Tuesday, October 21, 2014

goaty introductions

 

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So, not only are we the lucky owners of the cutest chookies in the land we now also have the sweetest little goats you’ve ever seen!

OK, we could be a little bit biased in this neck of the woods but really, there is not much cuter than a cuddly bubba goat.

 

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We’ve had these 3 lovelies for a little over a week now and every day we fall more and more in love with them. We bought them off some lovely homeschooling friends of ours {who also kindly delivered them to us as well} and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Every day, multiple times a day, the mumma goat {her name is currently Nellie, briefly named by the daughters of the friends we bought the goats off, but we need to change it as we have a very close friend who is a Nelly}, calls to us. First thing in the morning when I get up out of bed and and tip toe my way to the kitchen to get my morning cuppa she looks up and starts bleating like a wild thing. She’s in the paddock, I’m in the house with the doors and windows closed. How the heck can she hear and see me from there? Too cute. So of course I politely venture outside and say good morning to her and the bubbas.

 

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When we are out in the paddock they follow us around. If we stop to sit they sit with us. They are just like the dogs.

Speaking of which, does anyone know how to train a part border collie to round things up obediently? Leo’s herding instincts are coming out big time with the goats and it’s not all calm and lovely here when he tries to do his work. I end up in a lather of sweat, exhausted, extremely irritated and ever regretful of the swear words that have leached out of my mouth at the high pitch, banshee style level required to get the Goat Scarer’s attention. The peace in this blissfully quiet valley is definitely disturbed at those moments.

 

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Back to lovelier, calmer things.

How cute are these bubbas?

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They are twins for the mumma goat. One boy. One girl. They are snugglers. And they make cute little baby goat noises. So sweet.

That feeder up there was made for us by my lovely Dad. He’s so clever. It works perfectly for the goats though they do like to climb up into it on occasion. Goats are mad for climbing things. I’m thinking they might just need some play equipment. I’m serious!

 

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So that’s our 3 latest little family members. Now to get their names sorted. You know how finicky and OCD I am about the names of animals. Plant names are the go, remember? So if you come up with something cute that we haven’t already used on the chookies let me know:)

One bubba, the girl, will be Clover, that’s the only definite. I have a big long list. Lew won’t agree with any of them. It’s a battle of the wills trying to name our animals. I wish I could always get my own way when it comes to names. Things would be so much easier.

So share your planty, herby, fruity, flowery names here and I’ll run them by Lew. Maybe he’ll like one of your names? And pigs might fly!

 

Kim x

Friday, October 17, 2014

decorating days

 

 

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At the moment, and for quite a long time now, I’ve been working with some friends {the owners who also happen to be the builders as well} on the decorating of a beautiful old heritage building in town. It’s been a humongous labour of love sweat and tears for my friends as they have worked, sometimes around the clock, to get this building ready to be used by prospective tenants.

 

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I’ll be doing a special post about this building a bit later on, when it’s all finished and fully pretty but I just wanted to share a little glimpse of it now, while  it’s still in it’s ‘tired’ phase. A bit of before and after, I suppose.

For the past decade or perhaps more, the old Central Hotel has been a beigey colour with salmon and blue trims. Those colours needed to go. Quickly. But what to replace them with that could really highlight the beauty of this old girl as well as appease the heritage requirements put on her?

Oh, and I want to add that I am so thankful for heritage listings. Without them we would most definitely lose every old building in our town. There seems to be a mentality here that likes to get rid of the old and bring in the new. I don’t like it, not one bit! These old buildings were established in an era that had class and knew quality and they were built to be standing for a long, long time. They are a part of our history and our beginnings and without them the heart of the town vanishes. Plus they look so gorgeous!

OK, heritage rant over…for now.

So, back to the decorating.

Most people I talk to who ask me about my job as a decorator give me that patronising little smirk when I tell them I get paid to advise people on what colours to paint their buildings.  Eyes usually roll and I know that in their heads they are thinking: ‘Grab a colour chart, go einy, meiny, miney and paint. How hard can it be.’

