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Posts from May 2013

The Black Thumb’s Guide to Home Grown Veggies

May 30th, 2013

Every weekend I head to mum and dads to raid their veggie patch for my weekly veg, I get such a thrill to see what's new and hear the latest instalment of dads 'war against the snails'.

I have been planning a veggie patch for our new place for a while, but I can't imagine having the time to nurture anything more than a pot of basil!

This is where Maya comes in, she has a busy career, runs popular blog House Nerd in her spare time and still manages to maintain this amazing thriving veggie garden! Thankyou Maya for giving me hope that I too can achieve my dream of homegrown produce!

Words & Images - Maya Anderson

I always wondered why people bothered to grow vegetables – why would anyone bother putting in all the time and effort? Fast forward to now and I cannot imagine not having one! I absolutely love it. I want everyone else to do it. I have become the Jehovah’s Witness of veggie gardens… When a friend buys a new house I am knocking on the door - I check out their alfresco and announce that they could definitely put a veggie garden in!

Once you start, it’s easy to get hooked. I started a veggie garden because I was sick of throwing out frightening unidentified brown things from the veggie crisper that I had forgotten about. When you’re about to start cooking dinner, it’s so nice being able to pick things from the garden and not have to put a bra on to go to the shops (yes I said it). And you’ll swear your homegrown veggies taste extra-good, too.

While you will have to fork out for the costs of starting a vegetable garden, in time it will pay itself off with what you’ll save in buying overpriced veggies from the shops.

Start your garden off on the right foot and all you need to do is water it, clear up dead leaf mess every few weeks and once or twice a year add in some fresh soil or manure. Vegetable gardening can be easy, even if you’re busy, lazy or have a black thumb.


Pick the right spot
Try to find a spot in your garden or balcony that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. But don’t worry if you don’t have such a spot, you can still grow some veggies like lettuce, broccoli, spinach and garlic in shady spots.

Invest in good soil up front
Where I live, the soil is nasty, so we bought a truckload of good-quality soil (ask for veggie mix) and sheep manure which cost us about $70 per square metre. “$70 for dirt?” you might cry but if you want to make it grow with minimal effort, it will be well worth it. And your veggies will taste nicer, too!

Raise it
Buying raised garden bed kits might seem like an unnecessary expense when you can plant straight in the ground, but I love raised beds because you can fill them with good soil from the start rather than trying to enrich poor-quality soil. They also help prevent weeds and keep bugs out, (and keep the plants safe from our dog Nala, who likes rolling on new lettuce seedlings). Line your raised garden with black plastic and newspaper to stop weeds getting through. I like Birdies Raised Garden Kits from Bunnings but you can also plant vegetables in pots, wine barrels, old wheelbarrows and even old wicker baskets like my mum has done.

A bit every day or couple of days, but coming into the rainy season, you can generally get away with watering your plants even less. Water every day in summer.

Plant pick-and-come-again veggies
I love to plant what are often called pick-and-come-again veggies and herbs where you can just cut from them as you need them in the kitchen, like a couple of lettuce leaves for your sandwich. Herbs like chives, oregano and thyme will grow back better the more you cut them.

Be positive.
Don’t be disheartened if you plant something and it dies or gets completely eaten by snails that same night (happened to me with beetroot!) Just move onto planting the next thing. Seedling punnets are cheap at around $2.25 – so just keep trying things until you find what works in your garden and thrives in your soil. It’s part of the fun!

Stay tuned for next week when I will share my favourite easy grow herbs & veggies!

Maya Anderson is a freelance journalist and the blogger behind House Nerd, where she shares gorgeous homes, shops, before and after stories and her DIY renovating adventures.

You can also find & follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.

4 easy ways to instantly wow your guests…

May 27th, 2013

This morning I am drooling over the latest home to be featured over on 'the design files' to me it is the perfect mix of light, white space and colour, texture and character - it feels warm and inviting but not cluttered, which is how I love my interiors.

I adore the entry hallway in this house and it has spurred me onto pondering how I can make ours just as handsome...

An entryway is the first impression and a place to welcome friends and family, it should be functional as well as beautiful... A place to drop keys and sunglasses, kick off your shoes and hang your coat. Ive collected some images and ideas below that I hope will inspire your entryway & mine!

Image: The Design Files

MAKE A STATEMENT... this can be subtle or 'out there' depending on your style. It could be a simple pop of colour, an impressive artwork or collection of photos or a feature coloured/ wallpapered wall.

