Books on Specific Types of Gardens : Part One: Cutting Gardens, Cottage Gardens and Herb Gardens

Having described General Garden Guides and Garden Design books last month, this post is devoted to books about specific types of gardens: Cutting Gardens; Cottage Gardens; and Herb Gardens.  Later this week, I will post Part Two, which will examine books about Sustainable and Organic Gardens and Dry Climate Gardens.

  1. Cutting Gardens

Having loved flowers from an early age, both inside and outside the house, and having been alerted to the less environmental aspects of the modern flower trade during my floristry course, I have always hankered after my own cutting garden, where I could grow blooms organically and sustainably, including more fragile flowers, which do not transport well and hence never appear at the wholesale florist markets (and therefore, not in retail floristry either!), and which I could pick straight out of the garden and into a bucket of water with minimal disturbance to the flower and maximum potential and vase longevity! There are many books on this old, yet contemporary concept, but here are a few of my favourites!

Sarah Raven tops the list with two books:

The Cutting Garden: Growing and Arranging Flowers 1996  and The Bold and Brilliant Garden 1999. Both are sumptuous inspiring books with lots of practical information as well. Sarah puts all her ideas into practice at her organic farm, Perch Farm, in East Sussex and has a wonderful web site. See: https://www.sarahraven.com/. She is one very busy lady! Not only does she sell a huge variety of seeds, plants and bulbs, but also anything to do with the garden: tools; clothing; ties, markers and labels; and baskets and those delightful traditional gardening trugs; as well as floristry – tools; floral pin holders; tools and vases. She has catalogues; instruction booklets and videos; a newsletter and a fantastic blog; monthly updates on seeds to plant and jobs to do; a range of delicious recipes using home-grown produce and a enormous range of courses and events. Courses cover the whole gamut from flowers and floristry courses to vegetable gardening; food and cookery and gardening in general. She hosts garden tours of both Perch Hill and Sissinghurst, her husband Adam Nicholson’s family home, as well as Open Days (see: https://www.sarahraven.com/customer/pages/open-days). She even has her own You-Tube channel ! : https://www.youtube.com/user/sarahravensgarden.

Sarah and Adam have lived at Perch Hill for 15 years, converting a rundown ex-dairy farm to a 90 acre organic farm, running Sussex cattle, Middle White pigs and Romney Cross sheep, as well containing Sarah’s wonderful Cutting Garden, specifically for harvesting. The four central beds are filled with hardy, half-hardy and biennial plants, with 2 or 3 different crops in the same square foot of soil in each calendar year. In the second growing season, half-hardy annuals predominate from High Summer through to Autumn and are gradually replaced by biennials. There is also a highly productive 1000 square metre vegetable plot; two ornamental gardens: the Oast Garden, which is a riot of colour and structure, and the calmer Front Farmhouse Garden; and a willow bed and silver birch copse for providing the raw material to make plant supports. If you would like you know more about this inspiring lady, see:

http://www.sussexlife.co.uk/people/celebrity-interviews/sussex_plantswoman_sarah_raven_is_in_bloom_1_2258962.

But back to her books!!! The Cutting Garden is now a flower arranger’s classic. She has chapters on planning and stocking the garden for all seasons and garden sizes and types; everything to do with flower arranging in all seasons, including step-by-step guides for creating some of her stunning bouquets, balls and wreaths and notes on cutting and conditioning flowers to choosing the correct vase; and a detailed guide to flowers and foliage throughout the seasons, including varieties good for cutting; conditioning and cultivation. It is a truly beautiful book and one I would not be without!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-383

Her second book, The Bold and Beautiful Garden, is equally lavish and stunning! Her bold use of colour and floral combinations are breath-taking! Her chapters follow the seasons from Spring to Early/High and Late Summer and finally Autumn with sections on planting in the sun; shade and partial shade; and damp ground. At the beginning of each chapter is a montage of photographs of blooms used in each season, presented on a black page for full contrast to the jewel-like colours! There are also watercolour maps of planting schemes. It is a magnificent book! Sarah has written many more books. See: https://www.sarahraven.com/home_lifestyle/signed_books_stationery.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-384Another favourite book about cutting gardens is The Cut Flower Patch: Grow Your Own Cut Flowers All Year Round by Louise Curley 2014.  I love this book for its simplicity, its practicality and its environmental ethos. Her chapters cover planning, making and maintaining a cutting patch; all the different flower types from annuals and biennials; bulbs, corms and tubers; and foliage and fillers; cutting and displaying flowers year round; a short history of traditional flower growing, including a list of websites for sustainable floristry; and a year on the patch with calendars for sowing, planting and cutting. It’s a lovely little book and very readable.

blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-382

The Flower Arranger’s Garden by Rosemary Verey  1989  is my final book in this section, although really all aspects of gardening are inter-related and blend into each other, like my next section on old-fashioned cottage gardens, which traditionally were the main source of many of the flowers used to decorate the house. I mentioned Rosemary Verey (1918-2001) last month in my post on garden design:https://candeloblooms.com/2017/02/21/garden-guides-and-garden-design-books/. She was a renowned plantswoman with a beautiful garden at Barnsley House in Gloucestershire and has written many books on gardening. This book is a worthy addition to any flower arrangers’ library. She writes about planning the garden to provide flowers for the house year-round, with watercolour paintings and planting keys for a variety of different garden configurations: a Front Garden; a Water Garden; Long Sunny or Shady Borders; Island Beds with a cool or hot colour theme; and even a Herb Bed for flower arrangers. There are photos of different floral arrangements for each season;  a comprehensive list of 64 essential plants for the flower arranger’s garden, grouped  by colour range; and finally a chapter on gardening and flower arranging techniques.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-381

  1. Cottage Gardens

I will start with the doyen of cottage gardening, another very famous British plantswoman, Margery Fish, who lived at East Lambrook Manor, Sussex  and  also wrote many books. She was also featured in my post last month on garden design books. I have her Cottage Garden Flowers 1980, a paperback reprint of her 1961 book, in my library. Being an old book, it only has black-and-white photos, which lend it an historical charm, but the text is as readable as ever, with chapters on Spring flowers and bulbs; Summer beauties and Autumn Tints; old cottage favourites; herbs and double blooms; and climbers, trees and shrubs.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-394-copy

Christopher Lloyd’s Flower Garden by Christopher Lloyd 1993 is another classic by the renowned plant writer, plantsman and owner of Great Dixter, Sussex, where his flower borders and plant colour combinations are legendary. Divided into seasons, each chapter explores seasonal plants; garden design and structure; specific plant types like tulips, roses and ferns/ foliage plants/ biennials/ self-seeders;  and different garden types eg meadows/ ponds / pots and sinks and wall planting, all liberally supported by examples from his own garden.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-397

I also have a number of general books on old-fashioned flowers, including:   A Heritage of Flowers: Old-fashioned Flowers for Modern Gardens by Tovah Martin 1999; Antique Flowers: Classic Plants for the Contemporary Garden by Katherine Whiteside  1988; and  Medieval Flowers by Miranda Innes and Clay Perry 1997.

Tovah Martin is an American author and horticulturalist and an expert on old-fashioned varieties. See: http://www.tovahmartin.com/. She has written a number of books, including Tasha Tudor’s Garden, a wonderful book, which I shall be discussing next month. In A Heritage of Flowers, she discusses the importance of heritage varieties in maintaining biodiversity and the continued health of the garden and our natural world; wildflowers and cottage-garden style gardening; and plant propagation techniques. She has a comprehensive and detailed directory of perennials and biennials; annuals; and bulbs and climbers, with interesting notes on the history; description; planting and maintenance;  and recommended species for each plant. She also has a terrific directory of resources in the back of the book, including organizations, specialist nurseries, selected European nurseries and places to visit.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-388Katherine Whiteside is another American garden writer and her book Antique Flowers is a beautiful coffee-table book, packed with information on the history of heritage flowers and a portfolio of 42 antique flower species, many of which I grow and all beautifully portrayed in stunning photographs by Anne’s husband, Mick Hales.It also has a list of sources and societies and organizations in the back, including Australian nurseries. It’s a really beautiful book!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-390Medieval Flowers is the English equivalent of the last book, both in content and presentation, and describes a time when plants were primarily grown for their medicinal and culinary properties and were often imbued with symbolic and magical qualities. All the plants discussed are pre-Tudor (before 1500) and non-hybrid, where possible. The book follows the seasons, describing the dominant plants of the time, as well as medieval practices like feasting and fasting; herbal dyeing; potpourri; winemaking and keeping the medieval house; ancient rituals and the uses of each plant in medicine, cosmetics and the kitchen. It describes Queen Eleanor’s garden and medieval garden design, and finishes with a medieval plant directory of 72 commonly used plants and a list of gardens to visit. Another very interesting read!!!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-391Heritage Gardening 1994  by prominent garden historian, Judyth McLeod, fits perfectly into both the cottage garden and vegetable garden sections of this post, but because it also features heirloom flowers and is written by an Australian writer, I am describing it here, as it leads very neatly into the remainder of this section, featuring books about cottage gardening in Australia. Judyth is passionate (and very knowledgeable!) about heritage varieties of both flowers and vegetables. Her first chapter also examines medieval plants, then she progresses in the following chapters  to describe 16th and 17th century plants; the European kitchen garden; ancient herbs; heirloom fruits; my favourite Old Roses; cottage garden treasures; and imported heirloom plants from Mexico and South American, North America and Asia. Plants are coded with cultivation symbols including plant type; growing conditions and seasonal planting. There is so much interesting history in this book, as well as notes about future directions, seed saving and organic practices. There is an excellent directory in the back for specialist nurseries and seed sources throughout the world, as well as a list of international journals and suggestions for further reading.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-420

So now for books specializing in cottage gardening in Australia…!

