This journey of Violets continues with shy Clivias.

IMG_1163Violets etc

Creating secret areas in a small garden is very possible. Just allow growing things to go their own way. We rarely take plants out, instead provide freedom for whatever might want to grow.  The background of the bay trees against the paling fence at the back of our garden is being utilised to provide shelter and shade to many plants, especially many Clivias that are now flowering so generously.

The bay trees have just finished flowering and we continue to sweep up the debris. It is odd, but I can’t remember actually using the plethora of bay leaves in any of our cooking nor putting them in my sock drawer. Heaven knows my socks can do with bay-leaves.

In my mother’s cooking, bay leaves were often the main course, or at least I seem to still recall the taste and smell of them, especially in her roasts. She might well have over-used bay leaves in her cooking. It’s odd how even smells from decades ago, one can still recall. I don’t think bay leaves were used to ward of moths in the wardrobes of my childhood. I think she used those white moth balls.  I discovered rummaging through those mothball laden wardrobes a secret hoard of coins in a wooden box. The coins were all in separate divisions with the names of my brothers all neatly written on them.

My dad did not like eating shoulder of sheep/lamb and it could well be that the excess use of the bay leaves were cunningly used to hide my mother’s ploy to dish up sheep disguised as roast beef. My mother was very thrifty and sheep was cheaper. In any case, rummaging through those wardrobes and finding the coins I used to pilfer my brothers’ hoard of coins  to occasionally buy an ice-cream. Oh, how they tasted so wonderful and without guilt. The benefits of a still uncorrupted childhood.


Here is a rather haughty Kalanchoe. It had to be elevated so it is perched on top of the Mexican Chimeney in which we sometimes light a fire during a chilly winter’s afternoon. Isn’t it beautiful?

Both the light ceramic blue and white pot in the first picture and the dish below the Kalanchoe are from the same before mentioned pottery friend. The little white flowering bush on the left side is a Hebe.

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27 Responses to “This journey of Violets continues with shy Clivias.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    Thanks, Gerard, for letting us share in the beauty of your garden. I love all the different colours. 🙂
    As far as eating ‘sheep’ (mutton) is concerned, I reckon there’s a lot of difference between young ‘sheep’ (lamb) and the stronger tasting old ‘sheep’. Not everyone likes mutton, whereas a leg of baby lamb (if it is really lamb and not mutton) might taste all right, especially with a few bay leaves thrown in!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The days of my dad’s aversion to sheep and lamb grew after immigration to Australia. In Holland eating lamb was rare. We never did, Uta.

      I love lamb, and as for mutton it was my speciality to cook that into a Raan. A mouth watering Indian dish I was taught to cook from Julie Sahni’s Indian cookery book.

      The shoulder or leg of Mutton was marinated in the fridge for three days dunked in yoghurt, lots of lemon juice, and hot spices including Garam Masala. It was my signature dish at Christmas time.

      My dad’s introduction to mutton was through our neighbours’ invitation in Sydney’s Revesby. A boiled shoulder affair with the lard being scooped up for future fests. The smell of that is something one needs to get used to. My dad never got over it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • auntyuta Says:

        I think I am the same that your dad was. The smell of that fat puts me of that kind of meat for good. On the other hand the way you used to cook it would probably overcome any repugnant smell.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Flowers are a cheerful addition to any setting, Gerard, including a blog. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sandshoeblog Says:

    I attended a community barbie in the city a few years ago (Adelaide) and they had a giant of a barbie plate they threw equally giant branches of rosemary onto before cooking chops. The smell was intense and the meat was beautiful! I’ve got some growing well from a tiny thing it was and I’ve planted it too close to the fence sadly. I have enough room in my back yard to do something spectacular too like the gardens I posted a link too for Gez and Helvi from ‘Harry Pierik’ I think his name was. Spectacular work.

    I came looking here to say the kalanchoe is so beautitful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, shoe Rosemary has a lot to answer for when it comes to cooking. We have it growing everywhere possible and I use almost in everything. Deep fried with garlic and anchovies it makes a perfect medley for use in any pasta dish.
      I loved the link you posted on the previous violet piece about this Dutch man’s gardening masterpieces.


      • sandshoeblog Says:

        I’m so pleased. I even immediately imagined my huge backyard bedecked in one of those beautifully sculpted ones with the density and waving lines LOL. It would not be so hard to do except for a little money and it would not take a fortune to simulate it really. I am so pleased, Gez.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Gez, one violet piece I can handle, but two !

    That’s gratuitous violets !

    To borrow your words, it gives me the hebes.

    Our cliveas have been magnificent and the acers are colouring up nicely. Roses however are struggling under a heavy load of rust – which I find surprising since it’s been so dry. I’m not a big fan of spraying but around here no spray means no roses. Bloody everything eats or rots them.

    I think nature is giving us the message, but I love the Blue Moon, Mr LIincoln and Kardinals – in memory of my late mother. I will therefore persist.

    I trimmed the murraya hedge yesterday and mowed and top-dressed the lawn this morning and it’s looking a treat.

    Now I’m off for a strum with my old band at UTS – and tomorrow I start a new assignment out at Parramatta.

    Busy busy busy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Trouserzoff.

