Sunday, October 30, 2011

Verbena bonariensis

Verbena Bonariensis was one variety of around 60 salvias, buddleias and verbenas we bought as tube-stock.  This one is easily propagated from cuttings - the original plant is now in the ground.....

...and this is one of the many cuttings we've already struck.....

It too is ready to take cuttings from. According to wiki it may grow to 1.8m tall and 90cm wide, so we won't be needing too many more.  It'll be nice to see some flowers happening.

And in other news we've decided to put a hedge around the veggie patch - whenever anything looks tasty, it gets eaten by the wallabies and 'roos. A thick hedge, maybe 2m high should stop them getting in. We're going to order tube-stock this week and hope to have a 'roo proof hedge within a 3 years!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Staying Inside

Too wet and foggy for outside jobs today.

Catching up on some sewing instead and making bread to go with tonight's soup.

On the way to the bus stop with Cal this morning, a grey kangaroo hopped along beside us.  They seem to really like the misty weather.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Part of living in bushland like we do involves co-existing with the local wildlife.  Normally this is something we appreciate about where we live. Seeing wallabies close to the house has always been lovely, and we have even been quite accepting when we see them near the vegetable garden. But when we looked at our fruit trees recently and noticed that they have been completely stripped of every leaf, bud and flower, well, it was more than a bit frustrating.

So, this weekend, as a quick fix, we put some star pickets and wire around each of the trees that are the start of our orchard.  (3 x apples, 2 x cherries, 1 x mulberry, 1 x nectarine and 1 x apricot).  Hopefully it'll be enough to give them a fighting chance.

Cherry Tree - completely bare.

Apple - only high branches in middle have leaves left.

Mulberry - maybe they don't like mulberries?  Or maybe they were next!

For Fathers Day this year, the children gave Keith an Indian Hawthorn (Rhaphiolepis intermedia) shrub.  It's not a plant that either of us is familiar with and we have been watching it recently as the flowers have started to open.  On Saturday, when I expected them to be fully opened, we discovered that they were gone completely.  Not sure if it's possums or wallabies this time.

Planted 4th September 2011

Also, recently planted - 2 roses. Both are doing well in a large planter box, with the Iceberg flowering now.  Hopefully we'll get to enjoy them before something has them for breakfast!

After enjoying over a week of beautiful warm, sunny weather the mist and rain has just rolled in. This will be great for the grass seeds we put out on Saturday but not so great for Keira who has headed off to camp with her year group from school for the rest of the week. They are camping out in the Kanimbla Valley and will be doing lots of hiking, orienteering and abseiling. I hope they have fun despite the wet weather!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday . . .

Settling in the new chickens.

Drying the sheets.

Apple cake.

Painting on doors.

Soil delivered for extending the grass area.

Ready for planting on the weekend.

In the garden.

Flowering chives.

Friday night basketball.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Paul Bangay's latest book, Paul Bangay's Guide to Plants, will prove to be both a great inspiration and reference book, I think.

It has a full page of information for each plant and the book is broken into chapters - Hedges, Shrubs, Groundcovers, Climbers, Perennials and Grasses, Trees, Textural Plants and Plants for Pots.  It is not an exhaustive list, more what Paul considers his favourites or most useful plants.  Which is exactly the appeal for us.  It's an already edited selection of exactly the type of plants we plan to use.

A few years ago we bought this book of Paul's and have looked through it so many times the pages are nearly worn.  And, while we don't aspire to his style exactly for ourselves, it certainly has been invaluable in helping us develop a picture of the looser, more casual interpretation we'd like to create here at Hat Hill Farm.

I hope our Boston Ivy looks like that one day!  


My photos here are not great.  Simon Griffiths, the books photographer, has done a superb job.  The book itself is truly beautiful and a lovely addition to our growing library.

Monday, October 17, 2011


The strawberries are planted on a sloping bank just outside the kitchen.  They get a lot of sun there and are starting to form a good ground cover.

They're looking good at the moment.  Lots of flowers and new growth.  But we really need to get a net over them fast - this morning I saw four Rosella's happily wandering through them having a buffet breakfast!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Weekend Planting

The weekend saw lots of planting.  Three varieties of salvias - around 20 in all, a wormwood, a dozen cat mints, a dozen chrysanthemums and some verbenas - all propagated in the tunnel.  Salvia guaranitica 'Omaha Gold' has particularly interesting variegated foliage.  It appears to grow fairly quickly and is easy to propagate - we're expecting blue flowers.

We bought a few seedlings - capsicums, zucchinis, Lebanese cucumbers - all planted in the raised bed in the poly tunnel, next to the tomatoes.

We also bought a curry plant - the smell will always remind Keith of walking in the Flinders Ranges last year.

Sunday was a beautiful warm and sunny day so we decided to go for a bike ride along a fire trail.  It gave us some nice views back towards our place and the valley surrounding us.

Afterwards, we headed to a local nursery that has a new cafe.  After milkshakes and a good look around we left with two purchases.  Ceratopetalum gummiferun (NSW Christmas Bush) is something I've wanted to try growing here for a long time.  Mainly because I love the red flower bracts at Christmas time and baulk every time I see how much florists charge for a bunch . . .

We have also been investigating what sort of climber to grow on the front facade of the house.  Boston Ivy seems to suit.  It has the look we're after and is self-supporting, plus can look stunning in Autumn.  The only issue may be that the location is quite shady but we'll give it a try.  We found one at the nursery today and have planted it with a few wire supports to get it started.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

On Display

This week saw Caley's crystal and fossil collection come out of various boxes in his room and be put on display in the entry of our house. 

I found the display case on Ebay, it was very cheap and turned out to be twice the size I thought it was going to be . . (must remember to check the measurements more accurately!).


Once home, I gave it a good clean and moved a desk from another room into just about the only place in the house where it would fit.  Caley arranged the crystals and used a reference book to check on some of the names he wasn't sure of.

We printed out some labels and added a few relics we found in a corner of our block where someone must of had a camp a long time ago, and an emu egg from our trip last year to Western Australia.

I'm so happy with the way it has turned out.   As we walk through the house now, you can have a look as you go past.  So many of the different pieces have special memories for Caley depending on where he collected them or remembering who it was who gave them to him as a gift.

And, as Caley pointed out, there is still plenty of room for the collection to continue to grow!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Planting seeds: Lupins, Foxgloves & Salvias

On Sunday (10/10/2011) the following seeds were planted into trays to be raised in the polytunnel :

Three Lupin seedlings were ready from an earlier attempt and these where planted into the middle garden bed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Beginning

A new journal begins.  

To record the details of our life here at Hat Hill Farm.  The garden that we hope to shape, the house that we've built and slowly make more our own each day and also some of the details of our family life.

Because life moves so fast and it's easy to forget.

The photo above is of the new blossom on one of our apple trees.  It is a tree that I gave to my mother probably about 5 or 6 years ago (I think).  Last year, Keith dug it up and we moved it here.  It is actually 2 trees in one, a Granny Smith and a Red Delicious.  Which makes sense when you have a normal sized backyard but maybe is a bit funny when you have loads of space, but it was important to see if we could keep it going.

Last spring it produced some apples, which the wildlife helped themselves to . . .  We'll need to net them this year if we hope to eat any ourselves!

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