Growing in a Very Small Garden

I have written before about my small flat and uber tiny garden and this year I have attempted to grow more than a few flowers and a couple of lettuces around the edges of my outdoor space.  Let’s be very clear about this space I refer to as ‘my tiny courtyard garden’.  It is really just a glorified narrow walkway that has been fenced off between the two flats.  It measures 180 x 500 cm.  One end and one side has a built up narrow garden bed.  I say ‘garden bed’ but when I arrived the soil was hard, dry, worm-less and sour.  It sported a luxurious growth of oxalis [wood sorrel].  I spent the first year digging kitchen waste in and letting it rot down.  I planted a lavender and Boston Ivy and Jasmine to cover the ugly fence.


Everything is growing so nicely – by Autumn 2011 Outdoor Sid sat beneath a flaming canopy of Boston Ivy and was so beautiful

Buddha 3 cropped

Inspired by the endless tales and photos of abundance that come streaming in from so many of the dearly loved blogs* I follow and educated beyond belief in the arts of ‘water wicked containers’ [‘Wicked’ as in candle-wick not the ‘wicked witch’ as I originally thought – insert red face here!] thanks to the sterling efforts of one narf77, I hit the sales and got myself organised over a period of about three months.

I made lots of compost, purchased two really big self watering and be-wheeled troughs and many small plastic brightly coloured containers and buckets.  I made holes all around the sides of the plastic containers about 15 cm up from the bottom, filled the bottom spaces with gravel and filled the rest of the containers up with layers of dried lavender branches, compost and good organic potting soil.  I kept buying tubs and making them up until I had no more plants left and coincidentally, no more space left.

3 sept

I wanted to go up as much as possible, but preliminary investigation made it obvious I was not going to be able to hammer in some trellis to the house walls or to hang baskets from those same walls.  They are stucco and not very good stucco either.  The windows are aluminium and there is virtually no good wood available to use as an anchor.  Back to the drawing board.

A wander around Bunnings found me standing in front of a  random collection of green plastic stakes attractively wrapped in a single piece of cardboard proclaiming themselves tomato tripods.  I bought one and took it home to play with.  It was perfect – three stakes with one end sharply pointed, nine cross bars to attach the stakes together either as a triangle or in a straight line and fitting perfectly into my big troughs and around the outside of my larger plastic tubs.   I raced back and bought five more.

While my courtyard currently looks like a harbour full of sailing ships with sails furled it won’t be too long before all kinds of yummy things and pretty things are scrambling all over the place.  I hope.

10 sept

To join in with the things already flourishing in the garden – the lavender and Boston Ivy and gorgeous Jasmine that falls over Outdoor Sid’s head, I have planted three different tomatoes, two heirlooms and one not.  Strawberries and petunias are planted about them as companions.  Ten lettuces of different varieties, arugula, perpetual spinach, silver beet [chard], celery, broccoli and cauliflower.  There is also a bucket full of peas [bit worried about these, not a lot of room for them to go up or out really]

Herbs include parsley, oregano. thyme, mint and nepeta [catmint] joining the Bay tree in a pot.

8 sept

There are three hanging baskets on the fence holding sweet peas and strawberries and lobelia, petunias and alyssum for pretty colour.  There are buckets of pansies scattered about on the shadier side and getting ready to grace the front step when ready.

For good luck I threw a handful of nasturtium seeds into the garden as well – but Orlando rebelled and sat on top of most of them as they germinated.  He’s lost most of his sun bathing spots and is reduced to communing with Outdoor Sid’s companion cat


Tig and Cat1

Or sitting atop the fence and dreaming of days gone by when he had an outdoor space to call his own and there was no helpful little puppy bounding about.  Poor Orlando!

25 10 14 1

Helpful puppy

5 sept

I seem to have made my own little eco-system in this tiny enclosed space and everything is growing like crazy.  I’ll post a follow up in a month just to see how it’s doing.

I’m already eating lettuce, spinach and arugula.  The herbs are all in second or third year and still producing.  I would have liked to put in some cucumbers and capsicums, but ran out of space.  Maybe next year.

*For those of you who may be interested in my gardening inspirations I follow these bloggers closely and all have been most generous with their inspirations, advice and thoughtful comments.

Fran at The Road to Serendipity

Alys at Gardening Nirvana

Robbie at Palm Rae Urban Potager

Wendy at Quarter-Acre Lifestyle

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

In Which Siddy Has a Haircut

No posts for almost a month and then two in two days – nothing like variety to keep us on our toes!

Yesterday I mentioned that Siddy was at the groomers.  So many of you wanted to see the new look Siddy – were you one of them?  Well then, read on – or if you are pushed for time, just skip down to the pictures.

I wrote my last post while Siddy was away on a little adventure of his own.  I dropped him off at Mudpuppy at 12.30 with instructions to retrieve him at 4pm.  I was a tad concerned, this little guy is nearly always with me, or waiting in the car for me or with his favourite aunt………..

I felt like one of those overprotective, hovering mothers who were so bothersome when I was a teacher.

