Gardening on a Budget, Gen DIY-er, Going Green, Reviews, Second-hand Scavengers

Localism’s the new black: Millie Ross’ The Thrifty Gardener

Millie Ross' The Thrifty GardenerGardening books are either aspirational or educational. With its brightly coloured pages and photos, Millie Ross’ The Thrifty Gardener comes across as aspirational but unlike other aspirational gardening books, striking architectural plants and stunning aspects do not feature. Instead, The Thrifty Gardener’s aesthetics lean towards the ‘nanna-chic garden’: there’s fruit and vegetables amongst the flowers and the structural elements of the garden such as walls, paths and water features are DIY-ed from salvaged items.

Aimed at the beginner to intermediate gardener, the book starts with planning and design, before moving into specific tutorials that range from propagation to small and large projects such as newspaper pots and clay fire pits. Continue reading

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Beg or Borrow but Don't Steal, Money Matters, Second-hand Scavengers

Whimsical furnishings

So you’ve got the keys to the new house. The walls are patched from an exodus of photo frames. There’s electricity and water, but very little else. It’s a shell, not a home.

If you were pre-mortgage, you would have used and abused the plastic at a homemaker centre, but you’ve just received your first statement and realised that the interest accrued is greater than the cost of a new couch.

You decide to do without. Who needs a bed when there’s perfectly good carpet? But while you might enjoy camping out in your living room for a week or two, your back does not, and your partner isn’t impressed with eating off the floor. Time to invest in some stuff. Continue reading

Beg or Borrow but Don't Steal, Gardening on a Budget, Going Green

Not so slim pickings

Has anyone seen American Pickers? I don’t watch much reality TV, but voyeuristic bargain-hunting and junk-scavenging never fails to perk me up on a Wednesday night.

Inspired by the show’s Mike and Frank, I’ve been doing some pickin’ of my own in Boroondara. Yep, it’s hard rubbish week once more in the affluent inner east, and whenever I drive through its streets, a fifteen-minute trip turns into a forty-five-minute detour. Continue reading

Beg or Borrow but Don't Steal, Going Green

Hard Rubbish: To Scavenge or Not To Scavenge?

The other day, I found a man disembowelling an abandoned stereo on the nature strip. He was snipping cables when I startled him. His head whipped up; he froze briefly like wildlife caught in the beams of an oncoming truck, before shoving the cables into a faded green shopping bag and moving on.

Yep. It’s hard rubbish week in my suburb, and the scavengers are on the prowl. My man fit the stereotype: middling and furtive with his pliers, green bag and non-ironic nineties parachute jacket. Nevertheless it’s surprising to discover how run-of-the-mill hard rubbish scavenging is. According to researchers, ‘while four out of five householders contribute to hard rubbish at least every two years, two in five make a withdrawal. Parents with young children are…the worst offenders’ Continue reading