Up cycling is all the go at the moment and you don’t have to be super creative to recycle some of your old treasures and add a sense of ‘quirky’ to your garden,
With this prolonged drought none of us have a use for gum boots, in fact if the drought lasts much longer they may well perish right away.
Why not turn your boots into a living garden,
What you’ll need
After clamping the boot to a sturdy bench or vice, use the hole saw to place about 5 random holes in each boot (some in the foot and some up each side of the boot)
Now you’re ready to start planting your boot with plants, think carefully about your plant choices for your boots, dependent on how much time you get for watering and how much sun or shade the boots will receive, (filling your boots with ferns would need watering every day in Summer and need to be kept in the shade, Planting your boots with succulents will mean you can have the boots in lots more sun and water every 3rd day)
Your boots will look their best if you fill them with smaller growing plants that grow less than 20cm high and have a trailing habit,
Gently start filling the boots with a good quality potting mix suitable for the types of plants you’re using, don’t forget to add small sprinkles of fertilizer as you fill, as you get to each hole gently plant your small plant in the hole easing the foliage to hang out of the holes in the boot.
Keep filling and planting until till you have reached the top of the boots and place a plant neatly in the top, If you’re feeling arty decorate the boots with ladybirds, bees or butterflies from your craft shop to add some extra colour.
If you don’t have any adult gum boots try a kiddies pair for a quick project. Keep your project healthy by fertilizing monthly with a liquid fertilizer.
Almost any covered in shoe can house a plant, cacti and succulents give good results as they can survive with small amounts of soil and water, don’t forget the drainage holes, most shoes will last 1 -2 years before they start to look shabby. Leather shoes aren’t suitable.
Wendy – Just Geraniums
School holidays always starts out with much enthusiasm and delight at making a get away from the confines of the classroom, great for about the first 5 days and then boredom sets in.
How about some great creative activities out doors in the lovely Spring sunshine to keep the kids happy for a day
Scarecrow making is a great low cost fun thing to do with easy to obtain materials
About 3000 years ago, the first people to make scarecrows were in Egypt, they used scarecrows to keep the birds off their wheat,
Soon Greek farmers started to use scarecrows to protect their grapes, they used to make all their scarecrows purple, Scarecrows are now used worldwide to help keep birds from farmers crops.
There are several famous scarecrow festivals in Australia, Tamborine Mountain, Yarramalong Valley, Geelong and many other Aussie locations
To make a Scarecrow of a very popular chap who lives under the sea you will need
Start with the legs
Cut the pool noodles at about 2/3 the length of the noodle, the longer sections are for the legs and the short bits for the arms.
Draw red and blue bands around the tops of the socks with the texta and put the socks on the ends of the pool noodles, assemble the legs /feet by putting the socks and pool noodle legs into the shoes.
Add the clothes
Cut and model the cardboard box to fit around the hay bale and paint it like a shirt and trousers…. Don’t forget the tie…
On go the arms
Make two arm holes in the sides of the box to tightly accommodate to pool noodle arms and fit the shirt sleeves to protrude from the sides of the box and place the noodle arms inside your are holes
Decide on some details
The eyes are made from the paper plates and can be painted with a range of creative eye ideas to fit in with your scarecrow, tuck the paper plate eyes under the baling twine of your hay bale to keep them secure.
A variety of different mouth shapes can be added cut from some red material and white card board teeth if desired, finally secure an egg flip and or frying pan with cable ties, to help your scarecrow cook his secret recipes.
Once you have scarecrow fever you won’t be able to stop at one.
Wendy….Just Geraniums - Mount Berryman
Pig Face Daisies
Everyone is looking for that low maintenance, colourful flowering plant that barely needs looking after…..pig face daisies tick all the boxes and are flowering now and right throughout summer.
‘Pig Face’ not a very attractive name but is a very versatile plant, native to parts of Europe and South Africa they are perfect for poor soils and will grow well in most well drained soil types, they are great soil stabilisers (you may have noticed the Australian Native pigface - Carpobrotus glaucescens with its electric pink flowers growing over the sand dunes). Lovers of harsh and even salty conditions, making them ideal for planting around pools and dams.
Also known as Mesembryanthemums they prefer full sun - as the flowers stay closed on dull or wet days, they make great cascading hanging basket plants, or add splashes of colour to a sandstone retaining wall, down the side of a hot driveway, used as a ground cover, most colours will grow 20cm high and up to 1m wide and will withstand windy spots as well.
Pig Face daisies get very few pests, occasionally plagued by mealy bug simply trim lightly with hedge shears, deposit infected bits to the bin, spray with white oil late in the afternoon and give your plant a good water and fertilise and it will be looking great again in a few weeks. Bees love the open flowers and this plant is an important honey flora plant to add to your garden.
