30 September 2009

The best of Spring

Even if I covered my eyes and wandered around my backyard I would know it was Spring. The warm air on my skin and the unmistakable aroma of native frangipani flowers give it away every time. Spring has arrived here and it's brought with it new life, flowers, tiny new shoots, bright green leaves and the promise of healthy food over the coming months.

Lately, Hanno has been working most days in the garden. There is always something to do out there. So with the weeding, watering, planting, plucking, tying up, and organising, the garden has sprung into life, trellises are going up, tomatoes are being staked and, already, we are harvesting.

Take a walk through the garden with me now. You'll have to imagine the sweet scent of the frangipanis, the call of the whip birds and the warm air on bare arms, but the rest you can see in these photos.

Tassels are forming on half grown corn.

There are always too many zucchinis. Why don't we learn!

Next Winter's Washington Navel oranges.

Grown from seeds in the bush house, these newly planted cucumber seedlings will soon cover that trellis.

Baby Quentin, the light Sussex chick.

These baby capsicums (sweet peppers) should be ready for harvesting in about three weeks. The follow on flowers and the fruit they turn into will be part of our Christmas lunch.

More cucumbers. These already climbing their trellis. There are certain vegetables you can't have enough of. Cucumbers are one of those vegetables. Friends and neighbours are always happy to receive a fresh cucumber and any left over are pickled for later in the year.

The view from the garden gate.

Ann Shirley (a New Hampshire), Martha (a buff Orpington) and Heather (a salmon Faverolles) all waiting for food.

More new plantings to replace the cabbages that are almost all gone. Here we have lettuce, wild rocket (arugula) and boy choi.

Sunflowers - these are being grown for the chooks but in reality, the King parrots will eat them well before they ripen enough for the chooks. We don't mind though. The Kings' habitat is slowly being eroded and if we are to keep this glorious bird, we need to help it survive.

Eggplants are starting to flower. These are heirlooms - Black Beauty.

The potatoes have just sprouted under a thick layer of straw.

And finally, the gardener - Hanno, hard at work on his pet project - backyard food production.

We garden all year now and we've been doing this for a long time, but every year it gets me. Spring is such a wonderful time to rediscover the joys of gardening and the feeling of quiet satisfaction we get knowing we can produce organic food on the land we live on.

"Personally, I have been very impressed by the slow food movement. It is about celebrating the culture of food, of sharing the extraordinary knowledge, developed over millennia, of the traditions involved with quality food production, of the sheer joy and pleasure of consuming food together. Especially within the context of family life, this has to be one of the highest forms of cultural activity." Prince Charles


  1. Thank you for sharing your garden coming to life, for those of us in the other hemisphere it is starting to go to sleep.

    I am looking forward to new growth from old in 5 months or so :-)

  2. We are moving into our fall, so it is nice to visit spring again!

  3. Your garden is certainly flourishing at this time of year! As we slip into autumn in the northern hemisphere, it's wonderful to see your garden blooming with the onset of spring.

  4. What a treat to see a garden growing well. Ours did not do well this summer with all the rain and cold weather. It sure is pretty!

    Enjoy the weather.


  5. Hi Rhonda,

    Your garden is looking great. Such a busy time now though keeping things in check for the summer 'madness' that the subtropics bring.


  6. How lucky you to have such a fabulous garden.

  7. I just pulled up all of my garden to get ready for Winter - loved looking at your Spring garden!

  8. Rhonda-Jean you are so lucky. I just went for a walk around my garden to check out fruit tree blossom and the vegetables in the ground and raised gardens, but I was wearing my track pants and jumper!
    Far south Tasmania is very beautiful but a little bit more sunshine would be very much appreciated by all of us, fruit and veggies included!

  9. I think it's so wonderful that you are fortunate enough to live where you can garden all year. I always enjoy looking at your and Hanno's hard, fruitful work!

  10. Your garden looks awesome! Beautiful pics ...

  11. Morning Rhonda,
    Sultry day down here in SA this morning.........but...I cant wait, children are home on holidays, husband is off work for a week, my baby is walking now...and today I am off to buy plants , plants, plants.....to fill my vegie patch to overflowing...I cant believe how excited I am at spending a whole day planting with my family...xxxxx

  12. Hi Rhonda,

    Your garden looks wonderful. What an inspiration. I hope I have a bit of land like that some day to plant on and watch grow.


  13. Mmmmm I love frangipani.
    Your garden looks amazing!
    Just wanted to let you know that I posted the Sept. giveaway on my blog.
    I have one every month.