Hmmm….it’s really not as easy as you think, especially when you are an aesthetics person.  Add a heritage listing and a passion for highlighting the beautiful old buildings around our area and you get a bit more of a challenge than einy, meiny, miney, mo. And if you’re a worry wart like me you sometimes even get sleepless nights!

 

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So, the old Central Hotel is starting to get a little face lift. We’ve changed the colour scheme a few times since the beginning of this project. It has meant so much to me that I really have had some sleepless nights worrying about choices I’ve made. I’m happy with the outcome so far though and I can’t wait to show you it all when it’s totally finished.

But for now, a glimpse is all I can give, unless of course you live in the Bega Valley!

 

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What do you think of the colour choices so far?

 

Funny, I’ve been thinking about every job I’ve ever had and each one I have found it hard to get others to understand what it is I do all day. Teaching. Parenting. Home Schooling. Writing. Blogging. Decorating.

Hmmmmm…..

So tell me, do you ever feel the need to explain your job to people? Do they get what you do?

Kim x

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

in the garden lately

 

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Flowers would definitely have to be my favourite part of Spring.  I know I tend to rant a little too much this time of year about the weather heating up and how much I loathe hot days. But there are definitely lovely bits about this time of year for me. One of those is the prettiness that starts happening in the garden – even a very new garden like mine.

 

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The cherry – the kind-of-stolen cherry. The one that my two lovely friends dug out on the last day of our lives in the purple house while I was a blubbering, teary heap inside wiping the last of the dust from the kitchen overheads. The cherry that lived, temporarily, in the soil of one of those lovely diggy friends’ places for over 18 months. The cherry that I felt really bad about taking from my lovely diggy friend’s soil because it was looking so perfect at her place. The cherry that I look at everyday and remember my lovely, established garden at the purple house. The cherry that gives me hope that one day this very new, straggly looking garden will end up like that other one. Hopefully.

The, where-there’s-life-there’s-hope, cherry!

 

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The purple leafed crab apples with it’s dark pink blossoms. One day they will give some shade to the north of the house. It’s going to be a patience thing….waiting…for…the…shade. No whingeing!

 

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Another reminder of the purple house – one of 4 purple leafed, flowering peaches that were dug up by one of those lovely diggy friends as an experiment to see if we could get an exact replica from one of the tiny peach seeds that it reproduced.

Success! It even has the same weepy habit as it’s mumma tree. So exciting!

 

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A lone dutch iris that found it’s way here from the purple house. Not sure why I’ve only got one but I’m thankful for it.

 

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The french lavender is doing well, finally. I must plant more of this. I want it all around the citrus and pencil pines in the northern area of the garden. A little bit of Tuscany is required, I feel.

 

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Pentstemons are doing their thing. They are stalwarts and I love them for it.

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The roses are all budding and opening. I’m excited about the growth they’ve had in only one year and can’t wait to see them in full bloom. More roses will be added next winter. Surely you can never have too many roses in a garden?

 

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Oh, and this one is a climbing Black Boy by the way. It actually spot flowered all through winter and never did lose all of it’s leaves.

 

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Hmmm, embarrassingly so, this is the orchard. Not really much of an orchard yet but I’m sure Ill be pleased I put this daggy photo in so that I can reflect on the beginnings of it all in 10 years time! Apples, pears and a lonely, possibly-won’t-survive nectarine. And along the fence line up there are olives.

 

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The beginnings of a silver birch and flowering plum square. This is the first row which sits along the southern side of the house. I plan to continue them in a square, next winter, to pretty up the car parking area.

 

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One of the flowering plums I planted up near the gate in first time ever leaf. Oh, and have I mentioned that we have a new gate? No more riff raffy looking make shift conglomerate of wire and star picket style barrier. Really, it didn’t deserve the title of ‘gate’. My lovely Dad, who continually comes to my rescue, installed our brand new gate. It’s made me feel much less like the riff raff of the estate now and so  much more like ….ummmm…the poor cousin. We are stepping up, slowly but surely. Ha!

