May update

It’s been a while since I’ve updated about things around the house so I thought the first of a new month fitting. Box building has continued unabated. I visited a local bulk pet food store around the corner and asked what they were planning on doing with the stack of pallets that they were loading up on to a truck. Turns out that not only are they thrilled to give them to me but they’ll actually deliver them to my door step, not that there’s anything a cargo bike cant handle, IMG_0907 though it does make it a little hard to get the kids in as well.

The response to the first box on the strip has been so good that I’ve followed the dimensions and built another matching box. I’m quite proud of this one and can’t wait to ‘wick’ it, paint it and get it on the nature strip. I’m also kinda chuffed that the broken children’s blackboard that has been sitting around the house is finding a new life as a box frame.IMG_0917

The current boxes are taking off despite cabbage moth attacks. The IMG_0922silverbeet is growing really well and has started vanishing from the nature strip and the radishes are just starting to poke their heads up. The blackboard has also been a hit. Not only do local kids love drawing on it but we had a neighbour refill the chalk box and leave us a little message. It was also great to get a thankyou on it after we shared about 12 litres of ‘worm wee’ fertilizer and left some instructions on the box about how to use it. The mix of art and growth just seems to really work.

On things crafty, my SES colleague (and craft captain) from heading over the peak ( will be pleased to know that I have now hit almost 5 feet of knitting for my stop sign flower. I’m hoping to have this finished for the end of this weekend to complete the nature strip.

Nikki has used some wooden off cuts and chicken wire to make some succulent framesIMG_0918 that have since started flowering and look really great. You can see from this photo that we’ve also had an aloe attack which seems to really like the wine barrel home and has been growing and shooting all over the place.

Nik has also continued her paper making which has sped up considerably since our office got IMG_0932a shredder. I really like the concept of sending cards by the post but hate the reality of having to buy mass produced cards with the most generic content. As such I’m wrapped that she has been making cards from the remnants of peoples previous card. She uses the bulk of the card to make new paper then scavenges some of the images and uses small wooden letter stamps to do some of the titling. She’s also taken to putting a sheet of paper inside so that these cards can be re-used for eternity. Along with this she has been making small thank-you cards and is setting out to work together with an old style printer (and we’re talking large wheels, metal plates and those little individual letter things old) to print invitations for a friends wedding.IMG_0927

For my part I’ve been experimenting with stencils and arty things for the boxes because I really want our nature strip to encourage others in the street to take the step and reclaim their own verge. We have the council coming down in a couple of weeks to (hopefully) give us the all clear and I’m hoping that we can get a sort of general approval to follow the same approaches up and down the street. This will give a little bit of legality (which some people really want) to what we’re doing. So I’ve started branding all the boxes with a homemade stencil made out of a sheet of laminated card that used to be a calender. I also fortuitously obtained a load of spray paints which a friend of my mothers (who coordinates a ‘friends of the park’ group) brought around after finding them hidden in the park. She was intending on disposing of them safely, I think I’ll use them instead!

Early results, along with a little bit of kiddie painting skills have been really good. IMG_0916 This is a little planter box made from some spare pallet bits that I have filled with flowers (yes, I planted flowers!). I’m going to make about 6 of these, wait until they are growing and flowering and then line the hideously ugly fence of a car park that backs on to our street.

So things are going well and when I find the charger for my camera I’ll put some photos of the garden in as well since my guild planting is going brilliantly. I’ve also started some random (and mostly with permission) planting of peas. I can remember so clearly how excited the children were when they could sit in the garden eating fresh peas so I’m hoping to spread that to our kindergarten and even some local parks.