Christmas 2019

A short post this time, looking back on the past year and forward to the future in 2019! We started the year camping on New Years Eve at Wyanbene Caves, Deua National Park, then sliding down the slippery-slide rocks at Tuross Falls, Wadbilliga National Park.BlogXmas2018post2517-12-31 16.50.54BlogXmas2018post2518-01-01 13.43.41 Summer is Agapanthus time and filled with the deafening noise of cicadas, so I loved this photo of the combination- pure Summer!BlogXmas2018post2518-01-02 08.52.34 We said a temporary goodbye to eldest daughter Jen, back to Berlin and the rugged German Winter,BlogXmas2018post3018-01-03 13.51.24 but welcomed Caroline’s husky puppy, Floki, into the family.BlogXmas20182018-01-21 18.41.36

The long hot days continued into February with swimming at Bithry Inlet,BlogXmas2018post2518-02-14 06.59.27 beautiful roses like William Morris,BlogXmas2018post3018-01-23 14.54.42 and harvest feasts for body and soul!BlogXmas2018post2518-01-31 18.21.06BlogXmas2018post2518-02-06 09.22.08BlogXmas2018post3018-02-10 09.49.15-1In March, we explored Brogo Dam by kayak.BlogXmas2018post4018-03-03 13.01.18-1 The floral extravaganzas continued…,BlogXmas2018post2518-04-03 08.39.26BlogXmas2018post2518-03-11 10.41.43-2 and we had a week’s holiday in Victoria, celebrating my friend’s birthday, viewing the Marimekko exhibition at Bendigo Art GalleryBlogXmas201820%DSCN0487 and visiting many beautiful gardens like The Witches’ Garden and Frogmore Gardens.BlogXmas2018post3018-03-17 17.02.18BlogXmas201820%DSCN0530 April saw the arrival of materials to finally start lining the ceiling of our old shed and evict the possum squatter forever (though he has pushed his way through the gutter wire to squeeze into the cavity between the roof and the new ceiling- all very cosy with the insulation as well!);BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-24BlogXmas2018post5018-04-26 08.24.59 the installation of solar panels on the roof, another longheld desire;BlogXmas2018post2518-04-05 15.13.55 a holiday origami workshop with Zoe;BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-18 (2) and the creation of a beautiful felt cushion and card for my Mum’s birthday and based on my favourite Pinks, which were just starting to come into flower.BlogXmas2018post3018-04-25 12.10.06 By May, we were well and truly into Autumn and the changing of the guard in the foliage of our borrowed landscape and backdrop to our garden.BlogXmas2018post3018-05-12 10.50.48-1 The Little Corellas briefly returned, as well as huge flocks of very hungry King Parrots grazing on the lawn and feasting on tomatoes, cumquats and anything else they could find!BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-48 We visited Picnic Point and Wapengo Lake…BlogXmas2018post2518-05-24 10.02.44BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-168 and explored the top end of Brogo Dam.BlogXmas2018post30%Ross mob ph 024BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-105We did the big trip north with daughter Caroline to visit my Mum in Brisbane in June, a welcome break from the Winter cold and a wonderful opportunity to view the Winter flowers of Mt Annan (Australian natives) and Mt Tomah (South African and Australian Proteacaea family) Botanical Gardens…

BlogXmas2018post2518-06-09 10.09.53 and the camellias of the EG Waterhouse Gardens and Eryldene, the camellia mecca and home of the great man himself.BlogXmas2018post2518-06-11 11.36.55BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-134 In the Blue Mountains, we heard the wonderfully haunting strains of a didgeridoo echoing across the valley from Pulpit Rock on our bushwalk in Blackheath.BlogXmas201820%DSCN2422 On our arrival home, Ross started lining the shed ceiling with builder Tony.BlogXmas201820%DSCN1952 July saw lots of activity in the sewing room, making embroidery and crochet rolls, toy mice and rabbits, lady beetle purses and a Mama chook, Henny Penny, with her brood of juggling chickens.BlogXmas2018post2518-07-29 20.51.00BlogXmas2018post2518-07-21 16.41.22BlogXmas2018post2518-08-04 19.00.52 The Winter was bracingly cold, the icy skies filled with snow-laden clouds,BlogXmas2018post2518-07-23 16.53.36 but it didn’t stop Caroline performing at Bodalla Dairy with her biggest fan!2018-07-09 00.30.37 August is hellebore time and the start of the Spring bulbs like these Tête à Tête daffodils.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5345BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_5311 A major fire started to the north-east of Bega, its smoke billowing for months with burning back work. BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_5146It was also the month of the eclipse and a blood-red moon.BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_5301 Floki turned into a beautiful hound, who is not afraid to take the odd liberty, but with such a complimentary colour scheme, how could I scold him! He also started Caro off on her career as an animal portraitist. It still blows me away that she used pencils!BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_6046BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5317 And our Jen returned from Germany to live back in Australia permanently- at least, we hope so! It is so wonderful having her back!

The garden started to wake up in September with hyacinths, grape hyacinths, daffodils, English primroses and Dutch crocus.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5645BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5819BlogXmas201820%DSCN3473 All blooms were later than usual, because of the prolonged drought, and we found this phenomenon replicated in the natural environment, when we introduced Jen to one of our favourite walks from Bittangabee Bay to Hegarty’s Bay, expecting to admire the annual Spring wildflower display, which was non-existent!BlogXmas201820%DSCN3667 It is so lovely to finally have some blooms for flower arranging and decorating Caro’s birthday cake.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_5685 By October, Spring had well and truly sprung, starting with the Bearded and Dutch Iris, the former flowering for the first time.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7818BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7772 The intersectional and tree peony blooms were also firsts,BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7797BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_7115 then it was the start of the rose season with Souvenir de la Malmaison in full perfect bloom! How I love this rose, especially when she is behaving!BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7633 We had a quick trip to Sydney in early October to diagnose Ross’s eye problem- the sight in his left eye had dramatically reduced to 5/30, so we called into Canberra en route to view the Cook and The Pacific exhibition at the National Library and the 60 000 wonderful crocheted and knitted poppies in the lawns of the Australian War Memorial (Honour Their Spirit).IMG_6933 The weather started to warm up in November with a trip to Wonboyn with a visiting friend;BlogXmas201820%DSCN4344 the first blooming of our Shady Lady Waratah;BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_8325 a glut of strawberries;BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_7931 and an explosion of colour in the garden with lavenders, roses and poppies of every description!BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_8508BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_8505BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_8974 I was spoilt for choice with flower arranging!BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_9553BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_8729 In preparation for the shed opening in December, there was a final burst of creative activity with my felt cushions,BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9747BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_9772 as well as sign writing (Jenny) and publicity for the opening day, which included an open garden tour with Ross and music provided by my two gorgeous girls.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9417BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9441BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_9773IMG_9832 Even the shed roses came to the party: Fritz Nobis on the front beside the side doorBlogXmas2018post40%IMG_9447 and Albertine on the frame on the back wall of the shed.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9538BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_9488 And finally, December with the big shed opening on the Candelo Market Sunday, the 2nd December, a wonderful occasion with lots of positive feedback and good will from over 100 visitors.GTOD9695BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0118BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0091BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_9988 The shed looked beautiful with lots of wonderful handmade goodies, flowers, Caroline’s cards and Kirsten’s handmade ceramics and calendula soap balls for sale.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_9983BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0169BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9903 - CopyBlogXmas201820%DSCN4568BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9984 - CopyBlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0184 A tawny frogmouth mum and baby visited the garden for the occasion, while Oliver is a regular fixture.BlogXmas201820%DSCN4580BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0178 The Little Corellas are also back with their huge raucous flyovers waking us up at 5am each morning.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_0468IMG_0189 It has been super-busy ever since with a whirlwind visit to the Sydney Eye Hospital for microsurgery to remove numerous eye cancers in his left eye- a legacy of farming days and a salient reminder to all of us to wear sunglasses!

