I have to admit, I did notice coming up the drive that Roger was telling the truth about his soil and amount of rain. The soil is woeful and rain often scant. That's what happens when you live on the dark side of town.
On entering, I was greeted by a VERY festive Christmas in July theme. Cracking job on the decorating Brenda. As usual, the table was a bountiful affair.
The visit itself began with the pit crew undertaking a safety inspection of the official BLF tour bus. Christa advises there was a lot of buttons in that buggy. I'm not sure what a "tee off button" does, but Roger advised us that's what they were.
We traped over crappy soil to see the bee hive near the acerola cherry. Did I mention they have really bad soil on the south side?
Shortly after that, my gleeful north side gloating bit the dust. The sly fox had decided to garden upwards. There were raised beds every where I looked. And, they were utterly abundant. The straw bale garden we'd all heard about was all Roger had suggested - and a whole lot more! Susan and my hearts broke as we stared at headed up broccoli, cabbages with full hearts, kohlrabi in full production.
After that I was further gutted - I mean delighted - to see raised beds of all descriptions overflowing with even more bounty.
We started moving back towards the front of the house. What he'd achieved out the back was amazing. I was trying to think of something, anything, that I grew better. Andy, the honour of the north side is in tatters mate. And then, the dash of salt rubbed squarely into my bleeding wounds. He had more out the front! The wheelie bins used as giant pots. Carrots in PVC pipe. Potatoes in bags. It was all there, in its glory.
There was nothing left but to go and eat. Oh, and judge the tomato contest. Yep. The final ignominy was that not a single tomato from the north side was to be seen. Oh the shame. And, that cocky Roger. I could see why he was so confident. He had so many tomatoes, he didn't even bother to pick them all. He and Susan were trading verbal barbs... they were the stalwarts of tomato growing. The royalty of the nightshade family. The tasters tasters - it was a multi-panel of picky punters who judged for the juiciest, most flavoursome and the coveted Best In Show Tomato. Roger started well with a victory for the juiciest tomato. The expected white wash was beginning. But wait! A dark horse flies out from the back of the pack and steals the most flavoursome and the BEST IN SHOW! Doug Hanning, the man of a million quails, had pulled the rug out from under them all. I began to giggle. That'll teach them - until someone reminded me that Doug lived on the damn south side!
The only serious note to this entire report is to say thanks to Brenda and Roger for hosting. Damn I missed the garden visits and this was a cracker! I had a whale of a time.
great report Andy. Sorry to have missed it.
Lovely report. Thanks again, Roger and Brenda, you hosted a lovely spread for us to finally all catch up again.
The Anticipation of our 1st GV since the Virus was worth it - Walking out to the Entertainment area from the kitchen gave me such a warm feeling to see that Roger & Brenda had gone to so much trouble to make it a Real "Christmas in July", the decorations made it so special, thank you so much guys for the work you did to make us feel welcome.
It was lovely to see so many of our old friends together again for a GV, we also welcomed our new members Doug & Vivienne.
What a Fabulous time was had by all, and a special thank you must go to Doug for living on the South Side of town, you did us proud mate. Those Small Tomatoes - As Sophie said are little bundles of Sunshine & Happiness.
It was time for the Garden Tour, the 2 in the buggy travelling in style, Roger your buggy will never be the same, but I can certainly say it was most welcome by the 2 of us and Christa you can tell Ian you can certainly still drive that car of yours, so don't give up that licence anytime.
Everyone was in awe of Roger's Sugar Cane Garden and the fact he has made it wobble so the possums will leave his Vegetables alone (what a brain wave).
Fabulous Report Andy, thanks for doing it for me. Run out of space for the photos so will post them now but before I run out again. I would like to again thank Roger & Brenda as well as our great members who turn up to help make our morning full of laughter and fun. The treats are always a Bonus and thank you to all our Bakers, you outdid yourselves this time. I can't wait for the next time we get together.
How impressive is Roger's use of Old Wheelie Bins, Poly Tubs, Old Bath Tub and that Straw Bale Garden, Tyres, Large Planter pots that once stood in front of a Hotel & Much More - He is a Master of using items discarded by others.
At the risk of being sensible for a moment, this particular visit reinforced a few things I love about this group and garden visits in particular.
1. Every visit gives me at least one take home, special idea. Today's was about the creative use of raised beds and how many different forms they can take. I intend to go much further with that idea. Dianne's visit introduced me to the idea of discrete "garden rooms." Susan (and Sophie of late) reinforce to me that I can grow successfully. It's not an impossible dream and it can be done. I marvel at what they produce in spaces no bigger than mine and how they use and preserve their produce. They reinforce the notion of "urban homesteader" for me.
2. I need to stop whinging about difficult garden situations and deal with them. It's about creative solutions and choosing the right plants for that particular micro-climate, and that each yard has a multitude of those micro-climates.
3. Gardening gives joy - but that joy is most enjoyed when it is shared. Sharing your garden with folks who truly appreciate it is a very special thing.
I think these three lessons will be the basis for a few pages in my next gardening cookbook.
I thoroughly agree with every word you have written here Andy. We all garden a little differently but with one purpose in mind and that is to fill our tummies, feel proud of what we produce and to share what we have learned & made along the way with friends & relatives. I know as I give away more cheese & preserves than we can ever eat and I am so happy when someone enjoys it or asks for a recipe. I will post the recipes I promised in the FORUM under Recipes, over the next few days.
I meant to tell you that I enjoyed both cheeses you made. I sampled with my professional hat on to make that opinion.
Yah, Yah, Yah
Thanks Andy for a great report, and to Dianne, Susan, and all for your comments. We had a really enjoyable day. It was good that the rain stayed away for the duration of the festivities. It was certainly a lot more comfortable, temperature wise, than the last time we hosted. Some great photos as well. Thanks to everyone who took part. A special mention to all those who visited the Sunny side (the South) from the Other side of town.
Here here! And 100% agree with your reflections, Andy. Thanks so much Roger and Brenda for having us - Roger your garden is spectacular, well done. So lush, even with your conditions! Great catching up and as always, great spread and takehome gifts! We are thinking of hosting a GV soon (before the hot weather hits), just have to firm up the date.
I'm so upset to have missed this! But I woke with a slight tickle in the throat so thought it best to be safe. Thank you everyone for the wonderful photos, it's so inspiring what can be done!
Well what a memorable day, we had with friends. I was quite surprised at the amount of work that was carried out on the block. Everything was green and growing well. We must try that Cane mulch garden, after seeing what Roger had achieved. He has taken to gardening in a style that he can control. Off the ground in tubs, baths, spas and fertilizer bags for spuds and PVC tubes for carrots. The high beds held beetroot, beans, broccoli celeriac? and much more. An ideal amount to keep the kitchen busy for 2 people.
I was lucky to be able to use the buggy and took Dianne for a ride around the house to inspect the garden. With Dianne instructing me to go faster, faster and me having to watch out for all the golf balls all over the ground.
Thanks Andy for the report and to those who took part in gift sharing and the hostess Brenda. The food was abundant and my tomato for testing is just starting to colour up now. Sorry to have let the north-side team down.