Planning a Seaside Garden

Update on House Planning:

The builders are asking me to outline just where I would like the garden beds to go on our block. Already? I thought to myself.

Before the house has even started and before the final plans for the house are even drawn, I have to envisage and draw up a garden plan. Not the easiest request to fulfill.

But this is the process of construction that we follow. So I comply. Here is my rough sketch.

My scratching of the garden placement in front yard

We have saline soil, it is also a silty clay, and it is reactive, meaning it is prone to movement – the ‘triple bunger’ of worst soils. Fantastic! Not really.

Even sandy soils would have been easier to deal with, I think. But the soil tests don’t lie.

Salty Silty Clay

Garden Design

What kind of Garden do I want?

  • One that is private, but not claustrophobic – some hedging plants
  • Plants that require little weeding or maintenance
  • Palms in pots?
  • A retaining wall or raised garden to improve drainage as the soil will become easily water logged.
  • A climbing plant espaliered along the fence?

Choosing Plants for Clay Soils

What plants would like to grow in poorly drained salty clay soil?

Beautiful lavender bushes at Amandine nursery

Lavender bushes will grow by the coast and will also tolerate salty soils, but need good drainage and thus a sandy soil. (which I don’t have). So they would have to grow in pots.

Perhaps I could grow some Bamboo in pots as a screening plant/informal hedge?

vegetables tomato salad

Apparently I could grow certain veges –

“..most productive plants require good drainage and soil that’s well cultivated to about 30cm depth for good root growth and development, beans and shallow-rooted vegetables such as loose-leaf lettuce can be grown in clay soil.

And then there is some ornamental species such as Day-lilies and Hydrangeas that like clay.

The BHG website describes Daylillies as Tough-as-nails. “It’s trumpet-shaped blooms each last only a day, but plants can bloom for several weeks because they produce many flower buds. Some varieties bloom several times through the summer.”

Grow Daylilies

Nandinas are also very tolerant of clay soils and there are loads to choose from.

Winner Winner!

Image
I was hoping to grow something easy to maintain – like this Nandina – tolerant of clay soils

As clay soils can tend to water log easily, care should be taken with garden design to allow for good drainage. Few plants are tolerant of water logged soils. If I lay down a good layer of loam on top, some ground covers might thrive as long as their roots do not become water logged. I can also improve the soil with compost and organic matter to aerate the clay, but it still is salty.

There are not that many garden plants that tolerate salty soil in high concentrations.

Here are some:

  • Blanket Flower – sounds positively dreary
  • Lantana.- No – it is a noxious weed
  • Viburnum – maybe
  • Yucca – Yuk! Enough said
  • Cannas – I have an inexplicable aversion to these plants for some reason
  • Prickly Pear Cactus – Seriously? – This is a pest that threatened to overtake farmland in the nineteenth century. Why would anyone want this in their yard? A definite NO.
  • Lavender Cotton – previous info seems to exclude this range
  • Seaside Goldenrod – another new plant I wasn’t sure about

Flowering native shrubs such as the Bottle-brushes, Melaleucas, might do okay in moderate clay whilst two Banksias: spinulosa and ericifolia are apparently very tolerant of clay. Even a Westringia might cope and they are a coastal plant. Sounding better.

I have successfully grown Banksias before from seed. You have to burn the cones to release the seeds

Lomandras and Dianellas are tolerant of all but the heaviest clay soils. Some sites recommend the ornamental grasses such as Pennisetem, for heavy clay soils, but as I am highly allergic to grass, perhaps I should forget about that species.

I think the iconic Australian native plants prefer free draining soils, and will struggle in clay soils without some soil improvement. Yareena™ Myoporum parvifolium is a native ground cover tolerant of a heavy clay. That might be useful. But sourcing this could be a problem.

The Native hibiscus might survive and Lilly Pillies are reliable for hedges or screens in clay soils.

“Clay soils can be very heavy and hard to dig, with a tendency towards water logging. While heavy clay soils will need significant improvement before most plants will happily grow.. Improved clay soils can hold nutrients well and therefore can be very beneficial to plants which like a lot of water and nutrient, including many large leaved or tropical plants.”