I needn’t have concerned myself!  My raggedy little fella disappeared off quite happily with his new best friend and I wandered off, noticing an odd absence besides me.

When last you saw Siddy, he looked like this

14 sept

Or, in a slightly more elegant pose

Frisbee 5 9 14

Our blogging buddy Boomdeeadda did something very clever with this photo on her iphone, but unfortunately I couldn’t copy it over to here – suffice to say Siddy began to speak English, with a slight Canadian accent, in a tone that sounded exactly like the one he would have if he could actually speak!

He’s such a cute little guy, his mouth is so expressive, but you rarely see his beautiful round black eyes.  He is a rotund, fast moving, joyful ball of energy with rippling waves of long hair.

Or he was.

At 4 pm I returned to Mudpuppy and the groomer came out holding a blindingly white pup in her arms.  For a brief moment I didn’t recognise my boy, then he leapt from her arms into mine and there he was –  all short hair, clean and sweet smelling and so very, very soft.


My puppy has beautiful, expressive, deep set eyes framed by long black eyelashes


My puppy is very happy!


He is very happy to be out of his thick, long coat and now no longer simply jumps about the room – he flies!

Orlando is NOT pleased.  But he’ll get over himself soon enough.

I am very mindful of the fact that when you have a pup as happy as this one, so in the moment and so enchanted with every aspect of his life – some of it has to rub off on you.  Magic!!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!


Sometimes I Sits and Thinks …….

Sometimes I sits and thinks

And sometimes I just sits ……

                                                ~  AA Milne


I have been contemplative for a whole month.  I didn’t realise it until I arrived at the epiphany last night.  I was busy telling myself to get on with  ….. something, anything really.  I have a dozen projects at varying stages from starting off to half way through and only one of them has made any progress in the last four weeks.

I was sitting and thinking – or just sitting.  Or gardening and thinking, or just gardening.


Sometimes I was driving and thinking – but mostly just driving.

And then I was introduced to a new blog.  My pal Frank held a blog party and I went along and met some lovely and interesting new folks, including Robin and I read this on her blog

I want to be magic.  I want to touch the heart of the world and make it smile.  I want to be a friend of elves and live in a tree.  Or under a hill.  I want to marry a moonbeam and hear the stars sing.  I don’t want to pretend at magic any more.  I want to be magic.                                  ~  Charles de Lint


I heard myself take a sharp in-breath as I read these words and something deep, deep down inside of me sat up and smiled.  I have so much magic in my life and I want to be magic too.  I want to experience what it is like when I live every day looking into the world around me and seeing the magic in nature, in people, in events; knowing anything is possible and trusting in it and keeping that in the fore-front of my mind.  It is time, said the deep-down, smiling some-one, to stand up and be counted; to put your money where your mouth is; to walk the talk and live in the trust.  It is time to put aside all doubt, all fear and celebrate what you know to be true.  Life is a miracle and it works in you and through you and is found in every one and everything – the seen and the unseen!  I know these things, I just don’t always allow myself to live in them and with them.

I went to bed and slept fitfully.  My head and heart were tingling with excitement and possibilities and newness and potential and wonder.  Somewhere during the night I realised I had been sitting and thinking and sometimes just sitting, letting everything settle and just be, because now was the right time to simply live in the magic.  And, as always, someone else had to proffer me the way forward.  Alys had asked me if I thought procrastination was sometimes a cover for fear.  “It’s always a cover for fear!”  I had replied and heard myself. Thank you Frank, thank you Robin and thank you Alys!

And did you notice, right there we had an example of magic in action!

I have been learning a poem.  Inspired by my friend Christi who taught herself a multi-layered, beautiful poem in three short weeks, I blundered about picking and discarding and not quite finding the right one until another blogging friend, Kerry, posted this on her site

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree 

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes  dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of linnet’s wings.


I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds from the shore;

While I stand on the road way, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

~ WB Yeats

When I first heard this poem spoken, many years ago now, I wept.  For me, the perennial gypsy, it has always represented my longed for home, my safe haven – my place on earth.  Now I have learned it and say it to myself many times a day and let it be part of me along with the new acceptance of magic.

I am ready to begin work again!  And this morning, just to solidify the whole deal with another sprinkle of serendipitous magic my fat-bottomed friends posted a ‘Getting Fierce GOALFEST’ which I bravely/foolishly/fool-heartedly/wisely/positively/magically joined in with and vowed – VOWED –  to complete the mixed media painting that has been languishing around in the art room and various other rooms of the house for some three months and which is destined for my dear friend, the lovely Alys.  I have until the end of the month………

The lovely Orlando is recovering well from a bout of spray poisoning which included a quite spectacular bout of projectile vomiting.  The lovely Siddy is off getting his first hair cut – and incidentally only his second adventure sans mumma ever.  I wonder how he is doing, but I did get this post up and out in record time without him!

And to finish, here are a few more shots of Siddy helping with the gardening.5 sept


13 sept


6 sept

14 sept

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did  🙂