 

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And last but not least, the veggie garden. It’s had a bit of a spruce up since this photo was taken and is looking forward to the final sprinklings of gravel to be added to it’s paths. I’m so over those weeds and stray carrots, rocket, lettuce, spinach and beetroot doing their random-style thing outside of the beds. They are riff raff.

Well, I think that’s about it from me in the garden department. I’d love to hear how your garden is coming along. Is it spring where you are too? Or are you one of those lucky duck northern people who are in the beautiful throes of autumn?

Have I mentioned how much I love autumn?

Kim x

Sunday, October 12, 2014

chooky capers: the girls are broody!

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Right, well, so ….they win!

I was determined not to have any more chicks around this little neck of the woods due to the disasters of the last little batch. That dreaded chicken poxy thing that took 5 of our 7 bubbas:(

The other thing that was niggling at me was the inter-breeding thingy that I mentioned here.

 

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But despite all of my worries  the girls had their own little agenda and trying to sway them from it ended up becoming a battle I knew I couldn’t win. Plus, they are such sweeties when it comes to mothering, how could I possibly thwart their lovely, nurturing intentions?

 

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Sweet Pea was the first to go broody. Followed by Myrtle. Then little Primrose thought she’d join in on the party. So we had three pretty little pekin hens sitting on the same eggs all squished up together in one nesting box in the main chook pen.

 

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This time around has been a little bit unorganised and mayhem-y. I noted the date that Sweet Pea first began her broody thing but then it all got a bit out of hand and all of a sudden I found 3 hens sitting on 15 eggs! And it’s not like I wasn’t warned that this sort of caper could happen. A lovely friend of mine mentioned that she’d had that happen a lot in her little hen house and that it was really stressful. She mentioned this before Myrtle and Primrose joined in. I had definitely been warned. But of course, being one of those extremely annoying people who like to experience things first hand for myself before learning any sort of valuable warning-type lesson from a trusted friend, I ignored her concerns and left well alone in Sweet Pea-Myrtle-Primrose land.

So serves me right, I say!

Anyway, along comes friend number 2, who I did actual listen to. I have been known to occassionally take advice. She suggested I mark the eggs as 15 was a heck of a lot to be left to one or maybe two little golden girls. So I marked all of those with a black texta and started taking away any other eggs that happened to appear under them. Man, chooks like to all squash in together and do the cosy thing when it comes to brooding and egg laying, don’t they?

 

Then along comes friend number 3. She mentioned that having 3 hens sitting on 15 eggs is going to get quite chaotic. I hadn’t thought that through too well, yet again. So I decided to put Sweet Pea and Myrtle in the mothering pen (hehehe…new name for the chook tractor that’s just come to me now!) and poor little Primrose would have to go back to being her Lewi-harassing little self and not be broody anymore. She had, after all, come to the mumma party a little late – first in best dressed as they say! Although Primrose had only been sitting in there for a couple of days I have felt really mean for scooting her off the eggs. She’s obviously still broody because now she’s intent to sit in her nesting box most days with nothing underneath her. I feel like such a bad chooky owner but the chook tractor can only fit so many hens and babies.

Oh the dilemmas of of an inexperienced chook owner and her son!

 

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So, now we have, in a freshly made up nesting box safe and cosy in the chook tractor aka mothering pen, two sweet little mumma and daughter hens sharing the motherly love with 15 tiny pekin eggs between them. None looking like hatching anytime soon, although 21 days from the date I marked has long gone.

What to do now? Last night I did  the checking the eggs in the dark with a torch thing. It’s called candling just to show you that I do have a little bit of chooky knowledge up my sleeve. All of them have a big air sac but I can’t see any formed chickens in there. The last two lots of chicks we had I candled in the last week of the gestation phase, or whatever you call it in chooky language. I could see veins and a dark mass then. This time it all looks very different. So I’m not sure if the eggs are infertile or they are much younger than I’d initially thought. I guess it’s now a bit of a waiting game to see what eventuates.

