assiduously, in bookselling, which is my employment background, in gardening/horticulture, where my real interest is now, and anywhere else I may fit. And in the meantime I've been gardening at home more than ever, often starting at first light: the extensive gardens here need a great deal of repair.
What I want to say, is that I don't really want to go back to work. I am living on Government assistance, and the money I'm given is inadequate, but somehow I've been getting by. I kind of like making do, and in some ways, I even like the challenges of being poor. I am having to be resourceful and accepting.
I like that I can choose what I do each day - as much as alot of the work I do here is hard slog, and not creative - because my nature is such that I dislke being told what to do, and I dislike the power structures of the workplace. I feel that through going to work all those years I was simply co-opted into a system I had no real respect for, and made to do and be what didn't feel natural.
Where to now? My life, as it is, has significant restriction, but also significant freedom. I'll be fulfilling all obligations I have to find a normal job, but otherwise, I'm turning my back on all that goes on out there outside the garden. I don't really want to do anything else but follow this track through the garden I'm on, and see where I'm led.

I'm posting photos here of an abandoned farmhouse and the views it has out at Dunkeld in Victoria's western district, near to where some friends of mine live. It's my sort of ideal property.