A little colour to lift the spirits.

During the long, hot days of a WA Summer it is easy to focus on the negative…

The flies! Sweating. Dusty. Hot cars. Sunburn. Did I mention the flies?

Do you take the time to find things to be thankful for? Not always? Me neither.

And yet today I found myself thinking of winter gardens elsewhere in the world. The gloomy depression that can settle within us from a lack of sunlight.

Instead of the bad this inspired a different perspective. An opportunity to share some brightness from our part of the world to yours.

From Western Australia with love.

More Verticordia (feather flowers). These made me laugh because they were covered in bees and down the road was a honey farm called “Bee Happy”. Appropriate somehow 😊

Cannot get enough of this gorgeous yellow!
Tamarix aphylla. Ok so it is a weed here. But this was in a city garden not a rural area. So pretty.

Christmas is almost here! This is a WA Christmas tree. Nuytsia floribunda. Some are in full bloom but this one is still on it’s way. To me this semi parastic tree means Christmas.
Grasstree (Xanthorrhea preissii) in flower. During the heat of day these flower spikes are covered in butterflies and bees on our block).
And the Everlastings ❤ These seem to pop up everwhere on our block. They are rough and papery to touch.

Six on Saturday… December 1st. In for a scorching summer!

Hello everyone (fellow gardeners and black thumbs equally welcome).

For those that follow Mr Propagator’s Six on Saturday you know what’s coming….

For those who have yet to meet Mr P, check out his blog here and join the SOS crew (because we’re awesome).

Righto… Into the garden.

1. Jacaranda season begins ❤.

Blue skies. Weather is heating up. Single days of 35°c but not week long heat just yet. It’s coming. Purple blossoms everywhere you look. Nothing says Christmas is coming like seeing the pop of purple in every fourth yard.

2. Gailardia ‘Goblin’

I’ve never grown blanket flowers before. This one was in the shade of an Acacia and is liking it’s “hot but not baking” spot. Such a happy flower. I will grow more.

3. Honeycomb from hive one of two.

Hubby added another box to the bee hive and cleaned out a little honeycomb for the kids to suck the honey out of.

It is amazing to see the bees break these down and reclaim the wax rather than produce more from scratch.

4. Irish Strawberry Tree.

Mislead by the common name hubby dearest decided to buy this Arbutus unedo for me. I’m curious to see if the fruit is as bad as others say. Nevermind. Look at the gorgeous new growth! Worth growing anyway because it makes me happy.

5. Mulch! Tis the season to be mulching.

Given summer here means weeks of 35°c we use layers of cardboard and paper scraps from home. Then a thin layer of pea straw held down with some mushroom compost. It seems to keep most plants alive. Fingers crossed.

Carob in it’s new coat.
Flower bed in progress. Ready for the heat. Love the portaloo in the background hehe.

6. Bauhinia (orchid tree).

Flowers from our neighbor’s bauhinia tree. Seed pods over the fence are fair game once they ripen 😊. I’ve got seedlings potted on from last year’s seed ready for our block in Autumn.

Well that’s me for this week. It may be hot but the sun does good things for my mood mostly. Maybe in 3 months when I’m over Summer I’ll feel different but for now I’m enjoying the colour.

Hope to share in your gardens too.

❤ Nat

Wildflower season begins! Otherwise known as managing depression and pain with gentle walking and a huge dose of gorgeousness.

Orchids! Sundews! Leschenaultia! The wildflowers of Western Australia are starting to bloom.

Be still my heart. ❤

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White Caladenia orchid

The timing couldn’t be more perfect. I need distraction and gentle exercise. Fresh air and all the colours of the rainbow.

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Donkey Orchid

Bushwalking at a snail pace to hunt for native orchids and treasures emerging is a balm to my soul (and the very very sore joints).

Enough words… Time to just look and enjoy.

I hope these flowers from my block of land in WA make you feel as good as they make me feel.