Fun and games in the hen house. Who would’ve ever thought that at the age of 42 I would be losing sleep over some pretty little fluffy golden chookies and their capers? Not me that’s for sure!

 

So what about you? What have you been up to this last week or so? Have you noticed how quickly time seems to be going by? Let’s hope for a slow and steady week coming up!

Happy Sunday!

 

Kim x

Sunday, October 5, 2014

down by the sea

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1. Jigamy, Eden.

2. A cute little boat.

3. Main Beach, Merimbula.

4. Lew’s sandy footprints.

5. The best fish and chips around. Fish Pen, Merimbula.

6. Short Point-ish, Merimbula.

7. Beachy finds – a crab and a bluey. First beachy bluey Lew’s found.

8. A hidden, timber beach shack.

Honestly, we live in the most amazingly lovely part of the world. We have pure, sparkling greeny blue seas to gaze at and swim in. We’ve got  soft, golden sand to walk on and build castles with and leave foot prints in. We’ve got the freshest, yummiest fish to be battered and fried and scoffed with lemon and plenty of salt.

What more could we ask for?

It’s a pretty great life we have here down by the sea.

How about you? Do you live in an amazingly lovely part of the world too?

Happy Sunday!

 

Kim x

Thursday, October 2, 2014

reading lately

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It’s been a bit of a reading fest around here lately. I love it when you get a run on great books, you know the sort of stories that you never want to end?

A friend of mine bought  Eleanor and Park recently and read it really quickly. She was all excited to share it and begged me to read it straight away so she could have someone to talk to about it. I know that feeling so of course I read it.

And loved it!

It’s a love story but not the mushy, sappy kind. It’s funny and real and so typical of teenage friendship and love. The main characters are 16 year old school kids and it’s set in the 80’s. There are cool music, TV show and movie references smattered all over the place and I felt that comforting sense of nostalgia all the way through. My teenage vintage.

Eleanor and Park is now on my favourites list. Have you read it? If not, you so should. When Lew’s a bit older I’d love him to read it too.

 

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My next read was Eyrie by Time Winton. This was our book club book and I was excited from the beginning because this would be my first Tim Winton book. Yep, I had never read a single Tim Winton story! I’ve been missing out. Big time. Loved Eyrie, so much so that I couldn’t not have another Tim Winton story to read so I went straight to the library and found Dirt Music.

 

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Love, love, loved it too.

At the moment I’m reading Breath, also by Tim Winton. I’m not as in love with it as the other two but it’s growing on me as the story moves forward. Next Tim Winton stop will be Cloud Street. I’m hoping.

 

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Lew and I just read Running Man together. We both enjoyed it – Lew probably more than me. It’s not an action driven book that’s for sure but the characters were interesting and intriguing and the main character who just so happens to be a 14 year old boy who loves to draw was right down Lew’s alley, obviously.

 

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Right now we are reading Are You Seeing Me? I loved Darren Groth’s first book, Kindling, and so I was stoked to see he’d put out a new one, which also has a main character with autism. I love being able to share these kind of books with Lew. They always lead to great talks and I feel so privileged that he’s still happy to share books with me. I need to enjoy it while it lasts, that’s for sure.

 

So, tell me, what are you reading right now? Any good books I can add to my to read list? Oh, and also, are you a Tim Winton fan? Yes? No? If yes, what’s your favourite Tim Winton book? If not, why don’t you like him as an author?

So many questions. So much sticky beaking into your lives. Hehehe.

Happy Sunday!

 

Kim x

Friday, September 26, 2014

boys and their dogs

 

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These two boys are such great friends. So are their dogs. The dogs also happen to be brothers, can you tell?

