Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

Working Bee

The Roxburgh Park Community Garden is cracking on. We just had a working bee and workshops down there. Thanks to all who joined in. Special thanks to Maria for the lovely lunch!

We espaliered an apple along the fence. Planted some passion fruit & choko along the fence too! Don’t forget to train your vines sideways at first so that your plants bush up at the bottom as well as the top!

We planted up a herb garden with both edible plants & insect attracting plants and put in a super crop of asparagus. That’ll be ready to harvest from next spring. We’ll refrain from picking them this year so that the plants get a good chance to grow strong & establish themselves. We’ll keep topping them up with mounds of well rotted sheep manure so that they are well fed.

My asparagus at home have established themselves quite well now. They’re planted along side my rhubarb underneath the mulberry trees in the front yard. It’s the perfect spot – the mulberries protect them from the harsh summer sun and it’s a bed that doesn’t see too much action so they aren’t disturbed very often. I’m expecting big things from that bed this year!

 

 

 

Now That’s Something You Don’t See Every Day!

Well I never…!

Today I just don’t know what to say.

I probably don’t need to. I think that this picture says it all!

Here’s the long shot – just in case you were curious!

A Purple Kind Of Day

It has been glorious out there today! What a way to start the winter.

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The garden is full of flowers right now. Today it seemed as if there was every shade of purple out there.

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All around us the tree dahlias are blooming. If you ride the train keep a look out for their beautiful blooms. You often find them peekingover the fences that line the railway.

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Salvias are the champions of the winter garden. They seem to paint the garden with colour at a time when everything else is looking a bit drab. The bees love them too! They provide good winter fodder that will help your local hive stay strong for the time we need them most, spring – it’s just around the corner.

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What’s blooming in your garden today?

Fungi Ecology Workshops!

Its mushroom season again! For all of the people out there who missed my post last year on Alison Pouliot and her awesome Fungal Ecology Workshop I thought that I would do a recap and update her current seasons workshop dates.

Last year Ol’Pauly and I went to one of Allison’s workshops in Daylesford.  It was fun and very inspiring.

Alison Pouliot.

I thought perhaps I knew a thing or two about mushrooms. I mean, I know the different types that you can buy at the shop. However, from the minute I walked in the room and saw Allison’s fabulous fungi display I realised that, in fact, I knew virtually nothing at all. That wasn’t a problem though because that’s precisely what this workshop was all about. By the end of the day we had learnt how to tell the difference between an edible mushroom and an inedible mushroom. We learnt where to find them and that there are mushrooms that glow in the dark! I dare you to google “Bioluminescent fungi”! Woah!

Her impressive collection of fungi was beautifully displayed around the room in their respective family groups, with field guides from around the world and interesting anecdotes about various species. It gave us a wonderful picture of the habitats and the diversity of fungi the world over. Best of all it enabled us to get up close and personal and to get a great sense of what’s what in the world of fungi.

Later in the day we went out to the forest, where we got to see them in their natural habitat, which made the world of difference. Getting out to the different sites to look for mushrooms was more fun and surprising than I could have ever imagined. At one site we had a plan to walk a kilometer or so along a particular track. I think Alison was quietly hoping that people wouldn’t stray too far so as to keep the group together. Well, as it turned out that wasn’t going to be a problem. After an hour and a half nobody had managed to get further than 150mt from the cars. Being such an amazing season there were different species everywhere we turned. The diversity in such a small area was outstanding. How Alison managed to drag us out of there I’ll never know =)

Oh, and we did find the glow in the dark mushrooms. I couldn’t believe it until I saw it!

Pictures courtesy of Alison Pouliot Photography

It was truly the best day out I’d had in a long time. I would recommend Alison’s workshops to anyone young or old, novice or expert. There is something for everyone. If you’d like to join one of Alison’s workshops here are the details for the remaining season for 2012.

SATURDAY 05 May – WOODEND
Workshop: The fungi, An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: 5427 1845 or reception@woodendnh.org.au

SUNDAY 06 MAY – WOODEND
Workshop: The bizarre and the beautiful, A Deeper Exploration of a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: 5427 1845 or reception@woodendnh.org.au

TUESDAY 08 MAY – GLENLYON
Workshop: Meeting with Mushrooms, Fungi workshop and feast
Bookings: info@ellenderwines.com.au or 5348 7785

WEDNESDAY 09 MAY – GLENLYON
Workshop: Meeting with Mushrooms, Fungi workshop and feast
Bookings: info@ellenderwines.com.au or 5348 7785

SATURDAY 12 MAY – BEAUFORT
Workshop: The fungi, An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: 5349 3110 or bchlc@netconnect.com.au

SATURDAY 19 MAY – APOLLO BAY
Workshop: The bizarre and the beautiful, A Deeper Exploration of a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: Open soon

