Photo Friday: In the Garden

Last week I partook of 'feel good' Tryptophan and Phenylethylalanine via (way too much - is there such a thing?) dark chocolate. This week I've added Endorphins* to my arsenal to dispel the gloomy funk set in after weeks of anxiety. And what better way to get exercise than pottering in my garden in an effort to catch up on several months of garden neglect? Here's to sunshine, fresh air and endorphins.

Front yard:

First, I pulled out a few of the self-seeded lavender to liberate a couple of rose bushes near the path from being smothered - and discovered some asparagus was still alive behind them. The path needed some serious clearing. The lavender hedge (and more errant self-seeded lavenders) had grown across the side path and needed trimming back...

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... as did the path for the postie, near the verge (below). There is oh so much weeding, to remove errant grass clumps in the vege garden and stone paths (I decided to leave the parsley for now and pull them out as we need them).

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The path from the verge to the house is now swept and the irises trimmed.

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I also pulled the multiplied succulents from the garden beds. The cuttings and removed plants waiting to be re-homed (I'm giving them away).

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Next, I set to clearing the footpath around the house (there was only about thirty centimetres to wiggle past) and cleared out part of the overgrown 'fairy' garden, where I discovered some long lost solar Christmas lights - just in time to put up for this year.

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Back yard:

I've also been hard at work in the back yard, doing a clean up for the inevitable Christmas parties. I did some more weeding, discovered some surviving strawberries, rejuvenated two potted bushes - a rose and the blueberries (replacing some of the old potting mix) - and potted a self seed tea camelia into a new home. Dearheart mowed the grass - the seed stalks stood over four foot high - and now we can access the garden beds and more of my roses.

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We're so fortunate to have healthy soil. I don't use chemicals if I can avoid it. Then I opt for ecologically-friendly options. Companion planting and using the natural predators helps also.

I took this photo before the grass was mown. I stand with the First Nation of Grassy Narrows in Ontario in their bid to have mercury removed from their land. You can support the youth of Grassy Narrows at Go Fund Me.  #standwithgrassy

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Sciencey Stuff:
*Endorphins are released from the pituitary gland (brain) during of strenuous exercise, emotional stress, pain, and orgasm. They aid in the relief of pain and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria.
  1. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/
  2. The Exercise Effect: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx

Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.

The Aftermath of a Long, Hot Summer.

It's Easter long weekend. It's not over thirty degrees Celcius. And I'm free (and healthy enough) to potter in my beloved garden.

It's the first time I've had a hope of achieving something useful in the garden for months, without collapsing, getting sunburned or jar my knees digging in the hard-baked soil. Today's mission was a full garden assessment and front yard reconnaissance mission (salvage seeds and seedlings before the beds were dug up).

The view from the front window was testimony to the heat devastation wreaked over summer. Brown sticks jutted from the dusty earth, the only hint of life were the tiny seed pods dripping from their branches. I collected them - brocolli, spinach, parsley - and sealed them in paper bags. One job done.

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Next I ventured out into the wilderness that was once my back yard. The fresh smell of moist mown grass greeted me. Delicious. Inviting. Comforting. Maybe there was still  hope for my beleaguered garden? Backyard_before_copyright2016KarenCarlisle But not today.

While the garden is my domain, grass-wrangling and mowing is the perview of my Dearheart. We sometimes joke (half-heartedly) the grass must be alien. We never water it -  not even in the height of South Australian summers. When all else wilts and shrivels, the grass soldiers on, thriving on the smallest hit of moisture.

It rained last night. Just enough to soften the top soil. I tugged at the tendrils of grass covering the bed of irises. It slipped out of the ground. Finally I can pull some of the grass without leaving the roots behind to spawn.

My fruit trees struggle on despite dropping fruit in the heat waves. Small clusters of leaves cling to the branches. A lone lemon jiggles in the breeze. They are in need of well-deserved tender loving care.

The garden has been neglected this summer. That will be rectified. I have a plan to prepare for winter.

FRONT GARDEN: 

  • pull all spent plants from the beds
  • add manure, compost to beds and around trees and irises
  • dig in the beds
  • plant for next round of vegetables
  • add chicken manure to citrus trees
  • prune trees, remove runners from roses
  • Water all with Seaweed solution.
  • Pre-planned winter landscaping: I should also weed the verge near the drive and do planned paving.
BACK YARD:
  • Weed the never-ending grass from the beds
  • mowing
  • trim back garden bed roses
  • add manure, compost to beds and around trees and irises
  • find any surviving strawberries and coax them back to life (or replace). They, too, are hidden under a carpet of grass.
  • Re-pot roses and fruit trees into larger pots
  • Water all with Seaweed solution.
  • re-planned winter landscaping: Weed the side bed, remove weed matting (was there when we moved in), level bed, add a 7cm layer of pebbles. This will be the base for three large potted fruit trees (when they are large enough)  and a raised vegetable garden.

Garden assessment and reconnaissance mission accomplished.

Now the work begins.

Photos ©2016 Karen Carlisle All rights reserved.