Seasons Greetings! We hope you all had a wonderful relaxing Christmas and are now gearing up for New Year. We had a lovely first Christmas here in Candelo with perfect weather in the mid-twenties. My daughter was up early and not because she couldn’t wait! She has been babysitting our neighbour’s beautiful black Labradors and they were very impatient for the day to begin! Caro took the following photos:
We started the day in a very civilized fashion with delicious fruit, sourdough toast and lime marmalade and tea before sitting down to open our gifts.
My daughter has rediscovered water colour painting and has been busy this past week making beautiful cards for all her family and friends.
We organized Christmas lunch, then I popped down to the neighbour’s house for a Christmas photo shoot with the dogs! They are such characters!! It was quite a saga getting them to wear their antlers at the same time and long enough to be photographed!I love Dougal’s eyes! He is such a handsome fellow, but a bit of a rogue!Caro has a real soft spot for Jamie!Lunch was delicious! Roast turkey with fig, orange and cranberry stuffing, ham, roast potatoes, roast pumpkin with rosemary, little onions roasted in thyme and balsalmic vinegar, green beans and a delicious home-grown, red cabbage dish. We crashed for a much-needed sleep, forgetting that we had left the pudding on to boil! Luckily, Ross topped up the water and even though it boiled for an extra hour than it should have, it didn’t affect it and I think it was the best Christmas Pudding ever! Thank you Syd for the tip about Gladwrap – a perfect seal (see my late November post: Christmas Pudding Wishes : https://candeloblooms.com/2015/11/26/christmas-pudding-wishes/) . We were also very impressed with the Christmas Cake this year- lovely and moist and not burnt for once!!!The festive season has also definitely begun in the bird world! The Little Corellas (white) and Pink Galahs are loving the ripe Duranta berries.Some of their more rogueish elements have also started on the plums and apples!I am always amazed at the pink plumage of Galahs and Little Corellas are such endearing clowns with their blue eye patches and engaging antics!We are still treated nightly to their aerial manouevres and mass flock spectacles, occasionally livened up with a blur of pink from the galahs joining in!
It is lovely having the Eastern Spinebills back in the garden and the verandah is an ideal spot to watch them sucking the nectar from the agapanthus.The latter are now in full bloom and absolutely stunning!The hydrangeas are forming giant flower heads of soft mauve, blue and pink.We were thrilled to discover a Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla cingulata) in the Soho Bed. ‘Cingulata’ comes from the Latin ‘Cingulum’ (belt), referring to the bands. Apparently, the males have 5 stripes and the females 4 stripes on their abdomen. These beautiful Australian native bees are quite solitary, unlike their Honey Bee cousins. The males cling to the plant stems overnight, while the females live in burrows in the soil or soft stone and have a limited foraging range within 300 m of their nest, so they must be resident in the garden! Perhaps they nest in between the old bricks of the Soho Bed path. Apparently, they love blue flowers, so they should feel very at home in our garden with all the lavender, blue salvia, agapanthus and hydrangeas! Photo 1 shows a Blue-banded Bee on a Lavender stalk. The 2nd photo is a close-up, in case you could not find it! Here is a Honey Bee on a rose leaf.
The Soho Bed is the home of the Blue-banded Bee.Perhaps, the female has her nest in between the old bricks of the path, shown in Photo 5, with the Pink Verbena.The insect world and its ingenious defensive mechanisms and camouflage never ceases to amaze me! If I was a bird, I wouldn’t want to eat this spiky spider with its yellow dots. Nor this spider with the scary face on its bottom!!! This spiky furry caterpillar would be quite a mouthful! (Caro’s photo)
I love all their patterns and dots.We felt pretty special finding this Christmas Beetle down in the vegie garden on Christmas Day.Another very exciting discovery on the day after Boxing Day was the opening of the sunflower blooms, all ready for the New Year!The pumpkin flowers are prolific and their parent plants and the zucchini plants continue their relentless march across the garden, consuming everything in their path!
I love all the warm colours in the garden too : the Dahlias, the Red Hot Pokers, the Calla Lily seeds and all the ripening fruit and vegies.
For Christmas, we decided to buy the hardwood posts and cross-beams for the Main Pergola. The steel posts in Photo 1 show the position of the uprights. Adam (Photo 2) and the other climbing roses are growing so quickly, they urgently need support.Here are the other beautiful blooms this week: In order, Penelope; Blanc Double de Coubert; Troilus; Eglantyne; The Children’s Rose and LD Braithwaite.And my Christmas vases: Agapanthus; Orange Calendula and Blue Cornflowers; LD Braithwaite (red), Eglantyne (pale pink), Children’s Rose (globular pink), Feverfew and Catmint; A vase of Troilus with Buddleia, white and purple Stock, Feverfew, Catmint and Blue Salvia complements the beautiful Simplicity calendar, which our son gave us; Close-up of the same vase; Stunning red dahlias and finally, cheery orange dahlias for Christmas!Finally, some photos of our beautiful Full Moon over Christmas. If you look at the 4th photo carefully, it looks like there is a 2nd very faint moon above the real moon! I loved the cloud effects! The last photo was taken on the full zoom of the camera, but has not been further enlarged. It is an amazing little camera and really comes into its own with long-distance shots!!!