The first book is, appropriately titled just that! Cottage Gardening in Australia by Christine Dann and Rachel Tracey 1994, though its subtitle goes on to say : A Guide to Plant Identification and Design. It also covers a lot of history from the English cottager’s legacy to early colonial gardens. It then examines contemporary cottage gardening and its underlying principles – productivity, practicality, a profusion of plants and ecological sensitivity, before expanding on cottage garden design and practical techniques for achieving it. Finally, it has a list of nurseries, seed suppliers and gardens to visit in Australia; a photographic identification guide for roses and cottage garden plants and a tabled appendix of traditional English cottage garden plants with details about the scientific and common names;  colour; plant type; height; season and sun and moisture requirements. It is an excellent book if you can only have one in your library!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-385

South Australian garden historian and writer, not to mention founder of Heritage Roses in Australia Inc (!), Trevor Nottle, who has also written books about heritage roses (see my post on Rose Books : https://candeloblooms.com/2017/01/10/fabulous-rose-books/), has also written two books pertinent to this section:  Old-Fashioned Gardens 1992 and Growing Perennials 1984. In Old-Fashioned Gardens, he introduces us to Australia’s garden history and the 19th century colonial garden and describes the different sections and elements of the cottage garden in Australia – the ornamental front garden, garden paths and hedges; the side gardens, orchards and drystone walls; the productive kitchen garden in the back yard and potted plants on the verandah. Part Two has detailed descriptions of different cottage plants – the self-sowing annuals and perennials; the roses of yesteryear; geraniums and fuchsias; jonquils and tazettas; and finally permanent bedding-out plants, including succulents and grasses. His appendix includes old-fashioned plant sources, seed suppliers and societies in Australia and New Zealand.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-386 Growing Perennials is a much simpler and very practical paperback, which defines perennials and has notes on perennial propagation techniques; establishing and maintaining a perennial garden; pests and diseases; and the use of perennials in the herbaceous border; mixed borders; pots and containers; and as accent plants. There is a quick reference guide to plants in the back, as well as lists of societies and sources of plants. He covers over 650 perennials, including old favourites and recent introductions with over 110 colour illustrations, including many new Australian-raised varieties and suggestions for special situations, interesting foliage and colour groupings. A very useful book indeed!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-387

And finally, the delightful Frances Kelly, who has written a number of books, of which I have quite a few! They include: A Simple Pleasure: The Art of Garden Making in Australia 1982; The Tiny Utopia: A Minimum Effort Maximum Effect Garden Book 1977, written in conjunction with Pauline Clements; A Perfumed Garden 1981 and The Illustrated Language of Flowers: Magic, Meaning and Lore 1992. I have to admit that unfortunately, I cannot place my finger on A Simple Pleasure – either I have given it away in a fit of ruthlessness or it’s packed away in a box somewhere! Not that it wasn’t any good, but I obviously have too many books on the history of cottage gardening in Australia! Maybe, the  colour photographs of the afore-mentioned books won over the black-and-white ones of this missing or discarded book! Here is a link, in lieu of a photograph! See : http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Simple-Pleasure-Garden-Making-Australia-Frances-Kelly-/261081232160?hash=item3cc9a77320.

I loved The Tiny Utopia! It’s a quirky little book with delightful pencil sketches, illustrating suggestions for ‘the Australian gardener with limited space and limited time’. She looks at balcony gardens; water gardens; natives and problem areas; bulbs and roses; walls and trellises; trees; vegetables; companion planting and container gardens, and includes lists of annuals and perennials for seasonal flowering, full sun and shade; and climbers, ground covers and pot plants.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-395 A Perfumed Garden is also a lovely little book, especially because I place a high emphasis on scent in the garden! Most of the plants I grow are fragrant and I feel the lack of perfume in a plant is a major defect, only rectified by other admirable qualities like colour and longevity eg zinnias and dahlias! In this book, Frances gives a brief history of perfumed gardens and plants, including Australian flora; a few pointers for garden design and maintenance; lists of plants chosen for colour; height; shade tolerance and aromatic foliage; and detailed notes for 83 different kinds of scented plants, including many Australian natives. The last two chapters discuss the history of the perfume industry and includes recipes for home production of scented products -perfume, potpourri, pomanders, scented water, talcum powder and aromatic oils.

blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-394

Finally, The Illustrated Language of Flowers, a fascinating book about the magic of flowers – the ancient myths and meanings behind them; their use in medicine and cookery, flower arranging and their cultivation and preservation. Beautifully illustrated by botanical artist, Amanda Cuncliffe, and liberally peppered with poetry and quotations, this lovely book is a boon for both the cottage gardener and the flower arranger. There are so many interesting avenues to pursue from flower dialogues,flower language for brides, floral clocks and flowers for sacred or scented gardens to Bach Flower remedies, aromatics and recipes for natural bath products and cosmetics, perfume and attars, scented waters, sweet bags, fragrant beads and even rose delicacies and other edible flowers.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-396

