19 December 2012

Harvesting the compost

Compost or rubbish?
Concealed behind the tool shed, our huge compost heap accumulates large barrow loads of what I call 'compost' and JC calls 'rubbish'.  In the rush to get things done, I hurl large mounds of weeds and prunings on to the pile month after month.  In the end it is an enormous mass of rotting organic matter.

Before composting, prunings and other vegetation should be cut into smallish, manageable pieces prior to throwing on the pile.  The compost heap should also be regularly turned, improved with manure and watered occasionally.  At 'Greenlion' this rarely happens, as other interesting or more pressing garden tasks take priority.  However, as a result of this neglect, from time to time the compost bursts into bloom-calendulas, comfrey, aquilegias and more.

In preparation for the Gardens of Glenlyon, Nick and I attacked the huge pile of detritus, hurling large clumps of half rotted material to one side.  Our first surprise was the sound of much squeaking and the scurrying of tiny feet as baby antechinuses ran blindly for their lives.  We carefully popped them back under the pile and left their nest undisturbed.  Next, we uncovered the most beautiful humus-sweet, fine and brown.  In this layer of the compost we harvested large, healthy potatoes, a couple of ripe garlics, a tea strainer and a potato peeler.  Not a bad haul for a neglected pile of rubbish!  so impressed was the doubting JC, that he has built two new bays to encourage a more systematic approach to the ancient art of making compost.

Jill Teschendorff, 'Greenlion'.

13 December 2012

A lovely email from a New Yorker

Mary, I'm sure you are now either sleeping or partying after being on duty at Mrs Gooch's wonderful homestead all weekend...but wanted you to know how very special our weekend in the Victorian midlands was !

Firstly, we might never have discovered your peaceful part of the world, and definitely would not have enjoyed it as much.......for Jim, time spent with you in your magical place was the highlight.......followed closely by our dinner at Annie's.......a delectable, delicious experience......followed by having a good chat at the window with Annie herself ...so good in fact that I am coming back out this Tuesday morning (if I can battle Melbourne morning traffic to get out to Malmsbury by 10) to take Annie's Xmas master class which she graciously invited me to join...even though it's already full.

Our stay at the Corinella Country House on the Kyneton Metcalfe Road was very pleasant as were the hosts, Sue and Steve Wright, a farming couple who have been mantling (that's as opposed to DISmantling) a family farm by adding pieces to their little spread and have turned one of the lovely farm houses into an accommodation.......

Following our morning hike up Black Hil, actually Jim hiked and I painted an iconic scene, we stopped into Jill Teschendorff's garden and had a delightful time and some good laughs with her and John.

The only thing we missed out on during the weekend was a late lunch/early dinner at Du Fermier..........The website said that Dan was open until 5......so when we arrived at 4:05 we thought we had plenty of time......only trouble is the website was in error...he closes at 4....again, we were invited in.......treated to a take-home brownie and donut.....and several good laughs before he sent us off back to Kyenton for a good dinner at Pizza Verde....where the chef, David, turned out to be from Brooklyn.......very close to where we live!.......so ended out midlands' outing.

Well, enough, just wanted you know how well it all turned out and that I might run into you on Tuesday if you're out and about.

Best and many thanks from,
Jim and Marsha
New York

11 December 2012

A little of Mrs Gooch's Garden last weekend

Pics taken by Jen Tickle.  It's amazing how lush the garden appears, after we had such terrible hot and windy weather.

Bit like an arab oasis?

A shed on a body in front of another shed.

A touch of class here!

10 December 2012

Bees in a bin

This did not happen in Glenlyon but it's such an amazing sight we thought everyone should have the opportunity to see it.

These bees have set up home in a compost bin - a bin it would seem not used all that much for compost!
Aren't the combs the most beautiful shape?

9 December 2012

The end of an amazing weekend

Hot, turbulent weather yesterday didn't augur well for the first day of garden visiting.  But people defied the wind and heat and our gardens were inundated with visitors.

Today the weather was milder, but the numbers didn't decrease. 

Our gardeners reported back the wonderful responses from the visitors - how they enjoyed the gardens, their diversity, the generosity of the gardeners in opening up their gardens.  Thank you visitors for your respect and the pleasure you took in our gardens.

And the hugest thank you to our gardeners and their willing slaves - without you this weekend would not have happened.

More tales hopefully will be posted over the next few days.  Keep an eye on our blog.

1 December 2012

The generosity of people - more raffle prizes!

We are being truly blessed with gorgeous raffle prizes.  Here are the latest donations, from Domestic Textiles.
William Morris book - gorgeous enough to kill for????

Very appropriate given the weekend!