SUNDAY 20 MAY – FORREST
Workshop: The kingdom fungi, A journey into a forgotten kingdom
Bookings: 5236 6591 or gbrew@swarh.vic.gov.au
(*see note below)

SATURDAY 26 MAY – CRESWICK
Workshop: The fungi, An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: 5345 2356 or creswick@ourneighbourhood.org.au

SUNDAY 27 MAY – CRESWICK
Workshop: The bizarre and the beautiful, A Deeper Exploration of a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: 5345 2356 or creswick@ourneighbourhood.org.au

SATURDAY 02 JUNE – INGLEWOOD
Workshop: The fungi, An Introduction to a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: Michael 5494 3542 or emandem@iinet.net.au or Jill on 042 751 7437 or jmcf@bordernet.com.au

SUNDAY 03 JUNE – INGLEWOOD
Workshop: The bizarre and the beautiful, A Deeper Exploration of a Curious Kingdom
Bookings: Michael 5494 3542 or emandem@iinet.net.au or Jill on 042 751 7437 or jmcf@bordernet.com.au

Note: The kingdom fungi, A journey into a forgotten kingdom workshops in Summerfield and Forrest are slightly shorter workshops and cost $55. Further info: alison@alisonpouliot.com

2012: FUNGAL ECOLOGY SEMINARS

TUESDAY 03 APRIL – CRESWICK
Seminar: Introduction to the fungi kingdom seminar
This 90 minute illustrated seminar introduces participants to the amazing diversity of the fungi kingdom.
Bookings: 0437 518 159
Cost: $2

TUESDAY 10 APRIL – LOCKWOOD SOUTH
Seminar: Fungi, The Forgotten Kingdom
Bookings: Judy Crocker 0428 506 525
This interactive session introductes participants to the fascinating diversity of the fungi kingdom in an exciting and illustrated 75 minute seminar. Following the seminar will be a 75 minute fungi identification session where we will examine and identify participants’ fungi specimens. Seminar run from 7pm until 9.30pm.
Cost: Free

THURSDAY 12 APRIL – TRENTHAM
Seminar: Fungi, The Forgotten Kingdom
Bookings: 5424 1354 or trentham@ourneighbourhood.org.au
This interactive session introductes participants to the fascinating diversity of the fungi kingdom in an exciting and illustrated 75 minute seminar. Following the seminar will be a 75 minute fungi identification session where we will examine and identify participants’ fungi specimens. Seminar runs from 7pm until 9.30pm.
Cost: $20

THURSDAY 03 MAY – WOODEND
Seminar: Fungi, The Forgotten Kingdom
Bookings: 5427 1845 or reception@woodendnh.org.au
This interactive session introductes participants to the fascinating diversity of the fungi kingdom in an exciting and illustrated 75 minute seminar. Following the seminar will be a 75 minute fungi identification session where we will examine and identify participants’ fungi specimens. Seminar runs from 7pm until 9.30pm.
Cost: $20

WEDNESDAY 23 MAY – WYNDHAM VALE
Seminar: An Introduction to the Fungi Kingdom
Bookings: Susie Inglis 9974 0835 or 0447 133 334 or facilitator@wmcn.org.au
This seminar will introduce participants to the fascinating diversity of the fungi kingdom in an illustrated and hands-on 90 minute seminar. Topics such as fungi ecology, diversity, natural and cultural history, edibility and toxicity, fungi peculiarities and curiosities will be covered.
Following the seminar will be a 90 minute fungi identification session where we will examine and identify participants specimens. Participants will learn about the major field characteristics used to identify fungi in the field. Seminar runs from 11am – 2pm and a cold lunch is provided.
Cost: $25

Or go to Alison’s website for more details www.alisonpouliot.com

Have fun-gi’s.

Su Dennett and I with our beautiful Saffron Milk Caps.

BTW, Allison isn’t paying me to advertise this! She doesn’t even know it is going up. Quite simply, I enjoyed myself so much that I am giving my wonderful readers the opportunity to enrol in one of her amazing workshops wile there is still space.

Froggy pond is finally on it’s way!

Thanks to the wonderful fellas from the road crew down the street we are now finally able to start building our beautiful frog pond.

Tipper arrives with boulders on board.

Tipper unloading boulders

Boulders in situ.

There were some new water mains being installed outside my mother-in-laws house last week. In order to get the new pipes in a whole heap of beautiful basalt boulders had to be excavated from the site. We happened to pop in on Friday evening, when the boulders had been brought up. We checked them over – perfect. So, we anxiously waited through the weekend hoping that they wouldn’t be send off to be crushed for road base before we were able to negotiate with the road crew to save them. My darling mother-in-law took on the task of negotiating and after a few friendly exchanges the tipper driver very kindly arranged to deliver them to us.

