Category Archives: garden

Rocking the Foundations


Patrick White’s house, 20 Martin St, Centennial Park

On the 5th November 1973 (34 years ago!), Patrick White wrote this letter to the Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald:

It is a sad reflection on our so-called civilization that residents of Sydney in times of threat to their homes or way of life are forced time and again to turn to the Builders Labourers Federation, involving them in constant vilification, misrepresentation by the media, and frequent loss of pay. It is a rare thing to find a union with so advanced a social conscience. But how much longer can the citizens of Sydney ask these men to endure the responsibility for protecting a citizen’s

right to live comfortably and without anxiety, a responsibility that should be taken by the Government if the Government were in good faith? Continue reading

Frost tender


This morning we woke to an extremely heavy frost. It was, literally, freezing! These are my beautiful lemons and I realised that I’d become so complacent with all our warm weather that I hadn’t built the frost protectors around them as I’d planned to do. Nature sneaks up on you. I guess that’s how they must have felt in New Orleans. For years everyone had known something had to be done about the levees but it just kept being put off until suddenly nature snuck in and did the dirty on everyone. I hope nature hasn’t done the dirty on my lemons now. Continue reading



The first frost has killed my nasturtiums. There is a sadness to farewelling these beautiful flowers but also a huge sense of relief. At last winter is here. In Ian Lowe’s book “Living in the Hothouse” he lists climate predictions for a range of weather events around Australia. These include a reduction in the number of frosty nights. In Orange, where I used to live, and which relies heavily on sub-zero minimum temperatures for many of its crops, the prediction is to go from the current average of 38 sub-zero days to as low as 18 – LESS THAN HALF – by 2030. (At the top of the range, 32 sub-zero days is not quite as scary.) Continue reading

Honk if you care …


Seeing wattle flowering all the way down to Sydney today kept me focussed on how unnaturally warm it has been. This wattle doesn’t usually flower until July. It’s strange how extremely beautiful weather can be really disturbing when it happens at the wrong time of year. Seeing the wattle made me feel even worse about driving down to Sydney but I found the usual excuses for my behaviour – I’ve got a lot of electrical equipment and boxes to carry to give my climate presentation and then I have to get very quickly from one end of Sydney to the other … meanwhile, 5 hours of carbon emissions later … that was a lot of time to ponder … Continue reading

Arise all women who have hearts!


Woman with Dead Child by Kathe Kollwitz, 1903

It is Mother’s Day and my two little boys have lavished me with love and affection. They’ve been excited for days, hiding presents for me under the bed, and reminding me of it every day. I am so overwhelmed by my love for them that at times I can hardly breathe. How then do I rationally deal with a Government that willingly goes into Iraq to kill other mothers’ children? How then do I rationally deal with a Government that puts more money into defence than into dealing with global warming? Continue reading

Today Oprah got the chop!

I have two little boys who are passionate about origami. I have, however, been angsting over how to feed their origami habit without starving the environment of trees. Suddenly it came to me, and this morning I strolled up to the Neighbourhood Centre with an old Oprah magazine my sister once bought me. I was able to use their guillotine to cut up the magazine and create new origami paper. Within minutes it yielded over 300 pieces of beautiful origami paper, each a unique piece in itself.

oprah.jpg Continue reading

China and bees


This morning I got up at the crack of dawn (for me that’s 7am … ha ha ha … obviously only a pretend farmer) … as I was saying, this morning I got up quite early and started picking rhubarb, herbs, nasturtium blossoms and tomatoes for the community market we’ve started at the school. Brian and Wayne dropped in the most beautiful basket of tomatoes they’d grown organically – heritage tomatoes, including black ones, that you’ll never see in the supermarket; Continue reading