    I hope you will enter!!

    Don't worry I can ship internationally - if you win! :)

  14. Your garden looks wonderful!!

    Can't wait to be planting my first one next spring.

    Best Wishes,


  15. Hi Rhonda, your garden is looking terrific. I guess you are about three or four weeks ahead of us -- back in my geography teaching days I used to know the number of growing days per latitude. Nice quote from Chuck...I'm no monarchist but I think he gets some unfair press, I like what he is doing for organic and sustainable gardening in Britain.

  16. Your garden looks great Rhonda! I'm always inspired to get out into the garden when looking at things growing so beautifully, but unfortunately it is so dry right now, that I just haven't been able to keep anything growing!

  17. I forget that your seasons are the opposite of ours. I wouldn't mind having spring starting all over again, but alas, I have to wait for six months. My good friend Margaret led me to your blog. I really enjoy reading your posts. - Margy

  18. Your Garden look's gorgeous,the smell is wonderful,i was wondering if you still have that huge Snake living there?

  19. You and Hanno have been working hard, the garden looks wonderfull. I still have a good few things to harvest yet but have started the big clean up for the winter. Then I can start planning for next year. We have a very mild climate here in Cornwall and I can plant over wintering onions and sow my broad beans soon. I am getting a small poly tunnel for next season so I can extend growing time even more. I do envy you being able to grow all year round as I miss pottering outside during the colder months as well as having a range of fresh produce on tap.


  20. It's so strange to watch your springtime down under, here in Norway it's autumn and it's turning colder and darker every day... Enjoy your garden =)

  21. We're a bit behind you, but with a forecast of 30 C for tomorrow we'll be there soon!

  22. Your spring garden is lovely. We had our first frost 2 nights ago as we move into fall. You are just starting your plants and we are finishing up here in Nebraska. I picked the last of our peppers and tomatoes on Monday before the frost and we are going to pick up potatoes on Saturday to fill the root cellar. I've finished canning and freezing and the larders are full for winter. Bring on the snow!


  23. Where we live in the American Midwest, winter can be quite harsh. What I always notice first about spring is that aroma that is in the air. There is nothing like it.

    I tried growing cucumbers without anything for them to climb this summer. I'd read that they could just hang over the side of the raised beds.

    I didn't like this at all. It worked well for the zucchini but not for cucumbers. When spring comes here, I'm going to plant the smaller cukes one uses for canning and I'll come back and steal (borrow?) the trellis idea from your garden. :)

  24. I'm just about done harvesting my garden, and to be honest, I'm feeling a bit "done" with gardening and looking forward to hibernating with my sewing machine now. I can't imagine year-round gardening. I would truly love the year-round fresh produce though. You must not have to buy much in the veggie aisle.

    Do you grow a lot of fruits as well? I've seen your lemons and now the oranges. What about melons, apples, kiwi, peaches, etc.? Are any of those suitable for your zone?

  25. Thank you everyone.

    Hi Sonya!

    Enchanted Moments, I wish you many happy hours in your garden.

    Rose, I agree. I'm no monarchist but he is opening doors for organic food in the UK.

    Welcome Powell River.

    Carol, he usually comes out in November and March. It's warm early this year so we might see him soon.

    Kristina and Brenda, I can't imagine all that snow.

    Evelyn, we grow bananas, oranges, lemons, grapes, blueberries, passionfruit, pecans, loquats, grapefruit, mandarins and soon (I hope) avocados. We cut down our peach trees last year because of fruit fly, we don't grow melons - although I would love to, melons are one of those wild and untidy vegetables that Hanno loves to eat but can't bear to grow. Raspberries grow well here too and I hope to have some in future years, and I am currently looking around for a pomegranate tree.

  26. Too much zucchini just meaens lots and lots of chocolate zucchini cake!

  27. Hi Rhonda!
    Your garden looks wonderful. I think gardening all year long would be so nice. Imagine having fresh produce anytime of the year. I know that this produce comes with alot of hard work...but it's so worth it, right?! We are supposed to get a frost tonight so I spent time today covering vegies to try and keep my garden growing just a bit longer. Still have many tomatoes growing. Had some powdery mildew get into the squash crop so not much to harvest there. It is definitely time to get out the flannel sheets, soft blankets, and all the sewing and crafts that have languished over the summer. Will start cleaning out garden beds for their winter sleep in the coming weeks. Enjoy your warm spring weather!
    Hugs, Aunt Bea


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