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Chorizema sp.
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Climbing Fringe Lily
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Purple Caladenia
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Cowslip orchid
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Wheel Sundews… Not long now and these will have tiny orange flowers 😊

I just want to share photo after photo. These flowers are small but oh so beautiful and there are more photos to come. Watch this space 🌸.

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Stackhousia sp.

 

Using gardens as armour from the world.

Do you have a safe place you retreat to when you need to protect and guard yourself from harm?

My safe place is my garden. At times people have given me a confused look as if to say what good is a garden when you’re depressed and suicidal?

My answer is often about distraction and keeping busy and waiting out the pain but the deeper truth is my garden is quite simply a place where I don’t have to judge or hate myself.

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Banksia sessilis in flower. Usually spiky and irritating but in flower I see the good.

Sometimes depression makes us angry at hurtful towards ourselves. It doesn’t help when people can’t understand and make comments such as why have you become so selfish? Courtesy and politeness cost nothing. Or you have it easy look at what the rest of the world struggles with. For me at least that just becomes evidence used within me to keep building the case against myself… “Why I am not a worthwhile human being”.

Utter bullshit we learn eventually… provided we are given support to survive and time and knowledge to learn to recognise what is happening within.

My garden doesn’t say anything. I can be a mess. I can swear or cry or just sit and stare and it makes no difference to my plants. They are still beautiful regardless.

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Arctosis “Hannah”. My favourite.

Some days I can work until I’m exhausted and can sleep. Other days I just walk through the 5 acres and look at plants with a cup of tea in hand.

My garden is a protective space.

It gives me simple enjoyment of fresh air and sunshine.

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Euphorbia milii yellow form being gorgeous

A purpose and goal I can achieve or try again tomorrow or next week without pressure or guilt.

Adventure and anticipation hunting for wildflowers.

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Acacia cyclops ready to flower. Anticipation

Peace and quiet.

Something to connect with others about which doesn’t have to involve mental illness.

Projects and interests and passions.

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Hovea trisperma (low growing common hovea) has come out in flower at the block).

When depressed, I lose hope of ever feeling these things. But in my garden I can sometimes find those emotions. It reminds me those feelings are not lost just buried at the moment.

Being in my garden reminds me to turn off the phone and just exist for a moment. Just be in my safe place and let all the expectations of the world fall away.

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Native wisteria (Hardenbergia sp) has come back after being eaten by roos.

I will return in time. I’ve missed all of your gardens in the Sixes on Saturday most of all.

For now I’m in my garden letting it protect me until I feel a little better inside.

Happy Saturday fellow gardenistas.

 

 

 

Six on Saturday… a family effort.

Hello fellow gardenistas (if that’s not a word it really should be!).

It is that time again. Time to visit the Propagator to see all the glorious sixes and add your own for viewing pleasure!

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

My six this week is partly my garden and partly my parents in law. We share cuttings and plants often so I love coming to visit and see what surprises are in store…

1. Aloe sp. I have this at the block but this is the parent plant in bloom.

2. Crassula ovata. Another parent plant. I have grown so very many plants from pups from this plant. I love the flowers.

3. Not a plant but definately in the garden. The woodfired smoker my Father in law made (he is a steelworker). Pork roasts, soaked in brine, smoked for hours and then boiled and cooled. Mmmmmmm. He made us one too for our block. Food and gardening is the best combination.

4. Lantana montevidensis (the non prohibited groundcover species) in flower. I love these even if they don’t smell very nice. Common Lantana (L. camara) is a declared weed in WA.

5. Euphorbia flanaganii (Medusa’s Head). I grew this one from a piece broken off my Mum’s plant and gave it to my Father in law. He loves it and it has just thrived in the shady spot he keeps it.

6. My little friend at the block. I was collecting coffee rock for the dry stack retaining wall this week and this little cutie was hiding under a rock. I took a photo and then replaced the scorpion and the rock. 20180629_12585120180629_125917_Burst01Well that’s my neck of the woods for this week. I look forward to checking out all of your sixes too!

A very belated Six on Saturday

Happy belated Saturday fellow garden lovers!

Today my little family of ferals were out for a bush walk. I’ll write up a post later in the week to share the views.

