Easter Saturday Afternoon Tea (or What's That Smell?)

So it's afternoon tea time, and what could be better than cupcakes topped with the chocolate eggs the girls made? With sprinkles? I was whizzing about in the garden this morning, weeding, and tossing about bales of pea straw mulch, and up to my elbows in sheep poop, and Rosy wanders out in her pyjamas, asking, asking  mind you, whether she could make cupcakes.. well, what kind of  question is that? Of course you can make cupcakes. Always.

Today I have been continuing the task of putting the garden to bed for the winter. We do have reasonably mild winters here, frost, yes, but not too bad because we are in a built up suburb, lots of buildings and roads for heat to radiate from. So we can grow hardy veg through the winter - kale, broccoli, chard, lettuce, garlic, broad beans. You do have to plant most of these early though, and I ..... haven't. I'll plant them now anyway, cross my fingers and hope. Easter, season of hope, right? Or misplaced optimism, in this case.

I have fed and mulched everything in the back yard, and am eyeing off the children's (now unused) sandpit, with a view to turning that space into raised garden beds. I suggested this hesitantly to Posy, thinking there would be a giant tantrum, but she immediately ran off to make a garden plan. Her garden plan, of course, so there may be negotiations in the future, but I have the official go-ahead. Such excitement!

But now I am working on the front yard. I quite like my spring garden..

..it has pretty blossoms and neat rounded mounds of lavender, and happy roses, but in summer it all falls apart, and turns into a giant scary jungle. I put in quite narrow paths when I converted it from lawn, and in summer you can't walk on them because they are covered in plants, like so..

Somewhere under that swathe of vivid green is a brick path. So I am being ruthless and ripping everything out, including some quite nice shrubs and plants that I am quite attached to. It's sort of like decluttering the garden. But it is very good, because I will be experimenting with planting more food in the front yard, and still have it look pretty. Well, I should say, much prettier than it does right now.

As I rip out I am feeding and throwing lots of good organic stuff on the garden beds, and mulching away, so that next spring I can start with a clean slate. Hopefully the fruit trees will be happier without huge numbers of plants growing under and around them as well. It is rather smelly though, with all the chook poo pellets, the sheep poo etc.

What you can't tell from the serene photo of our afternoon tea is that the smell of chook poo wafting in through the open windows is battling with the smell of enamel paint wafting out of the open windows. The lovely, lovely Man is painting our stairs today, and they look just divine.

It all adds a certain piquancy to the cupcakes, though.


Anonymous said…
What a productive Easter! I am feeling quite exhausted reading all your work.

Your garden looks beautiful. Not sure about he piquancy of chook poo for afternoon tea. I'll have to take the word of a gardener.
Heather said…
Your garden is GORGEOUS! I wish I could have such a lush garden/flower bed. That is a huge artichoke plant in the middle of that one picture, right?

When I read about your daughter asking to make cupcakes, I had to laugh, because my daughter asked me the same thing this morning. Why do they ask? Keep our home stocked with cupcakes for everyday of the week, I say. I was eating a vanilla cupcake with caramel frosting as I was reading your post. It's gone now. It takes me all of 2.5 seconds to eat one, you know.
Jo said…
Thanks for the kind words ladies - yes Heather, giant artichoke. I have had it for three years, just worked out how to prepare and cook them this last spring!
And here's to daughters who bake...
Beautiful gardens! Of course, up here, we're at the other side of the process, cleaning out the garden beds after their long winter. I'm about to harden my heart to rip up the plants I wasn't crazy about last year. I have dreams of a neat and orderly flower bed, but it's always gone wild by late July. The lantana takes over, the lavender give up the ghost ... it's all so unruly and unpredictable.

Jo said…
I do think that maybe you can't be a control freak if you have a garden. It teaches one humility...
GretchenJoanna said…
I love all the photos and descriptions of garden work. You've inspired in me the feeling that I *could* get out there and start doing all the many chores needing doing - though I know for certain the end result won't be as lush.
Jo said…
Go on GJ, you know it will be fun, and once you get your fingers in the soil, and feel it alive and kicking, you won't be able to get back inside..

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