Winter 2013

As part of my attempt to record the changes in my garden through the seasons, I sometimes (when I think of it) record the beginning of a season with a post (Winter 2011, Summer 2012 and Autumn 2013 being the most obvious examples). Here’s my photos for Winter 2013.


Last week I pulled out the sunflowers and corn. The rosellas had eaten every last sunflower seed and the possums had gobbled every last corn kernal. It looks like the rosellas haven’t accepted the loss of their favourite meal since there they are, those bright red spots in the middle of the photo above. They hopped down onto the bare soil as if hoping for a dropped seed. Then they flew off, possibly to try again later. Ah, the optimism of parrots!

The garden is much barer than it should be. If we weren’t moving I’d have filled it with lettuce, peas, rocket, broccoli and plenty of other winter crops. As it is I’ve repositioned a few volunteer plants like kale and bok choi to fill the gaps so it won’t look awful to any prospective tenants. That said, it’s still not too bad. The mandarin tree (in the back in the photo above) is loaded and the bananas (below) are throwing another spear – the 4th this year. And, for sheer beauty, you can’t go past the poinsettia tree (just sneaking in on the left, above). All-in-all, even in winter, I love this back yard.


But now, onto my new winter yard. These shots of the farm were taken on the 29th, 3 days before the official start to winter but I think they’ll do. Here’s the front, where the chicken run and veggie garden will go.


And here’s out back where some of the beehives now stand (including on the back verandah).


The property is thick with cockatoos and corellas – they love the pecans, but no rosellas. Instead we get beautiful colour from these fantastic little wrens. They’re called the Superb Fairywren and not for nothing does such a tiny little bird get such a grandiose name. They are gorgeous.

Superb Fairywren

Superb Fairywren

Honestly my head is still so full of plans for the property that I’m not sure what I should photograph now for posterity – so I’m taking lots of pictures of lots of boring (and weedy) bits of land. I can’t wait to watch it evolve. Winter is a great time to make a new garden here – I just need to find time to get digging!


About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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19 Responses to Winter 2013

  1. You have the prettiest, brightest colored birds there! Something we don’t have here in the Rockies. I’m so excited to watch your new place grow and change.

    • I grew up in Seattle and robins were about as colourful as we got. I’ve been in Australia for over 20 years but I never tire of the amazing bird life here. Even when they eat my crops!

  2. Things change so quickly that it is so important to take photographs along the way. It is also encouraging as often you forget how much you have done. I love the idea of eating home-grown bananas!

    • I’m really surprised how much better home-grown bananas taste. With some food (okay, most) I don’t really taste much difference to the local markets but bananas are definitely better from my yard.

      I’ve learned with this tiny back garden how much fun it is to look back and see the progress so I’m going to try to be diligent with the farm. Time will tell.

  3. Emily Heath says:

    You’ve got an impressive number of hives already! Are they from splits? Love the little fairy wren.

    • I’m really not sure at the source of all the hives. The woman who used to own the property was a bee breeder and, in fact, there is a lab on the property for artificially inseminating queen bees (hard to believe that’s even possible). She did have a really pure breed going for a while, but since she died almost 2 years ago, the bees have been left to their own devices.

      • Emily Heath says:

        Artificially inseminating – now that is a skill. I hear it requires a steady hand. Something to get into later in your beekeeping career perhaps?!

        • I suppose it won’t surprise you to know there’s a microscope in the AI lab. A steady hand, a good eye and a powerful microscope! I can’t see myself getting into to bee breeding. Nature has done such a good job for a few hundred thousand years, I’m hoping she’ll continue. Of course I reserve the right to change my mind.

  4. LuckyRobin says:

    Wow, that is a lot of beehives to inherit. Have you worked with bees before?

    • I got my first hive 6 months ago. I’ve been learning quickly but no way could I tend the 30-50 hives. The foundation has an experienced apiarist who will come out and do all the real work. I’ll be assisting. I’m going to try to treat it like an apprenticeship and learn everything I can. I imagine with so many hives I’ll see an example of just about every thing a bee colony can do in a very short time.

      • LuckyRobin says:

        Neat. It would be a great opportunity to do just that. It’s so cool that there are people out there who will do that sort of thing. I always here great things about bee people.

        • There is something strange about bee people – they seem very relaxed and happy to give of their time and knowledge. I’ve not met an impatient bee keeper yet. A good group of people to associate with.

  5. Just love the fairy wren. never seen anything like that before, you have the loveliest birds in Oz and your winter garden still looks great, not like a winter garden would look over here

    • Yeah, winter is almost a misnomer. It’s not even really a pause in growth. Many of the plants and flowers are at their best here in winter when the sun isn’t so merciless. And it’s so nice to go out and work in the garden without feeling like you’re loosing 5 kilos in sweat. I never thought I’d love winter so much but it really can be beautiful here when the sun is out and the birds are everywhere.

  6. vuchickens says:

    So pretty all around! Wish I lived there in the winter. 😉

  7. It is amazing to see what your garden looks like now – I remember when you moved back in and there was one little tree that had a damaged trunk…… I look forward to seeing the progress at the new place.

    • Thanks – it has turned into quite the productive little plot with not too much effort. If the farm is as half as successful as it has the potential to be, I’ll be thrilled here. Watch this space….

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