May heralded the colder weather and the start of the Winter fire season and heavy frosts. The maples were in their full Autumn colour and the tree dahlias, which had reached the shed gutters and constantly frustrated my husband Ross with their tendency to fall over with the slightest gust of wind, had one brief glorious explosion before succumbing immediately to the first frost !We mulched all the dahlias and pruned the hydrangeas. We soon had a very clear idea of Winter shading, so sadly removed the she-oaks, thinned and pruned the tall bamboo stand and started digging the 2nd vegetable patch on the right side of the path (and full Winter sun !) in earnest !We planted out the tulips, erlicheer jonquils and Galanthus bulbs, took lilac cuttings and liberated the double (white/freckled white/pink/red and deep purple) and species hellebores ( which were last year’s birthday present from my Mum), white windflowers and the Fortuniana rose and jasmine, both of which I raised from cuttings. Each hellebore found a home under a different tree (to curtail their proclivity to promiscuity!), the anemones went under a maple tree behind Phoebe, our beautiful white statue, and the rose and jasmine had so intertwined with their roots that I planted them together on the bottom fence of the future chook yard.
We started digging holes for the ordered bare-rooted roses and planted the first 3 to arrive from Treloars ( http://www.treloarroses.com.au ) :
- a climbing Cecile Brunner with its sweet little pink Bachelor button blooms at the street gate;
- Penelope as part of the white Hybrid Musk hedge at the back of the vegetable garden on the left and
- Mutabilis (single orange, pink and gold blooms, which look like a host of butterflies) on the back border of the right hand vegetable patch.
We also planted a pomegranate (Punica granatum ‘Wonderful’) for its fruit and to hide the future compost heap.
The cooler weather also freed up more time to spend in my sewing room. I made luggage tags for a Canadian friend and her Australian partner, who were migrating to the Canadian Summer. For her, a maple and gum leaf tag made out of felt to represent her two homes and for him, my own embroidery design of the Australian coat-of-arms on a felt luggage tag design from ‘Stitch with Love’ by Mandy Shaw. See : http://dandeliondesigns.co.uk.
I designed and made two T2 teapot cosies to keep the pot warm with the colder weather: a reverse appliqué leaf design for me and an appliquéd and embroidered chook cosy for my friend’s birthday, which unbelievably falls on the same day as mine ! I also embroidered her a’ thank you’ picture, as this wonderful friend has also supplied us with all our manure !
My success with the tea cosy designs inspired me to make my sisters embroidered felt cushion covers for their birthdays – for my writer sister, a design based on her books; And for my gardening sister, a very modern, dramatic yet simple design of flowers in a vase. Both designs were very colourful and simply appliquéd with felt shapes onto a contrasting felt front panel, outlined with blanket stitch and backed with a complementary fabric. I used large ric rac to define the edges of the front felt panels. I was thrilled with the cushion covers and so were they !