Sunday, December 20, 2009

Living in the countryside

Hello friends
I havent been very activ in the last months at multiply - that does not mean,that i have layed down at my back.
A lot of work in the garden,living with my daughters,making music and videos like that one i like to share with you.
I wish all of you a wonderfull christmas a lot of presents and enjoy my singing.
With love - Attena

Friday, December 11, 2009

Waiting for summer

I plant bromeliads in pots and hang them on the wall.

Like most of the world the weather was unpredictable over the last year and though it seems that summer may be just about stabilised now in December, our seasons seem to be running six weeks late or going back to the seasonal calendar I grew up with.

Friday, October 30, 2009

~ Art ~ Dishing up Poppies

Garden Flowers in
Painted, Poppies, Posing, Prettily
On a Porcelain Plate.
Or Are They
Reclining, Rununculus, Resting Resplendent, upon a
Round Platter.
You be the judge of this hand painted plate.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Spring Has Sprung In Australia.




It has been sometime since activity in our lovely little group here and so decided to share some Spring Pretties and hope that others will share their Fall or whatever Season they are in right now here too!

I took a photo of a Powton® Sapphire Dragon Tree Growing nearby and what a magnificent Tree it is. I am so impressed that I will now follow this tree through the seasons and watch it's progress over time.

Powton® Sapphire Dragon.


Of course I can not forget to mention the purple wisteria vines now out on show and attracting lots of bees. I think that they are so beautiful but understand how difficult they can be once established and in the ground for many years. I have a friend in Victoria whose whole pergola and small shed next to it was choked by this vine leaving him only one alternative and that was to remove it. What a shame but we do need to keep in mind where we plant strong vines and big trees like the Wisteria and the Powton Tree above.




Spring brings birds into the garden, where they nest and feed on all the wonderful spring inspired feasts to be found.

I have a pair of pink and grey gallahs nesting in the Washington palm in the garden. They are so guarded over their nest hidden in the old fronds of this huge palm. I am so entertained watching them either sitting together on the one small branch that protrudes from the palm or one sitting there and the other keeping watch in the gum tree nearby. They really do work together as a couple and it is so wonderful to watch them and hear their unique cries to each other.











As you can see they have really buried the nest right into this palm and they share it with many other smaller birds too, who are also nesting this time of the year.

I think I will have to call the palm the 'maternity hospital for native birds'.

The wall flowers have been stunning over winter and now they are gradually making lots of seed pods for replanting. I love these beautiful little flowers and hope to keep them going through summer if I can.

Well I hope you liked this  small taste of my Spring and hope that you share your season with us all soon too.

Cheers for Now..Milli09

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tapu Valley Coromandel

I think its ok to put this in the garden group, its winter here you see, & perhaps this is a little out side the square , perhaps in the wild garden section or the mountain garden , oh shucks hope you enjoy, ty, I was going through some of my Pics and one stood out real good to me, i took them about oh 5 years ago ,I find with pic's as the years roll by they seem to have more apeall,& you say to your self well that's nice , so thought i could share

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The art of nature - Bells in the Wind

Sometimes we try to be creativ and really nothing happens at all. And then,just sitting down relaxing and the grass grows by itself
And the best is; "No GEMA and not any Warner Brothers,can come and ask for the copyright."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Daffodils and Tulips 2009

Spring is almost officially over here in the northern hemisphere and so I thought I should hurry up and post my photos of daffodils and tulips! Most of these flowers grow in my garden, but a few of them are in my neighbor Holly's garden. She has the most beautiful display of tulips in town! But I've been planting a lot of tulips in the hope of matching hers soon. I really endeavored to photograph the flowers in the most interesting lighting and right after rain showers--when they are their most beautiful.

You may have already seen some of these photos in Picture Perfect, Images and Words, and also as my blog banners.

I hope you will enjoy my photos and feel free to leave comments. Thanks!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Waiheke Island

Garden setting looking across bay from garden seat, one of many gardens on the island

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Idaho Botanical Gardens field trip


Yesterday I accompanied Alan's class on a field trip to the Idaho Botanical Gardens!  We got hit with rain showers off and on so we had to hurry through the gardens but we had a good time and I still got plenty of good photos.