 

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One of these boys is happy to stay dry, especially on an early Spring day. The other loves to be under the water whatever the temperature, whatever he’s wearing.

 

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These boys have such a lovely friendship. Great friends since the age of 5. Drawers. Gamers. Banterers. I love their banter. Funny, silly, sweet boys.

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The dogs are the best of friends too. They rumble, like bears, and play the whole time they are together.  They both love taking shoes and fetching balls and….more rumbling.

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Love these boys and their dogs. Lots.

 

Kim x

Thursday, September 18, 2014

flowers and friends and memories

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It’s no surprise to those who know me well, that I love flowers. I love them out in the garden and I especially love them inside, prettying up the place. It’s hard to pick a favourite. So many flowers to love. Roses, lavender, salvias, pentstemons, lilac, jasmine, blossoms, daisies, daffys, foxgloves. My absolute  most favourite of flowers {and plants in general} in my garden are the ones, whatever type they may be, given to me by the people I love.

 

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My gardening addiction began from friends and family giving me cuttings from their garden and encouraging me to have a go.

OK, that’s not quite the full truth. My gardening days actually began a little bit earlier than that, probably about 2 weeks before that. Can you tell there could be a bit of a story coming up?

You are busting to hear the story of how I became a gardener aren’t you?

Yes, you are ??????

Well, you’re here now so you may as well keep reading.

 

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Here’s the riveting tale.

It all started way back when I became the owner of an old house in town. So, think, first time home owner, never before gardened, just out of out uni after 6 years of study, 24 years old – not going to be the prettiest of gardens you may be thinking?

You’d be right.

It wasn’t.

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I started off on my gardening expedition by ripping stuff out. Like most people who buy a property. There’s something about making your mark on a place, isn’t there? The only bit of garden that was there had huge, metres tall, spiky things that were along the front of the house intertwined with lots and lots and lots of that ferny stuff that has a gazillion bulbs underneath the ground that you can never, ever, ever get rid of.

That was an adventurous day. Cuts and bruises and blisters. The beginnings of a gardening life.

 

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I had no idea where to begin. A bare garden bed with so many possibilities. So, I took a little walk around my neighbourhood and sticky beaked into the lives of the gardening folk who lived nearby. The majority of houses had thin little strips of garden beds along the front {just like mine!} with nicely lined up brightly coloured flowering plants growing happily in their gaudy little oblivious-to-what-a-lovely-garden-actually-looks-like kind of way. The colour scheme seemed to be anything goes – as long as it was bright. Think pink and purple polyanthus. Think orange and yellow marigolds. Think red snapdragons, the dwarf kind.

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So off I went to the local nursery and brought pots of polyanthus, marigolds and snapdragons. Then I planted them neatly all in a row along the front of the house.

Easy. Garden done. Proud moment.

 

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Fast forward about 2 weeks. Along comes a very close family friend for a  visit and cup of tea and a chat. This friend also happens to be a gardener and a good one at that. Whilst sipping tea and wandering around my lovely new garden {which took all of about 10 seconds} she asked me if I’d like some cuttings from her garden.

 

No need, I said, but thanks anyway, my garden is all done. She then proceeded, ever so carefully, to share with me a few gardening secrets. The first being that a garden bed can be as big as you’d like it to be and sometimes, the bigger the better.

What? A 50 cm wide strip wasn’t all there was to gardening?

She also mentioned my choice of flowers. Something about ‘very Grandma-ish’. She mentioned that the garden can be like the inside of your house. You can actually co-ordinate the colours and create something that is appealing to the eye.

Oh.

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So, my garden isn’t that appealing?

No, no, no, that’s not what I’m saying, the poor thing stammered. I just think if you take some time to think about what you’d like your garden to look like then it will be a much more lovely place to be.

Right.

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With my tail between my legs I decided to take her up on the cuttings idea and began looking through my Country Style magazines for garden inspiration. Funny, I couldn’t find anything that remotely resembled my new garden bed. Nothing in rows {apart from lettuce}. Nothing quite so bright and gaudy.

