Amazing gardens and nurseries

Hi All
I am in love with Wychwood gardens and nursery. I can’t believe that these people are not horticulturally trained! Wychwood is a magnificent garden and small nursery in Mole Creek and is the result of two gardening novices with ‘boundless enthusiasm”. The garden is featured in the Better Homes and Garden’s special Christmas edition on pages 92 – 93. They are going to be featured on Better Homes and Garden’s television show on Friday 25th of November. I discovered them when hunting for ‘pretty pictures’ (don’t judge…it’s my inner magpie) of beautiful gardens. I might not know how to create a glorious garden but I most certainly know when I see one and this garden made me drool! I went about tucking pictures of this magnificent place into a newly created “Wychwood” file like a mother hen clucking to her babies. Wychwood is something that I could only dream of. Peter Cooper and Karen Hall have pulled something amazing out of their environment and their inner creator. It just goes to show that you don’t need to have training, just the will to produce and the talent to create. As I have previously mentioned, there is so much information out there to create your own custom oasis and these people should be out there touting their creative abilities. They created a labyrinth, a heritage apple orchard and perennial borders that would make Nat drool (even though they are probably full of leeches). If you don’t have a copy of Better Homes and Garden’s Christmas edition (and have no intentions of buying one…), or the ability to watch Better Homes and Gardens on November 25th, you can go to their website or join their Facebook page (of which I have done both). This magnificent garden has only been around since 1991 and just goes to show what you can do with a bit of planning and a whole lot of determination.

Here’s some of the pictures that so enchanted me with the place…

and last but by no means least…this one is for you mum…anyone wanting to get into this gate had BETTER have some form of goose pacifier as otherwise you have bucklies and none of getting in!

All of the photos above came from the following site and I have only put them here for you all to see how fantastic these people are at designing a most whimsical and inviting garden. I hope that after all of my years and years of studies to come, that I can find something inside me that comes close to what these 2 people have managed to do in such a short time. All kudos to you! Check out more gorgeous photos mostly taken around the north of Tasmania on Peters flicker account…

My ideal for Serendipity Farm is to have the whole 4 acres as forest garden with all sorts of poultry free ranging around as they want. Vegetables and fruit, nut trees and all sorts of edible plants all growing together, seeding as they will working together with nature, organics and permaculture to allow the property to develop into something both productive and lovely. It’s going to take a while, but again, it’s a whole lot of planning and then simply implementing it step by step.

We have a new addition to Serendipity Farm. Our silver laced Wyandotte chicken has been sitting on 5 eggs that she stole after going clucky and raiding the egg pile on a regular basis. We were not holding out much hope of her hatching anything out but to be honest, with all of the activity going on in the hen house at the moment, it was just good to have her sit still for a bit and not have to check up on her. Ethel Doocark is still up in the shrubs sitting on nothing. The chook that went missing is obviously egg cribbing and has now gone clucky and we haven’t seen her in 2 days but we are no longer worried about her and I guess we will see her when she is good and ready to come out. That’s 3 of our 9 remaining chooks off the lay. Yin is also out of the picture so that’s 5 girls that we have left. We get 4 eggs one day and 1 egg the next so they are all laying. I got 2 eggs from the laying boxes in the broodies side of the coop today so the broodies are laying again as well. It’s all go and now we have another baby chick! This is Big Yin’s first baby and in his honour, whether it’s a boy or a girl it’s now being called “Mini Yinny”. We have been hard at work learning about sexing chicks as our little ones are starting to look more like real chickens than little fuzzy chicks. They are getting their feathers and are starting to develop “Secondary Sexual Characteristics” which I am assured by the online poultry community can give me an edge when it comes to determining whether I have boys or girls. Here’s what they have to say…

Sexing Chickens by their Secondary Sexual Characteristics

Cockerel at 5 weeks of age
Comb Medium size, pinkish
Legs Sturdy, long
Tail Stumpy, curved
Back Downy with thin line of stub feathers down centre
Side of neck, crop and flanks Feathering poorly advanced
Wing bows Bare, showing wing covert quills
Carriage Erect and alert

Pullet at 5 weeks of age
Comb Small, yellowish
Legs Finer, shorter
Tail Longer, straight
Back More advanced feathering along centre & flanks
Side of neck, crop & flanks Feathering well advanced
Wing bows Covered with small feathers
Carriage Lower

We checked Pingu out and Pingu is showing all signs of being a girl! The other definite barred Plymouth Rock is most probably a boy. I think that the 2 white chicks are both boys and one of the fuzzy brown ones (probably a Wyandotte) is also probably a boy. I think we have probably got about 4 – 5 of our chicks are little roosters using this chart to determine but I won’t be saying yay or nay until I hear those tell-tale crows.