Images: 1, 2

ROLL OUT A RUG - Rugs are a great way to add colour, warmth and interest, plus they help to define what can be an awkward space.

Images: 1, 2

A PLACE TO HANG - Hooks for coats/bags/hats are always handy and dont take up precious floor area in a narrow/small space.

Images: 1, 2

CONSOLE TABLE - A surface to drop things on the way in/out is a great idea if you have the space, it also serves as a perch for displaying precious treasures... Terrance is serving this purpose well for me at the moment!

Images: 1, 2


BAG - Bowerhouse The Wanderer tote
ART - Bowerhouse Legacy Artwork 'Catch me a Dream'
CONSOLE - Bowerhouse Terrance Bar Cart
STOOL - Bowerhouse Drum Stool
RUG - Loom OR try Ikea

Nat’s guide to creating an indoor garden (aka natural air purifier)

May 16th, 2013

Now the weather is turning cold, Im feeling inspired to bring a bit of nature inside and I've created an indoor garden. Im starting small and plan to add to my collection when we move into the new place... Don't you agree 'Terrance' makes a perfect place to perch my potted lovelies?

Indoor plants are seeing a revival in interior design, popular in the 70s, species like ferns and spider plants are cropping up in gorgeous spaces on interior blogs and pinterest and I am loving it!

A plant can add colour, height and interest and I love the fact they actually help to purify the air inside your house. As well as absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, as all plants do, these plants are supposed to absorb and eliminate certain toxins present in the air.

My little garden includes;
- money tree, Pachira aquatica
- peace lily, Spathiphyllum (this one made NASA's list of 'Top Ten Household Air Cleaning Plants')
- pink & white freckle face/polka dot plant, Hypoestes phyllostachya
The next 3 plants on my wish list are the mother in law's tongue, maiden hair fern & fiddle leaf fig tree.

The friendly nursery man let me in on his top tips for indoor plants…

  • Don't over water
  • Don't re pot the plants straight away, let them acclimatise to their new environment before you do any re-potting
  • It is a good idea to keep plants in their plastic pot and then place this inside your decorative one, this keeps them insulated and allows for easier/cleaner re-potting
  • Depending on the plant type, sit your plants in a place that gets plenty of natural light, but be aware some indoor plants will burn in direct sunlight so find out the specific instructions for your plant and make sure you have a suitable spot!

You can check out my 'indoor garden' board over on Pinterest and below I have put together a collection of images that I hope will inspire the indoor green thumb in you…

Image Links: 1, 2, 3, 4

Image Links: 5, 6, 7, 8

Natalie x

3 ways to create a SHOW-STOPPING feature in your home…

May 9th, 2013

This week I have been thinking about how to incorporate a gallery wall of artwork into our new place, inspired by my girlfriend Asha's gorgeous wall pictured below (yes that is her handsome Terrance bar cart sitting proudly in front)...

There have been some lovely gallery walls cropping up on Pinterest lately and I think they are such a great way to create a feature in your home, I love that they…

…Can be free-form, you can start with just a few pieces and add to them over time

...Give you the chance to display your collection of mismatched frames in a beautiful way - lets face it we all own that random collection of frames bought and given to us over time that we sometimes struggle to display - the gallery wall embraces this!

...Don't have to be expensive - Collect vintage art and frames from op shops and swap meets & Ikea has a brilliant range of inexpensive frames, to print a bunch of photos is so cheap these days & why not think outside the box when it comes to 'what is art' treasured old postcards, greeting cards, illustrations from books or old calendars & children's art can take on a whole new life inside a pretty frame. Mixing your special artworks with vintage and home made will give your display life & character.

There are really no rules - as you can see from these gorgeous examples you can have mismatched frames, various sizes, it can be a small collection or spread out to fill a whole wall.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

If the random look is not to your taste, I think it works just as well when the art is displayed in a more uniform style...

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

Or you might prefer something in between - by keeping one element uniform - e.g. using black & white photography, sticking to 1 colour/style frame, then mixing up some other element like the size or positioning can create a beautiful look…

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

Before drilling or sticking any hooks its a good idea to lay your artworks out on the floor and play around with positioning until you are happy.

if you are having trouble getting the layout right, try working from an invisible horizontal line like in the pic below, the top row of art sits on top of this line and the top edge of the bottom row of art runs underneath this line - its an easy way to achieve a visually beautiful look.


I have a whole Pinterest page dedicated to 'the gallery wall' so check it out for more inspiration! I hope, like me you have been inspired to gather up your treasured frames, photos and art and start your very own gallery… happy hanging!

Natalie x