by | Mar 15, 2017 | In the Garden, Our home building journey

These past few months we have been preserving, landscaping, installing subsurface irrigation, watering, and relocating our salvaged wood.

I have been building relationships with nearby trees. Locating them, wishing them thanks as I harvest their fruit. In fact, I could easily not plant a single fruit tree on our property and simply harvest from public trees as there are quite a lot to choose from and for the moment enough to go around.

A mulberry tree in Yandoit, apple trees everywhere, plum trees in Hepburn, Newlyn and bush tracks,  blackberries in nearby dams, currants in the community garden, quinces near our greengrocer, rose hip by the dirt track, elderflowers along the gullies, and medlars in friends gardens.

But of course, we will plant our orchard too as this will add to food security in the area.

I have been writing articles for a wonderful magazine, doing photo shoots for friends and…dancing. This Friday I will be performing in a lovely cabaret comedy with a really caring and bright group of women.

And the community garden bees in Daylesford have been giving me immense joy as they help me remain rooted and grounded and connected to the people who have given so much love to this small town.

This year too will be a year of slow steps and incremental building. We want to keep our mortgage low and our lives free from stress. This means that most of the remaining building work to be done will be done by Ralf and most of the planting work will be done by me. The guest rooms are getting closer to being finished. Ralf has re-lime washed all the walls and has installed the vanities. The concrete floor will get a bit of a polish, skirting boards will be installed. So maybe in a few more months, we will be ready to exchange a room with a view and shared meals for some help on the farm.

We miss not having animals and really look forward to welcoming them here. Chooks, and pigs and geese and lambs…

untitled (1 of 11)

The guest bedroom walls have been re-lime washed. The original lime wash did not adhere properly to the walls and hence a new product has been found. This is my wonderful really awesome partner Ralf.

untitled (2 of 11)

The prairie garden is being planted out. This area is large and will absorb about 500 plants. I have planted about 100 so far. This picture shows Agastache and Ficinia nodosa.

untitled (3 of 11)

The Snow Gum walk plants are doing really well. I am watering them about once every fortnight. If they survive the winter then they will most definitely establish well and triple in size by next summer.

untitled (4 of 11)

This picture shows our beautiful wetland and a large pile of salvaged wood that has been there for about three years. Ralf has now moved the pile into our shed to dry for the winter. My dad loves collecting scraps of wood and his efforts have saved us $1600 dollars in wood costs.

untitled (5 of 11)

Our sky.

untitled (6 of 11)

This is our prairie garden piazza. That central path is a huge achievement because before finally settling on it I had tried all sorts of combinations. Circular paths, meandering here and there, as I wanted to make a more organic looking garden, but I finally came to the understanding that they visually did not work. The layout of our buildings dwarfed all of my circular patterns and made them look pointless. I am happy with this, it works. It really works.


untitled (7 of 11)

And I am really happy with this too. I had the wonderful Zena and Jack from Frogmore Nursery come out to help me with ideas. This picture shows the location of our kitchen garden. I am so pleased with the shape as suggested by their visit. You can see there will be just two paths in the kitchen garden. The beds are very large and will be accessed by stone paving within the garden beds. This will mean fewer paths to manage and more freedom to move soil within the beds. For any of you who garden, you will know that ultimately there is no correct way of doing this but only the way that suits you best. We have decided that for this garden we wanted large beds.

untitled (9 of 11)

Vanity installed in the guest bathrooms.

untitled (10 of 11)

Teucrium plantings are doing really well and have increased in size by ten times. They will provide a silver foliaged hedge along the paths.

untitled (11 of 11)

Virginia creeper climbing up the verandah posts.

untitled (1 of 3)

Irrigation pipes have been installed underground for watering different parts of the garden.

untitled (2 of 3)

More plantings of Teucriums.

untitled (3 of 3)

Ready for winter.



  1. Andrew

    Loving what you are doing Mara and Ralf. I’m sure once those guest quarters are ready, you will have no shortage of helpers! Hope we can get a spot one day, too.

    • Mara

      thank you Andrew, so sweet of you.

  2. Kirti

    Wow Mara you have done so much already! I’m really excited for you all. It sounds like a wonderful community of like-minded people. Our settlement is in 10 days and we are starting to think about our first camping stay out there! So composting toilets are foremost in our minds!

    Am absolutely loving your blog and Instagram pics. Lots of inspiration. Tanti Baci xxxx

    • Mara

      Thank you, your positive energy is awesome.

  3. Jeny

    Love x

  4. Aldona Kmiec

    Hi Mara, hope you’re well and remember me 😉 just found your article about fencing in Sanctuary Magazine and followed the link to your blog and Insta. Inspiring building and stories, glad you’re doing well!!;-) Greetings from EastGippsland! Aldona

    • Mara

      How exciting to get your message! Your work is very beautiful. Oh how wonderful!! How very wonderful. I had a look at your website which is fantastic. Are you well? and you are living a somewhat nomadic life between Ballarat and Gippsland, I hope you are having a wonderful life, your work is so very inspiring. Lots of love, mara


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *