All articles on: Fauna & Flora
A festival of Flowers

A festival of Flowers

This article was first published in Sanctuary Magazine Issue 67 Words and photography: Mara Ripani There’s nothing lovelier than a bouquet of blooms, except perhaps one picked fresh from your own garden. Expert gardenerMara Ripani sings the praises of good...

Sweet and wild: Sumptuous syrups from foraged flora

Sweet and wild: Sumptuous syrups from foraged flora

This was first published in Sanctuary Magazine Issue 64 You are probably familiar with fruit cordials; perhaps you even have a family recipe that comes out in time for summer. But did you know that delicious drinks can be made using wild floral infusions? Mara Ripani...

Spring and fertility

Spring and fertility

This is artichoke season and asparagus too. Well you know all about it. Like me your year has been challenging and strange. For me it has been quite a change. Normally every weekend we have up to four couples visiting and staying at our farm stay. They punctuate my...

Why I built a wetland rather than a dam

Why I built a wetland rather than a dam

It never occurred to my partner Ralf and I to build a dam - it was always going to be a wetland. The sale of our home in Melbourne in 2015 afforded us the chance to act on our dream. After purchasing 15 acres in Blampied, Victoria, we set about constructing our very...

Fungi Language

Fungi Language

New words have travelled and found me, making their home in my minds nest. Popping out clearly at times and hiding at the very bottom of my nest unretractable and reluctant when I need them most. Words new, such as pileus, lamellae, stipe, mycelia and hyphae. Over the...

Summer

Summer

Summer will we ever be able to love you again? Or have you become a time of great loss and fire? To all those affected I am sorry. I am sorry for all of us for the situation we are in is complex enough to be difficult to grasp. I am sorry too because there are many...

Permaculture, wetland, straw building

Permaculture, wetland, straw building

We are offering a tour of our burgeoning permaculture farm followed by afternoon herbal teas and home made treats on Sunday 15th December 2pm -4pm. Please go to our Workshop tab to book a ticket. We are on 15 acres in Blampied between Daylesford and Ballarat. We began...

Autumn of course

Autumn of course

At this time of the year there are many foods to forage, but with summer ending I began to think about my native trees again and how I should get out on the farm to plant more of them. We need wind protection, we need more habitat, more visual green. But then mushroom...

elder young

elder young

You don't need to be old to share your skills and knowledge, nor old to be 'elder' like. In some cultures it takes a lifetimes work to become an elder in others maybe a little less: a body of knowledge to share. There are Primary Schools, High Schools, Universities...

after dinner

after dinner

After dinner I was full. Very full. So after dinner I went for a walk. A little walk. After dinner the air was cool but not hard. Not very hard. After dinner the sun was saturated. Very saturated. After dinner I grabbed my camera. The one I don't let anyone use. Not...

Wetland Detail

Wetland Detail

There has been rain and heavy during the night. It has made a real difference to the depth of our wetland. Plants on the edge only a few days ago are now submerged. Brilliant, fantastic and lucky!

Cinderella dams: biodiverse wetlands

Cinderella dams: biodiverse wetlands

In our mid 20's Ralf and I worked for a revegetation company that specialised in revegetating wetlands both remnant and newly constructed. We established a close friendship with two beautiful passionate young men who wanted to increase and protect habitat biodiversity...

Worms rise to the surface

Worms rise to the surface

Our recent farm visit gave me time to observe: The wetland. The new road topping. Worms long, enveloped by nutrient rich soil that have surfaced due to straw bale protection. Rounded newly plastered corners of each window. The tracks left by Kangaroo paws. Aquatic...

Possum magic

Possum magic

It's getting a little strange in the garden. More and more of the garden is looking white instead of green. I am having to cover all my crops with bird netting; the cherry tree, plum tree, raspberry and boysenberry plants, lettuce, basil, Bok choy, kale, persimmon,...

Possum magic

Possum magic

This summers challenge is well and truly focused on managing possum magic. One day I am admiring the beautiful new shoots and small young leaves forming on the plum tree, the climbing rose and the pomegranate, the next day...voila! possum magic and they are gone! my...

Complete rose

Complete rose

Axillary bud forming. After three weeks growth, the stem had lengthened and a small rose flower was forming.

Possums out Bees in

Possums out Bees in

It took the possums ten years to find us, lucky us! But now they are regular guests. They eat the young shoots of the pomegranate, they have almost killed the Akebia quinata, and they hunger even for astringent persimmons. I heard that if you keep your trees small and...