Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gardening in Winter

Clear sunny days are rare nowadays. Almost always we'll wake up with "threatening" sky - dark, with symptoms of heavy rain or storm. Sometimes we can't even open the balcony door because of heavy wind. Drought has besieged Australia for years but lately, when it rains, it pours!

Thus, when we saw a glimpse of the sun last weekend, the whole family decided to finally open the door and tiptoe into our "Garden in the Sky." OK, so we don't have a backyard but I'm happy to report that Mama has green fingers. Her potted plants are alive and healthy.

I would sometimes help Mama rake the soil but she usually gets upset as she thought I was attempting to make poo in the pot. No way Jose! I prefer the proper loo...

I'm officially Mama's favourite gardening buddy...

The Sydney skyline is part of our "Garden View".

Brad's trying to decide if rose leaves are good to eat too.

Not exactly ours but this gregarious plant in the neighbour's backyard is glorious. The flowers only come around this time of the year.

The money plant is happy indoors.

Besides the ornamentals, I could lump Mama's collection of plants into three other categories: culinary herbs, cat snacks, and succulents.

In the cat snacks category, Mama has planted lemongrass (my fav), mondo grass, cat grass (she got the seeds from a petshop in Homebush) and catnip. Catnip is a type of mint. Unfortunately it didn't survive long.

We don't like this mondo grass, it's not palatable at all.

Mama's lemongrass hardly survives my constant munching...it's yummy....

I've been told to stop eating the lemongrass though...

This cat grass is Brad's favourite snack.

The ornamentals and succulents are mostly Australian natives. They seem to thrive in the harsh conditions (and Mama's forgetfulness in the watering department) and don't require much attention.

I love this colourful coleus, it has medicinal properties I heard.

Delicious looking sedum, unfortunately not cat food either.

I was told that aloe vera was the secret beauty ingredient of ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra.

Such lovely succulents...they can grow anywhere with very little water.

Mama's favourite category - culinary herbs. What do we have in the garden now? There's a fairly large curry-leave tree, Thai basil, flat-leaved parsley, lemongrass, chili and rosemary. In the past she's grown coriander, sweet basil and lemon balm too.

The oldest surviving plant in Mama's garden - the curry leaves are handy to have around when you love curry!

Mama's praying hard her precious bird chili plant will survive this winter.

Mama thinks she has enough flat-leaved parsley for making tabouleh (Lebanese salad) now.

I love the aromatic Thai basil, Mama uses them a lot in her cooking.

The humble ginger is Mama's favourite culinary herb.

Mama's pot of mint - crush some mint leaves, a slice of lemon, plonk in a tall glass of ice water....hmmm...refreshing summer drink..

I was told that the morning sun is good for me too.

After a hard day's work in the garden, I took a break by hiding among Mama's chili plants. I forgot to take pictures of Mama's humongous cactus and palm trees. Oh well...next time maybe. At least this cat knows how to use macro lens now...purrr purrr...


Naz in Norway said...

Curry leaves...so fresh and healthy! Have to get my hands on those and try to plant them on my balcony this summer.
Munching lemon grass? Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! :D

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Lemon grass is so yummy, Aunty Naz. It's aromatic and refreshing. My Mama would also brew green tea and add some lemon grass in it. It's just like drinking lemon myrtle tea...yummy...Can you get live curry leaf plant in Norway? The seedling costs my Mama about $10 and that was four years ago. But worth it. meow...meow...meow...

Naz in Norway said...

I love the tea too but to munch the grass like you do, Angelina...Aunty tak sanggup! haha!
I only get the curry leaves from a supermarket 3 hours away. Yep! kinda far so each time I'm there, I will clear half his store lah :D

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty Naz, cats eat grass for a reason. Helps to ease the stomach after swallowing much fur each time we groom ourselves. Humans, unfortunately, don't groom enough. Therefore, no need to munch grass...though I've heard there are humans who smoke grass...err...
Anyway, I read in a book a while ago that lemongrass has medicinal properties, anti-cancer or something. But make sure it's organic, not laden with pesticide.
purr...purrr....peaches season is january-March over here. Do you get Aussie fruits in Norway? meow!

Pi Bani said...

One time Aunty Pi saw a stray cat pee at the lemongrass outside her house. Just because that cat was at Aunty Pi's house doesn't mean he could simply pee!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Aunty pi, you can get gardening pet repellent stuff at the pet shop. We can even get it at the local supermarket's gardening section. My Mama said she can buy you a pot.
On behalf of that stray cat and any other feline that has peed/will pee on your lemongrass clump, please accept my humble apology. XOXO

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Angelina, please tell your Mama I think her garden is beautiful, and she has such a wide variety of pretty plants. I grow wheatgrass for my kitties. Do you and Brad like wheatgrass? Brad is so handsome. I love his curious big eyes. Please tell him I send him my love.

Cat-from-Sydney said...

CO78, in Brad's case, curiosity kills the cat! Wheatgrass sounds yummy...we already have what the pet shops are selling as catgrass. It's delish too...yummm....chomp chomp chomp...I'm eating some for breakfast now....meow!