Skinflint Sunday: Hire a landscape gardener so you can save money down the track. Om nom nom.


Ok. That blog title may seem like a massive rationalisation, but I firmly believe that this is what will happen when I’m a sprightly old lady, living happily at my house and having the lowest possible living expenses due to the infrastructure I’m setting up now. (Then I can go travelling whenever I want…Scott will have to call his guest room ‘The Frogdancer Room.’)


I’m very excited. A couple of weeks ago I drove nearly an hour away to see a garden in the Open Gardens scheme. It was designed by Karen from Edible Eden, a designer I’ve been blog reading for a while now, with a view to maybe possibly perchance one day getting her in to help me with the overall design for my place. I thought having a look at one of her gardens would be a really good idea, to get a feel for whether we ‘gel’ and to have a sneaky peek. Plus I’ve been under the pump with the new model being released, so this was a nice way to take some time for myself and clear the cobwebs.

Of course, me being me, it couldn’t go flawlessly. I drove all the way there, walked up the driveway and was asked for the $8 admittance, only to discover I’d left my wallet at home.  I couldn’t believe it. I’d been looking forward to this for a month. Fortunately, when the guy asked where I lived, he let me in. (I gave him the $1.25 I found at the bottom of my bag.)

The scented entrance, where the air is filled with gorgeous smells as you step on and brush past the plants. It was really effective. I’m wondering if this wouldn’t be a great idea under the clothesline, as well as out the front. Imagine some brick paving under the Hills Hoist, with aromatic plants where you stand to hang out and bring in the washing? How cool would that be? (Though you couldn’t use them for cooking. I’m sure young Jeff would be doing his part to help ‘water’ them.)


The garden is a lovely mix of beauty and productivity, which is EXACTLY what I want. I’m ashamed to confess, but it’s been my dream for the last 30 years to have a house where I can pull into the driveway every day, look at it and be proud I own it because it looks so pretty. Haven’t achieved it yet. Later on, when the edible gardening/peak oil doomer/zombie apocalypse bugs bit, that also translated into a desire to make the best possible use of the area I have available. But I still want it to be pretty. I’ve spent the last 18 years paying off the mortgage, putting in solar panels, a water tank (thanks Mick!) and buying my Gorgeous car for cash and fully funding my Europe trip next year. More on that in another post. (Tickets booked! whoopee!!!) That’s all well and good, but my lovely lttle house and garden look sadly neglected. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to think that by this time next year my house will be painted, the front garden will be done and won’t look as if feral tenants from the backblocks who play banjos live here and (maybe… if people love and buy their thermomixes) the back yard with deck might be well under way as well. Talk about beginning to live the dream!
Anyway, back to the garden.

No lawn. Can you imagine that?

The entrance to the sideway.


How inviting does this look?


Love this. They’ve planted beans to climb up and over. Imagine sitting under the cool canopy on a hot summer’s evening with a G&T or glass of wine and being able to reach up and snap off some beans to nibble on? I love the way the garden beds are made so you can sit down. Weeding’s SO arduous…it’s exhausting.

This is something I haven’t seen before – using weights to train the bean plants where you want them to go. I took this photo to remind me.

I’m going to try this. It’s a butterfly-shaped piece of white plastic. I’m sick of the cabbage moth caterpillars decimating my leafy greens.

Another thing I got incredibly excited about was the roof of their verandah. It tilts UP, not down. I immediately thought of the awkward problem I have with my stupid garage poking its stupid nose into the ideal area for me to have a deck. My deck is going to have a roof, because I’ve spent the last 18 years putting up with rain coming into the back door and open windows on the rear of the house and I hate it. This idea could solve my problem. I danced a little jig when I saw it. (Inside, where it counts.) I talked to the owner, who designed it. Turns out he’s a structural engineer. I have his card and he said to give him a ring when I’m ready to begin work on the deck and he’d be happy to help me. Isn’t it great how things sometimes just fall together like a charm?


He said it allows the winter sun into the house, while shielding the windows and deck from the summer sun. Sounds good to me! I hate a dark house in winter.

Around the front of the house a couple of nice touches: a screen for the bins.

And twine wrapped around an ugly pipe. Why did I never think of that? Because I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, probably!

Anyway, I booked an appointment with Karen and she came over on Friday and we talked about my place, specifically the front garden for the first stage. She recommended waiting for the house to be painted (in March or thereabaouts) before doing serious work on the garden, as the painter will trample all over things as he’s moving ladders etc. However, we CAN rip out plants, lay paths and lay out garden beds. I’m very excited. In 3 weeks she’s coming back with a detailed plan and quotes for the work that needs to be done. I feel like we’re finally getting ahead.

Just you wait! By this time next year this place will be well on the way to looking very different. I’ll finally live in the comfortable yet stylish mecca of elegance and productivity that I deserve. 😛

Thermomix recipe: OMG!!!! This recipe ALONE is worth getting a thermomix for. It tastes EXACTLY like a Summer Roll.  We tasted it at our Group Leaders’ meeting on Friday and it was unbelievably good.

This entry was posted in balance, chickens, dehydrating food, Flowers, Fruit trees, gardening, Quality of life, renovating, Skinflint, vegetables, wicking beds. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Skinflint Sunday: Hire a landscape gardener so you can save money down the track. Om nom nom.

  1. foodnstuff says:

    You’re right. It’s a lovely garden. In permaculture class they told us if you plant scented plants under the clothesline, then on a hot day especially, the volatile oils rise up and impregnate the washing. Rosemary scented undies?

  2. Ellen says:

    Sounds like a plan! So many great ideas in that garden and the uprising roof looks like the best of them all. Great to meet someone who thinks out of the box.

  3. Amelia says:

    This is very exciting! I look forward to seeing what you do.

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