Thursday, 9 October 2014

Making Ice Sculptures

Here's a quick and simple way to get the kids involved and having fun these holidays!

Ice Garden Sculptures
Fill a container of your choice with water, say a few centimetres high.

Drop in pretty flowers and leaves your children have collected.

Put a small cup in the centre and freeze.

The next day pop it out of the container and it up hang outside using natural materials.

This photo doesn't do it justice, they really are quite beautiful and the kids love to watch them glisten in the sun while they melt.

We got this idea from Kindy.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

My 100% Spring Flower Salad

Flowers of thyme, rosemary, miners lettuce, kale, lavender, calendula and wild brassica

Without a doubt, the more time you spend with nature, the better the rewards.

Forest gardening is opening my eyes to a world of edible wonder I never knew could exist in my own backyard, and with not much help from me.

Plants in the past I've tossed aside as woeful weeds or weird looking things, now, they excite me.

Most people will have been cursing over their weeds as they go into flower, or slowly creep up to the stalks of their beloved conventional vegetables.  For me, I'm letting go. I'm learning slowly to wait before pulling them at the roots to see what happens. Firstly, I check my stash of books to find out what those devilish plants may be, and what improvements they could be making to my soil, insects, wildlife or plants around them. Then, most importantly, I see if they're edible. And often it seems they are.

Gone are the days of relying on tomato and lettuce. My old gardening ways seem so barren now. Last night we dined on cleavers and stinging nettle. And tonight to my delight I picked a 100% edible flower salad, made up of all sorts of wonderfully nutritious, simply beautiful, things.

Monday, 22 September 2014

My Bug House..

My proud bug house.

Mint going in all those damp shady places
where I want to keep weeds at bay
'Don't plant mint in your garden, it'll spread!'...

Often something I used to hear in the back of my own mind. But plant mint we are, and lots of it! It's a great companion plant, full of essential oils and also great for using in my kitchen.

As for the pile of logs pictured here that's my new bug house. One of them anyway. It'll soon become home to many types of creepy crawlies, spiders in particular. You see now we're forest gardening these types of things are our friends. In fact we'll rely on them to do their job and keep other unwanted infestations at bay. 

I went out to see my bug house the other day and the first thing I spotted was a spider leaping from one log to the other, only to then crawl sheepishly into some bamboo (thanks for the bamboo Jill) and hide.

Forest gardening bliss, it's only just beginning folks.

My new red currant.
Lifeless looking stick soon to become
a haven of life giving antioxidants.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Forest garden lesson - let them self seed


We're learning every corner of our property, whether it's a pile of old wood or a gathering of leaves, play a wonderfully important part in the larger ecosystem. They depend on their surrounding plants and wildlife, and others are also dependant on them.

I'm far more careful now not to tread on mushrooms like this little beauty, as I know now it is working hard underground helping to better our soil health. And depending on which fungi it might be, can help transfer nutrients between plants underground.

And where we used to pull plants when they were nearly (what I thought) was the end of their useful days, I'm now leaving at least one to go to seed.

These broad bean flowers are branching out from the sturdiest thickest stem we've ever grown. This plant along with a few friends, self seeded from last years crop, and will bear just enough succulent broad beans for our family this year, with not an once of work on our part.
Self seeded healthy Broad Beans
Situated next to self seeded coriander, amongst a healthy wad of organic mulch




Monday, 1 September 2014

A sign we're heading in the right direction..

Native Kereru
We had 3 in our tree this morning!
I'm taking this as a sign we're on the right track.

Birds. And lots more of them.

The last few weeks since returning home from the UK has been fabulously hectic. Hectic because we've begun planting our forest garden. Which for us right now means planting food and natives... everywhere.

It started as an idea for our paddock and orchard and has moved onto converting our whole two thirds of an acre section.

I'll be taking you on our journey with us, it's too exciting to miss! As we not only discover wonderful things about nature and the world we live in, but also about us...

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Bursting back into life...

Quince Tree Buds
My camera has arrived! Thank goodness as I've been without one for weeks, hence the lack of posts.

Just in time to begin capturing the supremely wonderful buds in my garden, as they change colour, slowly swell then burst back into life with the warmer weather.

It feels as though Spring is already here...
New Raspberry Leaves
Our new Stella Dwarf Cherry Tree
(Sweet Cherry)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Something magical about coming home...

There's something magical about coming home to New Zealand.

The space. The big blue skies. Friendly faces.

It's so true that sometimes its good to go away for a while to appreciate what you have and where you come from.

Our community really is a special place. I have friends here from all walks of life. Friends who cook dinners for new mums and families in need, friends who deliver freshly cooked meals for the elderly, friends who help raise funds for organisations like the local Kindy, Toy Library or Preschool. Its difficult here to walk down the street without seeing a friendly face.

It's those faces that make this community such an amazing place.

So glad to be home.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Experts to share future living skills...

While our UK trip begins to draw to a close a new adventure awaits us in New Zealand! Here are some more details about the 8 week night course coming up in Geraldine which I'm co-tutoring with Rhys Taylor.

If you live in the area and are keen then book a place and I'll see you there!

If you're outside the area and are keen to find a course near you then visit www.sustainableliving.org.nz