Steve and I are really looking forwards to signing up and starting our Diploma in Landscape Design. It promises to be most interesting and a good challenge to us both mentally and physically as we are planning on applying what we learn to our own personal circumstances. As mentioned earlier, I haven’t got a whole lot of confidence in my own abilities to create a gorgeous garden like Wychwood. I am able to learn, to plan and to organise so I think that if I am able to develop my creative side that will help me with being able to envisage what I want or indeed what other people want from their gardens, their environments and their personal space. I went out hunting for the missing chook who is no doubt hunkered down watching me was I wandered past peering myopically into the many and varied tunnels amongst the shrubs. It’s a broody chooks heaven out there and if she doesn’t want to be found, she shall remain anonymous. While I was hunting for her I wandered into the old orchard area. A couple of months ago we cleared out some adventitious wattle and sheok trees that had invaded the fruit trees blocking off access and sunlight to the area and stealing all of the soil moisture and nutrients from the soil. We cut them down and brought the light back to the fruit trees who are in the process of repaying us by being loaded down with peaches and nectarines. Dad had previously told us that the peach tree was dead and that the nectarine was on its last legs. I think you just have to give some of these poor maltreated trees what they need in nutrients, water, light and some space to feel the wind and sunlight on their leaves and they will flourish. There are even a few cherries on the poor half dead cherry tree that we had to remove the whole of the back of thanks to some sort of borer invasion.

It’s quite cold today and once Steve lights the stove the boys won’t leave their chairs either side of the fire. It’s windy and threatening to rain and our wind fish is thrashing around on the end of his string trying to get back to the Tamar River. It’s a good night to be sitting inside next to a lovely warm wood burning stove listening to a good CD (probably Harry Manx tonight I think…) researching interesting things about gardening with my faithful cup of tea beside me and 2 snoring dogs and 1 snoring husband contented on their respective chairs. It’s lovely to head off to bed suitably tired and slip between the sheets, warm and toasty when it’s cold, rainy and windy outside. Again the wood stove pays us back for our initial purchase. I have been implementing a new way of eating. I used to only eat 1 meal a day at night time. Now I eat breakfast, lunch and some fruit at about 6pm and nothing more from then on. I had the best sleep that I have had in ages last night and think that this new way of eating that is minimising digestion at night time and allowing me to sleep and dream.

We watched Inception last night. It was interesting but a bit confusing. I don’t need movies explained to me, but sometimes movies are deliberately arty and vague. It’s not necessary to give your audience a false sense of superiority because they think that they know what is going on. Just give us the gist and we can see if we like it or not. Watching something on TV or at the cinema is very different to reading a book. When you read your own mind makes the pictures. You can be as adventurous or as restrained as you want. Your own mind fits the information that it’s being presented with into its own rhythm and syntax and you get the perfect explanation of what is being processed by your brain customised for your own understanding. When you watch something that has been premade, it’s like chewing someone else’s gum. Sometimes it’s empty of flavour and devoid of character. I would rather read a book than watch a movie unless it’s an exceptional movie or television program. I am not a TV snob. I love all sorts of things but they have to be entertaining, well made and clever. I hate being spoon fed information and I also hate visuals at the expense of plot. That said, I tend to spend my time in the evening online. Steve gets the big television in the lounge room all to himself to put horror movies (his favourite genre) on and fall gracefully asleep leaving me somewhat alarmed at the violent screaming and agitated music while he is fast asleep and snoring. How can he lay there in the middle of a violent screaming match with equally alarming crescendoing orchestral music out to the world but this same man can hear a pin drop at night. I guess it’s a ‘man thing’.

