Spring Garden

October 16, 2019

One of my favourite places in the whole world is my back garden. It is a place to be curious, gently industrious and still. Small amounts of effort, reap bountiful rewards over time. Seeds are sown, seedlings planted out, plants are watered, tended and observed, produce is harvested and seeds let to set for saving. The work is timely but not time critical, earth time holds dominion over clock time.

Pink Lady apple blossom

The garden beds were set up by the previous owner and it has been an incredible pleasure to fill it with flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Rainbow chard, lettuce and parsley

It is colder in Ballarat than in Melbourne and what thrived in my last garden, doesn’t always do so well here. It has been an adventure discovering what grows well here and trying varieties of old favourites better suited to a colder environment. Apart from tomatoes, everything I grow here is from seed. There’s a seed company the Dandenong ranges in Victoria, where I have been buying a lot of seeds from. They have a similar cool climate, non-hybrid seeds and small size seed packets for $1.50…just the right quantity for an urban backyard. If I like the variety and it does well in my garden, then I save new seeds for next year and if it doesn’t do so well, then I haven’t spent much at all. The tiny packets are the sweet spot for experimentation and adventure.

Snake beans in the greenhouse

These wee fellows are snake beans, an Asian variety of green beans that grow very long. I just planted them out today, along with some sweet corn, giant sunflowers and zucchini. Fingers crossed that I’ve called the end of frost correctly!

Slow bolt spinach

From the lemon balm and spearmint already growing the in garden, I was able to harvest and dry enough herbal tea to last me through the winter into another harvest time. It feels almost miraculous to me what is possible in a backyard garden.


Last autumn, I was able to plant a garlic patch that I am hoping will provide us a year’s worth of garlic. It took me about half an hour to plant around 30 cloves and a few minutes each week to keep the weeds out. It takes more energy for me to shop for them I reckon.


And to add to the abundant spring life in our backyard, we’ve just welcomed two Silkie chicks to our home.

This one is called Dawn

They are ten days old and still need a warm lamp to keep them snuggly. We have it set up in the lounge room.

Our broody box made from old packing crates and a desk lamp

They will be ready for adventure in about six weeks when their feathers are fully in. They are a very sweet presence. I can hear their little peeps against the snoring of our dogs even as I type these words.

I shall leave you now with one of the glories of spring…sweet peas. I planted three different varieties in autumn and these variegated pinks are the first to bloom and scent our garden with a heavenly scent. What is happening in your garden?

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    1. Well that would be the recent addition of Pickles, an 18 month old pug/poodle scamp who needed a home with kid and dog company. He is interminably buoyant and loves everybody with wild enthusiasm. Maggie’s sharing everything gracefully except greeting her Man home from work, that honour belongs to her alone apparently.

  1. Have you ever eaten Jerusalem Artichokes? They’re a root vegetable (they look a lot like ginger roots), and make incredibly yummy soup. They look like sunflowers, and you just dig around and pull out whatever you need. If you don’t get all of them, they spring up the following year.

    I’ve grown them in sandy Perth soil, so I don’t know how they would go elsewhere, but worth giving a go. I’m pretty sure they grow in the UK, so they’re not hot weather plants.

    1. That’s a great idea Anne. They have a great fart reputation…is there a cooking method that mitigates this effect?

      1. Not really – just don’t eat too many!

        Actually, my favourite way to eat them is with a roast; the outside gets so crispy in the fat, while the inside is really soft. Much like the perfect roast potato, but works every time 🙂

  2. Lovely to see your Spring garden, Rebecca – just a few things overlap with our Autumn garden here in the very north of England. Like Sweetpeas! Ours are still flowering (just) and I am about to go and pick a small bouquet to take to my great-aunt in hospital in Edinburgh. I think this may be the last bouquet, a pity because they give consistent pleasure as almost no other flowers do … Enjoy yours 🙂

    1. Wow, that is a long reign for the sweet peas! I hope mine flower that long. I guess picking and dead heading will help. Congrats on the birth of your granddaughter…just brilliant news.

  3. Lovely, Rebecca! We’ are just starting into deeper fall here with colorful leaves. 2 doggies sound great and little chicks are so sweet. I’m hoping they are just for eggs and loving on!!

    1. Dear Elaine, oh yes the Silkies are just for pets and hopefully to sit on eggs and hatch some big girl layers. Our daughter is in charge.

  4. Oh Rebecca, this is such a lovely post. Thank you for sharing. I am in London, Ontario and we are in the midst of beautiful fall colours and rain…………getting ready for our changing season to winter. So your beautiful photos have been a breathe of spring and reminder of out is to come. I am glad you are doing well and enjoying. Thanks again for this sweet look into your life.

  5. Oh, Rebecca it was fun to look at your photos of the garden and chicks. It is our fall into winter beginning here in Michigan. I have much work to be done in my gardens next spring. Love the sweet peas. You have been one busy gardener and an inspiration to all who take delight in watching what magic can happen in a small backyard garden. Take care.

  6. What a gloriously uplifting blog post. I live in Northern Tasmania and am trying to get myself motivated to get back into the garden after a long cold winter here. We had some “lumberjacks” (for want of a better word) take out a couple of large trees near the house and they squashed my enclosed veggie garden which made me decide to stay in hibernation till it warmed up more to sort it out. Your post has given me the added motivation to get back outside and get moving. Thank you 🙂 <3

    1. It is hard getting going after the cold and such a setback. I just start with sowing some seeds in a punnet and the rest just seems to follow. Something seems to happen when you seeds those seedlings emerge.

  7. What a beautiful, thoughtful garden you have. Sure to keep you nourished throughout the year xx

    Love the sweet peas, too

  8. Oh what a treat. Funny that most of the answers come from a cold and frosty N America 🙂
    We can dream!! and be inspired!! Thank you.

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