Printemps en Candelo

What a blast! Not just the garden explosion with Spring, but it has been almost a month since I started this blog and I’ve loved every minute of it ! So stimulating writing it and so exciting getting out into the garden every day to report on its progress !!!

It has been a cold week – both outside and in our heads (!) – with a mixture of sun and beautiful soft rain, so perfect for the garden ! We even had a short storm earlier in the week, which smelt of Summer and promised exciting times ahead.Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-22 09.32.46Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-22 09.32.51Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-22 11.04.49The crab apple is in full glorious bloom and has been joined by a wild flowering plum, which is trying ( in vain ) to give the former  a run for its money ! (The plum is shown in the first photo- against the fence in front of the house,  left foreground). The giant poplar is showing tinges of green and the maples all have fine leaf cover.

The Winter Honeysuckle is looking incredibly healthy with its fresh new growth and the Banksia rose is shooting madly, as are the buddleias. All the other bare-rooted roses are well-clothed in leaf and look like they have been in for ages. Some even have little buds forming. The race is on between newcomer Cornelia and our old Soho roses Lolita and Heaven Scent. I think the latter will probably bloom first, but what they don’t realize is that the old early Hybrid Tea rose, Chateau de Clos Vougeot, which is climbing on the side of the house and was one of the few originals here, has actually beaten them to the post!!! See later !

Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1268Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1154‘The Bride’  has arrived (top photo) and even though she is young, her future holds great promise and her bridesmaids, the tiny Virginalis philadelphus and Viburnum burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’, are developing well. In the Soho Bed, the lavenders, catmint and flowering salvias are all in bud and beside the house, Acanthus mollis spires (bottom photo above) are forming. They open white and a dusky purple-pink, which complements the house colour perfectly!Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1153Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-22 10.59.57The cutting garden has been fantastic, with lots of new anemones forming daily. All the daffodils and my magnificent tulips are out in full force and I think the ranunculas might finally be on their way!!! Even the dahlias are coming to the party! This lovely ,blowsy parrot tulip (above right) has opened out flat, but is remarkably tenacious, retaining all of its petals throughout wind and  storm. The cornflowers are growing madly and the poppies are in head, albeit a little bent and shy ! I look forward to them opening up, once the weather gets a little warmer! Photos below include a new salmon Bokassa Tulip, shy Iceland Poppies, my happy mix of bulbs and the snowball tree gradually coming into leaf.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1170Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1168Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1183Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1246In the vegie patch, the raspberry canes are starting to get their leaves, the tiny blueberries are covered in flowers and everything is growing well. We had our first home-grown salad of lettuce, rocket and radishes the other day !!! I love it when the sun shines through the colourful stems of these chards.Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-24 13.09.46Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1255We haven’t done a lot in the garden this week due to this cold/flu freshening up, but the pergola uprights are up! Ross still has to fix the horizontal beams on top, but he did plant the citrus this last weekend. They will look good behind the moon bed and should grow well there in the full Northern sun The 2nd photo shows the order of planting from the cutting garden to the Main Pergola: a Washington Navel; a Lemonade Tree; an Imperial Mandarin; and a Tahitian Lime. We also planted another Lemonade, which was looking a little less robust than the other, opposite the cumquats, to form a colourful arch in front of the entrance to the Main Pergola. It will also form an arch (over the downhill path from the fernery and house ) with the quince tree, hidden behind Ross in the bottom photo.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1180Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1239Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1252Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-21 13.14.04 We finally planted out the stocks, now that the frosts are in abeyance, to replace the tulips and erlicheers as they make their departure for the year.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1256Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1257

We transplanted the strawberries to the berry section of the vegie garden (just in front of my neighbour’s washing line in bottom photo!) and sweet peas to climb up a feature tripod beside the chard (top photo on left side).Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1263Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1266 - CopyAnd we had visitors…

: a local horse, who slipped his paddock – I’m so glad my neighbour caught him before he munched into my roses and tulips!Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0691Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0690

:a flock of acrobatic silvereyes foraging for insects in the new foliage of the maple…Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.41.56Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.41.20: a return visit from the Kings ! This super-quiet pair are obviously very familiar with Candelo verandahs ! I think I might call them ‘Oliver’ and ‘Twist’ !!! We are a bit tough on succumbing to their cadging – when they realize no food is forthcoming, they retreat to feed on the Prunus blossom, which is where they should be !!!Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.12.01Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.12.12Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.11.30Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-23 08.14.10: The next-door neighbours now have two very cute  sheep to mow their lawn!Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1236Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1197: And a very noisy ultralight did a flyover the morning after our late midnight French sojourn! Assuming it was red and navy blue, the colours were appropriate, so we forgave him!!!

Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1213 - Copy

Yes !!!  We went to France at the weekend! My neighbour Anne had always planned to celebrate her 60th birthday in Paris, but plans had changed and so Paris, like Methuselah, came to her instead !!! It was a great night and wonderful for us to meet all the locals. Everyone dressed appropriately from very glam and sophisticated (not me!) to arty and flamboyant. If you click on our photo, then click on his neck, you will see Ross’s concession to dressing up !!! Anne had done a wonderful job with the decor from black cardboard cutout lampposts on the walls to an Eiffel Tower of fairy lights, surrounded by photos of her younger self.Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1205Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1207We had a magnificent feast, with everyone taking a plate of food. I made a quintessentially Australian dessert, pavlova, but shaped in a French flag with the tri-couleurs represented by blueberries, cream and strawberries (see ‘The Sweet Spot’ on Thursday ! ) . I couldn’t resist adding our first rose bud (Chateau de Clos Vougeot), even though it is not part of the French Flag ! We very carefully carried the pavlova, down the hill to Anne’s place, on an old, but firm, blue plastic tub lid, then decorated the outside of the tin pavlova tray with flowers (white plum blossom, forget-me-knots and periwinkle) to hide the ugly cooking marks!!!Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1188Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-26 19.41.38

We also took along a bottle of Rosé ( albeit Australia’s Jacob’s Creek!) ; a bouquet of red, blue and white anemones in a recycled jar of our favourite delicious imported French jam, St. Dalfour, (blueberry jam of course!), and a gift of one of my hand-embroidered felt cushions, based on French themes, in red, blue and white, with a backing fabric of a Paris street map and wrapped in tricouleur tissue paper, complete with a handmade Eiffel Tower card !!!Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-15 16.19.29Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-15 16.17.22Here is how I made the card :

  1. Google, select and cut-and-paste an image of the Eiffel Tower to a Word Document, resize if necessary and print out.
  2. Fold an A4 black card in half and place on the cutting mat with the card join at the top.  Using a tracing wheel , transfer the pattern onto the black card and cut out.
  3. Open up the card and cut out the negative space on the front of the card only.
  4. Using a silver pen, mark in the girders, as well as the inside window, write your message and put your logo on the back. Voilà !Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0569Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0575

I have always had a love affair with France, so much so that I think, in the interests of getting this post published, as well as not overstepping the mark with the length of my posts (though I am well aware that I already have!!!), I will reserve sharing my passion with you for a Random Thoughts post later this coming month !!! But it is great to know that I have some fellow Francophiles right here in Candelo !!! Especially my front neighbour in her beautiful blue house !  Au revoir !Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0693Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0696P.S. Would you believe it? Our amazingly generous camellia is still blooming. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! She deserves a few more photos in recognition of her wonderful service and generosity !!!Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0692Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_0695

 

Favourite Gardens Index

This is the bare bones of the index for now, but as I publish each post, I will write the names of the gardens in each category. That way, it won’t ruin the surprise of which gardens I am going to include ! So here goes …..!

1. Botanic Gardens

Early 19th Century (1816-1855) :

Royal Botanic Gardens,Sydney; Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens; Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne; Geelong Botanic Gardens; Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Brisbane City Botanic Gardens

Late 19th Century (1858-1892) :

Portland Botanic Gardens; Ballarat Botanical Gardens; Hamilton Botanic Gardens; George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens; Cairns Botanic Gardens and Flecker Garden; Kings Park and Western Australian Botanic Garden

Early 20th Century (1929-1967) :

Araluen Botanic Park; Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra; Booderee Botanic Gardens; Wittunga Botanic Garden; Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt. Cootha; and Mt Lofty Botanic Garden.

