Wednesday, April 29, 2015
My Dad is a bit of a hippy, and a nature lover like me, and when we were little he taught us to respect all living things. He would show us praying mantis, spiders and other creepy crawlies and taught us to look but don't touch these insects. As a kid (and still today), I would be traumatised if I saw another child squishing bugs for the fun of it.
When we were toddlers, we would all love helping out in the garden. I remember Dad teaching us about earth worms, placing them in our little hands. I would help dig holes for seedlings, Mum would take them out of the pot and put them in the soil and I would fill the hole and be gently reminded each time not to push down so hard and compact the soil, which I always seemed to do.
This little praying mantis was a lot smaller than he seems in the photo, the leaf he is on is only a couple of centimetres long.
In the green house. Mum propagates plants in here to use in her terrariums, as well as growing trees from seed she has found here and there for Dad to eventually bonsai.
The garden comes to life in the rain. All the colours become so vivid and fresh. These pictures are from my parents house on a recent trip back to visit. The 2m x 2m herb garden is over run with parsley, tarragon, thyme, oregano, mustard leaf, rocket, chillis, and still has room for a large lemon tree with a tiny volunteer begonia in the shade beneath it. I'm always inspired by this garden.
Monday, April 27, 2015
I've been painting Autumn leaves for a lovely little commission. Autumn in Sydney isn't the same as Autumn in Orange. I'm craving the crisp, cool and sparkling clear blue skies, and I'm missing the leaves changing to firey reds, yellows and oranges. And the smell of wood fires in the air.
Monday, April 20, 2015
Thursday, April 16, 2015
I have recently moved to the city from my hometown in the country. Our town was not too small, and the suburb I live in now reminds me very much of Orange. Aside from the big obvious differences, there are lots of little things that are almost novel to us now, although I'm sure we will be used to them soon enough. I'm almost used to the big jumbo jets taking off nearby and flying overhead. And the banana trees, yuccas, frangipanis, bougainvillea and other seemingly exotic plants that don't survive the Orange frosts.
There is a wonderful mix of nationalities living side by side, and I don't think we will ever tire of all the different restaurants. One thing I cannot get used to is the enormous Sydney cockroaches. They crawl all over the exterior of the building at night and, I presume, all over the inside while we are asleep. I've been fastidious about cleaning and food hygiene to the point of obsession so we've managed to keep them at bay so far, meaning we only see one inside every couple of days.
Our new home is a little unit in a small complex. We have been pleasantly surprised with the friendliness of our new neighbours, as well as the larger community. People here have stopped to introduce themselves and say hello, they stop their cars to let you cross the street and give a wave if you let them into traffic. I was not expecting that people living in the suburbs of Sydney would be friendlier than some of those in the country.
In Orange, my parents have a wonderful leafy garden and I worked at a lovely little nursery. I have found that I am missing being surrounded by plants all the time. I'm an anxious person a lot of the time and being around nature soothes me.
My parents have brought some of my pot plants from home and we now have a little balcony garden going on. We have parsley, basil, thyme, spring onions, oregano and peppermint as well as spinach, rocket and strawberries. Also a few succulents from home and a couple more that I have propogated from small cuttings found here and there - not stolen, I promise. I also have some cress and alfalfa sprouts growing on the kitchen windowsill.
I've collected some chilli seeds from this seasons harvest, and hopefully I will get some seedlings which will turn into strong plants next season. I did this a couple of years ago and they did really well.
I know it's way too early to be planning summer crops but I'm looking forward to warmer weather when I can grow tomatoes on my little balcony, and I hope to try snow peas or beans also.
I've been binge reading Rohan Andersons beautiful blog Whole Larder Love, and dreaming of a little house with a huge vegie garden in the country. For now I will make do with my tiny balcony garden.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Front cover photography by Lisa Cohen, styling by Tessa Kavanagh
I was so excited to illustrate the title page of Country Style magazines beautiful new book Country Style Homes. It's a lovely book full of inspiring stories and photographs of Australian country homes and the people who live in them. You can find it at bookstores, or receive it by subscribing to the magazine for a limited time.