We made the most of the unexpectedly free morning before the operation to visit Nutcote, the beautiful old home of May Gibbs of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie fame, featured recently in the film, Ladies in Black, set in 1959 Sydney.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_0449 We are now preparing for Christmas, as well as continuing to open the shed on Sundays. It is such a fun time of year and the blooms reflect it!BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9876BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9857 We are also loving the dogwood, dahlias, lilies and alstroemeria at the moment.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0054BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0053BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0398BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0396So, plans for the future?!! Having thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, we will continue to open the shed on Sundays, replenishing handmade items as they are sold, as well as fulfilling a few commissions.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_0448 I will also be holding hand sewing workshops for children every month. Jen painted the sign and flyers for my workshop too.BlogXmas201820%DSCN4562 Ross will be busy in the garden, building a garden shed and a chook house, as well as re-terracing the future lavender bank and…BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0034maintaining the garden for general enjoyment, garden visitors and my floristry!BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_6641 This increased workload will however necessitate restructuring my time next year and alas, I am sorry to say that I will only be posting once a month, if that, in order to be able to fulfill my work obligations. Time is so precious!BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_7286 I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the blog over the past three years, so the journey is not over- more a temporary respite! I loved this quote from Goethe on a sign on the steep staircase leading up to Nutcote from Kurraba Point in Neutral Bay, Sydney.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0445Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and safe Christmas and 2019.

All our Love and Best Wishes, Jane and Ross xxxBlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0519BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0562

Our Garden in Late Spring 2018

What an amazing Spring it has been! Even though a trifle late to start due to the recent drought, we had rain just at the right time and even though we can always do with more, it has certainly had a rejuvenating effect on the garden!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9388In my post on early Spring at the beginning of October, we were in the throes of Spring blossoms, Dutch crocus, primroses, tulips and other Spring bulbs.BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN3903 They were soon followed by ranunculus; Crested, Bearded and Dutch iris; tree and intersectional peonies; and now, our glorious roses!BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_8508The garden is full of colour and scent and the birds, bees and I are in seventh heaven! Here are some of our locals: a magpie, a baby galah and of course, Oliver, the quiet and sociable King Parrot!

It is probably easiest to visit each section of the garden in turn! Following my steps in my daily garden inspection- well, let’s be honest, I probably do this three or four times a day (!), starting from the house, along the side path to the treasure garden and terrace, then descending the steps to the Soho Bed.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8990

We are then bowled over by the cutting garden with all its profligate abundance and riotous colour, then past the productive vegie and perennial bed to the bottom of the garden. On the way back, we visit the Moon Bed before swooning at the Main Pergola, then a walk up the hill past the new white hybrid musk hedge to the rainforest area, before following the steps down to Tea Garden and the shed.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8857House

The entrance arch from the lane is now looking very established and I love the appearance of these dainty little pink blooms of Cécile Brünner just as the camellias are bowing out.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9219We transplanted the Rugosa rose hedge from down by the brutish cottonwood poplar last Winter to the driveway and even though the soil is tough, these roses are also and can probably handle it! They will provide beautiful scent for passerbys and mask any odours from the garbage bins, as well as a beautiful sight from our bedroom window! Mme Georges Bruant (white) and Frau Dagmar Hastrup (light pink) are already up and blooming, but Roseraie de l’Haie has yet to find her feet, having been the closest to and worst affected by root competition from the giant poplar!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7776BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9060When we come out our back door, we are greeted by the sight of our magnificent Banksia rose, which has now fully recovered to its former glory, as well as the sweetly scented white and gold honeysuckle.

Its red and gold companion blooms further down the fence line, as does this glorious broom and this sweetly scented lilac.

Mme Herbert Stevens was one of the first roses to flower this year and has been so generous with her blooms. I love the soft tinge of pink on her creamy buds and her soft globular blooms.

The bright mixed massing freesias of early Spring were replaced by Cottage Gladioli Blushing Bride Gladiolus nanus and now, colour is provided by purple and pink lavenders.

Mrs Herbert Stevens was soon joined by the lemony white Noisette rose Lamarque, who is now quite established, and their combined scents waft up to the verandah every day.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8652Treasure Garden

The first garden bed I peruse on my daily walk, containing all my tiny or fragile treasures.BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_8505 It never fails to surprise me. I discovered that the Rhodohypoxis baurii survived after all and this year, had my first Lily-of-the-Valley flower!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8029

The blue and gold colour scheme of early Spring bulbs and primroses has now been replaced by pink, white and plum dianthus and the spicy scent as absolutely divine.BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN3995 In order: Coconut Ice; Doris; Valda Wyatt; Sugar Plum and oldfashioned favourite, Mrs Sinkins with the strongest fragrance of the lot!

Terrace

We were thrilled by our first Bearded Iris blooms on the terrace, presiding over their older cousins in the Soho Bed (soft gold) and the Moon Bed (mauve).BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7777 A dear friend gave us a number of corms to plant at the top of our future lavender bank and they produced a range of colours from the dark purple of early Spring to a bronze, gold, royal blue, pale blue, pale mauve and white.

I now have a new passion- bearded iris!!!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7588 We were also mystified by another different iris from my sister’s garden, eventually identifying it by its white crest as Iris tectorum, the iris found in the thatched rooves of Japanese and Chinese houses.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7408Soho Bed

The Soho Bed has been an absolute picture from the soft gold bearded iris, purple Italian Lavender, mauve catmint, light blue forget-me-not, pink and white valerian and mixed pink, white and purple aquilegiaBlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_7161BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN3904BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7794… to the blowsy chaos of late Spring, as can be seen in the photos below.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8458BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9170BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8281The rose have been glorious: Mr. Lincoln and The Alnwick Rose;BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9510

Lolita; BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4161The Alnwick Rose;BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8567Just Joey;BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_8713 and Fair Bianca.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8883Cutting Garden

Our decision to redesign the configuration of the cutting garden from 4 long skinny beds to 4 square quarters has certainly been vindicated by the best ever Spring display!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8255BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8969 - CopyIn the shady bed, the pansies persisted into late Spring, with magical foxgloves and aquilegia replacing the earlier Dutch Crocus.

I have never come across such tall heartsease, which skirt the purple divinely-scented sweet pea.

The late tulips (Carnevale) were replaced with the ever-faithful hoary stock, Jacobean lilies, blue cornflowers, yellow statice …

and poppies galore from wild species to orange, gold and white Iceland poppies and wonderful mottled mutations of Ladybird poppies.

The Dutch Iris were later than the bearded iris this year, possibly because we moved their bulbs in the reconfiguration of the cutting garden, but their display was superb,

especially in combination with the jewel-like colours of the Picasso ranunculus!

They have since been replaced with a wild riot of ladybird poppies, self-seeded from last year and mutating with a wide range of colours from the traditional scarlet to a pure red, mushroom pink and a delicate clear pink!

They looked fabulous with gold Dutch Iris and ranunculus and now, the blue nigella and cornflowers, which for once are standing upright with the support of the mass of poppies!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8977BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8253BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8660 And now, the dahlias are starting their season, both in the cutting garden and underneath the Albertine rose frame on the shed wall.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9501BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9786

The final bed is filled with feverfew, just about to flower, interspersed with Love-in-the-mist, Nigella hispanica, both beautiful fillers for vases! I love the variations in the latter’s colour and form.

The cutting garden has provided us with some beautiful bouquets, as well as edible flowers for our salads and omelettes.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9273BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_7114Vegetable Garden

This Spring, we have been enjoying fresh shallots, lettuces, cabbages and broccoli, the latter well protected from the marauding bower birds.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9469We have also been feasting on fresh strawberries for breakfast with yoghurt, on their own with cream for dessert and also in homemade strawberry ice cream and rhubarb and strawberry icecream!BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_8194 At the back of this bed are new hollyhocks and peony poppies from last season.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9591 The perennial bed has established well with rhubarb, asparagus, raspberries coming into fruit, angelica producing seed and Russian and standard comfrey in flower.

The mulberries are also turning black and we think the removal of the shading cottonwood poplar branch above it last Winter has really helped with the full sun sweetening up the berries.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9457 Peaches, plums, elderflowers, crabs and apples are also developing. BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7641BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4166BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9572BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7264At the bottom corner of the garden, buttery Albéric Barbier is in full bloom,

but its thorny stems were not enough to deter a lost wombat, who tried to barge his way unsuccessful through the fence one night!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9438 We return to the main garden through the future chook arch,BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4114smothered in pink Hybrid Musk, Cornelia,BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8768 BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8259 and Climbing Tea Rose, Sombreuil,BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9120BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8578 with a new vigorous Clematis texensis ‘Princess Diana’ rapidly clambering its way up the latter’s stems and flowering for the very first time- a real thrill!!!BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4509Moon Bed

Another visual treat, it looked particularly good, backed by the snowball tree in full bloom.BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4495 Starting with the mauve bearded iris and honesty,BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7599BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7710 it was followed by six beautiful intersectional peony blooms, their colour reminiscent of moonshine….BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7797 very similar in fact to the beautiful blooms of Troilus:BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_8708and finally the stunning David Austin roses: cream and gold roses: Golden Celebration, Jude the Obscure, Windermere and Troilus;

and soft pink William Morris, Lucetta and Heritage.

How could I not be inspired to make beautiful bouquets of these sumptuous globular roses!BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_8729BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_9287BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_9288Main Pergola

We are so happy with the main pergola, which is starting to look very established now!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8801BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_7771 The roses are clambering over the top now with their heads bowing down and are just so exquisitely beautiful!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8933 - Copy On the lower side, creamy Devoniensis,BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8572

perfect soft pink Souvenir de la MalmaisonBlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7633 and now New Dawn,BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9589 all backed by choisya, allspice and the snowball tree in full bloom. The photo below demonstrates the reason snowball trees got their name!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9190BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8573BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN3916 The upper side sports Adam,BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_8430 Souvenir de St AnneBlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9520 and my favourite Mme Alfred Carrière!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8945 - CopyBlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8805 Next to Adam, our tree peony bloomed for the first time this year- such a spectacle!BlogLateSpringGarden40%IMG_7115 And now, Philadelphus virginalis is treating us with her beautiful fragrance.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9588 On the other end of the pergola, the Michelia ‘White Caviar‘ gave a us a totally different olfactory feast in mid-Spring,BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7167 followed by the everchanging hues of Weigela.BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4067 The transplanting of the white hybrid musk hedge of roses last Winter was also a great success and all roses have experienced a great improvement in their health!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8943 - Copy

They included Hybrid Musk roses: Autumn Delight, Penelope, Kathleen and Stanwell Perpetual, a Scots rose with a delightful scent and long flowering period.

Rainforest Area

The big star of this area of the garden was the waratah ‘Shady Lady’ blooming for the first time!BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_7769

It was so exciting watching the bud, which had been dormant all Winter swelling and colouring up to produce its magnificent red bloom!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8325 We were also thrilled to see all the bluebells from my sister’s garden come up at the same time.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_7265 Down in the Tea Garden, all the mints have returned after their Winter dormancy and the Maigold holds court, being one of the first roses to flower this year and still flowering!

Entrance Arch and Albertine Frame

The gold of Maigold is continued at the corner of the shed on the entrance arch,BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8431BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4015which is smothered with Rêve d’OrBlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4017and Alister Stella Gray.BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4476 A blue Clematis macropetala ‘Pauline’ is climbing up through the latter rose, but has yet to flower for the first time.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9046BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8900The Albertine trellis has been spectacular in its second year with an extended flowering season and many many salmon-pink scented blooms.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9027BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9538The dahlias are now starting to appear under its petticoat!BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9534Shed Garden

On the other side of the shed, Albertine is matched by the exquisite Fritz Nobis, climbing beside the entrance door.

Fritz Nobis and Leander (below) are repeat-flowerers in a predominantly old-fashioned once-flowering rose contingent in the shed garden,BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4047 though Mutabilis and Archiduc Joseph also bloom throughout the season.

Once-flowering roses (left to right and top to bottom) include: York and Lancaster; Mme Hardy; Mme Isaac Pereire and Fantin Latour.

In amongst them grow old cottage garden favourites like yarrow, sweet peas, Gaillardia Goblin, agastaches, campanulas and alstroemerias.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9530The garden really looked a picture for the opening day of our latest venture, appropriately titled ‘Candelo Blooms’, selling handmade creations from the old shed.BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_9417 It has been a real labour of love and a long time in the planning and implementation, but we finally made it! My daughter Jen designed and painted the flyer and signs,

while my other daughter Caroline sold her own Christmas card sets, art cards and prints.

BlogLateSpringGarden40%IMG_9983

My products included children’s clothing, cushions, toys and crepe paper flowers, as well as fresh bouquets straight from the garden and plants and secondhand books.BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4565BlogLateSpringGarden25%IMG_8830 while Kirsten Rose sold her beautiful timeless ceramics.BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4566This clever lady also designed another beautiful flyer for future promotions.IMG_9982We had a wonderful day- very well-attended by market visitors and many locals, who all really enjoyed the old shed, open garden and music provided by my beautiful daughters. We were even visited for the first time by a Tawny Frogmother Mum and baby, obviously very intrigued by all the festivities!BlogLateSpringGarden20%DSCN4580 It was such a fun day! Here is a photo of Ross and I outside the shed!GTOD9695

I hope that you have enjoyed a peek into our late Spring garden. Happy Gardening!BlogLateSpringGarden30%IMG_7286

Feature Plant For July: South African Plants in Our Garden

Last month, I described some of the wonderful Australian native plants in our garden, and since like ours, many Australian gardens often grow proteas and diosma as well, I thought I might write a post about some of the South African native plants in our garden. Hailing from a similar latitude in the Southern Hemisphere and with a common Gondwanan ancestry (South Africa and Australia were joined 150 to 80 Million years ago), many South African plants share similar growing requirements to our native plants and have adapted easily to our climate.

Many were introduced from the 1830s on during the Australian Gardenesque period of garden design, as they were hardy and sufficiently different and colourful to lend an exotic air to the garden. The Strelitzia or Bird-of-Paradise plant is a superb example and looks like a brilliant blue crane with a golden orange crown. Unfortunately, it hates the cold and I suspect would not survive our heavy frosts here in Candelo, though they grow well on the coast!

BlogSouthAfrPlants3018-05-19 14.42.38-1However,  Leucospermums, Leucadendrons and Proteas are far tougher! They are the South African cousins of our Waratahs, Banksias and Grevilleas, all belonging to that ancient family Proteaceae, and the similarities in their flowers and leaves is very obvious.

I was surprised by the large number of common garden plants that originated in South Africa like pelargoniums, red hot pokers, plumbago, aloes (top 2 photos below), pigface (bottom photo below), felicia, diascia, agapanthus and gladioli.

Bulb lovers also owe an enormous debt to South Africa with the export of freesias, clivias, dietes iris, nerines, babianas, crinum lilies, amaryllis, ixias (below), watsonia and eucomis (pineapple lily), BlogSouthAfrPlants25%grampians 1 304BlogSouthAfrPlants25%grampians 1 301though perhaps we should have let them keep their Arum lilies, which have become a major weed problem in Western Australian national parks (first photo); oxalis, the bane of every gardener’s life, especially in old gardens; and even that roadside escapee Leonotis leonurus (Wild Dagga) in the second photo below!

Because this post was quite long and there are quite a few South African bulbs in our garden, I will be discussing them in their own separate post next week.BlogSouthAfrPlants25%IMG_3644BlogSouthAfrPlants20%IMG_0579Please note that I am restricting my post solely to those plants which I am growing in my garden. I will also be avoiding agapanthus, which I have already discussed in some detail in its own feature post at the beginning of 2016 at: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/01/12/one-year-on-and-januarys-feature-plant-agapanthus/.

BlogSouthAfrPlants4017-12-27 18.06.33 - CopyBlogSouthAfrPlants2015-12-24 12.37.58I am beginning with Proteas and Leucadendrons, the quintessential South African plants, as they share a common ancestry with Australian natives, so are a good link to the previous post, followed by some old-fashioned and very familiar favourites!!!BlogSouthAfrPlants50rly nov 2010 727

Proteas (Sugarbushes)

A member of the Proteaceae family like waratahs, it has conical flowers composed of  large leathery outer bracts (modified leaves), which look like petals and surround the central banksia-like cluster of styles. BlogSouthAfrPlants2015-10-10 09.25.13There are 194 species, as listed on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Protea_species, but common ones here include the Oleander Leaf Protea, P.nerifolia; the Common Sugarbush P.repens; the Queen Protea P. magnifica and the most famous of them all, the King Protea, P.cynaroides, which is the National Flower of South Africa.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-06-09 10.09.53BlogSouthAfrPlants50rly nov 2010 720BlogSouthAfrPlants50rly nov 2010 734BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-58A friend gave us a protea called Special Pink Ice, P. nerifolia x susannae, for a garden warming present.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-05-22 18.20.30 It is supposed to be one of the hardiest proteas, which is just as well as we have just transplanted it to its third position and the root ball was very poorly-developed, so we have given it a good prune and hopefully, it will like its new home in the native garden area next to the waratah. We have seen 2.5 metre tall trees locally, so the climate obviously suits them.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-02-18 15.49.54 They also like well-drained slightly acidic soils, so it should like growing in front of the cypress. I think the problem has been that both previous positions were in slightly shady situations, whereas they really need full sun. It has flowered for us with beautiful long-lasting pink blooms in the Autumn and Winter.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-04-08 14.48.04To see these amazing plants in full bloom, it is well worth visiting the National Rhododendron Garden in Olinda, Victoria (http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/national-rhododendron-garden) or the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt. Tomah, NSW (https://www.bluemountainsbotanicgarden.com.au/). For more on their growing conditions, see: http://www.protea.com.au.

Leucadendrons (Conebushes)

Another South African plant genus, which flowers in Autumn and Winter and which I will definitely be growing, is the Leucadendron, also a member of the Protaeaceae family. A medium to large evergreen shrub, 1 to 3 metres high, it has large showy colourful bracts, which conceal the flower at the tip.BlogSouthAfrPlants50rly nov 2010 716 There are many different species and hybrids and I find it hard to choose between the colours- green, red, yellow and orange.

They all look so fantastic in floral arrangements.BlogOzNatives50%OC 015  Some of the hybrids, which I would like to grow include:

Safari Sunset  L. laureolum hybrid     https://www.gardenia.net/plant/Leucadendron-Safari-Sunset-Conebush;

Winter Gold L. laureolum https://www.flowerpower.com.au/gardening/pick-of-the-proteas/;

Amy L. laureolum x salignum https://www.kings.co.nz/leucadendron-amy;

Burgundy Sunset L. aureolum hybrid http://www.protea.com.au/our-plants/burgundy-sunset; and

Inca Gold L. aureolum x salignum  https://proteaworld.com.au/product/uncategorized/75mm-inca-gold/.

They like similar requirements to proteas- full sun and slightly acidic, well drained soil. Because they have shallow roots, they dislike soil disturbance, so mulching is important to prevent weeds.BlogSouthAfrPlants5013-06-16 15.48.11 Again, they are tough and hardy, low maintenance and drought tolerant.BlogSouthAfrPlants50rly nov 2010 711BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-39BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-54Diosma (Confetti Bush/ Breath of Heaven) Coleonema pulchellum

Native to the Cape Province in South Africa, this is a pretty little shrub with a rounded growth habit, fine fragrant evergreen  leaves and masses of scentless tiny pink flowers from late Spring to Spring (July to October). I love using them in floral arrangements as their dainty blooms and foliage are a great filler. Very hardy and frost tolerant, they like full sun and good drainage.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-08-22 15.02.13Euryops

A member of the daisy family Asteraceae, the Euryops genus includes 100 species, the majority originating in South Africa, with only a few species from further north in Arabia.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-20 09.56.28 The genus name is derived from the Greek words ‘eurys’ meaning ‘large’ and ‘ops’ meaning ‘eyes’, referring to the large bright yellow flowers, which are borne on long erect stalks throughout the year.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-20 09.56.34 They are useful in small bouquets, as their flowers don’t close at night like other daisies. They love sunny warm positions and well-drained soils, so thrive in the centre of my Moon Bed.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-05-11 16.36.38I transplanted my plants from an old neglected garden, where they were growing wild, and I believe they are the African Bush Daisy or Paris Daisy, E. chrysanthemoides (‘chrys’ meaning ‘gold’ and ‘anthemoides’ meaning ‘flowers’ in Greek).  An upright half-hardy fast-growing evergreen, 1.5 metres high and 1.2 metres wide, with mid-green glabrous leaves and masses of yellow glowers from Spring to Autumn, with the odd flower throughout the year. Bees and butterflies love them! It dies back with the frosts, but fortunately self-seeds prolifically, so I am never without a plant!BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-05-11 16.36.58Perhaps, I should have the frost-hardy Golden Daisy Bush  (or Yellow Marguerite), E. pectinatus instead! It has deeply lobed ‘pectinate’ (meaning ‘narrow divisions like a comb’) downy grey leaves; and golden flowers from Summer to Winter. See: http://pza.sanbi.org/euryops-pectinatus. However, all parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested, so given that I sometimes use the odd flower to decorate cakes, it is just as well that I grow the other species!!!

Osteospermum (African Daisies)

Another very familiar sight, Osteospermum (‘osteo’ meaning ‘bone’ and ‘spermum’ meaning ‘seed’) has 50 species from South Africa and 15 species from the Arabian peninsula. They used to be classified in the genus Dimorphotheca, but now the latter only contains annual forms.BlogSouthAfrPlants20%IMG_0224They are half-hardy perennials and subshrubs, which do not handle frost well, so I am growing my specimens in terracotta pots up by the house, where it is warmer.BlogSouthAfrPlants2015-10-09 14.37.37Osteospermums have alternate lanceolate leaves and daisylike composite flowers, which bloom from late Winter to Spring and which close at night. They are composed of a central blue, yellow or purple disc, surrounded by white, cream, pink, mauve, purple or yellow petals in the shape of ray florets.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-08-12 14.58.53 There are so many different types. The common old-fashioned tough and hardy trailing varieties are mainly pink, purple and white,BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-20BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-21 but hybridization has added more compact yellows and oranges to the mix like Sideshow Copper Apricot.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-08-22 15.02.42 There are even double varieties or spooned varieties like Whirlygig.BlogSouthAfrPlants20%IMG_0170 (2) Some of the varieties can be seen at: https://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/annual/osteospermum/.

Osteospermums love rich soil and warm sunny positions, but will tolerate dry soils and drought. They make an excellent ground cover on roadside banks.BlogSouthAfrPlants20%IMG_0087 For more information, see:  http://www.osteospermum.com/.

Other African Daisies: Gazanias and Gerberas

Gazanias are also known as African Daisies or Treasure Flowers; belong to the Asteraceae family; have 16  annual and perennial species, all hailing from South Africa except for one species in the tropics; have composite flowers with ray florets and a central disc of a contrasting colour, which do not close at night; and do not like frosts either, which is a great shame as I love their large bright sunny faces!BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sept 354 Traditionally yellow or orange, colours now include: white, pink and red, with two toned, multicoloured and double forms.BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sept 356 They have narrow, silvery-green lance-shaped leaves with lighter undersides and bloom from late Spring to early Autumn.BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sept 358A fast-growing ornamental ground cover, they used to cover roadside banks at Castlemaine, Victoria.BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sept 364 They are easy to grow, low maintenance, love sun and tolerate drought, dry poor sandy soils with low fertility and coastal conditions.BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sept 360 Gerberas (Transvaal Daisies, also called African Daisies) are another love and another genus in the Asteraceae family, hailing from tropical regions in South Africa, as well as Asia and South America.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-103 There are 40 different species, of which G. jamesonii is the most popular and was first described by Robert Jameson in 1889. Most domestic cultivars are the result of a cross between two South African species, G. jamesonii and G. viridiflora.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-115BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-111Classifed as a tender perennial plant, these long-lasting flowers have a large capitulum, composed of hundreds of individual flowers and surrounded by striking two-lipped ray florets in yellow, orange, white, pink and red. There are single, double, crested double and full crested double forms.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-105BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-01-01 01.00.00-108 Tesselaars have an excellent range at: https://www.tesselaar.net.au/gerberas.

Gerberas are very popular with florists, who wire their stems to stop the head from drooping, as well as with researchers studying flower formation.BlogSouthAfrPlants50%octo 093Happiest in warm climates, they love sun and well-drained soil. Unfortunately, like osteospermums, they are frost tender, so it is just as well that they make excellent pot specimens! Another plant for the side path by the house!!!BlogSouthAfrPlants50%octo 084BlogSouthAfrPlants50%octo 085 For more on growing gerberas, see: https://www.gerbera.org/ and https://www.gerberaresearch.com.au/Growing.html.

Pelargoniums

Commonly known erroneously as Geraniums,  who in turn are also known as Cranesbills and are their cousins in the family Geraniaceae, the genus Pelargonium (‘pelargos’ is Greek for ‘stork’, referring to the beak-like shape of the seedpods), contains 250 species, 200 of which originated in South Africa, with a further 18 species from the East Africa Rift Valley and 8 species from Australia. The first species to be cultivated was P. triste, which was introduced to England in 1631.

BlogSouthAfrPlants50%nov 2010 234

They have alternate and palmately lobed or pinnate leaves and bear five-petalled flowers in umbel-like clusters and have been classified into 8 different groupings:

Zonal: P. x hortorum: Derived from P. zonale and P. inquinans, these bushes have succulent stems; leaves with zones and patterned centres and single or double flowers of red, pink, salmon, violet or white;BlogSouthAfrPlants50%nov 2010 021Ivyleaved: P. peltatum: Trailing lax growth with thin long stems; thick waxy stiff ivy-shaped fleshy evergreen leaves, giving them excellent drought tolerance; and single, double or rosette blooms;blogsummer-gardenreszd202017-02-04-13-18-42Regal: P. x domesticum: Derived from P. culcullatum, these large, evergreen, floriferous bushes have compact short-jointed stems; no zoning of the leaves; and single flowers in mauve, purple, pink or white.BlogSouthAfrPlants20%IMG_9383 Angel: Derived from P. crispum, they look like small Regals, with compact and bushy growth; small serrated leaves; and much smaller flowers;

Unique: Derived from P. fulgidum, but uncertain parentage and do not fit into any of the above categories. Shrubby and woody evergreens, they look like upright Scentedleaved Pelargoniums; have fragrant and often bicoloured leaves; and flowers with blotched or feathered petals;

Scentedleaved: One of my favourites, these shrubby evergreen perennials are grown for their leaf fragrance, which is used in cooking, perfumery, pot pourri and essential oils.BlogSouthAfrPlants2015-10-10 08.05.42 I grow Rose-scented; Lemon-scented; and Peppermint-scented varieties. I was also aware of apple, nutmeg, cinammon and coconut varieties, but other fragrances include:

Raspberry; Strawberry; Peach; Apricot/Lemon;

Grapefruit; Lime; Orange ; and Pineapple;

Lemon Balm; Apple Mint and Lavender;

Almond and Hazelnut; Celery and Ginger;

Old Spice and Spicy; and the stronger more pungent scents of

Balsam; Camphor; Pine; Eucalypt; Eau-de-Cologne; and Myrrh;

Species: The forefathers of all the other groupings; and

Primary Hybrids: the first-time crosses between two different known species and usually sterile.

Pelargoniums are evergreen perennial and are heat and drought tolerant, but can only tolerate minor frosts, so I grow my pelargoniums in pots by the house. These include: Zonal, Regal, Ivyleaved and Scentedleaved Geraniums.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-22 10.27.17 The Geelong Botanic Gardens has an excellent Pelargonium collection, housed in the Florence E Clarke Conservatory, built in 1972 and housing over 200 cultivars. See: https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/gbg/plants/pelargonium/article/item/8cbf43e7c1d1574.aspx.

BlogSouthAfrPlants50%late sep 2011 051For more on Pelargoniums, see: http://www.geraniumsonline.com.

BlogSouthAfrPlants50%nov 2010 241Nemesia caerula (Perennial Nemesia)

Delicate perennial, up to 50 cm high, with linear to lance-shaped leaves and dainty two-lipped slightly fragrant flowers of white and pink (though other varieties may be blue, purple or cerise) in Winter and Summer. BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-23 15.25.47Hailing from South Africa, where they are found in sandy soil near the coast and scrubby soil inland, Nemesias like well-drained moisture-retentive slightly acidic soil with organic matter. They thrive in full sun or part shade and prefer protection from the hot afternoon sun in Summer.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-23 15.26.13Perfect for cottage gardens, hanging baskets and borders, I am growing my Nemesia on the edge of the Soho Bed.

Plumbago auriculata blue (Leadwort)

A tough old-fashioned plant, which has crept through the fence from my neighbour’s garden.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-05-22 16.00.13 It is a sprawling shrub, which spreads by suckers, with pale baby blue flowers in Summer and while it is not my favourite plant, it really is very tough and manages to survive in the dry soil  and shade under the Pepperina tree.BlogSouthAfrPlants2518-02-07 14.31.24 For more about its care, see: https://www.dayliliesinaustralia.com.au/plumbago-plant-hedge-plants/.

Kniphofia (Red Hot Pokers/ Torch Lilies)

Also surviving under the Pepperina Tree is a large clump of the original Red Hot Pokers, K. praecox. These hardy perennials have grassy to sword-shaped  strappy leaves, which are popular with basketeers and which emerge from vigorous rhizomes, and eye-catching bottlebrush-shaped blooms at the top of long stems from Autumn to Spring.BlogSouthAfrPlants20%DSCN0527 Popular with nectar-loving birds like rosellas, honeyeaters and wattlebirds, the original flame-coloured blooms have been superseded by breeding programs to include a wide colour range from lemon and golden yellow, scarlet, apricot and salmon, and bicolour mixes, as well as a range of sizes and flowering times.BlogSouthAfrPlants2016-12-16 17.54.40 Some of these hybrids can be seen at: http://www.drought-tolerant-plants.com.au/a/Perennial_collection/Kniphofia and https://www.gardenia.net/plant-variety/kniphofia-red-hot-poker.

They love full sun, moist humus-rich, well-drained soil and regular watering in Summer, but having said that, they really are as tough as old boots and can survive drought, neglect and light to moderate frosts.BlogSouthAfrPlants3017-12-30 07.19.27And finally, there are a host of very well-known and loved bulbs hailing from South Africa: the gladioli; freesias; nerines; clivias; arum lilies; clivias and rhodohypoxis, which I didn’t even realize was a bulb until this post!!! Stay tuned for their own special post next week!

Oldhouseintheshires

 

Green Cape: Whales, Wombats, Wildflowers and Wild Woolly Winter Weather!

The period between Late Winter and Early Spring (August/ September) is one of the best times to visit Green Cape.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.28.23 While the weather is certainly cold, wild and windy, as seen in the photo above, the wildflowers are starting to come into full bloom and the whales are just starting to return south from their tropical Winter breeding grounds, with babies in tow.BlogGree Cape4017-08-29 15.56.38I have touched on Green Cape in previous posts (See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/16/ben-boyd-national-park-part-1/

and  https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/23/ben-boyd-national-park-part-2-photo-essay/).

