Thursday, January 16, 2014

What's In the Basket

A bit different to the usual "what's in the basket" post - I had a bit of fun foraging in the bush this weekend.  Our property has a significant portion of bush which hasn't been touched since the 1960s.  There are some fabulous local plants growing in the understory and one in particular that I love to pick in season.  It's commonly called Bushman's Bootlace but has the proper name of Pimelea Nivea.  It has gorgeous little glossy deep green leaves with white 'suede' on the underside.  The stems are long and slender and the leaves are neatly arranged all along the stems.  In spring and summer, little clusters of white flowers emerge on the tips of the stems.  Great as a foliage plant and also in flower, I have used this often since I first found it growing wild on the edge of a steep wooded hill.  I went up in search of some on the weekend and come home with an entire basket of foliage ranging from the small leaves of the Bushman's Bootlace to extra large blue grey eucalyptus foliage - leaves bigger than my hand!  I found some lovely banksia foliage, she oak, ozothamnus just coming to the end of its flowering time, and some fresh Blanket Bush foliage.  Such fun!

Simple fresh foliage can be so beautiful in a vase.  I'm planning on having some fun with it in the near future!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Reflecting and Dreaming - New Years Activities

The New Year is here, and with it the sense of needing to reflect, take stock and make plans for the coming 12 months.  With hardly time to take a breath over the festive season, I'm feeling like a good holiday is in order.  But in snatched moments of quiet here and there, I'm thinking about what 2013 brought us and of course, what's to be done next ... dreaming of possibilities and new ideas.

This time last year, we were returning home after a major bushfire event in our community in southern Tasmania.  Things were blackened, charred, smokey and dry.  What a difference a year makes!  This summer has been much cooler and wetter than last year.  We have green grass, and the plants are flourishing.  In the bushfire affected areas new growth and new buildings are beginning to be the norm.  Time heals.  2013 was a busy, eventful year full of extremes.  It was also a productive year in so many ways.  I wonder what 2014 will bring!

One of my dreams for the year is to try this planting some varieties of Kangaroo Paw.  I just love them at the moment!  I have some beautiful maroon ones, a really special pink one and a white one that I'm enjoying in the garden outside my kitchen window.  On the list of "things I'd like to do" in 2014 is give some serious thought to what varieties I might try, and then finding the perfect spot for them on the farm.  Here's hoping the local wildlife don't fancy them for dinner!  

We've had house guests for a month over the Christmas and New Year period.  My mum and dad, both in their 80s, came to spend the festive season with us.  My dad is keen on anything to do with wood, so he's been in the thick of things as we've been working on the the flower shed we started in July.  
We're close to completing the shed, and I'm really excited about the possibilities that having a lovely flower space is going to provide.  It's so exciting to be able to have a dream and then see it become a reality!  It may just be a simple wooden shed but it's so special to us.  I'll do a post of the shed build when we're finished it, but in the meantime this picture is a really special one of my 86 year old dad helping out with the build. 

There are some other exciting things happening around the farm too.  We're busy clearing and tidying and making the place look its best in readiness for an article featuring us in a national magazine!  In two weeks the photographer is coming, and there's so much to be done.  Mowing, pruning, cleaning, tidying ....  its all very exciting!  After the rush of Christmas, its good to have the motivation to really give the place a tidy-up.  I've been cleaning the cool room, washing buckets, and making the current flower shed a little more organised.  Great things to do at the start of a new year.

My mum has always been a keen gardener.  And my dad tells me that his mum was also a cut flower grower.  She grew flowers for sale in Sydney in the 1930's and 40's.  She had a little plot where she grew chrysanthemums in time for mothers day.  It's amazing how things tend to run in families - I only found out about my grandmother's flowers recently.  The females in both sides of my family have contributed to my passion for growing flowers!  My mum can't walk well anymore, but she was wanted to see how the flowers were growing - we took her up the hill to the farm in the ute and showed her the sites.  Showing someone around the farm really helps you to see it through another's eyes.  It's a special place!

I have really enjoyed the weddings we've done recently, and one of my dreams for 2014 is to document the weddings better, and feature them here on the blog.  

And of course, there will be more planting!  With so many varieties of fabulous proteas and natives, its not possible to stop at just a few.  

I have some baby Brunia Albiflora ready to plant out when the wet weather comes. (My 2 year old  loves to help give them a drink!)   And I'm on the lookout for more varieties of protea.  I'd love some Coronata - gorgeous apple green with fringing.  Then theres the Magnifica or the Queen Protea - really large and with ridiculous amounts of fringing!  I'd also love to plant some more foliage plants.  Foliage is such an important part of arranging flowers - its not just a few green leafy stems as you might suppose.  Colour, texture, shape and pattern are all things that foliage can add, and the right foliage can really make the difference between an average arrangement and a spectacular one.  So many ideas!

You never really know what a year will bring, and often the plans we make for a year don't come to pass for many reasons.  But its still good to make plans.  Its good to dream, to have ideas and work to make them a reality - its what life's all about.  We're looking forward to 2014 and all that it brings - hope you are too!