3. Herb Gardens

I have always loved herbs and started my first herb garden when I was 16 years of age. Formative influences include John and Rosemary Hemphill, whose name is synonymous with herb gardening in Australia. We have three of their books : Spice and Savour by Rosemary Hemphill 1964; Herbs For All Seasons by Rosemary Hemphill 1972 and Hemphill’s Book of Herbs by John and Rosemary Hemphill 1990.  All books have a wealth of information about herbs, including fabulous recipes.

blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-424

Spice and Savour focuses on dried herbs; spices and aromatic seeds and their uses, while Herbs For All Seasons  takes a seasonal approach to herbs. Spicy fines herbes; nourishing pot herbs and flowers for fragrance and health are discussed in Spring; salad herbs and old-fashioned trees (bay, elder and lemon verbena) in Summer; harvest fruits and seeds in Autumn (crab apples; cumquats; quinces; rose hips; anise; caraway; dill; fennel and coriander) and warming pungent herbs and restorative and tonic herbs in Winter.

blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-414

The final book, Hemphill’s Book of Herbs, has chapters on the history of herbs, herb gardens, propagating and cultivating herbs and specific notes and photographs on all the herbs, including notes on description; history and mythology; cultivation; harvesting and processing; and uses (culinary, medicinal, cosmetic and in companion planting). There are further chapters on the use of herbs in medicine, cooking, herbal teas, cosmetics, and gifts with plenty of wonderful recipes.

blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-417

Two more Australian interesting herb gardening books, both published in 1996,  include : Themes For Herb Gardens by Kim Fletcher and Gardens For Pleasure by Brodee Myers-Cooke.

Themes For Herb Gardens is a fascinating book with some wonderful ideas for theme gardens from Craft, Tussie-Mussie and Dye Gardens; Biblical, Saint and Mary Gardens;  Shakespeare and Knot Gardens; Gardens for Cats and Children; Witch and Zodiac Gardens; Physic Gardens and Gardens for the Senses; and even an Aphrodisiac Garden!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-418

Gardens for Pleasure elaborates on this idea of theme gardens with Sensory Gardens (Sound, Smell, Touch, Taste and Night Gardens); Wildlife Gardens (Butterflies, Birds and Bees); Relaxation  Gardens (Reading, Resting and Bathing Gardens); and Interactive Gardens (Tea Garden, Posy Garden and Maze Garden). Each chapter has a detailed garden plan with planting suggestions (herbs and other plants) and notes for gardens of different sizes (large, small and tiny). There is also an excellent chapter on landscaping, including horizontal elements (steps; paths; paving; and lawns) and vertical elements (walls and fences; arches and tunnels; pergolas and arbours; and tripods and poles). Finally, there is a Plant Index Guide with a key guide for plant size and type; sun and water requirements; frost-hardiness; container-growing; and a variety of garden types, as well as detailed notes about each plant. It’s a lovely imaginative book, which gives you an idea of the myriad of possibilities when it comes to different types of garden.BlogSpecific Garden BksReszd25%Image (416).jpg

On Thursday, I will be discussing the second part of this post: vegetable gardens, organic and sustainable gardens and water-wise and dry climate gardens.

The Summer Garden

In order to avoid endless repetition and also because I have so much to say about Old Roses (both types and gardens), not to mention my favourite books, I am only posting four seasonal posts of our garden this year and each will be at the end of the three-month period. So here is our 2017 Summer Garden , but because I wrote a post on the December Garden last year, this first seasonal post will only cover two months from January to February 2017.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-07-12-51-58Once Summer finally arrived, being very late to start this season, the temperatures really warmed up, especially in the month of January with some temperatures in the late 30s and early 40s! Unfortunately, we were away most of January with a brief reconnoitre in mid-January, but a dear friend did our watering for us and kept our poor plants alive, while her daughter played with her ducks in the shade of the trees!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0820blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0810This did not however prevent a lot of the foliage and new growth being singed to a crisp and when we finally returned home for good, the garden was very blowsy and overgrown, my youngest daughter’s dream garden and mine too to a certain extent, although I still like a little sense of order and the very next day, we were out weeding, pruning back dead and dying stems and leaves and watering like mad! Here are some photos of the Soho Bed before…blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0786blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1010blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-20-04and after…blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-20-38blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-25-17blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-28-47blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-24-11We badly needed rain- most of the grass on the roadsides in Candelo was super-dry, crackly and bleached, but we  purposefully kept our front lawn green, despite the increased cost of watering, to keep our spirits up and make us feel cool on these long hot days! Even the birds were feeling the heat! Compare the lawn in the first two photos!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-49-36blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1126blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-03-16-15-28blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1001The Acanthus mollis were one of the greatest casualties of the long dry and searing heat, though their dried stalks would still look great as a dried flower arrangement and the green seeds are very attractive against the brown stems.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-18-36 The hosta and the black currant suffered burnt leaves as well and the dogwood, rhododendrons and camellias under the trees, the hydrangeas and even the protea and feral morning glory, were wilting badly with the heat.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-25-34blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-27-12Despite the dry, we still had roses blooming!