It is the southernmost point of the Light to Light Walk, as can be seen in these maps from the NPWS interpretive boards.BlogGree Cape2515-06-28 13.01.23BlogGree Cape4015-03-31 14.57.57Green Cape lies at a latitude of 37 degrees South and longitude of 150 degrees East and because it juts so far out into the Tasman Sea, it is a wonderful spot to see humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) closeup, as they hug the coastline on their journey back home to their southern Summer Antarctic feeding grounds.BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 14.43.04BlogGree Cape3016-09-07 14.42.58BlogGree Cape2517-08-29 16.02.24The Yellow-Nosed Albatross (Diomedea chlororhynchus) can also be seen in Late Winter/ early Spring off Green Cape, though I have yet to see one, while the Short-Tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris) head south in long black clouds from late September to early November on their annual migration from the North Pacific to their breeding burrows on the islands in southern waters.BlogGree Cape3017-09-07 19.07.42BlogGree Cape5015-06-28 15.03.29BlogGree Cape5015-03-31 14.46.39We have however seen plenty of other birds: Australasian Gannets (first photo above), Ospreys and White-Bellied Sea Eagles (2nd photo above), Nankeen Kestrels (3rd photo above), Cormorants and Pacific Gulls (first photo below), Crested Terns (2nd photo below), and Sooty Oyster Catchers (3rd photo below).BlogGree Cape3015-03-31 14.49.17BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 16.08.28BlogGree Cape2016-09-07 14.10.17Dolphins and Australian Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) are also often seen, the latter forming bachelor rafts just off the point and lolling about in the surf with the odd Queen’s Wave!BlogGree Cape3015-06-28 13.24.02BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 14.49.59BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 15.45.13And on land, there are wombats, usually fast asleep in their burrows during the day, but sometimes surprised grazing on the tough wiry grasses, especially in more remote areas.BlogGree Cape2015-06-28 13.52.05BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.14.07 More commonly seen are the quiet Eastern Grey Kangaroos (first photo) and Swamp Wallabies (2nd photo), which graze near the lighthouse.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.33.39OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the coastal heath, there are Southern Emu Wrens (Stipiturus malachurus) and Grass Parrots. I would love to see the latter, which are best observed on first light.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love all the wildflowers of the rugged coastal heath, which is adapted to cope with the salt-laden winds and sandy soils of Green Cape.BlogGree Cape2016-09-07 13.53.02BlogGree Cape2015-06-28 14.25.41 I have organised them into colour ranges and identified them by their genus only:

White: Clockwise from Top Left: Westringia; Hakea; Leucopogon; and Leptospermum;

Yellow: Clockwise from Top Left: Hibbertia; Banksia; Senecio; and Pomaderris;

Reds: Clockwise from Top Left: Kennedia; Correa; Epacris; and Grevillea;

and Pinks: A beautiful Epacris impressa;BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 15.15.11Blues: Clockwise from Top Left: Patersonia; Comesperma; Dampiera; Hovea; Glossodia; and Hybanthus;

and Purples: Tetratheca and Comesperma;

with special sections for wattles (Acacia):

and peas (numerous genera).

Green Cape is a stunningly beautiful area, as the following photos attest.BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.54.35BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.50.22BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.27.32 It looks south across Disaster Bay to Baycliff and the mouth of the Wonboyn River, to the tall sand dunes of Cape Howe, the Nadgee Wilderness area and the Victorian border.BlogGree Cape2516-09-09 11.03.45BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.07.52OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then, there is the lighthouse itself- such beautiful architecture with a fascinating history!

BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.27.08 The East Australian Current flows south at 2 knots off Green Cape, which was great for ships sailing south, but difficult for northward-bound vessels, which would hug the coast to avoid the current, exposing them to the risk of being wrecked on reefs and promontories.BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 15.20.54 It is a very rugged section of the coast, which has claimed over 10 shipwrecks, including the Ly-Ee-Moon 1886, in which 71 people died, 24 of their bodies being buried in the cemetery nearby.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 16.23.15The decision was made in 1873 to build a lighthouse at Green Cape, the buildings to be designed by the then-colonial architect James Barnett.BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 18.58.19BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 16.27.33BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.51.39 Building supplies, as well as food and later supplies until 1927, were shipped from Eden to the storehouse at Bittangabee Bay, 7 km to the north, then were transported by horse-drawn tramway through the dense coastal heath and across creeks to the headland.BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.51.07BlogGree Cape5017-09-07 17.51.12 The lighthouse complex included the 29 m tall octagonal lighthouse and residences for the Head and Assistant Lightkeepers;BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.18.56 a Flag Locker (for marine and semaphore flags) and Signalling Mast and a Telegraph Station (Morse code from 1892 on); BlogGree Cape4015-03-31 14.57.30

and workshops, stables and garages; a tennis court; wells; a helipad and a garden.BlogGree Cape2515-06-28 14.11.26BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.01.49The light was first lit in 1883 and was originally powered, along with the resident quarters, by kerosene and coke coal and from 1962 on, diesel oil generators.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.57.50BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.31.12BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.34.01BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.31.14 It operated all night every night with 4 hour shifts for over 100 years till 1992, when the lighthouse and weather station were automated, the power now supplied by solar panels.

BlogGree Cape5015-03-31 14.44.46BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.57.56BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.20.19We were lucky enough to do a tour of the lighthouse last year. I loved the spiral staircase and colours, as well as the curved verandah railings and the spectacular views from the top! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.54.25OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.18.32BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.19.18  It is also possible to stay in the lightkeepers’ cottages. See: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/accommodation/green-cape-lightstation-keepers-cottage.

BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.50.35BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.43.13It really is a magical spot, which is the reason that we make our annual pilgrimage every Winter. Next week, I am featuring some of my favourite felting books!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Feature Plants for June: Australian Natives in Our Garden

Even though the garden slows down in the cooler months, we are lucky here in Australia that many of our native flora bloom in the Winter, so it makes eminent sense to include a few Australian native plants in our garden for their colour, scent and bird food to tide us all over till the garden awakening in Spring!BlogOzNatives2017-07-07 09.25.12 Some of the plants, which we are growing, include  iconic Australian native species like Wattles and Eucalypts, Banksias and Grevilleas, and Correas and Westringias.BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2442 That splash of gold provided by the wattle certainly lifts the Winter spirits (photo above), especially in our garden against the backdrop of bare trees ! BlogOzNatives2017-08-11 13.31.09I will be featuring each plant group with a brief introduction, followed by more detail on the particular plant specimens in our garden. The Eastern Spinebill in the photo below loves our Lady O grevillea flowers, which bloom all year round!BlogOzNatives20%IMG_1351Most of them are planted in the garden on the southern side of our house, bound by some very tall old cypress on the fence line, which form a contrasting dark green backdrop to the flowers of the native species. The photo below shows the view from the street with the Banksia in the agapanthus bed in the centre and the main native area to the left on the hill above the Tea Garden.BlogOzNatives2017-01-17 14.49.36This photo is the view of the native area from the house with a hedge of grevilleas on the left and a waratah on the right.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-16Wattles

Wattles and gum trees are two of the most iconic Australian symbols.BlogOzNatives2015-07-29 15.54.35 The Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha, is Australia’s national floral emblem, our sporting teams are instantly recognisable in the famous green-and-gold, and Wattle Day is on the 1st September every year. I love their golden display and their distinctive scent!BlogOzNatives2017-08-08 17.46.04 Wattles belong to the genus Acacia and the family Mimosaceae, with 1350 species worldwide, 1000 of which are Australian. It is in fact the largest genus of vascular plants in Australia and has a wide range of habitats, leaf forms, flowers and blooming times. Wattles are very fast-growing, but short-lived, being very effective pioneer plants in disturbed or fire-ravaged areas. The photo below shows a selection of Acacias, which grow on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.