Idaho Botanical Garden pen

The Idaho Botanical Gardens are located at the site of the old state penitentiary.  Some of the walls and guard towers are still there and make for interesting back drops.  This old stone wall borders the rose garden.



ornamental cherry blossoms

I think this is an ornamental cherry? The tour that we took was called "Flower Power" but our guide didn't talk about this tree.  But I thought it was pretty so I took the photo.



bee on a legume tree

Our guide did talk about this tree.  It's a legume, in the pea family.  You can tell by the seed pods (on the right hand side of my photo out of focus), and the flowers have the unique legume family shape.  The flower is closed to protect the pollen until a bee lands on the lower lip, then it springs open so the bee can access the pollen as this bee is doing in my photo.



rose garden bench

The roses in the rose garden aren't blooming yet but it's still very pretty.  Large mounds of sweet violets are blooming at the base of rose shrubs, and that white flowering tree is a perfect back drop for the greying garden bench.  When the sun peaked out from behind the clouds the scene glowed!



Through the arches

I kind of like this view through the garden arches.



Monet inspired vignette

This vignette is obviously inspired by Monet, and it will become even more obvious in a month or so when the irises bloom.  The yellow flower on the right is a euphorbia. It's pollinated by bees and so it's yellow to attract the bees, however bees don't see the color red so when a euphorbia flower gets pollinated its center turns red so that the bees will ignore it and move on to a euphorbia flower that isn't pollinated. Clever, yes?




This little froggy stole the show for kids.


Planting marigolds

The kids planted marigolds in a new bed in front of the Children's garden that is currently being constructed.  That's Alan on the left hand side, I told him that we should come back in a month to see how his marigold is doing (not to mention that in a month the roses and irises should be blooming!).

After they planted the flowers they dissected a daffodil so they could examine its inner workings.  That was the end of our tour and right then it started raining so we had to run to the buses.  We drove to a nearby park with a covered picnic area, but by the time we got there it had stopped raining so we were able to eat outside and the kids could play before going back to school.

I hope you enjoyed my photos!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Where the wild things are!

Flora - from the wilds!

This a collection of flowers and plants  I came across, in the wild, and have taken my eye over the last weeks. Maybe they are not that exciting as photos but something about the colours, shapes, their own particular personality and beauty of character appeals to me. Some of these are a little out of focus but that too seems to lend it's own appeal to the subject. The camera I am using is not so sophisticated and have no idea on the focal length so is a little hit and miss - but that is also part of the appeal for this camera I use. Anyway I hope you all enjoy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Project BudBurst


My friends and family back home in California are talking about the first spring bulbs that are starting to bloom, and here in Idaho's Treasure Valley one of my neighbors told me last night that she saw hyacinth foliage starting to push up through the soil.  I checked my bulb beds and there's nothing yet.  Still, she thinks we might have an early spring this year, and in talking with local gardeners it seems as if the Treasure Valley is warming up from a USDA Zone 5 to a USDA Zone 7.

Then last night I opened the current edition of Organic Gardening magazine and saw a blurb on Project BudBurst in which we can be citizen-scientists and help track these things!  It looks pretty cool, they want people to report to the website when they see the first flower or first first leaf emerge of many different kinds of plants.  Of course they want to know where people saw the plant (latitude/longitude) and a description of the site (exposure, slope, etc.). Soon they'll have live mapping for tracking particular species and people will be able to load up photos.  It looks pretty cool!  If this interests you then please check out the website.

It seems to be specific to the US so if you live elsewhere the please see if there's a similar program in your country or region.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Xeriscaping and Nativescaping

Valentine's Day banner 12x5


Yesterday evening I attended two lectures given back to back, one on xeriscaping and the other on nativescaping.  Xeriscaping is landscaping in a manner that reduces water usage that may or may not include native plants, whereas nativescaping is designing a landscape using native plants.

The xeriscaping lecture was first and although I didn't learn much that I didn't already know it was nevertheless good to hear it again, plus it was good to know that my plans for my new home's landscape are on the right track.  Here are seven principles that she discussed:

1) Start with a good plan/design.  Make sure you understand your property's slope, exposure, microclimates, needs of existing plantings, as well as your own needs.  And of course know any restrictions put on your by your home owners' association if you belong to one--and if you do then get on to the board so you can change the rules to allow for xeriscaping.  Read the labels of plants before you buy a plant to be sure you can meet its needs and understand its mature size.

2) Prepare and improve your soil.  ADD COMPOST!  If your soil has too much clay then compost will help break it up, if your soil has too much sand then compost will act like a sponge to hold water.  Do a soil test and add any other components your soil needs.