I heard my email pinging from my backpack and it just added to the anticipation. Six on Saturday posts to look forward to devouring this week! Excellent! I will no doubt harrass you all soon with questions about your gardens 😊.

Naturally I had to include my favourite photo as today’s number one…

1. Hovea pungens “Devil’s Pins”.

I made hubby stop the car so I could take a photo. I love Hoveas. The ones on our block are a smaller species. This one is a knockout even driving past the purple stands out to be admired.20180623_170512 2.  Acacia puchella “Prickly Moses”.

This wattle is everywhere and getting ready to flower. Can’t wait!

I cut these out from around the internal house area because the thorns will go through a shoe. I use welding gloves and rip them out. We never poison them because when they dry the needles are even harder. But the yellow blossom is worth it. Grows like a weed as it is a resurrection plant and is one of the first to grow after a fire. 20180623_155553.jpg3. Sturt Desert Peas seeds.

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Seed from https://www.nindethana.net.au

I ordered these from a rehabilitation company in Albany, WA. The seeds get soaked in boiling water for 5 mins. I’ve planted them in the sand retaining wall. They don’t like poor drainage and will drop dead unless careful about watering. Straight into the ground as they hate being transplanted too.

Last year the winter rains killed my plant (sobs). It is too early to put the seed in, but we’ve had an almost non existent winter (today was sunny at 25 degrees celcius). It’s going to be a HOT Summer this year. Hopefully that means Sturt Peas!!

4. Kangaroo paws are back woohooo!

I grew a red and green k-paw from seed last year (why only one? The kids tipped out my pots arrrgh!). Anyhow. It grew big enough to divide so I split it in three. They didn’t like that much. But now they’re in recovery. Can’t wait till I can share flowers with you all.

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Welcome back K-Paw!

5. Syzygium australe (lilly pilly).20180617_125212_HDR

This one grows to about 10m and has sour purplely pink fruit when mature. My kids love to eat them so I bought three as tubestock. We’ll see if they survive the summer out here.

6. And to end with something utterly unrelated…. my little pot of string of pearls is flowering! I broke a little piece off Mum’s plant and it is taking off.

I hadn’t seen them flower before. Isn’t it pretty! 20180616_092525_HDR

Well that’s me for this Saturday. Just scraped in to join the fun but better late than not at all.

On that note… Please head on over to the Propagator’s blog at…

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Here you’ll find links to other gardeners sharing their Six on Saturday. It is worth it.

Do you make time to search for treasure?

There are days where hard physical work is a godsend to keep my mind away from difficult thoughts (Don’t you just love depression … And yes that was a bitter sarcastic tone you heard).116

And then there are bad days. Mental illness doesn’t always visit alone. Sometimes it has company. My depression has a companion called autoimmune arthritis. I don’t like either of them very much.

What has this got to do with treasure?

On days where I’m in pain and feeling low I have a choice. Let the hopelessness bury me. Or allow myself be human and be kind to myself. Yes I am faulty. Flawed. Weak. Hurting. Lazy. Uninspired. Self absorbed. But aren’t all people at some point?

So I pamper myself with a treasure hunt. Do you work away in the garden and miss the little things sometimes? I do.

Feeling sick is a wonderful reason to take time to enjoy your garden. Go for a very slow wander and inspect all the plants. Search for flowers and mushrooms and all of the things that on busy days you may miss.

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The first of the tiny orchids. This flower is only about 1cm across! I love searching for treasure.

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On bad days it helps to slow down and make time for yourself. Be gentle and forgiving to yourself as best you can. And focus on tomorrow being a new day to try again.

After all you never know what treasures are waiting in your future…

Today the sun came out for me. My meds began to work ever so slightly. I could breathe. My friend and her kids came with us to our block of land. The joy of a road trip with friends. No rush. Nothing fancy just enjoying a happy moment.

And then we stopped the cars…. What on earth is that? Walked for a closer look…

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A curious “lump” in the middle of a road. We stopped to check. An Echinda!!