In the Moon Bed: William Morris (1st two photos) and Heritage (3rd and 4th photo), nestled in amongst flowering salvia, Indigo Spires;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-51-55blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-24-35blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0455blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0320 and Jude the Obscure;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-34-41blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1012 In the Soho Bed, The Childrens’ Rose;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0814 blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-06-19-06-36and Eglantyne;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-15-31-48blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-06-19-06-47blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0233LD Braithwaite and Mr Lincoln; blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0232blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1139and finally, Icegirl (1st 2 photos) and Lady X.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0316blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0235blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0251On the main pergola, Adam;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-15-19-49-54blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1065 and Souvenir de la Malmaison;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1150 and on the future single entrance arch: Alister Stella Grey.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-35-47 In the Moon Bed, Golden Celebration;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0325blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-51-15blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0323 and the Soho Bed, Our Copper Queen and Just Joey.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0817blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0404 On the front wall of the house, Lamarque;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0990 and Mrs Herbert Stevens;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-17-47 In the vegetable garden hedges, Penelope;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0813Stanwell Perpetual;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-29-55 and Sombreuil. blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0345And finally, the sumptuous hips of rugosa, Frau Dagmar Hastrup.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0999blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1000 Flowering Salvias are in their element in the heat. I have 5 different types: the deep blue Indigo Spires and a light sky blue salvia, which I grew from a cutting from my sister’s garden, both intermingled in the Moon Bed and a perfect contrast to the pink roses of  William Morris and Heritage.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-16-57Both salvias are very popular with a metallic dark blue parasitic Neon Cuckoo Bee, Thyreus nitidulis (see photos 1 & 2) and the Blue-Banded Bee, Amegilla cingulata (photo 3). Apparently, the Cuckoo Bee lays its eggs in the nests of Blue-Banded Bees. See: http://www.aussiebee.com.au/thyreus.html.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-26-39blogsummer-gardenreszd30%2017-01-14-12-26-39-copy-copyblogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-25-48I later discovered some red-and-black striped harlequin bug nymphs, Dindymus versicolor, on the bright blue salvia and dead sunflower heads, though I am really not sure about them being on my roses!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-18-49blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-13-43blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0422blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0395I also have a red salvia (1st photo), a magenta salvia (3rd photo) and a two-toned variety (pink and white) called Lipstick, also grown from a cutting (2nd photo).blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0327blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0418blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-15-32-01 On our return, I also discovered that I had planted one cutting in the WRONG place- it had grown to a ginormous size in our absence and was obviously a cutting of the Tree Salvia. It will definitely have to go, as it is swamping my David Austin roses in the Moon Bed, but I want to see the colour of its flower first before I remove it, as I took cuttings of two different tree salvias- one pink and one lemon. It is probably too big to transplant, but I will take another cutting, then plant its seedling on the back border of the garden, though I am badly running out of space!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-19-49blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-20-02 The Moon Bed looked so much more civilized after weeding, though I must admit the fine bamboo mulch did an excellent job at keeping most of the weeds at bay! I also got the giant salvia under a little control to give my roses a chance!!!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-17-45blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-17-50On our return trip home, we called into my sister’s new garden at ‘Glenrock’, where we took more cuttings, which I know will do well here, as her garden is even colder and frostier than we are, reaching Winter minimums of minus 10 degrees Celsius! I will definitely find room for them!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0612And I have enjoyed making blowsy romantic bouquets with the roses and salvias, now that we are home! The 2nd photo is my vase for St. Valentines Day, which accompanied….blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1153blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0855 a delicious carrot cake, decorated with rose petals! Thank you, Kirsten, for your artistic input!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0891blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0894blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0896Zinnias also love the heat! I love the bright colours of my zinnia bed between the dahlias and the sunflower!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0789blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0347blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-22-56blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0458 They are such generous flowers and are obviously excellent self-seeders, as all the zinnias in my new patch were spontaneous seedlings from last year’s old patch in the cutting garden and there are more in the vegie patch and the Moon Bed as well. Their only defect in my eyes is their lack of scent!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0332blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-23-22blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-23-29blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-34-12blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0339blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-01-21-06-19blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0462blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-16-13-36-39blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0998blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0337blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0335blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-15-30-41 blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0460It doesn’t seem to worry the bees and the butterflies though!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0028blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1046Zinnias are fabulous flowers for bright cheery arrangements! I have been cutting bouquets all month, including one for this beautiful old vase, which I recently found (2nd photo).blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0356blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-11-23-45blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0361 The dahlias are also wonderful for bouquets…!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0237blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0240Unfortunately, the late frost when the dahlias were just resurfacing in late Spring finished off the scarlet dahlia on the corner of the vegetable patch, but bright orange Meadow Lea has performed very well again this year and the mixed dahlia patch recovered brilliantly, providing plentiful nectar for exhausted, battle-scarred butterflies!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-21-57blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-16-13-37-51The Cutting Garden also had a big cleanup after its rampant romp while we were away!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-07-12-52-09The wild dandelions in the lawn were the next victims in our sights, even though they look so sunny and pretty!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-07-11-54-27blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-07-11-54-47Agapanthus and Hydrangeas are essential components of the Summer garden, their cooling blues contrasting dramatically with the fiery red of the Monbretia flowers.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-50-02blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-52-51blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1015blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1018blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1022blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0988I particularly loved the varying colours of the hydrangeas this year, with lots of green and graduated blues.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-19-33blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0287blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1051blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0367 Ceratostigma, Convovulus maritima and the Rosalie Geranium also provide touches of blue in the garden,blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-19-15blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1070 while the cigar plant and this unidentified seedling (another cutting) lend purple hints.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1067blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1057 The thyme surrounding the sundial in the Soho Bed is in full flower.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1149blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1148I was very excited to see the green bells of my one and only Molucella (Bells of Ireland) seedling (from sown seed).blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1144 I love the dusky pink bells of the correa on the terrace and the red bottlebrush blooms at the bottom of the garden,blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0266blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-09-18blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-09-41blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-01-21-08-58 as well as the deep red blooms of my potted ivy leaf geranium, a reminder of our rose trip to Clare, South Australia, in October 2014.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-18-42The feverfew recovered brilliantly from its transplanting in the cutting garden, then positively romped ahead, blooming profusely with its pretty white daisy-like flowers.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0811 Caroline’s chamomile flowers are very similar in appearance. I have separated all the tiny plants and planted them in front of the Tea plant and the Native Frangipani over our old dog Scamp’s grave. They could have a battle with the couch, but if successful, will form a lovely patch to sit on while we commune with Scamp and drink tea – Chamomile Tea of course!!!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-22-42blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-21-19blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-21-25 My Dianthus ‘Doris‘ and ‘Coconut Ice’ are reblooming and even the Philadelphus virginalis got a bit confused with the later Summer, throwing out a late bloom mid January!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-30-09blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-18-03blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1016 We planted Autumn crocus bulbs, given to us by my sister, under our quince tree and the first two have already bloomed!