Kate Wall http://www.bestplants.com.au/about-us/a-guide-to-using-the-right-plants/choosing-plants-for-clay-soils

There seems to be hope that there will be plenty of plants that might grow successfully in my salty clay garden. Something I’ll Ponder About.

More things to research. Do you have any suggestions for me?

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We are Building a House

I have never done it before.

Build a house, that is.

My husband has built a house before, with his father, so for him, this is not so special.

For me, this is my first and last time to decide how a new house might look from the ground up. I will never do it again. This is it.

new house
An example of the style of house we will build

There are so many things to decide. We have to chose absolutely everything – colours, tiles, mortar, grout, locks, window frames, cornice, shelves. For every part of the house and every single thing in it, there is a choice. A good thing, right? But it makes my head spin, just a little bit.

Sandgate foreshore

A Block of Land

First things first.

We recently purchased a block of land in a new development that was close by the water’s edge. We wanted to be near the water. Two people, done with raising a family, growing old in a house by the sea. Sunset walks along the water’s edge. Cool breezes in the sub-tropical summer. Sounds idyllic? We think and hope so.

You can almost see the Glass house Mountains from here

Selecting a block of land wasn’t as easy as we thought. I was very fussy about micro-climate and orientation. After living for many, many years in a house that was like a furnace in summer and a freezer in winter, I knew I was going to be particular about aspect. And I was lucky. I found one that ticked almost all the boxes.

schnauzer at beach
Rebel is looking forward to a #Seachange

The block in question was already registered with the governing body, as opposed to buying a pile of dirt way behind a barbed wire fence and shown only on a paper plan to prospective buyers. Whilst I was particular on the right environmental aspect, my husband was definitely not going to buy anything he couldn’t step on and feel, with his own hands. So we were lucky. We found it. First step done!

designing A house

Next we had to find a design we liked. Will the design we picked fit on the block of land, we wondered? My idea of this, might be a little different to local councils and also the idea of the land developers which is different to that of the builder. Negotiations await a pen pusher’s whim. We wait for that.

1295_happy_pencil_with_folder_049_tnb

Our land has two frontages, that is: it faces a street on one side and a smaller lane way on another. This is great because it gives us uninterrupted sea breezes and views.

However, there are certain rules about how close the house can be situated to the street and neighbouring houses, called setbacks. They don’t want you to build your house right next to the road, as they did in years gone by.

Knaegemoelle, Denmark – in this beautiful house you could reach out the window and touch the cars going by

What colour and materials will the exterior of our house be? How many windows? What type of fence will the garden have? How many plants will we get? The developer has a say in that too. It is called the covenant.

Banksia
Banksias love the coastal conditions

The developer in its wisdom, wants to keep selling their land for a good price and thus, they want to maintain certain standards for the houses getting built in their community. But when is a house really your own to design?

Soil Testing

The land was previously low lying land that was filled and raised by creating an artificial lake that opened to the sea. This is coastal land – a tidal area now filled in with soil and a lake.

Our block

This means the soil test showed the soil is saline and highly reactive. That translates to more expensive foundations for the house and raised garden beds. But who wants their house walls to crack when it rains, or doesn’t rain? It has to be done that way.

Inspired by Anne- Christine

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Something to Ponder About


Kicking out Plastic – Tutorial Signature Shopping Bag

designing bags red work

embroidery hack
Design penned onto calico shopping bag

I really hate using plastic bags and avoid them at all costs. As supermarkets here are phasing out single use plastic bags, there is even more need for consumers to have their own environmentally friendly and sustainable shopping bags.

And it is not just reusable bags for groceries. Even when buying a new outfit, I will carry a clean cotton bag for my purchases inside my regular handbag, rather than use a plastic variety that is not only bad for the planet, but also advertises companies who make absolutely no effort to take care of the future of the environment and wildlife. Why would I want to promote them?

In less than ten minutes, you can create an individual environmentally friendly solution. A solution, so easy, that even the children can get involved and create their own reusable, plastic free shopping bag.

Back in 2012, I began making a variety of D.I.Y, “plastic free” bags: in Redwork embroidery, painted Norwegian Telemark and floral designs, and also with a pen and painting technique.

Here are a few samples from my existing bag stash.