This is only the second Echinda I have seen in 33 years of life. None of the kids had seen one before. I went to scoop him off the road thinking a car had clipped him and off he waddled! I had no idea Echidna could waddle so fast!

How we laughed. The kids peered out the windows and demanded to know why this was not a hedgehog. 20180621_120516_hdr.jpg

These moments make it all worthwhile. Treasure. Just waiting for us all to stop a while and look for it.

When is the last time you searched for treasure?

 

Will you share a nursery with me?

When you feel low do you enjoy a little garden centre therapy? Me too!

There is something about getting out of the house and wandering through a nursery which makes me feel a little more alive.

Being surrounded by people who are doing something they love.

Hearing people talk about their designs for the garden.

Reading the labels. Looking at the planting displays and ideas.

Always leaving with an unexpected purchase and an idea and excited hope.

A lifetime ago I worked at a nursery. I used to enjoy watching people. All sorts of people explore nurseries. Gardens don’t judge you. You can be depressed or unable to hold a conversation and it doesn’t matter. Gardens are a good place to find solace and healing.

It led me to believe a good nursery realises sometimes people have little money to spend or need company and a gentle, happy space. It welcomes everyone regardless. Gives them time and space to wander and touch and dream and hope and talk to others about something they love.

Which brings me to my point… I wanted to share my favourite nursery with you. I was hoping you might feel inspired to write a post in return to share your favourite nursery with me too. If you would like to I’d love a link in the replies. I love seeing new places 😊.

And now….

Welcome to Zanthorrea Nursery!

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http://www.zanthorrea.com A shameless plug 😂

Even the name makes me smile. Named after our Grass trees (Xanthorrea) with a humour that realises and accepts not everyone is a plant nerd and knows how to pronounce or spell that.

It is also an Australian native plant nursery. There are gardens throughout beautifully maintained to show people how our plants can be beautiful too.

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Yellow Leschenaultia… Stunning

Enough of me waffling… The pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy.

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The Leschenaultia display. I want them ALL 😊

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Play area for the kids. Everyone is welcome!

This is my favourite place to go when I need a boost.

Will you share yours too? I can’t wait to see nurseries from around the world!

❤ Nat

Six on Saturday

Hello fellow gardeners (non gardeners are welcome too though!).

It is THAT time again… Time to head on over to The Propagator’s blog and check out all the links to gardens and the six things each blogger chose from their garden to share. Bliss!

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Well here are my Six for Saturday…

1 . Agonis flexuosa seedlings in their lazy animal guard. These trees will grow quickly to about 10m so this is just a temporary fix.

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A very very lazy kangaroo proofing method. Milk crate with a heavy rock on top.

2. Zamia palms (Macrozamia riedlei) are looking pretty spectacular this time of year. 20180603_155141_HDR

3. Cutting grown Bougainvilleas. Perth WA seems to have ‘Bougs’ everywhere. They are so easy to propagate too! I’ve had the best success with semi hardwood cuttings.

4. A pitiful looking experiment…

Richardella dulcifica (Synsepalum dulcificum) otherwise known as the Miracle Fruit. The miracle is apparently the berries make sour things taste sweet. My father in law bought three plants. I have one in a pot and one in the ground. They both look unhappy but no surprise given their preferred climate. I use the local rare fruit club website a lot to give me an idea if I have a remote chance of getting unusual plants to live.  http://www.rarefruitclub.org.au

5. Another lovely sundew with lots of dew in the morning. This one changes to red in the colder weather and has little white flowers.20180615_095321_Burst01.jpg

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The same plant on a bushwalk recently. Higher up and more exposed to cold air it is red. This one is in flower.

6. Cutting grown Natal Plum (Carissa macrocarpa). On a trip to the zoo my son picked up a small piece to toy with. At home I decided why not? Trimmed it and used a rooting hormone not expecting much. Surprisingly it took. So now I have a baby to nurture until it is big enough to snip more cuttings. 20180609_160306_HDR

And that’s my garden for today. I can’t wait to dive into everyone else’s gardens!