Steve is having some of those delicious smelling (and tasting apparently) Thai curry chicken and prawn sausages tonight for his tea. He is teaming them up with some oven fries and some vegetables. We couldn’t get a 10kg bag of potatoes at the good IGA in Beaconsfield and refuse to pay more than $4 more for a bag from Super IGA that are full of some sort of bug that leaves big holes in the middle of otherwise prime looking spuds so you only discover this problem if you are cutting them. Poor you if you have baked them…by the time you discover the “ech” bit, it’s too late!
I love potatoes and they are my favourite food. Steve’s is cheese. But even I balk at this juice produced by Biotta even though it’s got the following blurb…
“Potatoes are a great source of protein and potassium. Vitamin-rich, they also contain alkali-producing mineral nutrients, making them valuable as a relief for acid indigestion and heartburn. In addition to problems of the digestive tract, many people use potato juice to relieve arthritis pain, migraines, back pain and some skin problems, such as eczema, dry skin and blemishes. Potatoes have anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties, and contain the phytonutrient kukoamine, which helps to lower blood pressure. Biotta’s Potato Juice is available in 16.9 fl. oz. recyclable glass bottles. We’ve added fennel juice to our Potato Juice, which gives this product a pleasant flavour and enhances its effect.”

Nah…I think I will just eat the spuds thank you very much Biotta…that juice looks nasty!Steve is off to pick up a cubic metre of prime potting mix from Waratah’s pick-up centre in Legana. We can then pot up our plant’s that have been languishing since last year in their old teeny pots. At least I will be able to do something in the garden! We are both back now and we have a massive amount of potting mix! When it was put into the trailer the back of the car almost lifted off the floor! Our little workhorse might be slow, but she sure knows how to pull and that’s all that we need. Steve might have the few odd twitchy moments when we can’t pull the skin off a rice pudding going up a hill and someone in a mini passes us…but when we need to go up a steep hill we can do it. I just checked and our silver Wyandotte now has 2 babies! I worked out that whether the first baby is a boy or girl it doesn’t matter. It’s either “Minnie Yinny” (like Minnie Mouse) or Mini Yinny like mini me from Austin Powers. I think that Yin (who is a wyandotted rooster) has thrown golden wyandotte babies as they look just like them…

Effel (that’s Steve’s spelling. Ethel is his girl and so he can spell her name however he sees fit!) Doocark has now been given 7 eggs to sit on. She has steadfastly refused to allow the fact that she has no eggs to stop her from returning to her nest each and every morning as soon as we let her out of the coop and she has to be picked up by Steve each evening and returned, protesting, to the coop at the end of the day. We have decided that the other chook who has no name and who has hidden herself away somewhere is going to most probably have some babies one day, so it’s only fair if Effel has a go as well. We have given her 7 fresh eggs to sit on. We have learned a lot about eggs. The only real thing is that they need to be somewhat fresh, and they need to be all put under the chook at the same time as that is what starts the embryo forming. We are hoping that she doesn’t get scoffed in the night because we have a soft spot for Effel. She is the only one of our chooks that is somewhat tame and who will take food from our hands. She may have been hand raised in the past. Who knows? All we know is that Effel is getting her chance to be a mum. We have 3 broodies, 4 mums, 5 regular non-broody hens and Big Yin who is fussing about them all. We have gone from complete and utter novices with anything to do with poultry to being thrown in at the deep end and forced to learn, researching sometimes late at night to find out how to sort problems out, work out what to do with broody chooks etc. It’s a real learning curve but I love researching and finding things out.
I am “dead chuffed” by the way. Welcome to Annie from a most amazing blog “The Micro Gardener”.  I used one of Annie’s lovely pictures in a previous post (the lovely boots full of plants) and I urge all of you to head over to Annie’s blog and have a gander. You will be stuck there for hours it’s that interesting and informative. If you are clever (I am :o) you will sign up to follow her blog and you will get an amazing free e-book that is cram packed full of fantastic information. Annie, like me, loves to research things and find things out. I consider you a kindred spirit Annie and am so pleased that you have decided to follow my humble little blog.

Annie is the first person who isn’t family or friend who has followed my blog ever and as such deserves a HUGE welcome to Serendipity Farm and all who sail in her (it rains a lot here in Tasmania Annie :o). Poor Nat can’t read my blog for some reason at the moment. I am guessing it’s to do with the fact that she is reading it at work and perhaps it exceeds some sort of bandwidth or perhaps the techies don’t like it? Who knows! You might have to spring for paying for the net at home Nat… She is missing reading the posts every morning. Now we can talk about her and she will NEVER know :o). Have a fantastic day everyone. It’s a lovely spring day here in Tasmania and we have a cubic metre of prime potting mix to shovel off the back of the trailer into a big bag. At least I get a hardwood pallet Annie…now I just have to work out what I am going to do with that! :o)

How about this?