Late 20th Century (1986-2002) :

Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens; Blue Mountains Botanic Garden; Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan; Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne; Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden; and Gold Coast Regional Botanic Park.

2. Gardens Regularly open to the Public

Historic Homes & Gardens :

Rippon Lea; Werribee Park; Alfred Nicholas Memorial Garden; Heide Museum of Modern Art; and Carrick Hill

:  Famous Nurseries :

Diggers’ Club and Heronswood; The Garden of St. Erth; Cloudehill; Tesselaars; Lambley Nursery

Specialty Nurseries :

Country Dahlias; Pioneer Orchid Farm; Post Office Farm Nursery; National Rhododendron Gardens; Goldfields Revegetation Nursery; Kuranga Nursery; Karwarra Australian Plant Garden; Katandra Gardens; Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show; Lanyon Plant Fair

Education Gardens:

Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden; The Patch Primary School garden; Burnley, Victoria; Urbbrae House Historic Precinct, South Australia; Geelong West Community Garden; Dig-It Community Garden, Mornington; Peony Show; Angair Spring Wildflower Show, Anglesea; Sustainable House Days

Sculpture Gardens:

Yengo; William Ricketts Sanctuary; Dromkeen; Possum Gully Fine Arts Gallery; Shades of Gray; Herring Island; McClelland Sculpture Gallery and Sculpture Park; Barossa Sculpture Park; Fleurty’s Cafe and Farm Walks; Tamworth Bicentennial Park; Sculpture Shows : Lorne Sculpture Biennale/ Sculpture on the Edge,Bermagui; and finally, Kingston Analemmatic Sundial and Sculpture Park and Benalla Analemmatic Sundial and Ceramic Mural. Also the work of sculptors : Carl Merten and Joan Relke; Daniel Jenkins; Kate Shone; and Tim Johnson.

3. Private Gardens

:  Historic Private Gardens:

Part 1 : Ard Rudah; Glenrannoch; Dalvui;

Part 2 : Bolobek; Bickleigh Vale village; Mawarra at the Grove; Cruden Farm

Country Gardens:

Part 1: Beechmont; Westport; Bringalbit; Corinella Country House; and The Garden Vineyard

Part 2: Villa Lettisier; Barb and Pete’s Garden; Musk Farm; Lixouri

:  Specialty Gardens

4. Overseas Gardens

: United Kingdom

:  France

:  Others

4. Bucket List of Australian Gardens

5. Rose Gardens

:  Display

:  Commercial

:  Bucket List

The Launch of ‘Favourites’ : Starting with Favourite Gardens of course !!!

Now that I have been writing these posts for almost a month, I have finally organised myself and have a Plan ! Every Tuesday, I will write about the garden- the current projects and what’s in bloom, as well as weekly events and the latest craft ventures. Then, every Thursday, there will be a different post topic each week including :

  • Exploration of the local area
  • Delicious recipes
  • Favourites – from gardens to books and magazines, films and music, artists and crafts people and blogs and websites. I will include these posts in a Header tab for easy later reference. Because I have so many favourites (especially when it comes to books !), I will only include my absolute favourites, which I could not live without! This should be a good future guide when I have to downsize !!! I promise I will try to keep each Favourite post down to 12 examples at the most !
  • Random Thoughts-which could include environment, sustainability, a concept, a special person or a feature garden, rose or plant.

A nasty cold  curtailed our trip to the Bowral Garden Festival  last weekend. We had planned to visit Moidart and Milton Park, two very famous old gardens in the Southern Highlands, so I decided to start my Favourite posts by writing about our favourite gardens instead !

We were saddened by the demise of the Australian Open Gardens scheme, which operated for almost 28 years from 1987 to 2015 and provided so many wonderful opportunities to visit beautiful inspiring gardens, as well as creating so many happy memories. It is good to see local councils and gardening clubs taking up the baton.