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1048blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-13-10-54-59blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0398My lemonade tree was also in flower over that period and we now have lemonade fruits developing nicely, as well as a large number of Tahitian limes, one Navel orange and one Lisbon lemon, our first crop for all trees!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-34-56blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-21-57blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-20-51blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-23-17blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-20-04I think we will be getting a bumper crop of cumquats again this season! The scent in the air from the cumquat blossom is intoxicating!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0399blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0400Fortunately, I don’t think fruit bats like citrus (though Ross’s favourite orange stink bugs do!), as a small colony has decided to extend their holiday in the trees across the creek. Because we were away, we never got to taste our plums this year, though I suspect the fruit bats did (!), but we were the lucky recipients of this box of home-grown peaches, given to us by our lovely watering angel!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1075blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1073blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-11-58-33 It appears that this year, we are going to have a really good fig season too- hopefully they will ripen before the onset of Winter and the bats don’t get them first! Maybe this is why they are still hanging round (literally!) !!!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0274I’m uncertain as to whether flying foxes don’t eat Golden Hornet crab apples either, but maybe they haven’t discovered them yet!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0017blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-50-26blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0805 We have even had our first fruit on our Camellia sinensis (Tea) plant!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0804We have also been enjoying fresh salads from the garden, lettuce (now bolting!), spicy rocket and delicious warm cherry tomatoes, all picked straight from the garden just before eating!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0798blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-25-22 We have been particularly impressed with the golden cherry tomatoes, which self-seeded from a single bush last year. They are so pretty in the salads! I love the red ones too!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0799 blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0899blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0249We also feasted on bruschetta, made from our own freshly-picked tomatoes and rocket on our own home-made bread, still warm from the oven!blogsummer-gardenreszd25%2017-02-15-13-11-36 I’m not sure whether we will actually get many pumpkins this season, but at least the insects are enjoying the flowers! This year’s crop is obviously not as thuggish as their parents last year, although they are still attempting to take over the new compost bays!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0326blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0344blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0343They are making a late run for their money! Most of the pumpkins are tiny, though we did discover this larger beauty, skulking by the tree dahlia under lots of large leaves!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0414blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0418And Ross’s beans have also come to the party, their long purple pods contrasting with the bright orange self-seeded zinnias below. These delicious purple beans are quite magical, as they turn green on cooking!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-27-25blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-26-28blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0794blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1004 Though we did wonder why their leaves were so ratty and denuded at the top! A female Satin Bowerbird was the culprit!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0386blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0377By the end of Summer, Ross felt he had the garden under control to some extent and had even dug and started edging the vegetable gardens with old wooden fence palings and pruned the raspberry canes, which had finished fruiting, though our gardening helper still manages to find the odd ripe one!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1167blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1169blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0396blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0411blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0428blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0419blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0042Fortunately, the feral Duranta, which suffered so badly during the worst of the Summer heat, has now recovered with fresh green leaf, flowers and new berries for the birds (compare the first two photos before and after the rain – the brown shrub in the background of the 1st photo is the Duranta!) In the 3rd photo, the Duranta is the 2nd shrub back on the left side,blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-20-00blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0279blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0300blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0269though our resident Grey Fantail still likes to keep an eye on the progress in the vegetable patch!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0792Other visitors to the garden include a Yellow Thornbill in the pepperina tree;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0868a female Koel or Storm-Bird;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0581A pair of jet-black Ravens;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0474and a female and immature male King Parrot.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0600blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0597The big news of Summer is the development of the White-Faced Heron chicks. If you remember, last December, we watched the parents build a very flimsy platform of twigs and sticks, high in the Cottonwood Poplar.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-24-09blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-11-47-15Our verandah is an excellent vantage point to watch the herons through binoculars and I was able to take some good photographs of the babies, once I attached my camera to a tripod.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-01-24blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-02-27Even though the chicks are very well-camouflaged and hidden behind the leaves, once you have worked out your landmarks (the twig wreath in the photo below) to accurately pinpoint the birds with the lens, it was possible to get a few shots.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-13-42-09-1 I suspect there may have initially been three chicks, as this photo suggests.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-02-58 However, by the time we arrived home, there were only two surviving chicks and they had grown enormously!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0588BlogSummer GardenReszd20%IMG_0533.jpgblogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-13-01-01blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-12-24-14 We enjoyed watching them sit high above the nest and learn balancing skills, though they were still a bit wobbly. They started jumping from branch to branch,blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-12-21-19BlogSummer GardenReszd20%2017-02-09 17.40.31.jpgand quickly mastered their grooming techniques,blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-12-41-01blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-12-40-05 their fluffy undersides giving away the fact that they were still babies!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-13-09-37blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-13-13-52Another difference between babies and their parents is that the adults have white faces.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0422blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0429I really hoped we would get to see the chicks’ first flight. It’s always such a miraculous moment and such a leap of faith! Maybe the sight of these more experienced aviators was helpful- a large flock of Little Corellas, which returned briefly in mid January to wheel and dive in the blue blue Summer skies of Candelo!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1041blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1043blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1031Or maybe, it was the flock of Gang-Gang Cockatoos, but we did achieve our desire!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0652 It was just so exciting! I think the first brave baby got the shock of its life, when it first ventured forth, flying straight back to the nest immediately! But as time went on (with the constant encouragement of their parents), they both gained confidence and were soon wheeling and diving with sheer joy!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0556blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1106 We were very happy to see them return to the tree each night, as well as during the day, for a rest and groom. They brought their teenage friends home, at least that’s what I assume, as none of them had white faces!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0902blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1015blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1018blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0944blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0931 Following the lead of their parents,blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1142blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1109 the chicks soon discovered the local rooftop next door.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0003blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0009 One day, the most confident chick flew into the top of the bamboo stand by the house, and then flew straight at me to land on the verandah roof!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0607blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0626The sight of these beautiful herons on our roof , their soft mushroom plumage complimenting the house colours so well (their yellow legs even matched the gutter colour!), with the rising morning moon in the background, gave me a sudden revelation with regards to our long-deliberated house name: ‘Herons’ Rise‘ – just perfect!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0712blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0687blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0695blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0717blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1136Here are some closeups, showing the complimentary colours!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0706blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0718blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0744 They also liked to feed in the gutter and even sat on the verandah edge.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0767blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0796blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1084blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1098 It’s a shame they don’t eat wasps, as this nest on the outside edge of the verandah is a little too close for comfort!!!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0261But I am glad they didn’t discover this praying mantis!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0365And then, by late February, they were gone! At least from our tree, though they did hang around in the local neighbourhood, fossicking down by the creek, flying in tandem over the local park and occasionally returning to the roof! I miss watching them watching us, but hopefully they will return to their old nest when it is time for them to rear their chicks!