4) Use mulches to reduce evaporation and to discourage weeds.  She doesn't recommend soil fabrics because they make it difficult to amend the soil, instead use finished compost and top it with bark.  She recommends making sure the color of the bark will compliment the color of your house.

5) Limit your lawns to only where it's truly functional for you. C'mon, how much lawn do you really need?  Wouldn't you rather increase your lush, colorful, and beautiful garden beds?  I have two young boys so I need a lot of lawn, but even so I'm still planning on removing large sections of my lawn to increase my garden.

6) Plant in zones.  She recommends having an "oasis" of water loving plants that you love near a high usage area close to your house, like outside the front door or off of your back deck.  Then there should be a zone surrounding your house of medium water reliant plants, and then farthest from your house should be the driest plants.  She recommends cutting out an irregular shaped edge around your lawn where it touches your driveway and sidewalk, and replacing the turf with heat loving plants because the paving materials reflect a lot of heat into these areas.  If you use straight lines for your border, instead of irregular lines, then be sure that there's a focal point at the end of these lines like your front door or a sculpture.  And of course you should read plant labels before selecting a plant to be sure you plant it in the correct zone and to be sure you plan for its mature size.

7) Regularly maintain your landscape.  Xeriscaped landscapes need some tending to get established but then they should require less maintenance.  Plants that are in the right site for the conditions they need (exposure, soil, drainage, water) are happy and won't be bothered by pests, all they'll need is a little bit of weeding and maybe some pruning--but mostly they'll just sit there and look pretty for you.


The next lecture was about nativescaping.  Here we are in the desert and he planted his own lawn with native grasses that he waters and mows once every three weeks!  Most of what he said applies specifically to our area but I'll share a couple of universal things with you.

1) Maintenance versus stewardship.  Maintenance is keeping a landscape just the way it is and just the way you imagine it should be, stewardship is working with the landscape to make it the best it can be.  For example, if you have a plant that's not doing well in its spot and requires a lot of maintenance then maybe you should replace it with something else.  Or if you have a large meadow filled with wildflowers and some weeds move in, maybe it's better to let a few weeds go rather than to risk trampling down the flowers to go pull it out.  If the weed is a native plant then it probably has some benefit in the landscape and you should recognize the benefit rather than curse it as a weed.

2. THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I LEARNED ALL NIGHT!  When you read about a plant's attributes don't confuse edible with tastes good.  He said, "I said you could eat it, I didn't say it was yummy." LOL! Good advice.

I highly recommend that you learn about native plants in your area and try to plant them in your garden when possible.  I was really surprised to find out how many garden worthy native plants we have here in the Idaho desert, and even more surprised that I've never seen these plants in nurseries!  If you use native plants in your own garden you will not only decrease the amount of maintenance needed, but you'll also provide food for your native birds and insects!  Don't we all want to see more birds and butterflies in our gardens? I do.


Happy gardening!

Monday, January 12, 2009

on the road again

All preparations are finished and I am about to climb on my bike and head off to Sydney in a day or so. It is not a long ride at all, only about 300km of cycling but I intend to have a few days camping here and there along the way so it could take anywhere from 10 days to a month depending on what captivates me. For a change I may use an inland route, through rural farmlands ,instead of the usual coastal path I have ridden so often before. It may be that it is just too hot to go inland, as it is now in the hottest part of the year, where temperatures often top 40C or +/-100f  and higher and seldom going below 30 - 35C. Being peak season the cooler coast is busy with both cars and  people and the thought of free camping along rivers and the quiet of the countryside instead is very appealing.

I will mostly camp, as I go, in forestry areas , National parks and If I take the inland route - camp on riverbanks and waysides which always gives me a feel of adventure. I take all sorts of things  with me apart from my camera of course I am hoping to get in a bit of reading, take photos, fish, write a little, explore places that interest me and hopefully meet some locals along the way.  I will too of course have an mp3 player for my music - it has FM so I can keep up to date with whats happening about the world which is another bonus.

I have not been on multiply very much of late so far as creating blogs, commenting on blogs or photo albums etc. There has been too much happening in my daily life both with my time and head-space so have not really participated except for looking at what everyone is posting. Anyway when settled in Sydney I will most likely get back into the swing of things and motivated toward creating more posts. En route,
I will find some internet cafe's and post updates on my progress and keep you up to date - make all you in the Northern Hemisphere envious the warm summer we are enjoying down here while you enjoy the ice and snow.

So in the words of one of my favourites, Willie Nelson I say farewell see you in a month or so ....

"On the Road again -
just can't wait to get on the Road again......."