We have always loved visiting other gardens for their inspirational ideas about gardening, garden design, plant selection and even just their sheer beauty! Fellow gardeners are generous people and it is wonderful talking to them and sharing gardening ideas, hints and stories about their experiences.

It is also a great way to see the country and in fact, some of the loveliest gardens are in rural areas, where there is the land area and good soil to develop beautiful large country gardens. The Open Garden scheme provided many wonderful opportunities to view amazing country properties and old houses, which you would not normally be able to visit.

Visiting gardens is also a great way to acclimatize to a new area – to discover new towns and routes, as well as get used to busy roads and traffic! We have visited many gardens – both in our local area at the time and on our travels. We spent the  last 5 years in Victoria, the Garden State of Australia, or so the number plates on their cars tell you ! During our first year there, we visited many gardens through the Open Gardens scheme and really got to know where everything was. We even lost our fear of the Melbourne city traffic ! Ross was soon beetling around with the best of them- a far cry from his first trip down from Northern NSW with our dog, canoe and trailer in the Winter dark in peak hour traffic and no GPS! Mind you, we always did manage to avoid those frightening right-hook turns, for which Melbourne is famous, where you take your life in your hands and try to avoid being run down by trams, whose weight the cinema advertisements inform you is equivalent to the force of a stampede by 30 rhinos on skateboards  ! See : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w72R4zlgozY .

Victoria has many beautiful gardens, most of them easily accessible within a day’s drive, because it is such a small state. The Dandenongs and Mt. Macedon are gardening areas of great repute, due to their mountain climates and rich soil, and were originally the playgrounds of Melbournites escaping from the Summer heat and city’s hustle and bustle for relaxing holidays.

Because there are so many wonderful gardens I want to share with you, I have divided them up into the following categories ( with subdivisions if the size of the post became too unwieldy!) :

  • Botanic Gardens – 4 posts – Early and Late 19th Century; Early and Late 20th Century.
  • Gardens Regularly open to the Public – 5 posts – Historic Homes & Gardens; Famous Nurseries; Specialty Gardens; Education Gardens; and Sculpture Gardens
  • Private Gardens (some regularly open, but most often seen through the Open Gardens Scheme) – includes Historic Private Gardens; Country Gardens and Specialty Gardens.
  • Overseas Gardens – United Kingdom; France and Others
  • Bucket List of Australian Gardens
  • Rose Gardens – Merit a special section all of their own !!! Includes Display; Commercial and Bucket List.

So next month, look out for my first Favourites post : Favourite Early 19th Century Botanic Gardens and remember for future reference that these Favourites posts will be found under the Header tab titled ‘Favourites’. It was fun choosing which examples to use and I really enjoyed revisiting my favourite gardens through old notes and photos. I hope you do too and that my brief notes are of some use to you ! Happy Gardening !

P.S. My apologies if I have not included your favourite botanic garden- I had to be very selective, so that the post wasn’t too long ( this is why both centuries are split into Early – 1816- 1855/1929-1967 or Late – 1858-1892/1986-2002), as well as wanting to present a variety of gardens from every state,  or  it may just be that I  have not been there ! You never know,  I may be reserving that omitted garden for a special post all of its own at a later date !!! The Botanic Gardens of Townsville is a case in point, as there are 4 of them and we have a personal connection. We have a good friend, who was responsible for the recent developments of the newer ones ! I may also do a more in-depth post of the Geelong Botanic Garden, having researched it extensively for an assignment when I was studying at Burnley. I have used all my own photos, so you won’t find photos for the few bucket-list botanic gardens and I do have to get a few better ones for some of the gardens, but hopefully I will have these by the time their description is published!

Favourite Websites and Blogs

I thought I would do a special post on my Header Tab for my Favourite Websites and Blogs, to which I will add extras as I discover them. Most are current, but it is worth checking their archives for previous blogs. There are some wonderfully creative and inspiring people out there !!!

