The Garden

We’re not proud of this:

Not one living thing

But that’s a glimpse into our backyard.


And ugly.

The only thing living (or nearly living) is what’s in that sad little pot and that’s some almost dead aloe vera.

World’s worst backyard

I’m so tired of paying ridiculous amounts for basic items like parsley and oregano.  A few weeks ago I wanted to put a cheap tomato and basil pasta on the dinner table.  All went well until I reached out my hand for the basil.  Harris Farm was charging $5.00 a bunch; about a dollar a leaf.

And meanwhile, back at home, I have a perfectly raised garden bed just waiting to be planted.

Today Alfie wanted to go to the movies to see something ordinary like Madagascar 3 in 3D.  I said, ‘Alfie, don’t worry about that; I’ve got a much better day planned’.  And off we went to the plant shop and we bought bags of organic soil and a bunch of edible plants and some sugar cane mulch and we came home and transformed our little patch.

My new garden

It will be a while before our first harvest but I’ll be sure to share with you every development.

No one should have to pay $5.00 for a couple of basil leaves.

A bay tree, lavender, rocket, lettuce, a panama passionfruit vine, chilli, Thai chilli, basil, oregano, Italian parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint and tarragon

And we have plenty of room to add more to this garden bed.  I plan to grow tomatoes along the fence line so I’ll be beetling back to the plant shop for tomato plants very soon.  My other gripe with Harris Farm is that they’re currently charging $12.00/kg (2.2 pounds) for tomatoes which is not good value.  At all.

Tiny plants but they WILL grow!

And then Alfie went to the movies!


Looking forward to the progress!

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  1. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    I don’t have much space for a garden and mostly a shaded yard. But I’ve always grown a few tomatoes in pots, plus lettuce in the ground. This year I also planted potatoes in two pots, grew spinach and potted basil and oregano. Why had I never planted herbs before? I love the fresh basil, especially.

    Recently my friend Nancy invited me to shop in her garden. I came home with a five-gallon bucket of potatoes, enough tomatoes to eat fresh and make two batches of sauce to freeze, plus peppers and onions.

    Good for you and Alfie to start a garden.

    I’m wondering why your food prices seem so ridiculously expensive?

    • hotlyspiced says:

      How lovely to have a friend to bless you with so much home-grown produce. I have no idea why our food is so expensive except that it has to be because supermarkets have driven out competition so they’re now controlling prices and because of increasing population food is having to be grown further and further away from cities so there’s increasing transportation costs and because the Government is allowing our food belt land to be bought by foreigners (mostly Chinese) who are mining it which means when they’re packed up and gone the land will be good for nothing. Basically, we’re victims of poor Government decisions. Food here should cost half what it costs.

  2. Well done …. and Alfie got to the movie! … We love fresh herbs!

  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Good luck Charlie! I shall admire from the sidelines because I’m hopeless at growing things! 🙂

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I’m no good either. I’m full of fear at the thought of having to do a post update. What if everything’s dead?

  4. Good luck with the garden. I can’t grow anything. Not a green thumb in my body!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I’m just like you Kristy; so hopeless and I have no clue what I’m doing. It will be interesting to see what develops.

  5. Beautiful! Can’t wait to see pics of it after it grows in 🙂 So jealous…i want a garden!

  6. This is so beautiful! What a perfect herb garden! I can’t wait to have a garden of my own I’m so jealous!

  7. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    That will be so wonderful. I mostly only use fresh herbs in the summer when mine are growing because, I agree, they are so expensive to buy. You have a lot of yummy things planted. We’ll be expecting to see a lot of glorious herbed dishes coming from you in a month or two.

  8. Lavender! And then you can make lavender cake! Hurrah!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Yes, I thought I’d plant lavender not only because they attract bees but because it seems lavender flowers are turning up more and more in recipes. Looking forward to trying out a few.

  9. yummychunklet says:

    Definitely looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labor!

  10. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    I’m envious. I have quite an extensive herb garden, both in the ground and in pots. Or I had one. The new puppy as just about destroyed all my edibles and is working on the Bird of Paradise, as did his father and grandfather before him. Never mind. I can replace the pots one day and everything else will recover eventually. Herbs aren’t that expensive here in Mexico, but it is just so lovely to have your own growing. And to plant them with your child. Nice.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      My dogs were trying to destroy this new garden before I’d even completed it. They just love sniffing through all the organic potting mix. I’ll have to keep an eye on them. Good luck with your puppy!

  11. I envy you your raised garden bed, Charlie. You’ve planted a nice assortment and will be harvesting things in no time. I hope you’ll share more pictures as time goes by. WInter is coming and seeing gardens in the other hemisphere are always a welcome sight.

  12. Oooh I definitely look forward to seeing garden updates my friend, I bet you have an awesome green thumb 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I’m not so sure Uru. I’m quite the novice. Being positive thought, I’d say I have plenty of room for improvement.

  13. Love it!! Can’t wait to see how it all grows! 🙂

  14. I did the same thing last weekend! I get tired of buying fresh herbs from the supermarket when I only need a little bit and the rest goes off. Such a waste. We planted chilli’s, tomatoes, strawberries, basil, parsley and rosemary. Can’t wait until they have all grown! Growing your own herbs is so much fun, and I bet Alfie enjoyed the planting too!

