Saturday, 15 November 2014

We've made a bold move... and it's wild.

This isn't our garden. It's the Guytons, in Riverton. A haven of wild beauty, gently caressed with human hands (not powertools) bringing an enormous wealth to their lives, the lives of millions of creatures living in their garden and, delightfully, to the lives of people who go there.

We haven't been blogging so much lately. We've been spending more time 'doing' and less time not. And with that we're learning more about the natural world and how becoming a pat of it (instead of trying to control it) is wonderfully fulfilling.

Our forest garden is starting to take shape. The berries are forming, the bees more prevalent. And we've stopped mowing the lawn. A bold move most people say. 'Why? won't it become a mess?'.


For a while our property will look messy, unkempt, maybe even unloved to some. But we'll be watching it very closely, giving it a helping hand and will continue with our plantings. And sure it'll look messy in the sense that it's becoming more wild.  But with that wildness comes inspiration we've never experienced.

We're already learning more about how plants interact naturally, how they keep pests at bay if left to their own devices, how they naturally set seed and grow where the soil needs their attention or where they find what they need. And with the help and guidance of passionate and knowledgable, people such as the Guyton's, our garden is slowly becoming a forest, full of edibles, companions, and natural wonder.

Thank you Robert & Robyn Guyton for doing what you do so well and sharing it with others.

Let's see what happens...

Monday, 10 November 2014

The wonderment of Kale

Not only is this plant extremely nutritious, easy to grow, able to self feed and provide plenty of flowers for the bees... it is also wonderfully beautiful.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Super Easy Organic Granola Bars

I'm very excited about this! Super easy granola bars. 5 ingredients. Lovely and sweet, but sugar and guilt free. Pure organic indulgence. And great for kids lunch boxes too...

Ingredients (use organic)

1 cup packed full of pitted dates
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup cashews (or other nuts)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
Scattering of other bits and pieces if you have it. I used organic cranberries and organic sultanas. You could also try coconut & seeds.


If dates are a bit dry soak in water for 10 mins, then drain.
Blend dates in food processor till reasonably munched up.
Warm honey and peanut butter in sauce pan on low heat.
In a big bowl mix nuts and oats then add processed dates and mix well so dates are dispersed throughout.
Pour warm honey/peanut butter mixture over the oat mix and mix well again.
Press mixture into a baking tray (lined with baking paper) to desired thickness. Press firmly.
Place in freezer for 15mins. Remove and cut into pieces. I cut mine into small cubes, or you could cut into bars.

I keep half the batch in the freezer for another day, and half in the fridge. They will keep in the fridge for a good few days. Enjoy!
The original recipe I got from the Minimalist Baker.

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...