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The studio is finished! Michael is moving in as I write this. We did all the finishing ourselves – painted and installed the bamboo floor. We’re really pleased with it. (for anyone who’s interested, these guys built it for us).

The garden, however, is far from finished. We’re waiting on someone to come and level out the soil and lay a path, then we can start to rehabilitate the lawn, and install the veggie gardens. We missed the summer crops, but all going well I should get everything in time for winter.

The heat hasn’t been good to my potted plants. I spent a few weeks shuffling pots into the shade on super-hot days, and then out into the sun once it cooled down a bit. Sometimes I was too late – I lost a few plants. Nearly lost my apricot tree, but managed to resuscitate it. Nothing’s gotten enough water. However, I have been getting a handful of tomatoes – lots of Green Zebra and Tommy Toe, and the occasional Wapsipinicon Peach. The Ananas Noir are currently ripening.

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The slab is laid!! And we have a fence again so Dame Maggie won’t keep escaping to play with next door’s toddler (our neighbours have been so amazingly patient and lovely). Our garden, however, is a disaster, as you can see.


It’ll still be a few weeks before I can put in my raised beds, which might be too late for a decent tomato and pepper harvest. So I have potted up some of my seedlings as a backup. Seven tomatoes, three capsicum and an eggplant. And a zucchini. And a cucumber. I’m putting them in potting mix and chicken manure, topped with potash, coffee grounds, crushed eggshells and rockdust. And mulch. And watered in with seaweed and worm tea. I also rescued the rhubarb from being covered in concrete, and stuck it in a pot for the time being – it actually looks MUCH happier than it did in the ground, which says a lot about the sandy soil in that bit of the backyard.

In other news, the potatoes are looking great, and the stick of a blueberry that I had almost given up on has suddenly sprouted leaves! Hurrah for spring!

Goodbye, shed!

Today some nice men in protective clothing came and removed our ancient asbestos shed. It feels like our backyard DOUBLED in size. And so much more light!

This morning, 9am:


This afternoon, 5pm:


In the next few days, all the debris and concrete will go too. The studio and veggie patch approach!

Back to the drawing board.

The planning process for our backyard studio has ground to a halt AGAIN. It turns out that as well as avoiding water/sewage assets on our property, we also have to avoid the ones on our neighbours’ property as well, even though there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to find out what/where they are, until you’ve gone to the trouble of having plans drawn up and had them rejected by the water people. Boo.

So the veggie garden plans are also on hold until we figure out a solution. I’ll just sadly flip through my Digger’s Annual and keep dreaming. But we’re still harvesting lettuce, lots of herbs, silverbeet and kaffir lime. So that’s something!

And there are still nice surprises in the garden, to lift our spirits. Like this anemone!


First home, first garden

our little garden with hideous shed

our little garden with hideous shed

This is our first proper, non-rental home, in wonderful Thornbury, Melbourne. It has a long, skinny backyard (north-facing) with a hideously enormous asbestos shed, which will be disappearing soon. The plan is to knock down the shed and build a music studio for Michael, keep a little bit of lawn and install some raised veggie beds.

When we moved in, the garden was already reasonably well established, with:

– a glorious gnarled magnolia

-a very sick kaffir lime (which died despite my best efforts)

-a rosemary bush

-some wildish flatleaf parsley

-an enormous tangle of vietnamese mint

-a weedy grove of mint

-four hardy chili bushes, one of which produces chilis so hot they are inedible

-some straggly tomatoes which actually produced pretty well last summer

-two pretty camellias (one pink, one white)

-a lillypilly in the front yard

-a compost bin

-a young liquidambar

-two other young, ugly straggly trees planted in stupid locations

-some weeds growing in an old wheelbarrow

The straggly trees and the liquidambar will be removed – the liquidambar is gorgeous at this time of year, but it’s too close to the house and those things get ENORMOUS. The Hills Hoist is going to have to go too, much as I love it. It’s way too big for this little garden.

Since moving in nearly a year ago, we’ve planted a new kaffir lime, along with a tahitian lime and a Eureka lemon. I’ve planted the wheelbarrow with herbs and spring onions, and have created a raspberry and garlic patch. I’ve added wisteria to our patio, and am growing rhubarb, strawberries, lettuce, roquette, bay, aloevera and blueberries in pots. There’s also some unkillable silverbeet in the back corner.We’ve just submitted our studio plans to council, so fingers crossed that our makeover project is approved!