Monday, February 21, 2011

Madeleine’s marvelous garden

Madeleine has an amazing and inspiring garden that thrives between Bells Beach and Anglesea on the Victorian south-west coast.

Madeleine with Violet, one of her cheeky chickens.

Her chooks enjoy their own run which includes a hen-friendly garden, secure wired-in paddock they access through their own hen-door and a fox-proof shelter. They enjoy lazing under the shade of sunflowers, eating the veggies she growsfor them in their run, are experts at munching unwary caterpillars and turning over the compost in the open bin. Surrounding the front of the chook run Madeleine grows a cascade of beans, strawberries, capsicum, eggplant and cucumbers.

Her garden is an amazing tribute to hard work and it’s hard to believe it’s only a few years old. Mostly grown from seeds or cuttings, there are many varieties of beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, beetroot, silverbeet and lettuce. In pots by the house Madeleine grows a great many types of salad greens, citrus, strawberries and many flowers to attract bees.

Dahlias are her favourite flowers – in a long bed sheltered by the water tank her dahlias boast a wonderful array of colour. Ranging from the demure palest pink or lemon through to real raggedy show-stoppers that would have enchanted Van Gough, these dahlias resemble a chorus line of show girls as they bob about in the breeze.

Not only does she tend her garden to perfection, Madeleine makes the best pear chutney on the surfcoast!

Her husband Barrie runs the Watermarks Photo Gallery in Torquay which is well worth a visit when you are next down the Great Ocean Road.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chickens in New York

A wonderful report in the New York Times about how a missing chook brought the whole street together.

Elizabeth Giddens shares her marvellous story...
"THE chickens of New York City, for the most part, live fairly sheltered lives, securely tucked into private backyards and padlocked community gardens. Our chickens, by contrast, are public figures — their yard faces 20 feet of busy Bedford-Stuyvesant sidewalk. The chickens themselves chose this bustling thoroughfare, decamping there even when they could have settled in our spacious, semiprivate back garden. They wanted to see and be seen — like so many New York transplants, they seemed to feed on the energy of the street... read on.