It has been a beautiful week, culminating in a long weekend with temperatures in the early 30s. All a bit of a shock to the system, along with the advent of Daylight Saving time! We all felt the heat a bit (except for my Queenslander husband, who thought we were all being slightly wimpish!) and I really appreciated the benefits of having cool shady corners in the garden!!! My white azalea and Viburnum plicatum tomentosum are flowering well in the shady nook behind our love seat.The warm days finished off the tulips and our amazing camellia, but brought on my beautiful ‘White Caviar’ Magnolia (Magnolia figo X yunnanensis), which has had buds all Winter. I have been dying for them to open and it was well worth the wait! They smell divine!!!The ranunculas are just about to open, the cornflowers are in bud and the anemones are still producing new blooms. Like the camellia, they are excellent value in the garden! I love the clear colours and the fragility of the new Iceland poppies, as delicate and ephemeral as these beautiful dandelion clocks.All the roses are in bud and two of the Soho roses are about to bloom – my bet is on Heaven Scent, followed by Lolita, then two of the new bare-rooted Old roses : Roseraie de l’Hay and Stanwell Perpetual, both superbly scented Species roses. We think (hope!) some of the peony poppies may have survived in the Soho bed, otherwise we are nurturing one very lucky weed!!!Our climbing rose on the house, Chateau de Clos Vougeot, is in full bloom and I can’t wait to discover the identity of the other climbing rose, which is on the front wall (Ross will say ‘back wall’) of the house!!! On the southern corner of the house, Green Goddess (Zantedeschia aethiopica) continues to delight.This afternoon, we made two discoveries : a Clivea flower, hiding in the grass – it took us completely by surprise, but now we know where it is, we can manage it better next year! And the paintbrush tip of a blue Dutch Iris in the cutting garden !The bamboo is starting to grow again and that tough old Banksia rose is sprouting madly and even throwing out the odd flower truss! It will be lovely when that corner regains its shady cover!The broom on the fence outside the kitchen window is a brilliant yellow and its colour exudes sunshine and happiness!The trees have almost regained their leaf cover. I love all the different greens and textures of the vegetation in our view from the verandah. Even the Cottonwood Poplar is starting to wear a fine green shawl of catkins. The apple trees have joined the crab apple in its blossom party, the Snowball tree (Viburnum opulus) is forming flower heads of great potential and the White Mulberry (Morus alba) has a huge crop of green fruit.Ross has been very busy in the garden, watering, mulching, re-digging the Moon Bed and paving the last path in the cutting garden, so I could weed the anemones.He is holding off planting the vegetable seedlings out until the cool change on Wednesday : red cabbages, lettuces, mixed capsicum and Heritage tomatoes from the market : 2 Tom Thumb cherry tomatoes, 2 slightly larger tomatoes : an orange gold Sun Ray and a Welcome yellow and that prized French Heirloom tomato : Rouge de Marmande. We also have some Black Russian tomato seeds to plant, as well as ‘Burgundy Spray’ sunflowers! Here are some photos of our produce already.However, the seed potatoes could be planted in the new no-dig bed, as well as the vegie garden – Désirée and our favourite Dutch Cream.Ross experienced a strong sense of déjà vu when we replaced the NSW Christmas Bush and Wheel-of-Fire, whose fresh Autumn growth had been badly burnt by our Winter frosts. Our new NSW Christmas Bush (Albery’s Red) has masses of flowers developing already!We bought some Heliotrope ‘Lord Roberts’ to provide a beautiful deep purple carpet below my old white Tea rose Mrs. Herbert Stevens. I love the scent of this old-fashioned cottage garden favourite – it reminds me of vanilla icecream and Ross of his Auntie Maud ( a keen gardener herself ) and the old family homestead.We also collected our 2 Coin Spotted Tree Ferns (Cyathea cooperi), which my daughter ordered for Ross for Father’s Day and which will be planted in the fernery between the loquat trees to shield the view of the car in the carport from the rainforest garden. These photos show before and after planting, as well as the fernery floor with its orchids and ferns. An oak tree has self-seeded below the loquat and is the succession plan for its protector!We bought a Lisbon Lemon from the market to replace the old one, which has struggled to recover after its severe crew cut with its few remaining leaves dying off one by one, so we decided to accept the inevitable and replace it now, rather than waste one month of Spring growth! When we pulled out the old lemon, we discovered it had an awful root ball – no wonder it never thrived! Our dear friend gave Ross a Pink Rock Orchid (Dendrobium kingianum) and a Black Passionfruit for his upcoming birthday. He was thrilled! We will plant the passionfruit vine on our neighbour’s fence behind the future glass-house, which should afford it a slight degree of protection from the frost. At least, we hope so! I have been up to some Secret Wives’ Business, but will show you the results next week, once he has opened his gifts! The first photo below is the gift; the second photo is the Lisbon Lemon with the Black Passionfruit, awaiting planting!
We cut all the old branches off the dead boundary privet on our side and worked out where we are going to put our compost heap . It will be 3 m long and 1 m deep, made of corrugated iron, with 3 bays (marked out in the photo by bricks). We will erect green shade cloth against the fence to hide it from the neighbour’s view. We planted a small Sweet Pittosporum behind it. It has a very sweet fragrance in Spring and will also disguise any bad smells! I am still on the search for a fragrant rhododendron for the house end of the compost bays.We had more visitors this week :One inquisitive Raven (below) inspecting the garden and checking up on the resident blackbirds above, who do a fine job keeping the bugs under control!;A pair of Fig Birds and a female Bower Bird sharing a drink at the bird bath; Two Galahs and a Crimson Rosella also inspecting the lawn and garden progress;Three Black Cockatoos doing a Fly Over – even though this photo was taken into the sun, I still liked the effect! – as well as our ultralight featured in my last post, who is obviously a local. On closer inspection, his ultralight canopy is red and black (not blue!);Oliver and Twist playing peek-a-boo from the verandah gutter; And some old friends (of the human variety) from university days, as well as some new friends from the market, so I was busy making biscuits and slices, as well as beautiful Spring bouquets to grace the house. The new batch of home-made lime cordial went down a treat – I will include a recipe for it in December just in time for Christmas!And we splashed out and bought ourselves a bright red wheelbarrow for the heavier duty work, as our poor old rusty one is pretty fragile these days ! It doesn’t take much to make us happy!!!