I love Easter. It’s easily my favourite holiday. I love the traditions; the food (Hot Cross Buns! Chocolate – and I don’t care what anyone says, the chocolate at Easter tastes different and better); the four days off; catching up with family and friends. I love that we have enough time to spend time with family, veg out a little, and still have time to get a few things done around the house and garden without feeling rushed or stressed like you often do at Christmas.
This year in the lead up to Easter weekend, I had the
plague an upper respiratory viral infection for several weeks and as a result, I have not been able to do anything except grumble in the direction of my poor, sad garden. Autumn has been very warm and dry, and everything just looks thirsty and in need of some TLC. I had a ton of jobs on my list but no energy for heavy gardening labour as I recovered from what the doctor assured me was a “flu like virus” but what I feel certain was the second coming of the Black Death. It was so bad we had to cancel a planned holiday so I could catch up on all the work I missed. I’m pretty cranky about it, when all is said and done.
This has been a Public Service Announcement to have your annual flu shot. Apparently I did not have the flu but one of a family of ‘flu like viruses.’ All I can say is, jab my arm.
Anyway, I did survive, and decided to take it slowly by doing a little gardening every day, interspersed with Hot Cross Buns and Season 6 of Game of Thrones. Gently does it. Don’t want to end up looking like a White Walker.
Day One (Good Friday) we went on our annual pilgrimage to the Easter Fair in the tiny country town of Meadows (regular population: 1300, Easter weekend population: one million). This event is a classic country fair, complete with Marshmallow Bunnies, Hot Donuts cooked while you wait, sausage sizzle, white elephant stalls, and Nanna-made pickles and jams. I have a list of items I buy each year (Marshmallow Bunnies and Hot Donuts, natch), which includes plants and bulbs. This year I was looking for interesting succulents for my lounge room. I bought some beautiful German-made succulent pots in Melbourne and have been looking for the right plants to put in them. I found them for the low, low price of $6 each, along with Daffodil and Iris bulbs. Unfortunately I have no idea about succulents so I do not know what all of them are called.
Day Two, after we ate the Hot Cross Buns from the Easter Fair and made a trip to the brand new ENORMOUS Bunnings (So big! So green!), I potted up the new succulents in my fancy schmancy German pots and then spent a ridiculous amount of time arranging them on the shelf.
A note on the Big New Green Shed: it’s the same as all the others. There, now I have found that out so you don’t have to. You’re welcome. I did pick up more bulbs (ranunculus, anemone and freesias to sprinkle around the garden like Easter eggs), and blue sweet pea seeds. Sweet peas are my favourite flower, and I always plant them on Anzac Day as my mother taught me. I have three varieties to plant this year: Bijou (saved seed from last year, that I plant each year and is constantly excellent), a variety called Surprise (purchased from last year’s Easter Fair), and this blue variety. I also have poppies, kale, cauliflower, romanesco and green sprouting broccoli, leeks, lettuces and silverbeet to plant.
Adorable children visited and chocolate and Marshmallow Bunnies were handed out to much joy. Easter rocks.
Day Three (Easter Sunday), started with a Hot Cross Bun and a Salted Caramel Lindt Ball, reminding me again of why this is my favourite holiday, and a visit to an adorable three year old to hand over more sugary treats.
Our backyard soil needs considerable work after its hard slog over the Summer. I dug over the compost and pulled out a nice lot of compost for one section. Then I spread Rapid Raiser and Blood and Bone fertiliser over the bed I am planting garlic this year, and watered in well. Tomorrow I will dig in some cow manure, then let it sit until Anzac Day when I will take four bulbs of our precious homegrown garlic and plant it for the new season. Homegrown garlic tastes so much better than bought garlic, that it is always worth leaving room for it in the garden.
My husband de-seeded five very seedy lettuce plants that I had left to form seed heads, picking off thousands of tiny lettuce seeds. We will plant them out on Anzac Day as well. While he was doing that, I weeded and trimmed back some of the boysenberry canes for safety and tidiness.
The boysenberry and I have a love/hate relationship. Last year was only its second year, and it fruited quite well with very little care required. Its thorns prevented pests like birds pinching any, so we actually got a nice little crop. Those thorns though make it very painful to prune and manage, and like all brambles, it spreads like crazy. I dug out many rooted brambles today and potted them up in case anyone else (friends, enemies) wants
Audrey II a delicious berry plant in their backyard.
Tomorrow is Easter Monday, the last day of a lovely, relaxing weekend. I plan to tidy up my dry, weedy front yard, feed all the plants, and plant some seeds into my seed trays for Winter veggies (a little late but given how hot it has been this Autumn, I think it will be fine). After that, I reckon I will have just enough room for one more Hot Cross Bun before bidding farewell to another glorious Easter weekend.