Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My New Blue Bike

I have a confession to make.
I've been a Jimmy Buffett fan for years.
To me there's nothing more relaxing on a hot day than a cool drink, a sea breeze, and Buffett playing in the background.

I love the sentiment in so many of his songs - the laid back beach lifestyle.

One of my favourites - I have found me a home.

The days drift by
They don’t have names
And none of the streets here look the same
And there are so many quiet places
And smilin’ eyes match the smilin’ faces
And I have found me a home
Yes, I have found me a home
And you can have the rest of everything I own
‘Cause I have found me a home

My old red bike (new blue bike)
Gets me around
To the bars and the beaches of my town
And there aren’t many reasons I would leave
Yes, I have found me some peace

We each bought bikes. Mine's blue. John's is black. Missy can ride in the basket (if she wants to).

Neither of us had ridden a bike in over 20 years so I waited until no one was around for my first ride in case it went bad. By bad I mean embarrassing.
But you know what.... it's like riding a bike. I was a bit wobbly for the first little while then off I went.

Bribie Island is flat - no big hills to have to ride up or down so cycling is a great way to get around.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Prioritising our garden needs.

Way back when we first knew we were moving, long before the house was built, I began to think about how I would like the new garden to look and feel.
I wrote a couple of posts about my dreams for the "new garden"  - April 2014 and May 2014
My wish list included - an outdoor kitchen, a large space for entertaining and a more intimate quiet space, shade and shelter, privacy and security, lots of plants and water features - a pond and maybe a small pool or spa.

- Time flies. That was well over a year ago.

I think we are going to be able to accommodate most of the elements that were on my original wish list and the landscaping material, colours and theme I decided back then remains the same. Having a tropical theme was an easy decision. We are going ahead with the outdoor kitchen (more on that later). We won't have room for a pool or even a spa but there will be a fish pond and at least one water feature.

But first things first....
Before we moved in we didn't realise just how open and exposed the outdoor area would be. We have a lovely view out over the canal but that also means that passers-by have an equally clear view into the yard and the house.  That's our house in the centre (with the grey roof and solar panels). If you zoom in .... our outdoor area is too open.

Creating a privacy screen is a necessity, but somehow I need to do that without losing the view. Also - much of the yard is in sun for most of the day - lovely in winter but not so good in our hot summers. Shade will need to be created.

So before anything else, I need to choose plants that will provide our two most urgent needs - PRIVACY and SHADE.

These are my thoughts so far....

For shade creation - The garden will need small trees or palms that will be in scale with the small area and not create problems with root invasion or encroaching on the house or neighbour's property.
Palms - Smallish clumping palms such as Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii ) or Macarthur Palm, (Ptychosperma Macarthurii). As taller features -  Fox Tail Palms or even Alexanders.
Small Tree/s - Crepe Myrtle and/or Frangipani, possibly a Bauhinia. Something deciduous to allow winter sun with summer shade would be nice. Maybe also a Brugsmansia Insignis (white) or Candida (white) because they are beautiful and I've always wanted one.

For screening - We need hedging or screening plants that will grow 2-3 metres tall with minimal horizontal spread. Also, they need to be in harmony with the tropical feel of the garden. I'm thinking hibiscus (which can be pruned to whatever height we need) but I also like Tiger Grass (Thysanolaena Maxima).

Any ideas or advice would be welcomed.

We have a long narrow area along our side fence.
It's a challenge because whatever we plant as a screen will be seen from the street and the canal, so must be neat and attractive, but I don't just want a long straight boring hedge.

Once these plants are established, the feature plants (the fun ones) can be added.

I'm afraid, this will be the opposite of those TV programs where fully landscaped and planted gardens are created in a weekend. This will take months, perhaps years, to achieve.

Creating a garden is like building a house - We need walls, roof and a floor before we can add the furniture and accessories. Creating a garden in small area, I'm finding, has it's challenges. I need to constantly remember to keep all elements in proportion and in harmony with each other.

But, at last it's begun.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Noosa Plant Fair

Another weekend - another plant fair. This time at the Noosa Botanic Gardens near Lake MacDonald.  At this time of year there seems to be quite a few of these events.

This was one plant stall I was looking forward to seeing - a local heliconia and ginger nursery - Towen Mount Tropicals. It was a little disappointing because they had very few heliconias (too early in the season) and even though we were there not long after opening time, most of the plants had already sold. I did find one heliconia and a ginger that came home with us though.

Being Spring, there were lots of annuals for sale. While they are pretty I am never tempted to buy annuals.

The "Friends of the Noosa Botanic Gardens" had a plant stall with some very reasonably priced plants. John found another cycad for the front garden.

John with a couple of plants

It was a beautiful setting. One day we will have to return just to look at the gardens. The hinterland in from Noosa has quite a bit of remnant rainforest and is a beautiful area to explore.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Planting the Front Garden

Finally we have plants in the front garden. With the construction of the terraces and stairs I think the neighbours were getting worried that our front yard would be all pavers and rocks.

Along the front - Spider Lilies (from Missy's garden). Next level - Xanadu Philodenron (also from Missy's garden) Cardboard Cycads, a clump of Bangalow palms  and Dracaena tricolour (purchased) and frangipanis and cordylines (from Missy's garden).
Along next to the driveway - Agapanthus Snowball (purchased).

We still have the top level to finish, but at least it's starting to look like a garden.