An Arty Potting workshop at the farm

At Beelarong Community Farm where I have my allotment they held an ‘Arty Potting’ workshop recently as part of the GOLD n’ kids workshops organised by Brisbane City Council for children and grandparents to spend fun time together during the school holidays.

The idea was to decorate/paint a pot, old boots or other small container and then fill with soil and plant seedlings to take home and nurture.

Attached are some photos of the containers the children planted up.

Boots 3

Boots 2

 Marilyn who ran the workshop brought a Japanese student along to help out.
Boots 1
As with all these GOLD n’ kids workshops a tour of the farm is included and that always goes down well. Gives the kids the opportunity to let off steam. 
A good time was had by all.

A preserving workshop for kids

I ran a preserving workshop this morning over at Beelarong Community Farm where I have my allotment.

It was part of Brisbane City Council’s GOLD n’ kids program for children aged four years and over and seniors to enjoy together.  They run them during the school holidays.

I chose to make strawberry jam as I thought that would hold more appeal for children – rather than chutneys or pickles. And they loved it.  We had seven children, youngest 6 years old, and it was great to see them enjoying the freedom of the farm and the use of the out-door kitchen.

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The first job was to wash the strawberries and hull them.

I broke the morning up with a tour of the farm and showed them where the strawberry beds were. That was a roaring success as they foraged for the fruit. They needed no help to find the tiny cherry tomatoes which tend to self seed all over the place. And the mulberry trees attracted like moths to a flame.

Then back to the kitchen for morning tea and to complete the jam making.

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The finished product. Each child took home a jar of the jam that they had made.

If you live in Brisbane and are looking after grandchildren during the school holidays it’s worth checking out the GOLD n’ kids program. Most, if not all, of them are free.

Create your own herb garden

This morning I went to a workshop at Annerley Library “Create your own herb garden”. This workshop is part of the What’s on at Brisbane City Council Libraries program.

It was a great opportunity to create our own mixed potted herb garden to take home and enjoy.  The workshop was presented by ABC Radio gardening presenter, Annette McFarlane.

Annette is a great educator and I’ve attended lots of her gardening workshops in libraries around Brisbane. It was attending my first workshop with her that set me on my path towards renting my allotment and growing my own vegetables.

Today was an opportunity to learn more about herbs. Growing your own herbs has got to be one of the best gardening investments you can make. So often I find that a recipe will call for one, or perhaps two, fresh herbs and if you have to buy a bunch from the supermarket or fruitier you can part with $3 each with no problem. You might only want a sprig or two and you are left with the rest sitting in the crisper at the bottom of the refrigerator.  Good enough reason to plant a few of your favourite herbs. If you don’t have a garden – they do well in pots, as was demonstrated at this morning’s workshop.

The first hour was spent indoors as Annette took us through the ins and outs of herb growing answering our questions as she went. We then moved outdoors where morning tea was served – and then onto the practical part when we were able to get ‘down and dirty’ planting up our herb garden.

Everything was set out on tables and under Annette’s instruction we mixed the potting mix, fertiliser and coir peat before planting up our chosen herbs into the troughs provided.

I learned so much. Here are a few pics.

Annette is explaining how to “possum proof” our herbs using a fine net.

Annette McFarlane

Annette McFarlane

This is my trough of herbs. I chose the herbs that enjoy a more mediterranean climate and are happy growing together; oregano, rosemary and garlic chives. We tested the potting mix prior to planting the herbs and found the pH was a bit low.  The white powder you can see is a sprinkling of garden lime to raise the pH.

My trough of herbs

My trough of herbs

And here is the result – a herb garden to take home. All I have to do now is make sure I take that JEAN label off before I go to the shops!

A happy gardener

My herb garden

Thank you Annette. It was great fun and I learned heaps.

Playing “tourist” around Brisbane

Even in retirement it’s good sometimes to have a day off.

So earlier this week I decided to play tourist in my home town of Brisbane.

It was a lovely dry sunny morning when I strolled the couple of blocks down to the river to catch a City Cat to take me up the Brisbane river, past New Farm Park and under the Story Bridge into town.

City Cat coming in to dock

City Cat coming in to dock

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The City Cat just docking ready for my trip up the river

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I took my morning cup of coffee under one of the yellow umbrellas.
Dirty work, but somebody has to do it!

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Looking back towards the Story bridge I had just cruised under – this is the view from the cafe where I took my morning coffee break

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Still sitting at the coffee shop this is the view in the other direction. The paddle steamer is the “Kookaburra Queen” which takes cruises up the Brisbane River.

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Time to get some exercise and I took a good walk along the river bank heading towards the City Botanic Gardens. You can just see the beginning of the mangroves growing out of the sandy bank.

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Taking the path through the mangroves. So peaceful and miles from anywhere you would think. Wrong. The city is just a few hundred metres away across the park.

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Leaving the river behind I strolled into the City Botanic Gardens and you can see the city in the distance. The weather was so kind I saw a fellow sunning himself with his shirt off. And it’s winter here.

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After emigrating 30 odd years ago Brisbane still feels exotic to me. You just have to look at the flora

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A pretty splash of colour

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Almost in the city now I came across this pretty fountain and the ducks

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I was joined by this cheeky bird

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This rather lovely panel is on the city-side entrance to the gardens

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And this rather grand plaque is on the main gates at the entrance

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Heading into town from the gardens I passed a row of city bikes. You can rent these to get about.

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Then onto our beautifully refurbished city hall where I attended a (free) lunchtime concert put on by Brisbane City Council. I enjoyed a lovely hour of jazz.

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Outside the city hall after I left the concert office workers were sitting around having lunch

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Walking through town I came to Anzac Square which was very pretty in the sunshine and lots of city workers enjoying a respite from their labours

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Anzac Square has an avenue of these amazing Boab trees, sometimes called bottle trees

I couldn’t stop walking once I started and ended up walking most of the way home, through the city and only caught the bus when I reached Fortitude Valley.

A lovely day out.

Jerry Coleby-Williams

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