  15. Good for you and Alfie! Its so exciting watching these little green sprigs grow into beautiful bunches 🙂 I have a big punnet of Basil and coriander to go in, but we have MINUS THREE predicted for Sunday still……. Sigh…….

  16. Jackie Brown says:

    Love the garden, and here in NZ the prices of tomatoes etc are so bloody expensive, I am going to be doing a pot garden this summer, the only place that gets any sun.

  17. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    I love it Charlie! Thanks for sharing your neglected garden too, makes me feel much better 🙂 We can watch them grow together! You sure have a good selection.

    The only seeds I planted that actually came through were the snow peas and one bean stalk so I’ll be off to the markets to get some seedlings this weekend.

  18. says:

    Nice . How exciting. Funny once you’ve actually done something you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Now the hard bit starts…..

  19. Nic@diningwithastud says:

    Oh my garden looks pretty similar haha. Bless good old aloe vera plants 😉 they’re troopers lol

  20. Well done! There is nothing like being able to pop out the back and pick something fresh that you have grown yourself.

  21. A raised garden bed – oh the luxury. You lucky thing. If you raise your own seedilngs you’ll save even more money – seeds are CHEAP!

  22. Ohhh a garden bed 🙂 WOO HOO! How exciting you’re gonna have so much fun growing your own veggies and the joy and achievement you’ll feel when you finally get to eat your own produce YAY! Keep us posted how you go Charlie 🙂 have a wonderful weekend xox

  23. My coriander has already bolted. Time to head back to the farmer’s market tomorrow for more seedlings. I started a few in pots but that will take a while to germinate. The cost is one thing but the herbs (even the expensive ones) are quite wilted by the time you get them home. I like taking the kitchen shears and visiting the pots and cut the herbs just before using them. I bought a mini salad spinner so I rinse the dust off and spin them and use them.

    I love your raised bed!

  24. Juliet Batten says:

    How satisfying it is to plant a garden! These little plants look very happy. Good luck with it, and may they all grow well, and may you enjoy lots of fresh herbs.

  25. Great looking little garden! I keep forgetting you guys are starting your summer, my basil is at the end of its life, the mint has given up too, thyme is still thriving. I hope it’s an amazingly abundant garden for you.

  26. Love that you are getting in to your garden. I have not bought a bunch of herbs now for a couple of months. $5 or basil is just crazy, I thought I was going crazy spending at least 5-10 on bunches of herbs each week. Buy some mulch, or get your lawn clippings and put around the base of your herbs, to keep their feet nice and moist.

  27. Looks better than my cacti!

  28. They will grow! Honest Injun 🙂 ! About 60-70 pots went in here only about two weeks ago [yep, no way will I pay the price at the supermarket: can’t get half the stuff I want there anyways 🙁 !] and except for one ornery tomato, which looked at me and scorned this place immediately, everything is almost twice the size!! Have pretended to be awfully ‘busy’ this weekend, and another lot are due to be added! Plus flowers, plus shrubs!! And this does happen to be the Southern Highlands 😀 !

  29. mjskit @ says:

    Congratulations on getting a little herb garden planted! Nothing like walking out the back door and clipping fresh herbs. How fun!

  30. Good for you! I think this is a great way to enhance your already wonderful cooking. You’ll be inspired from the garden! 🙂

  31. Oh well done. I am sure Alfie appreciated it too. He will reflect on this day with pride when the produce comes to the table.

  32. Well done hun. I get so excited with planting herbs and veggies, but then the possums eat them and I chuck a big tanty and let them all die. Clearly I am not cut out for veggie gardening but you have inspired me to give it another go. xx

  33. What a transformation! How exciting to be growing your own herbs 🙂 So much better than getting them from Coles!

  34. Quite the transformation! 🙂

  35. Norma Chang says:

    Wow, that’s quite a transformation, you and Alfie accomplished a lot in a short time. I am looking forward to reading about the progress. Produce from ones own garden taste sooooo much better than store bought. You and your family are going to enjoy every bite.
    Norma Chang,

  36. Wow, great job – what a change! I wish you the best of luck in your herb endeavours. I always have terrible luck, but then I’m always growing them in pots on a balcony so hopefully yours will fare better. I’d love a bay tree… and a sage bush too. Those are the things I’m most jealous of you for right now. My mother used to have a wonderful herb garden – still has a few plants but not the quantity she used to!

    Watch out for the mint… it’ll invade the whole patch in no time if you’re not careful 😀

  37. Kiran @ says:

    A great transformation!! Can I say how jealous I am that you all are in summer? 😀

  38. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) says:

    Way to fix up the backyard and get some plant life going. Totally agree with you about the price of herbs….and they’re so cheap to grow.

  39. Eva Taylor says:

    That’s the thing I miss the most from the summer is our wonderful endless supply of herbs. I’m searching the net for a soil-less (=bug-less) solution for the winter.
    Nice job on the garden, I’m so jealous that you’re heading into summer and we’re about winter! So jealous.

  40. thelifeofclare says:

    I love having a garden! We’ve just planted ready for summer too, hoping everything survives these still cool days! And the snails, watch out for snails!

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