But I needed more bags to have on hand, and as plain calico is rather plain, and ‘Redwork’ embroidery makes such a pretty and easy adornment. My initial plan was to embroider some designs on the new calico bags, in redwork technique, with a needle and thread. However, I am not the world’s neatest hand sewer ( far from it, really), and embroidery takes me for-EVER to complete, as I have an aversion to sewing, itself!

Solution: Enter the Evanscraft craft and cross stitch pen…. a permanent, acid free pen in a Barn red colour, that can simulate cross stitch or other types of embroidery. Wonderful! With this technique, you can create a pretty cottage garden or folk art design on fabric, (or even wood), and the result is something unique, and useful, created in a matter of minutes.

More time for plastic free shopping!!

It just might inspire others to take up plastic free shopping as well.

flower pattern

You will need:

  • A Calico or Cotton bag in a light colour from your local haberdashery store, ironed flat.
  • A pattern such as the one above, which you can trace over in thick black pen. NB. If you aren’t feeling particularly inspired to draw your own design, you can find plenty of free ‘Redwork’ or other embroidery patterns, (there are some here on Pinterest); in colouring books or even on google image search, itself.
  • A permanent pen, preferably in barn red or a dark red colour, but any colour will do, as long as it doesn’t bleed or run when you wash the bag. I used an Evanscraft Craft and Cross Stitch pen but please patch test the pen of your choosing, on a hidden corner, to check its colour fastness and suitability.

Instructions:

  1. Tape the design on a glass window to create an impromptu light box and trace your selected pattern in thick black pen.
  2. Tape the traced design on top of a piece of cardboard and slip both inside the bag, centering horizontally. The calico is fairly thin so it is easy to see the traced design through the bag. Mounting the design on the cardboard prevents any bleeding of the penned design, through to the rear side of the bag.
  3. Then it is just a matter of re-tracing over the pattern with the chosen pen, and adding a few embellishments of your own, within and around the design.
  4. A final press of the bag, with the iron seals the design and you are ready to shop!

Tip: A ruler may be used to keep long lines straight, or you may prefer to keep them loose and rustic, as I did in the border design. Use the ruler turned upside down to prevent smudging on to the bag.

A major complaint of those who continue to use plastic bags, is that they forget to bring the re-usable bags, along with them, when they shop.

I purchased the plain cotton shopping bags from Lincraft for a dollar each. Not only are they strong, bu they can be scrunched up to a really small size, for carrying inside my handbag, (see in photo to the right above).

In this way they are always on hand, for my use just when I need them.

No more forgetting the bags!!

What design would you choose?

Something environmentally friendly and creative to ponder About.

Try some Traditional Art – Hallingdal Rosemaling

Hallingdal Rosemaling

Norwegian Rosemaling is the style of traditional painting now very popular in America, where it is a favoured style of interior decorating, especially amongst those folk with Scandinavian heritage. Each region, or ‘fylke’, in Norway, developed its own individual interpretation of traditional Rosemaling style and design, which initially appeared back in  the 18th century and even earlier.

Hallingdal style on a cupboard in Geilo

History of Rosemaling

In the 17th century, itinerant painters brought new ideas and artistic trends, from the cities of Europe, into the mountains and Valleys of rural Norway, painting Renaissance and Baroque motifs on the walls of the wooden Norwegian Stave churches. In the Hallingdal, Telemark and Vest Agder provinces, it was their relative geographic isolation that led to further development and evolution, of a peasant folk art form, into a highly distinctive and unique art.  Reaching its zenith in Norway during the 18th century, Rosemaling was then revived by the Norwegian peoples during a fiercely Nationalistic decorating movement in the 19th and 20th centuries, following the country’s political separation from Sweden. Following this, a similar resurgence in Norwegian traditional painting began amongst Norwegian immigrants, living in the American Midwest, in the mid to late 20th century, and this trend continues to flourish there today.

Read more here

Hallingdal style of Rosemaling

The Halling Valley, itself, is situated in an area of southern central Norway, covering towns such as Gol, Ål and Hol and this is where one finds many examples of Hallingdal Rosemaling, appreciated and loved, even today.

Elements of Halling style can be found in the Embroidery on the Norwegian women’s national costume, (called the Bunad), in Norwegian wood carving, on hanging cupboards, and on wooden objects around the Norwegian home.