While we have seen many different species in our local area, one species which is indigenous to Southern NSW is the Cootamundra Wattle, A. baileyana. It is a hardy evergreen with silvery-green fern-like leaves and golden-yellow fluffy spheres of stamens in Winter. It has a magnificent display and its pollen-rich golden blooms are highly attractive, not only to birds and bees, but also florists.BlogOzNatives2016-05-27 15.54.08BlogOzNatives2016-05-27 15.54.13We are growing the purple-leafed form, Acacia baileyana purpurea, which has leaves with a bright purple to burgundy tint, being another very attractive foliage filler in vases. See: http://www.thetreeplantation.com/afgan-pine.html.

It is a good screening plant, 5 to 8m tall and wide, which is very tolerant of soils, extremes in temperatures and coastal exposure. It is also frost hardy and can be grown in full sun or part shade. BlogOzNatives2518-05-16 16.04.34BlogOzNatives2518-05-16 16.04.41We are growing it beside the house, whose purplish-pink walls should contrast well with the darker foliage. It will also screen the carport and car and be able to tolerate the afternoon sun.

Eucalypts

Eucalypts or gums are another symbol of Australia, being the main food source of koalas; the reason for the blue haze of the Blue Mountains in NSW; and the source of the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and decongestant eucalyptus oil.BlogOzNatives25%IMG_0796Eucalypts are immortalised in popular songs like ‘Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree’ (http://alldownunder.com/australian-music-songs/kookaburra-song.htm) and ‘Home Among the Gum Trees’ (http://alldownunder.com/australian-music-songs/home-among-the-gum-trees.htm) and the paintings of Hans Heysen (1877-1968) and Namatjira (1902-1959).BlogOzNatives20%midMar 2014 026Old gum hollows are so important for providing homes for our native fauna and birds. The Guildford Tree (photo 1) in Victoria was already a giant when the early settlers arrived in the 1840s and hosts a variety of birds from kookaburras, magpies, wood ducks, honeyeaters, rosellas, boobook owls, lorikeets (photo 2), corellas (photo 3) and parrots, as well as insects, native bees and possums.BlogOzNatives50%late sept 251BlogOzNatives50%late sept 262BlogOzNatives50%late sept 268Eucalypt trees  are also an important food source for honeyeaters and lorikeets like this varied lorikeet at Riversleigh, North Queensland.BlogOzNatives25%IMG_2786The Eucalyptus genus belongs to the family Myrtaceae and has over 700 species, most of which are native to Australia and which vary in height, plant form, foliage, flowers and seedpods. Here are some photos, showing the diversity in their flowers and gumnuts.

Eucalypt identification can often be quite challenging, as their taxonomy is always changing, and often, gums share common names in different states. The Blue Gum is a classic example and can be any of a dozen species, depending on where you live (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_gum)!

Another case, shown in the photos above and below, is the eucalypt we grow, E. cinerea, which goes by the common name of Argyle Apple, Blue Peppermint or Silver Dollar Tree, the latter also the common name of E. polyanthemos.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-9 The silver dollar describes the decorative soft blue-grey round leaves, which makes it so attractive to florists! It makes a great filler, which is the reason that I am growing it. I also love the smell of eucalypts!BlogOzNatives50%late sep 2011 092It is a hardy fast growing evergreen tree, up to 10 m tall and 7 m wide, which retains its lower branches to near ground level, making it an excellent screen or windbreak.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-12 It bears masses of creamy-white flowers in late Winter and Spring, attracting plenty of nectar-feeding birds and bees. It is tolerant of frost, wet or dry conditions and salt-laden winds.

Banksias

Known as Australian Honeysuckle, the genus Banksia belongs to the Proteaceae Family and includes 173 species, ranging from prostrate woody shrubs to trees over 30m tall.

They were named after Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), who was the first European to collect them in 1770 on James Cook’s first voyage in the Endeavour. He collected four species on that first trip: B.serrata (Saw Banksia), B.integrifolia (Coastal Banksia), B. ericifolia (Heath-Leafed Banksia) and B. robur (Swamp banksia). All but one living Banksia species is endemic to Australia, the exception being the Tropical Banksia B. dentata, which occurs throughout Northern Australia, as well as Papua New Guinea and the Aru Islands.

South-Western Australia has the largest biodiversity, as seen in the photo above, with 60 species only occurring there from Exmouth in the north to Esperance on the Southern coast. Eastern Australia has far fewer species, but have widespread distribution of B. integrifolia (Coastal Banksia- seen in the photo below) and B. spinulosa (Hairpin Banksia).BlogOzNatives2016-06-26 16.53.23 The fossil record includes pollen 65-59 Million years old; leaves 59-56 Million years old and cones 41-47 Million years old.BlogOzNatives50%IMG_3434BlogOzNatives25%IMG_4171Banksia foliage varies with the species from the tiny 1-1.5 cm needle-like leaves of Heath-Leafed banksia (B. ericifolia) to the 45 cm large leaves of the Bull Banksia B. grandis. Most species have leaves with serrated edges, though B. integrifolia does not. The next two photos show B. integrifolia (entire leaf margins)and B. serrata (serrated leaf margins).BlogOzNatives2016-06-18 17.32.56BlogOzNatives20%IMG_5987Banksias all have long flowering spikes and woody cones, which were immortalised in Australian children’s book, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs, where the Big Bad Banksia men were based on the cones of Banksia serrata (Old Man or Saw Banksia).BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0192BlogOzNatives2016-06-01 15.06.57 The flowering spikes are mostly yellow, but also orange, red, pink and even violet.

All are heavy producers of nectar, so are very attractive to a wide range of birds (honeyeaters, lorikeets, wattlebirds and cockatoos), mammals (antechinus and bush rats, honey possums and pygmy possums, gliders and bats) and invertebrates (Dryandra moth larvae, stingless bees and weevils), which also act as pollinators. The Noisy Miner below certainly was enjoying its feast on the flowers of the Acorn Banksia B. prionotes. BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2122Indigenous Australians even used to soak the flowering spikes in water for a sweet drink. Rainbow Lorikeets love drinking the nectar of the flowers of the Coastal Banksia, B. integrifolia,BlogOzNatives2015-06-14 11.23.05while Baudin’s Black Cockatoos enjoy breaking open the banksia cones on the southern coast of Western Australia.