And to top it all off, we finally we did get rain- blessed blessed rain! It’s not just the garden and we gardeners that are happy! These Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos were having a ball!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-16-12-08blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-24-22blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-24-13blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-16-14-14blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-16-13-51blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-16-12-30 We had 38 ml of rain over February, so we could still do with more, but at least it did freshen things up! Hopefully, we will get some more in March!

Already, the weather is starting to feel a bit like Autumn! I love this season, even though it is tempered with the knowledge of the approaching Winter! The buds on the camellia are already forming! Our Northern Hemisphere friends on the other hand are getting very excited about the end of their Winter and the beginning of Spring! One of the great things about blogging is that you have virtual friends all over the world and are always learning something new! One of the blogs I follow (https://chronicleofellen.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/fairy-doors-and-luck-magic/) mentioned ‘martenitsas‘, a term with which I was not familiar. On further research, I discovered that they are Bulgarian good luck charms, which are given to your nearest and dearest on the 1st March (Baba Marta Day) to welcome in the first day of Spring and wish them good health, happiness and longevity. They are then worn until the wearer sees their first stork or swallow returning from migration or a blossoming tree, so recipients in the Southern Hemisphere could be wearing them for six months!!! I was quite taken with the whole notion, even though we are entering Autumn, so followed the directions on a video tutorial (http://www.prettyprudent.com/2014/03/by-craft/yarn/martenitsa-bracelet-puppet-tutorial/), although I suspect the colours were muddled up, as traditionally, the male doll Pizho is white (representing purity), while the female doll Penda is red (the colour of life and passion), though really I don’t know if it really matters! I had so much fun making them and everyone seems to have loved them! So, Happy Baba Marta Day !!!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0448