Features of this Style:

  • Hallingdal Rosemaling colours: rich, varied, exuberant and strong
  • Background colours: red/orange-red, in later years, blue and green
  • Black appeared as a background colour following influences from Telemark
  • Flowers colours: – Blue, White, or Gold on Red grounds; Red and gold on blue/ green backgrounds
  • Early Hallingdal Rosemaling had more floral elements; scrolls were minor. Over time, scrolls became a frame around which the flowers were placed, in order to achieve a sense of balance, either side of the design’s vertical axis. Scrolls still maintained a simplistic form, with little or no shading, and were heavier than the lyrical scrolls seen in the Telemark area
  • Motifs: symmetrical in round/rectangular design shapes, often depicted in mirror image split along the vertical axis
  • Round floral patterns could also be segmented into 4, 6 or 8 divisions, typically with blossoms of four or more petals
  • Leaves: large, often surrounding a central flower,  or mirror image split vertically
  • Design elements are sometimes filled in with fine, cross – hatched lines.
  • Flower shapes of Hallingdal are classified into 3 groups: circles, triangles or half circles.

Claudine Schatz

Circle Flowers

  • A circular centre is painted first and then concentric bands of colour added
  • Petals are added around the central circle in an even number, four or more, with petal length limited by the sectional diameter of the circle, and defined with liner work.
  • Ball flowers are circular flowers painted as a series of round balls surrounding a centre circle.

Triangular Flowers

  • Simple flowers with three petals, similar to a tulip; usually painted in strokes from the outside tip down to a base at the centre.
  • Blooms with more than three petals can have an oval centre, similar to a daisy.  Are  also combined into more elaborate and complex floral designs.
  • Triangular flower petal strokes can double as leaf forms.

Half circle Flowers

  • Usually are seen as larger elements within the Hallingdal design.
  • Comprise a semi-circular band of colour around a base.
  • Adorned with over strokes and details that illuminate the flower in a new way.
  • Half circles can also become petals of a flower form.

Leaves

Two types are seen in Hallingdal Designs

  • Stroke – work leaves, similar to the triangle flower petals
  • Shaded leaves, which are large and heavy and used in conjunction with large round central flowers. They do have some liner work stems.

 

A design by Tore Christiansen

Scrolls

  • Scrolls may represent leaves, but take the form of C and S shapes.
  • They are not shaded or blended in Hallingdal designs.
  • Used as a frame around flowers or as a cartouche border in a band that circles a round floral motif.
  • Painted in one colour; the light source is indicated by over strokes of white/ lighter colour on the top side of the scroll.
  • Scrolls are quite tight. They are not airy and lyrical, as in pieces seen in Telemark regions

Hallingdal Rosemaling even had some features borrowed from Oriental art forms. It was although typical in many ways, also malleable to outside influences. These characteristics overlap and interlace with other Rosemaling styles, and as such, should not be used as limits or boundaries, in one’s own Rosemaling journey, but merely to establish guidelines when one is starting to study this beautiful art form.

Why not get a feel for Hallingdal Rosemaling by painting or colouring in this design:

Free project

Something to Ponder About

 

[Parts of the description of features of Hallingdal style was taken from Rosemaling in the Round by Pat Virch, 1976] 

 

 

How to Design your Own Artwork – Space

Rosemaling

If we are ever to begin to design our own art, we need an understanding of the various elements and principles of design, and how they combine to create an overall pleasing visual effect. So far, in previous posts, we have looked at Line and  Shape, and how they contribute to art forms. This week, we focus on the element of ‘SPACE’ and find how it can assist to create a better design.

kornaehren

Week 3 – Space 

Space as an element of art that refers to the area around objects: either Positive Space: that is areas occupied by an object or form and, Negative Space: the area in, between, around, or within objects. Every positive shape is surrounded by negative space.

You can further divide Negative spaces into: –

  – Passive negative space – this separates visual elements, and includes things like margins and the spacing between letters, words, or lines.

IMG_0632

-Active negative space – this draws the viewer’s eye to something, or help viewers focus on the objects that they should see, instead of making their eyes look all over the place.

Notan negative and positive space

 

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