Flowering is in Spring for some varieties and all year for others, there are two flower sizes, a 20c size in bright orange / sunny yellow / white baby pink / purple / mauve and many shades in between, these colours flower for 2 -3 months in Springtime, other types that have 5c sized flowers, flower all year long and come in purples /pink /red and white.
They easily grow from cuttings which strike quickly in the warmer months making them great starter plants for kids that are into succulents, and tough non - poisonous plants for childcare centres.
When starting out with your first pig face plants, ensure your purchased plant is sun hardened, plant in a hole twice the size of the root ball and mix some fertilizer in the loose soil at the bottom of the hole, firm the soil around your newly planted plant and water it in with 5 litres of water with some added Seasol, water your new plant every 3rd day for the first 2 weeks while it adapts to your soil type, then only water weekly for the following two weeks… you have then created a tough drought resistant plant that will require very little care and reward you with fantastic displays of cheerful flowers that will make you smile.
If you would like to try your hand at making some Pigface Jam or Pickle check out the recipes at www.sgaonline.org.au/
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Are all your home grown vegies full of holes?
Try planting a citronella geranium in the centre of your vegie patch, the scent that is released from the leaves helps deter pests from around your vegie plants and herbs
Citronella geranium is easy to grow in a well drained soil and will reach 1m
Need a mid week idea for a delicious treat ?
Start with your favourite shortbread recipe or a box of shortbread mix from the supermarket, make up as directed and roll your shortbread out to about 4mm thick, cut into circles and place a scented geranium leaf under each biscuits so the leaf is between the baking tray and the shortbread, cook as per recipe until lightly browned. Cool, turn upside down and enjoy with a cuppa.
Some geranium varieties I used were........................
Mabel Grey / Rose / Candy dancer / Lemon Rose and spice....
All the scented geranium varieties are edible but I would avoid using the very pungent ones such as pine and citronella.
Need some personal chemical free insect repellent?
Citronella Geranium is your answer.. if you get bitten in the garden by mosquitos…..simply crush and rub the leaf over your exposed skin for a repellent…..works for about 1 hour before needing to reapply.
(Try a small test area first if you have sensitive skin or allergies)
Natures insect repellent
Having an outdoor Christmas lunch this year and always get bothered by flies?
Try a vase of citronella scented geranium jazzed up with some glitter and tinsel on the centre of you Christmas table.
Or crush and rub leaves on exposed skin to stop mozzies making you their Christmas feast.
The History of Geraniums
The genera (larger family) of ‘Geraniaceae’ covers a large family of plants
In 1609 some Pelargonium zonale plants from the Cape of Good Hope - Africa were taken by ship to Holland by the Dutch Governor and in 1932 the first Pelargonium (Pel. trist) was taken to England.
From 1841 after the Napeoleonic War, England gained control of the Cape and lots of plants made their way to England, a botanical magazine was started to record the many types and colours called ‘Sweets Geraniaceae’
Because the climatic conditions were very different from their natural habitat, they were grown in glasshouses or treated as an annual plant.
From England geraniums made their way to America with the many English migrants moving to a new land, the plants did very well especially in California as the climate was warmer and dryer.
Plants also made it to Australia, again with migrating families, bringing their favourite garden plants to settle in a new land.
Australia enjoyed a surge in geranium fever after World War II, many new types were produced and Societies and annual shows organised.
Fancy leaved pelargoniums enjoyed a great popularity mid last century in England. The flowers were removed to allow all the plants nutrients for the colourful foliage.
Fancy Leaved pelargonium 'Powder Puff '
The first Ivy - Pelargonium peltatum was introduced into Holland in 1700 the original Ivy geranium had pink single flowers. The Ivy geranium plant had made it to England by 1774 and many new shades were bred.
Original style of Ivy Geranium flowers
Did you know that the average household spends $50 per week on airfreshners and things to make their home smell great! Why not make your own from your garden and start saving, with this easy pot pourri.
3 cups of mixed geranium leaves that blend well together – mabel grey, orange, lemon, peppermint, mint rose, robur’s lemon rose, apple, tutti fruity, lime, rose, citronella, old spice/ lavender.
1 cup of scented petals – rose, citrus tree flowers, mock orange, lavender flowers, or
Lemon or orange peel
Cinnamon sticks about 2,
6 Star Anise
Add bright coloured flower petals for colour or silk some flowers, I have used bouganvillea petals in the mix in the photo as they hold their colour well when they dry.
Use the pot pourri fresh in your bathrooms and living areas or add 2 tablespoons of Orris Root Powder (Scent Fixative), and dry and put into pretty bags for your draws or gifts.