GARDENING and FLORISTRY

http://mybotanicalgarden.wordpress.com

http://freshcutky.wordpress.com

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/

https://www.sarahraven.com

http://www.lindseymyra.com/blog/

http://www.labonnemaison.org/

http://www.roseraie-de-berty.com/

http://www.classicroses.co.uk

http://www.davidaustinroses.com/

http://web.csulb.edu/~odinthor/oldrose.html

http://www.heritage.rose.org.au/

http://www.moysesflowers.co.uk/

http://www.realflowers.co.uk/

http://www.fobg.org.au/blog/

http://lovenfreshflowers.com

http://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/plants400

http://wildatheart.com/content/category/nikkis-blog/

http://chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk

http://susanrushton.net/blog/

https://ribbonandrose.wordpress.com/

ART AND DESIGN

http://5preciousthings.blogspot.com.au/

http://intothehermitage.blogspot.com.au  and   http://www.rimastaines.com

http://moonlightandhares.blogspot.com.au

http://www.lizziehornecreative.com

http://blogdelanine.blogspot.com.au

http://thetwirlingdragon.blogspot.com.au/

http://www.jackiemorris.co.uk

http://annacurtis.com.au

http://blog.creativekismet.com/

https://annawarren.wordpress.com/

http://rachelnewling.com

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/

http://www.lostateminor.com/

CRAFT

http://artweaverstudio.com.au/

http://origidij.blogspot.com.au

http://fogandswell.com/blog/

http://chronicleofellen.wordpress.com

http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/

http://handeyemagazine.com/category/category/textile

http://thetextileblog.blogspot.com.au

http://www.vam.ac.uk/

http://www.chloegiordano.com

http://www.plantdyedwool.co.uk/

POETIC/ LITERARY

http://www.blackbirdstudio.ca/?cat=4

http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/

http://www.artpassions.net/

http://www.msnyder.typepad.com/

http://www.gutenberg.org

http://openlibrary.org

PHOTOGRAPHY

http://ninajoan.wordpress.com

http://throughopenlens.com/

ARCHITECTURE

http://axesmundi.blogspot.com.au

http://hubbellandhubbell.com

http://thesocietyinc.com.au

COOKING

http://www.luculliandelights.com

http://cookingwithawallflower.com

https://arealfoodlover.wordpress.com/

https://cookingwithoutlimits.wordpress.com/

https://sweetkitchenscience.wordpress.com/

http://ice-cream-magazine.com/

http://bitesize-bakes.com

http://iaccidentlyatethewholething.com/

TRAVEL

http://exploreadventurediscover.wordpress.com

http://www.magiccarpetjournals.com

http://www.frenchgardening.com/

http://www.gardenvisit.com

http://www.greatbritishgardens.co.uk/

http://thepixeltrade.com/

http://darwinontherocks.com

ENVIRONMENT

http://www.acfonline.org.au/

http://www.wwf.org.au/

http://www.worldwildlife.org/

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/

http://cleanenergyforeternity.net.au/

https://bze.org.au/zero-carbon-australia-2020

http://www.envirolink.org

LIFESTYLE

http://www.scpa.org.au/

http://www.slowmovement.com

http://www.slowlivingtoday.com

http://slowlivingessentials.blogspot.com.au

http://www.cittaslow.org/

http://www.ted.com/

http://www.creativityatwork.com 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4l5rfpH9l4

https://www.thersa.org/

http://www.theseeds4life.com

https://23littletrees.wordpress.com

BLOGGING

https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2015/08/05/whimsical-worlds/

http://cookingwithawallflower.com/blogging-tips/

  

Favourites

This tab will include all my Favourites, so that you can easily find these posts in the future. These pages will be published once a month and will include :

  • Websites and Blogs
  • Gardens
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Films
  • Artists
  • Crafts people
  • Old Roses

As you will soon discover, I have a lot of Favourites ! I have broken each section down into subcategories, which are then divided further if the word count looks like it is getting too unwieldy ! I have really enjoyed revisiting my Favourites and hope you do too. I may even find some more !!!

Spring has Sprung !

It is such an exciting time in the garden ! The recent rain and wind resulted in a flurry of snowflakes from the white Prunus – so beautiful watching the gentle fall of the blossoms – and the Ascendancy of the Crab (Malus floribunda) as the dominant feature tree in the garden.