From this amazing blog

Or perhaps this?

Wouldn’t you love to have something like that? I know that I would…and this blog will show you how to make all sorts of things for very little money…

And this is one that I might even think about making…

How good does an old door and a pallet look? Check out this blog for more…

Here’s the ultimate use of old pallets. How amazing is this? Emergency shelter after disasters that can actually be used as the basis of a new house!

even if you decided not to live in it after the event, wouldn’t this make an AMAZING chook house?

There are so many amazingly creative people out there. I love finding stuff like this. It makes me feel rich beyond words!

This site has 21 things to do with wooden pallets and all of them are lovely…

This is how I find out how to do things…I just go hunting with my magpie instincts and find a wealth of ideas, resources, plans, recipes and so much more generated by people all over the world who want to share. Thankyou to everyone who finds it in their hearts to share what they love and know with the rest of us. That’s what makes the internet the most valuable free resource that you can access today. Don’t say that you don’t have anything to do this weekend. What are you waiting for…go hunting!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mum
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 18:20:32

    I would rather enjoy a real spud than drink it ! Sounds a bit sus to me that does, liquifying something so yummy. Yhe little chics look lovely too. Put a bit of wire around that hen you gave eggs to Steve, to keep predators from getting her & the chicks. She’ll sit there now till they hatch. Leave a bit of water & food there too. Funny, I took a Boerwors round sausage from the freezer to thaw for my tea. I can eat half,& have the rest cold tomorrow. You can do all sorts with old pallets, I hate to see them turfed out or broken up. That bed is a great idea isn’t it? Hardwood pallets could be made into wonderful furniture & tarted up. You can do a hell of a lot at practically no expense,& make all sorts of things.Different shelving out on the balcony for pots etc ? I like the idea of a stanup garden too.Your big garden doesn’t need to be all done at once either. Take your time doing what you want with it. You’ll find many different things you want to do, so have a garden with walks around, not knowing what you come across each bend, like the Secret Garden.At the rate you’re going with poultry, I’d put a fence right around the whole block to keep them all in, but free ranging. As to geting past the geese, a sneeky handful of wheat wouldn’t go amiss. Remember my flock used to love the rotting windfall apples,& get tipsy? Very funny watching them all tottering around.


  2. microgardener
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 18:24:43

    Thanks for inviting me to be part of your journey at Serendipity. I love sharing in people’s journeys and if I can help with a few tips here and there from my past experiences (and lots of hindsight from mistakes) then I’m happy to share.

    Now pallets are a whole new story! Think compost bays, storage systems and vertical gardens … I have some pictures I’m saving for a future post so maybe this will come in handy.

    Currently I’m turning some hardwood wooden cube packing crates that I picked up from the local landscapers for $5 each into compost bays and a mini storage shed with shelves for my garden bits and pieces (with the help of my handy dad who’s visiting!) The landscapers were sick of them sitting around in the yard and were going to throw them away so when I asked if we could have them, it solved their problem and mine! Plus they delivered them free with our pavers. Check out your local landscapers and you might find a bargain there too.


    • narf77
      Nov 17, 2011 @ 21:00:28

      Thanks for that tip Annie, I might just have to hunt out some bargains at our local landscapers. We spent all day today lugging pot plants all over the place and shovelling potting mix. Tomorrow we get stuck into the veggie garden. Raised beds, compost, hay, leaf mould (lucky us :o) and all sorts of other goodies layered up and a good layer of good quality top soil on top. Wish us luck!


  3. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 12, 2013 @ 08:29:45

    My favorite food is also potato. Chris says his is either potato or kale. They were probably gardeners in a past life.


    • narf77
      Apr 12, 2013 @ 17:06:29

      I haven’t eaten a potato since January! I started that green smoothie challenge and have been having green smoothies for breakfast (or fruit and nuts), veggies and legumes through the day and soup and veggies for tea. I forget what a potato tastes like! I will reintroduce them into my diet in a month or so but for now, I am being very careful to get used to “not” eating them as I was eating potatoes for just about every meal and my diet was so starch intensive I was starting to resemble a spud 😉


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