Different Gardens at Night Owl Cottage (Part 2)

Well here we are in the middle of spring and the weather is doing the usual unpredictable thing, that is to me anyway. Plenty of rain in winter and hardly any so far this Spring and it has taken its toll on my garden, along with many others and farmlands as well I would say. When I am SO attuned to growing plants of all kinds and nurturing them and trying to build the soil, I kind of take it personally that the rains haven’t fallen! But Mother nature always amazes me, when plants, trees and shrubs look like they are their last legs and down comes a brief shower of rain and they are alive again and manage to get through some very, very dry periods here on the Northern Rivers (NSW).

It’s almost time for Jacarandas to bloom, but it seems, like others before them they are choosing to boom early this year, so parts of my garden have that absolutely amazing lilac/blue blossom carpeting around each tree. I love it and I don’t care if it is considered messy, bring on the mess I say, I can consider it quite magical.

I have just one small white Jacaranda tree that is amazing to view on a moonlit night as it seems luminescent when gazed upon. I can’t wait for it to be a big, big tree.

Who wouldn’t want to come home and be greeted by this sight? Glorious colour and it seems alive, but wait, I think it is alive. This shade of purple is just my favourite colour and I love seeing this every day, it nurtures my soul. I can understand why Grafton celebrates its Jacaranda trees in a festival this time every year, they are magnificent down there and a sight to behold. We all need something that nurtures our soul and for me it definitely is gardens and trees in particular, I am obsessed by trees. I must admit to not planting this tree, the original owner of the house planted it and probably a little too close to the house, but here it is and it shall remain.

When my husband Mike and I started our gardens on this very bare property over 20 years ago, I wanted to plant trees EVERYWHERE. But Mike wasn’t of the same opinion so we compromised and put in gardens and incorporated open spaces for Michael. I think it works really well, but I still hanker to plants more trees in those open spaces, maybe some smaller growing trees.

garden-in-1993This photo was taken in 1993 just when we started planting out the cow paddock, today it is VERY different as the trees are mature and we cannot see the house across the road anymore or the cars driving along our rural road. It’s very private now and we have created such a great habitat for many species of birds some have their nests and have their babies here and that’s a great feeling.




The same view a year later, note the mulch placed on what we call the mound. We had the dam dug out to make it deeper to attract the ducks and whatever else likes the water, such as water dragon lizards, plenty of those now. We see a lot of birds around the water, and in the last 18 months we have seen the emergence of the Buff-Banded Rail bird, a little family of two adults and five young babies around our house and the dam, what a bonus that is. Other new birds we have seen are the Wonga pigeons, considered a rainforest species.


Another garden started in 1995. We mulched heavily in the early stages to give the trees and shrubs a good start. We used wood chip from a local mill, we let it sit for a while before using and now this has become my Woodland Garden.






A photo taken of my mother Irene, surrounded by her four daughters when my eldest sister Christine (at the back with teal blue scarf) was here on a visit from the Old Dart (England). Karen on the right and Linda in white and me in blue. This was taken in 2001 and my cottage garden is my pride and joy and is always morphing into something different as other gardeners would know, nothing stays the same in gardens.



The same day this photo was taken along with our cousin Sue (in foreground) she accompanied my sister Christine on a visit from the UK. A great backdrop for a photo opportunity I would say, wouldn’t you? I have many different flowers in this garden, a lot of self seeders, such as Cosmos, Marigold, Queen Anne’s Lace, Poppies, Alyssum, Zinnias and Salvias. Saves some work and money for me doesn’t it having them in the garden? Plus I have shrubs such as hibiscus (my favourite flower); dwarf Crepe Myrtle, Buddleia, Cat’s Whiskers and Gaura (which also self seeds). I have a lot of Evening Primrose, many different Geraniums, Gerberas, Dwarf Agapanthus, Dorrigo Orchids, Balsam, day lilies, roses and much more.




Many a time in the days when I was working from home and my husband Mike was still out to work, he would arrive home and call out to me as he walked through the door, only to be greeted by silence and he knew where to find me, out in the garden. He found a poem that unfortunately didn’t pay homage to the writer and therefore remains anonymous, but I think it’s perfect for our situation, I shall reproduce it here:

My Wife the Gardener
She dug the plot on Monday
The soil was rich and fine
She forgot to thaw out dinner…
So out we went to dine.

 She planted roses Tuesday
(She says they are a must)
They really were quite lovely
But then she forgot to dust…

On Wednesday it was daisies
They opened with the sun
All whites and pinks and yellows
(But the laundry wasn’t done!)

The poppies came on Thursday
A bright and cheery red
I guess she really was engrossed…
She never made the bed!

It was dahlias on Friday
In colours she adores
It never bothered her at all,
The crumbs upon the floors.

I hired a maid on Saturday
My week is now complete
My wife can garden all she wants
The house will still be neat!

It’s nearly lunchtime Sunday
And I can’t find the maid!
Oh no! I can’t believe it
She’s out there with a spade!



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