Blog SpringsprungFav20%Reszd2015-09-15 09.49.21Blog SpringsprungFav20%Reszd2015-09-15 09.52.25Blog SpringsprungFav20%Reszd2015-09-15 09.48.44Within just one week, the maples were in full new leaf. The pomegranate, white mulberry and poplar have decided to follow their lead and the Carolina Allspice and Snowball Tree are finally showing signs of life! Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0586Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0580The new lilacs and exochorda are developing flower buds and ipheon, broom, calla lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Green Goddess’) and bluebells are flowering in the house beds. My cute little mosaic Birds-on-a-Stick enjoy the latter’s company. I made in a workshop with Helen Millar in Geelong. See : http://www.flockofbirdsmosaics.org/) .Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0557Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0543Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0522Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0544

The flowering bulbs  fill my heart with joy, especially when the sun shines through the tulips!

Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0521Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0617It was a hive of activity in the garden this week, with so many jobs requiring attention that we had to work on a number of different fronts. The largest achievement, and a job which was well-overdue, was the removal of the enormous pile of garden waste, which had accumulated over the past 9 months! It is just so good to see the rainforest area clear now !

Blog SpringsprungFav20%Reszd2015-09-15 09.55.41Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0615We discovered an old tree stump underneath the pile, so we planted a Birds Nest Fern in it. The photo on the bottom shows the view from the rainforest area.Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0606Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0616Ross drilled all the holes for the stirrups for the Banksia pergola. We just have to fix in the uprights now!

Blog SpringsprungFav20%Reszd2015-09-15 09.56.37Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0587He finished the initial digging of the Moon Bed and made a very  wise decision to use the No-Dig method (for an explanation, see : http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s867068.htm) on the new cutting garden, which is currently under cardboard and hay to suppress the grass. When he dumped the garden waste, he collected a new trailer load of manure, which we will apply on top, then a layer of pea-straw before planting a crop of potatoes to break up the soil. I can’t wait for this new cutting bed to develop, as I am keen to broadcast the mixed Dahlia seeds, given to me by my friend in Armidale. She assures me that some of them are real beauties ! Our current specimens have not yet peeked their heads up, in fear of a return of frost, even though we haven’t had one for ages !

Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0607Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0609I also started weeding the Soho Bed and Ross has mulched all the roses with sugar cane mulch. The photo on the right also shows the fully dug Moon Bed in the background. Unfortunately, we have both had heavy colds this week, so we have just plodded along, but the colour and beauty of the garden really lifts our spirits every day!Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0612Blog SpringsprungFav20%ReszdIMG_0613

  

When the King comes to Tea

Lovely soft Spring rain this morning and wonderful for the garden. I love the look of the rain droplets in the new leaves of the maple and next door’s Tortured Willow.Blog Whentheking20%ReszdIMG_0531Blog Whentheking20%ReszdIMG_0534Its a perfect day for baking, especially as we have a visitor for morning tea tomorrow, so I thought I’d share some of my basic recipes with you :

  1. Anzac Biscuits
  2. Voom Voom Bread
  3. Apple CakeBlog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 10.54.38

Anzac Biscuits

I have been making these biscuits for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, we christened them ‘Chokilolegs’, for the obscure reason that we happened to be reading the  story of  ‘The Ugly Duckling’ at the same time as we were eating them, a fact which my children found inexplicable when trying to enlighten their friends! My childhood recipe included bicarb and coconut, neither of which I use today. I was never quite happy with them and hankered after the chewy texture of Anzacs made by other people.

I discovered the secret when reading Matthew Evan’s Macadamia Anzac recipe in his book ‘Winter on the Farm’. See http://www.matthewevans.net.au/what/books.

It is important to let the melted butter mixture cool before adding it to the dry ingredients. Simple ! It was a light bulb moment, akin to the time when I learnt from a friend that when you want to make egg sandwiches, don’t even bother to peel the eggs, just cut them in half and scoop out the egg ! It’s obvious, isn’t it ?!!