      Helvi too thought that another violets post was getting obsessive. She battles with rust as well, or something brown on the leaves.

      Our Ficus Lyrata is being eaten by mealy bug so she gets the torch out at night and hunts them down mercilessly with a rag dipped in soap and turps, an odd cocktail.

      Keep strumming, Therese. It’s the only way!


  5. petspeopleandlife Says:

    The flowers are beautiful and it gladdens my heart to know that you and Helvi have created a small garden paradise. Now about those bay leaves. I roasted and cooked with bay leaves in my younger years but haven’t in a long time. I have an unopened jar of them in cabinet just waiting to be put to use. Your post has shed light on the bay leaves that I had forgotten about.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Beautiful, indeed!
    Your flowers are day-brighteners, joy-bringers, and smile-givers! 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us! 🙂
    (I grow some plants I can use in cooking, like rosemary, etc.)
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Flowers are always welcome. Their beauty as good as a hug in times of need.
      Who doesn’t smile when presented with flowers. The cheerful replies on this blog a just reward for the violets and multitude of flowers willing to share their beauty with the readers.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Julia Lund Says:

    Lovely photos of your garden, and you are right, fragrances stir memories. I enjoyed sharing yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Julia.

      It is nice when a fragrance calls up a distant memory.

      The smell of a moth ball still makes me think of an old and distant aunt. We had to kiss her when saying goodbye to as a young child.

      She had a hairy chin. Odd, how that lingers.

      I like and much prefer the fragrance of Freesias. If ever, it was that smell, that heralded the coming of spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Robert Parker Says:

    A very appealing garden.
    I like the smell and taste of bay leaf, and also old-fashioned bay rum aftershave, although I hear from a lot of people, with their eyes running, that a little bit goes a long way. It’s too cold here to grow the trees.
    One of my grandfathers used to talk about going across the Pacific on a troopship, with steam tables of mutton in the mess, and he described it as smelling like a floating glue factory. I don’t think he ate lamb again for many years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, my dad was traumatised by the invite for a leg of mutton next door. I think it has now been pushed into the annals of past dietary delights.

      Kale and avocados are the new mutton. No doubt this too will be replaced, and as so often happens history marches on.

      I should say ‘bespoke’ history marches on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Parker Says:

        I like that line, “bespoke” history. 🙂 marching on, probably in Birkenstocks or “artisan-crafted ankle boots with sustainable cork heels”.
        I heat up a big skillet, some olive oil and garlic, and when it’s smoking, throw in the kale, briefly. Toss on a handful of Tuscan-style seasoning, and then some ginger vinegar, and that’s pretty good to eat! Avocados I can’t seem to get excited about, except for guacamole.


  9. Patti Fogarty Says:

    Love the sunshine in your flowers here Gerard! As for mutton dressed up as lamb it never reallybworks does it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We love the lambs cutlets. They now cost a fortune. Chicken crumbed schnitzels are now suspect, especially when they come in the shape of perfect hearts.

      I reckon it is some kind of chicken slurry or chicken mince pressed into those heart shaped schnitzels.

      It is all so difficult shopping when commerce is forever our there to dupe you.


  10. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    What a lovely spot you have for enjoying an afternoon glass of wine. I love clivia, though we have not had them for some years. A peaceful blog is comforting in the midst of so much chaos.

    Speaking of chaos, thanks to the ?Australians for sending firefighters to help in the Northern California fire. It seems our state if intent upon burning up. They seem to have a handle on it today, but new ones have broken out in another mountainous area.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Good news that the Aussie fire-fighters are also helping out in your neck of the woods, Kayti. What dreadful infernos. Street after street all in ash, and the people in front of the ruins, how pitiful and so many tearful situations.


  11. shoreacres Says:

    I didn’t have a clue what a Clivia might be, Gerard, so off I went to educate myself. They’re beautiful plants. Kalanchoe I do know, and the various violets and violas and such. Personally, I don’t think there ever can be too many violet posts, particularly when a recipe or two is thrown in.

    Once I read garam masala, I was ready to start cooking. I had a close friend who was Peace Corps India, and I still have some of his recipes that I use. For the most part, they call for individual spices, but if time is short or I’m feeling lazy, the garam masala will do perfectly.

    I’m not so keen on lamb, although there’s a Greek restaurant down the street that produces a fabulous lamb gyro. They flooded during Harvey, and still haven’t re-opened, but they’re in process, and when the doors open, I’ll be there for a gyro, and some of the best patitsio in the world.

    I hope you eat outside by your lovely flowers from time to time. It’s the perfect setting for a meal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Clivias were my dad’s favourite indoor plant together with the African violet, Linda.
      We did not have a garden in Holland, so like many Dutch people, gardens were created indoors.
      Along each widow we had a shelf that would hold many plants. I can still see dad hovering over them, nurturing, watering or just watching them grow.
      The highlight of his gardening efforts would be when the Clivia got the flower-bud.
      We now have both, an indoor and outdoor garden. The indoor garden has mainly peace-lilies or Spathiphyllum which are flowering right now.

      Tonight we will have barbequed chicken thighs marinated with garlic and lemon juice together with sweet-potato and bok-choy.


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