Red bucket, green book

It was going to be all about me. I pulled out a skirt pattern I had bought at considerable cost five years ago and then never made up (getting pregnant did get in the way of the fitting part). I was going to push back the rubble on the lounge floor, ignore the washing basket and the other half started projects and make myself a skirt. Skirts are relatively easy as I don't have to alter them in complicated ways.

Mum there is spew trying to come up with my hiccups.

Plain and to the point. Coast talk you might say, though please note not offensive to particular groups Damien O'Connor type talk.

I won't be making a skirt tonight. I'll be rather grateful if I can manage to finish this post and avoid the temptation to go buy some alcohol.

Anyway, Lolo Houbein. What I really like about her book is she makes it easy and keeps it easy. There are not long exhortations about pure ways of gardening (or not for me anyway). You want some plants for your garden? Go buy them. You'll get to raising your own from seed soon enough, seems to be her approach.

When I started blogging in July 2007, I had a four year old and a six month old baby, Favourite Handyman and I had owned our own home for nine months, and I was all about gardening. I rarely blogged about my children because I was, for the most part, mothering every second of the day and night and my garden and my blog was where I pushed out of that role and was myself.

Now, with an eight year old and a four year old, I'm back at work part time, parenting still feels busy but it's a different kind and it's definitely easier to feel a sense of myself outside motherhood. For the first three years, I made new garden beds every year, sometimes more than one. Last year we hit the point where more was no longer attractive or viable; keeping up with what we had was a decent challenge. Since then I've still done new things in the garden, but the size of the lawn remains static.

I've got a wonderful life. I know it and I love it, despite my short fuse around five pm most evenings. It doesn't matter that I rarely get anything really big finished in less than a year because I love it that I can work and parent and garden and blog and sew and knit and read and research nutrition and cook and clean (no I don't love that but I do it anyway even if it never seems enough). I can dip my fingers in a lot of things and I do.

So when I was laid up in bed earlier this week, Lolo Houbein's book, with her simple beds and unfussy information, was the perfect prompt for some careful planning of my garden over the next 2-3 seasons. You can have it all, one square at a time, she says (my paraphrasing). Magic metres. She has some tips on compost I hadn't picked up or at least hadn't absorbed from previous reading. I can't find it to quote right now, but I do remember that I'm going to layer some of my herb prunings around my fruit bushes and as mulch across bare soil and I'm sure that's in One Magic Square somewhere.

Anyways, some photos:
I guess I was wrong about not creating new garden last year. This corner was not so much lawn as a big pile of mess. We shifted the mess, getting rid of most of it completely and trying to use up the more useful pieces of old stuff waiting to be repurposed. Favourite Handyman painted the fence 15 months ago, on Christmas Day. I still love it. Then he built the tyre cactus garden which prospered throughout last winter, despite very little sun and a very damp climate. We even had cactus flowers this summer, rather rare I'm told, and they were beautiful.

The newest part is the black strip alongside the fence, which FH made yesterday. Underneath is almost pure sand and full of invasive grasses. Favourite Handyman is a wonderful man with no patience for gardening and weed mat seemed to suit his goal for this strip. Now our kowhai is out of its pot and in a permanent home. I'm planning to grow flowers in pots (calendulas for starters) and place the pots on top of the weed mat.

In the cactus garden, our newest cactus, gifted by the lovely people we buy our wood from.
Today, before the vomit, we played fun things. I bought some candles and crayons and we made melted crayon pictures. The kids and I had fun. I'm not a particularly crafty mum but I've wanted to do this since I last did it in kindy. In 1976.
I did start knitting after all. This wool is from the cardigan I made for Brighid when she was a baby. It took me so long and I couldn't bear to give it away, so I unravelled the cardigan when she outgrew it and waited for a new project for it. This is going to be a wee scarf for the girl herself. The cardigan was entirely in garter stitch and I think the variegated wool comes out better in this pattern, which is mostly stocking stitch. The curviness comes from my Readers Digest book and is called fan stitch.


Nikki said…
One square at a time - I like that. We've also hit the 'right' number for garden beds/dug up grass in our gardens too. I was looking at it the other day - half the bottom yard with raised beds with permanent borders and the other half to dig up and grow in over summer and then let grass over again when done. I am attempting to grow lupin in one sand bed (new, not yet planted in) this year to see if it makes a difference. Other areas I've also resorted to containes on top of.

Oh, and fun reliving your childhood fun - did it live up to your memories?

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