Hello! I needed to let my neighbours know that they had also been in the dark about gardens. I thought about doing a drop in of some of my Country Style magazines but decided against it at the last minute. Terrible thoughts of them dog earring my pages or worse, tearing out things out – of my magazines!

No, no, no. I’ll just set to work creating my own little Country Style haven and then it might just catch on.

 

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So the next time my friend visited she bought with her a car boot load full of cuttings and bits and pieces from her garden. I began digging. And digging. And digging. Until there was probably more garden than lawn at that little old house. I planted. I waited. I read. I perused magazines. I asked. I learnt about mulch and manure and worms and seasol!

And then more friends and family would bring gifts of cuttings.

My garden started taking shape and suddenly I found myself wondering around it thinking about the lovely people who had helped me make it happen. So not only did I have this pretty little place to meander around I also had these gorgeous memories of the people I loved right there in my  backyard. Every plant that was given to me has a memory and person attached to it. Not only that, when I think of people that I love I always seem to connect them with a flower. I love that. That has to be my favourite thing about flowers and owning a garden.

 

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So, when I think of lilac I think of my mum. The old lilac tree at my favourite childhood home in Brogo.

When I think of pentstemons I think of Cheryl. That first burgundy one that she gave me, the one that grows so easily and flowers for such a long time. My favourite pentstemon of all.

When I think of salvias I think of Lisa. Salvias are probably the plant I couldn’t live without. The bog sage or blue skies variety is the one Lisa first gave me all those years ago. It is another prolific grower. It fills up a new garden like nothing else does and I end up having to get a little stern with it as time goes on but it remains my old faithful friend.

When I think of lavender I think of Joanne. Cuttings of her lavender when I first set up home. Probably where my love of Tuscany stems {hehehe} from.

When I think of stock I think of my Nan. But not white ones. Nan loathes white flowers. Funnily, when I see white flowers I also think of her.

When I think of violets I think of my Great Grandma. Actually, that memory has more to do with the cute empty bottle of violet perfume with the elf lid than the actual violet flower but when I see violets in my garden I think of that elf perfume bottle and being in my Great Grandma’s house sniffing away at the remnants of elves. Or so I thought.

When I think of roses I think of Jill. Red roses especially. The old fashioned type. The ones Jill had growing wildly at her Cobargo home years ago.

When I think of deep, burgundy dahlias I think of Tash and her mum. These were, I’m pretty sure, the first dahlias I ever grew and they are still my favourite. Reminds me of our friendship.

When I think of chrysanthemum I think of Rae. She gave me the prettiest cutting of play yellow chrysanthemum and I photographed it until you all got extremely bored with play yellow chrysanthemum in tea pots and tea cups. Do you remember that phase? If not, here you go. I wouldn’t want you to miss out or anything.

When I think of forget-me-nots I think of Lynda. So much about this flower symbolises my friendship with Lynda. So many memories created so very quickly during the time when our boys were growing up like rocket and fireweed. Forget-me-not memories etched in the life of my child and for me. Funny, I couldn’t get the forget-me-nots to grow all wild and out of control like Lynda’s did when I planted her seeds in the purple house garden. But here, in this new garden they are going mad and I am happy.

 

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The forget-me-nots in these photos are from Lynda’s garden. The garden she had before the one she’s got now. I love that. I love how you can have one plant in the garden, one teeny tiny cutting or seed and then it reproduces and starts to go wild and soon enough you can share it with your friends and spread it around the garden. And if you happen to need to go through that horribly painful process of selling up and moving and starting all over again, then you take those cuttings and seeds and you plant them in the new place and the memories and the prettiness continues wherever you are. It’s part of what makes me feel at home – seeing my family and friends in my garden.

Did you make it to the end of this post? Are you awake?

I hope so.

How did you begin your gardening life, if you’re a gardener? I’d love to hear your story.

Kim x