Chicken coop mint garden

The jury is out as to whether chickens will eat mint or not. I’m getting a bit sick of the mint in the planter barrels on the deck taking over the whole show, so it’s time they came out.

The common mint we have in one planter barrel is my least favourite. We only really use mint for Moroccan eggs and to stick in the odd cocktail. In both cases, spearmint is a superior alternative.

We got a little spearmint and a little peppermint plant at Kallista market some time ago, and they’ve been growing in the other planter barrel. With the autumn there’s been a whole load of new shoots coming out of them, so it looks they’re in the mood to be moved.

R and M dug them up, chopped them up, and planted the bits at the top end of the chicken coop. One peppermint, one spearmint patch. They look to be doing very well there. Even the little bits without any roots haven’t drooped at all.



You can see the belladonnas popping up at the top right. They were quite disappointing, really. Only two flowers popped up on the hillside for about 50 bulbs planted last year. I feared that they’d all been eaten by bugs or something, but the leaves are starting to come up all over the place now. Then Charlie next door stopped by while I was sieving the meadow up near the road, and he told me they don’t flower until they’re three years old. Doh! More patience required!

Spontaneous generation

It’s very exciting. Plants are starting to grow in the garden and I didn’t have to do anything. All from last season’s flower heads. I’m particularly interested to find out what that patch at bottom right is. The ones on the left are love-in-the-mist, I think.


Picture wall

Behind my desk in the study is my picture wall. Also got a new work chair as a birthday present to self. Who would have thought the Eames Aluminium Management Chair would be better than an old country kitchen chair with a pillow on it?


Onion weed and bay laurel

Earlier, we’d mentioned that the onion weed on the hill needs to go. Here it is in full bloom.


The pittosporum that Dave planted to keep the cars out of the garden are growing up into tall plants – they’re chest high now. They don’t go very far down the side of the road, though.

The idea was had to put bay laurels up there to grow into a screen for the next section of roadside. We’ll curve them in to the secondary road-to-meadow steps so that it makes a nice entrance.


We didn’t want them growing up amongst the onion weed, though, because onion weed needs to be dug out and anything else around is going to come up with it. So the dirt around the new trees was dug down to shovel depth and sieved to get all the onion weed bulbs out. It’s a laborious process, but satisfying knowing that those onion weeds are well and truly gone. And look at that uniformly-sized dirt! Looks all proper and what-not.

We’ve put some oregano and parsley seeds around the bay trees to make it into a bit of an Italian food garden. More rosemary will make a border. We’ve got enough of these herbs in the rest of the garden now for our own purposes, so hopefully this will tempt people as they walk down the road to pick some and put it in their dinner.

Autumn goodness

There’s two raspberry brambles up in the meadow. One of them has been making raspberries all April. They are so yummy straight off the bush. Sweet and juicy. Nothing like it.


Right above the fish pond are the original set of fuchsias planted in February. They needed a bit of watering over summer: being on the slope it was hard to get them enough moisture. They survived, though, and are now ablaze with blooms. My favourite has to be the once called “Drama Queen” at the bottom of this picture. The flowers are white with delicate pink inside.


The strawberries we planted in September near the steps gave us a small harvest in early summer, but a lot of the strawberries were small and misshapen. Now there’s another set growing. The plants seem to be big enough now to make proper fruit; all the strawberries look nicely shaped, and there’s a ton of them! Can’t wait for them to ripen up!


Zoe gave us some seeds for our housewarming back in August. They were “yellow pear” tomatoes. We planted them in an old fridge tray we found at the side of the road, and stuck them in the corner of the drive in an attempt to keep them away from the bugs.

They didn’t do very well there, though. They came up, but most of them just shrivelled up and died. The three that survived got moved to the spot near the pear tree near the stairs, where there’s more sun and good composted soil.

Looks like it was a good move. They’ve gone nuts there and taken over the whole area. Almost can’t get down the postbox path for giant tomato plants being in the way.

The fruit is coming up now: definitely pear-shaped. They may even be the right size for once.


Look at the roots coming out of the bottom of that stalk! People tie tomatoes up, but they seem to want to send their stalks out along the ground, and I never bother. They seem quite able to keep their fruit off the ground by themselves.

Zoe’s truffalo tree

Zoe bought me a Dr Seuss tree for my birthday, which totally rocks. This one is the dwarf version, and grows into a waist-high spreading bush. It should cover this whole area in time, but we’ll put some meadowy flowers around it for the moment. Flanders poppies anyone?


Also in this picture is the fox wire on one side of the chicken coop, which will stop them getting in from this end of the run. Also visible is the mandarin I got from Jodie and Tim (orange pot), and the Kaffir lime I got from Cindy (blue pot) for my birthday. These will both go along the side of the run, outside the grapes (when I can find grapes to plant).

Under-coop shelf

The slope of the hill under the chicken coop suggested a good spot to put a provisions shelf. We scavenged some sleepers from another spot in the garden, and used some bits of rubbish wood that Dave gave us to make a frame. Bricks from near the big ash tree completed the shelf floor.

One tub for food, one for poo, don’t get them confused. We’ll also hang a scrubby broom under here once the coop’s floor is installed, and hopefully that will mean that everything we need to look after the chickens is right here where we need it.


Propagating lavender

We’re going to try propagating lavender and rosemary for the edge of the driveway using the very technical method of chopping off a stick and putting it in some dirt. We’ve re-used the cups from the party instead of chucking them out. We’ll see how it goes.


R’s herb patch

The other veggie patch near the slide also started to look like it was ready to get some plants. R planted this one up using the highly scientific method of throwing packets of seeds, and seed collected from earlier plants, all over into the space.

We’ve got coriander, beetroot, basil, parsley, carrots, canterbury bells, and some dill. We’ll thin them out and spread them around a bit more evenly when they get a bit bigger. The flowers will go up to the meadow when we know which ones they are!