Since then, I’ve always used Matthew’s recipe. While the macadamias are divine, they are expensive, so for an every-day biscuit, I omit them. I keep a constant supply of these biscuits on hand and they are so quick and easy to make. I usually melt the butter, sugar and syrup while I make the morning porridge, let it cool on the verandah while I eat, then mix the lot together and bake them over toast and tea. Easy ! So here it is :

Anzac Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Ensure your racks are at the right level. Line your biscuit trays with Gladbake.

Melt 100g butter, 100g caster sugar and  70g golden syrup in a small saucepan over low heat. Let it cool.

Mix 100g rolled oats and 100g sifted self-raising flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Matthew adds 100g coarsely chopped macadamia nuts here – I have also tried walnuts, which are quite nice too.

Mix cooled butter mixture into the dry ingredients. The mixture should be quite moist.

Loosely pick up a rough spoonful of mixture and place on the tray. This recipe should make 24 biscuits. Bake for 20 minutes, swapping oven levels half way through. Cool for 5 minutes on the trays, then transfer to a cooling rack.

As I said- easy!  All ingredients are 100g except for the golden syrup and salt of course !Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 09.57.36

Voom Voom Bread ( with apologies to Carol Bates! ):

When I was a new wife many years ago, I read ‘The easy No-Knead Bread Book’ by Carol Bates and it quickly became my bread bible. It is a very easy recipe and all it requires is that you can check in on the rising dough from time to time. No need for bread making machines, special bread mixes or even heavy duty kneading ! It is so easy in fact that it is equally easy to maintain a bread making routine and the bread is delicious and so nutritious ! It is affectionately named by my children as ‘Voom Voom Bread’ (they’ve inherited their mother’s naming propensity, though to be fair, their reasoning is much less obscure and will become obvious as you read the recipe !)

Voom Voom Bread :

Rub a large bowl with 2 tsp extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil. I use a metal bowl, so it conducts the heat to help the dough rise. The oil is one of the ingredients, but by rubbing it into the bowl at the same time, its much easier to clean up afterwards!

Measure out 1200 ml warm water. Pour one third of it into the bowl.

Add 5 cups of organic stoneground wholemeal flour. I buy my flours from the local wholefoods shop in 5kg bags, which each  fill a large tupperware container. If you live in a hot place, keep these tubs in the fridge, otherwise the weevil eggs will hatch out and your flour will be ruined !

Add 4 tsp salt ( spread well round the bowl), 3 tsp instant dried yeast and 1 tsp honey. I use Premium Bakers’ Yeast, which I keep in the fridge. I used to use 2 oz (56g) of fresh compressed yeast, which I also kept in the fridge. But beware ! My sister-in-law needed to borrow some yeast for her bread one day and accidentally took the kids’ play dough instead ! No wonder her bread was rock-hard and didn’t rise !

Add another third of water, then 5 cups of organic unbleached white flour. Reserve half a cup of this flour to use later on the bread board. Put away the flour tubs.

Add the rest of the water, then using an oiled hand (again for easy later cleaning !), mix the dough, ensuring there are no dry patches. This will only take a few minutes.

Cover with Gladwrap or a warm wet teatowel and place bowl in a warm or sunny spot. Check on it occasionally- it should take 1-2 hours max. This recipe is so forgiving ! If you have been diverted to return to dough climbing out of its bowl and on the rampage, just knock it down to size and put it back in its place!

When the dough has risen to the top of the bowl, oil your hands again, as well as a 2nd high-sided bowl,  and scoop the dough out of the bowl onto a floured board.

And here is where my children affectionately mock me and the source of this recipe’s name ! Working from the far side, bring the dough into the centre, then repeat from the left and  the right, then turn the whole lot over and put into the 2nd oiled bowl : VOOM, VOOM, VOOM, VOOM!!!

Replace the same Gladwrap/ wet teatowel  on top and leave to rise again in the sun  for another hour or until the dough has reached the top of the bowl again.

