Monday, December 3, 2012

The very hungry caterpillar

Look who I found in the garden today!

So there I was, walking down the path, when I spotted this little guy from a distance, hiding under a leaf on the persimmon. What a little cutie! It was pretty hard to miss from the side with not one, not two, not three but four Mohawks. But as you see, it's not so easy to spot from above. It's a great hairstyle but things are gonna change when it grows up and turns into an rather plain little brown vapourer moth (see below). From flamboyant teenage punk to understated adult in one quick chrysalis change.

Call me nerdy but I do love finding cool creatures down in the garden, sometimes even hungry little caterpillars. Not that it appeared to be all that hungry, or little. A mysteriously small appetite for one so large. Maybe it'd been through a slice of watermelon, a birthday cake and a lollypop before it made it to our persimmon tree. Given its rockin' coiffure I'm sure we can afford to spare a leaf or two.

Look closely and you can see it's little hairs poking out.



Saturday, December 1, 2012

The new plot!

Man Vs Weeds
I don't know if I have the words for this post. Well, I have the words, plenty of them - excitement, sadness, joy, anticipation, hard work, monster silverbeet, sweat, weeds, squashed snails, sunscreen, weeds, transformation, weeds, letting go, weeds, compost, mud, sun, digging, mountains of pea straw, Ceres seedlings, tomatoes, bricks, planning, planting, unearthing, rhubarb, tomatillos, little lettuce, dreaming, something new -  I'm just not sure I can put them together into a sensible post. Such a complicated mix of happenings and feelings and diggings and plantings. But. Well. Basically, it kinda goes like this.

My true love and I have been hoping to give up our small plots and combine our holdings into a single, large plot.  This nearly happened earlier in the year, but didn't. We chickened out for a variety of reasons, most of them valid. The person who took the large plot instead of us never really got going and the space slowly but surely became a wild and weedy jungle and a haven for thousands of happy snails.

In the meantime, Sean and I waited, hoped, and, well, plotted, putting off our summer plantings until we finally got the go ahead. Last weekend, in two long and tiring days, making the most of daylight savings, we transformed a forest of chest high weeds into....our new plot. 

It's enormously exciting but of course, there's a sadness in saying goodbye to our old plots. So much work and love gone into their soil, it's hard to let go. It's only been a couple of years but I have so many happy, leafy memories. Some of them I've put down here, some will fade into the fog of seasons past. And that's ok. A new era has begun. Check it out..

Compost mountain. Two barrow loads of this gorgeous stuff from my compost bin at home.



Rock and roll gardener!

Baby cukes. Three have gone to the snails already. Bah!

Tomatoes. Late but better than never. Fingers crossed.

The Darling Blooms

Of course, it's not all about poppies down at the garden. All sorts of things are looking pretty. Quite a few of them even make their way into vases in my house. As previously mentioned I tend to hang onto bunches of flowers longer than necessary. Call me morbid but I like watching the way they change at they fade and fall. 

Stars of the garden and the vases this spring have been the sweet peas but the poppies, broccoli and kale, lavender and lately the flowering spikes of the rainbow chard have been putting in a sterling effort. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are the pick of the bunch for 2012.




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Poppy Love

In Flander's Fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row.

-John McCray

Oh poppies, how I love thee!

White, pink, gold but most especially the scarlet. I'm not sure any other flower looks quite as beautiful from bud to bloom to setting seed. I love them, their wild weediness, and pale, frond-like leaves. I love the strange hairy, deeply nodding buds that straighten up on their stems before opening blowsily into blooms of violent red, crimson crepe petals and night black centers, flamboyant as flamenco skirts.

I love the way the blossoms fade and the petals fall away leaving the green seedpod with its velvet striped cap and a skirt of dark, drooping stamens. I love the stark beauty of the seedpods straight against the sky, their delicate architecture and the promising dry rattle of the tiny round seeds which fall from the pods like pepper from a fairy sized shaker.

They always seem to me to be half magical, loaded with stories, symbolism and legend. And yet somehow oblivious to it all  - weedy yet elegant, ephemeral yet triumphant. Unlikely, insouciant, harlot queens of late spring.