We have been planning to build a frog pond in our front garden for some time. However, we needed some pretty big rocks fro the job and as most people will know, big rocks can be very expensive. So, we worked on other areas of the garden while we waited for the day when such a situation would arise – where the boulders were being excavated locally and at a time that we were ready to have them offloaded in the garden.

We live in the vicinity of a number of beautiful waterways, which are populated by a fine selection of frogs, lizards and other animals. In particular our area is home to the Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis), a nationally vulnerable species which is in need of help in any way possible. One way that we can help is to provide habitat for them – our froggy pond.

I have chosen an area of the block where our noisy inhabitants will be far from sleeping neighbours. Also, from a permaculture perspective, I have chosen a high point on the block which will enable me to run the overflow from the pond into my wicking vegetable beds, down through the water garden and then out to storm water – if it’s lucky.

There is so much work ahead for this project. I will be sure to document it’s progress for you.

Cosi & co, thank you ever so much for your generosity. I am truly grateful. The frogs and I won’t forget your good deed. They will be very happy in their new home which wouldn’t happen without you.

For more information on frogs of your area check out Frogs of Australia. They have sound waves so you can listen and quite easily identify the frogs living in your garden. For readers outside of Australia search frog sites in your country. I am sure there are plenty of resources like Frogs of Australia out there.

Look up Melbourne – Webs In The Wind Again!

It’s yet another fabulous day out there today. I’ve been wandering around the garden today thinking gee there is a lot of webs. I didn’t think much of it until I went to sneeze! There they are again!

Outstanding!

Here are some pics for those who may have missed them last time and the update from the other day at the bottom.

I’ve got to get back out there.

Update 11 June: I have been looking around for a species to attach to this story. My mum came over today and handed me an article from the Leader Newspaper attached here: A Web Of Intrigue. It turns out that they were the webs of the Golden Orb-weaving Spider Nephila edulis, which is native to Australia and commonly found in the Melbourne area. The females are the ones that we most often notice. They are the larger ones, usually measuring 23mm in length, while the males are tiny measuring in at a mere 6mm – not that size is matters! These spiders can live up to 18months. Interestingly, the female who has been living in our front yard for about 6 months disappeared on the second day that the webs were in flight. We hope to see her again soon.

Here is the only photo I have of the Golden Orb.

Ode to QE2

As the Queen has been so gracious in giving us this day to ourselves today I have prepared a breakfast fit for a queen, fresh from the garden.

The rhubarb was getting close to dormancy so we decided to harvest what was left and treat ourselves for breakfast.

This is what we got from half a kilo of rhubarb, 4 tbsp brown sugar, and the juice of one of our tiny valencia oranges (approx 1/2 an orange or 1 mandarin).

Roasted Rhubarb and Custard Pancakes

Roasted Rhubarb with Custard Pancakes

For the rhubarb

Cut rhubarb into pieces about 5cm long. Please don’t string your rhubarb, just wash it, dry it and cut it.

Place in a roasting tin and sprinkle with sugar (4tbsp).

Drizzle the juice down the side of the dish so that it doesn’t wash off any of the sugar.

Bake in a moderate oven (180C) for half an hour.

Now while your rhubarb is roasting start on your pancake batter

Custard Pancakes

  • 150g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder (just making sure it rises well)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of thin, pouring custard
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of extra milk in case your custard is a little thick. You’ll see if the batter is becoming too thick & heavy.

Mix together your dry ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl add your custard. I like to add a spoonful of the flour mix in at a time, using my whisk to combine. As the mix is thickening add in a little milk ensuring that it is well combined before adding in anymore flour. Keep doing this until all of your ingredients are combined. Really, you can do it any old way but, this is how I do it to ensure that I don’t make the mix too thin. If you do just add a spoon at a time of flour until you get it right. Likewise, if it is too thick add the extra milk. Allow the batter to rest for 30min.

Heat up your fry-pan over a medium heat. If you cook this in a non-stick pan you shouldn’t need butter in the pan as you cook the pancakes.

Add some batter to the pan and cook on one side until you see air bubbles appearing on the top. Flip! Cook on the other side for just a few minutes.

Store your cooked pancakes in the warm oven until they are all ready to serve.

Top with your roasted rhubarb, drizzle with the rhubarb syrup and serve with a dash of custard if you have it.

Now, why did I use custard in the mix? I had some left over custard, it seemed quite British and as my girls are off the lay, I didn’t have any eggs today.

Now here is my ode to QE2: (I had to get lyrical in true Ode tradition) It’s best read with a soft scottish accent – think Mrs Doubtfire!

A humble start – rhubarb, custard and wheat,

she’s slightly tart, but mostly sweet,

a finer breakfast ya cannae eat.

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