Oil 2 high bread tins. Its worth buying proper deep bread tins – they are expensive, but worth it if you are going to be baking lots of bread and the loaves  are so much better if the dough has room to rise in the tins. Make sure the base, sides and even the top rim of the tins are well oiled, otherwise it will be very difficult to remove the baked loaves from the tins without tearing the bread !

Preheat oven to 240 degrees Celsius and make sure your oven shelf is at the correct level ie : not too close to the bottom (burnt bases) or top ( major oven cleaning job ) !

Bring dough out onto the same floured board and divide into 4 quarters. I find the curved edge of a handheld rubber  bowl scraper is great for dividing the dough. Shape each quarter into a ball and place 2 quarters in each tin. Spray or just wipe the tops of the loaves with water, cover with Gladwrap/ wet teatowel again and leave for its final rising in the sun.

I usually put the two tins  in the oven (without the faithful Gladwrap//teatowel!) on another baking tray ( in case the dough is so enthusiastic that it decides to colonize the oven!),  when the dough has barely reached the top of the tins, as they will continue to rise during baking and this way it makes a more manageable loaf, which is easier to remove from the tins.

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and  check if it is done by either knocking on the bottom of the loaf (hollow sound) or sticking a skewer in it ( it should come out clean ). Remove bread from the tins and cool on a cooling rack.

Divine when eaten warm straight out of the oven and slathered with butter and honey, but equally good as toast !

Notes :

Keep on to the washing up. Put the bowls and board to soak in water straight after use and they will be so much easier to clean !

If the loaf is stuck to the tin, try using a cold wet tea towel around the outside of the tin for a few minutes to cool down the tins, then if all else fails, carefully encourage it out of its home with a blunt knife. Don’t worry – as my Mother always said, it will look worse in your stomach !

This recipe is very adaptable and flexible. I have given you the very basic version, which we make twice weekly. We keep one loaf in the fridge and freeze the other loaf for later. Experiment with different flours, different grains and even dried fruit. You can top the bread with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Make it in different shapes- rolls, twists, sticks, rounds, ovals, in flower pots, whatever takes your fancy ! I think the rolls take half an hour to bake from memory. It is worth reading Carol’s book if you can get hold of a copy for other ideas. I think the book is out-of-print, but you may be able to buy it secondhand. Try sourcing it from AbeBooks: http://www.abebooks.com/book-search/title/the-easy-no-knead-bread-book/.Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-07 11.29.25Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-07 11.32.12

Apple Cake

This one is from my mother’s recipe book and I’m not sure where she sourced it.

Line a 20cm round cake tin with Gladbake and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Sift 250g plain flour with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda.

Rub in 125g butter.

Add 250g caster sugar, 2 cooking apples, which have been peeled, cored and diced into small chunks, 60g chopped walnuts and 6og raisins.

Beat 2 eggs with 1 tsp vanilla and add to dry ingredients. Mix well and get rid of any dry pockets of flour. You can add a bit of milk to help, but I never have needed it.

Bake for 1 hour. Cool on cooling rack. Cut into wedges when cool. Yummy !Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 09.57.50A very exciting event occurred after breakfast today. Three King Parrots visited the verandah ! They were so quiet that I suspect they may have been fed by our neighbours or perhaps they heard I was baking !! They are one of our favourite visitors to the garden, often feeding in large flocks on the apple tree, privet or Duranta bush, though recently, they have been enjoying the Prunus blossom!  I thought that I already had some great photos of them, but today’s photo opportunity was amazing !Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-05-13 08.28.19Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-05-13 08.26.06Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-05-14 07.26.44Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-03 08.33.17Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-03 08.34.05Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-03 08.33.28Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-03 08.32.30Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-03 08.33.24I love these special moments when nature communes with you without fear. My two other stand-out moments were sitting with puffins outside their homes, which they shared with rabbits on the cliffs, when we stayed at  the Bird Observatory on the Fair Isles when the kids were little;

Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 10.15.19Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 10.15.07And  the  Providence Petrels on Lord Howe Island in Winter. We climbed Mt. Gower for my 40th birthday and the kids were enthralled when we called the birds out of the sky to land at our feet and allow us to cuddle them ! Amazing experiences !!!Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 10.20.24Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 10.18.03