The December Garden

It has been a very mild  Summer so far, though I suspect it is about to get hotter! Apart from the odd day in the late 30s/ early 40s, it has been more like a late Spring, which has been wonderful for gardening and has given us the opportunity to clean up and reorganize the cutting garden, which had started to get out of control!blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-15-11-45-28blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-31-25 We have now moved all the Narcissi to their own little patches under trees and the ends of the pergola and arches, and the old freesias to their own bank, bordering the car parking flat, where they can run riot and naturalize to their heart’s content! We have divided all the replicating Dutch Iris, tulips and anemones, which we then replanted throughout all the newly dug beds. I was surprised how many new bulbs there were and hope they all bloom successfully next Spring!blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-19-11-09-27blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-19-11-09-34 We transplanted the self-sown feverfew seedlings down the centre of the Dutch Iris and old zinnia beds and moved the latter’s self-sown seedlings on a very cool day to their own patch behind the dahlias in the recent peony poppy bed, leaving a few seedpods of the latter to dry out for seed. The zinnias are such tough plants and all have survived and are set to bloom in January.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-13-17-35-53blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-13-12-01-34 We were also fortunate in that another self-sown sunflower seedling is blooming in the same spot as last year and we have sowed the seed of some bright scarlet Mexican Sunflowers Tithonia on either side of the Helianthus annuus. They may not be successful, as the packet stipulates sowing them in Spring, but given the cooler weather we have been experiencing, I decided to give it a shot and see what happens! All going well, it should be a stunning display late Summer.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-33-23blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-33-28 The dahlias have already put on a wonderful show.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-17-23-43blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-34-14 I love all their rich vivid colours, as well as their more muted, softer pastel shades.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-05-18-15-11blogdecgarden20reszdimg_0116blogdecgarden20reszd2016-11-29-18-46-24blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-17-21-12 They make wonderful bouquets for the house and the Christmas table!blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-08-23-28blogdecgarden20reszdimg_0156blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-52-00 I also made a lovely, wild, blowsy bouquet from the early Summer flowers in the Soho and Moon Beds : bright blue Cornflowers, paler blue flowering salvia, mauve wallflowers, pretty white feverfew daisies, pink peony poppies and the seedpods of the latter and Nigella orientalis ‘Transformer’.blogdecgarden20reszdimg_0127blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-14-04-14  While we are still getting the odd peony poppy in the Soho Bed, the cutting garden has had masses of stunning ladybird Poppies, interspersed with a few self-sown Iceland Poppy seedlings from last year.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-18-17-20blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-18-17-25blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-14-04-33blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-03-10-22-56 The Soho Bed has settled down from its early November peak, but it  still has nice colour with the roses (Lolita, Mr Lincoln and The Childrens’ Rose),blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-14-09-29blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-08-17-58-02blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-13-18-52-50 and bergamot (photo 1), stachys and blue flowering salvia, replacing the wallflowers and the geum Lady Stratheden (photo 2).blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-18-10-36blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-18-10-54 We have two other blue salvias in the Moon Bed : Indigo Spires, which we bought from the nursery at Foxglove Spires, and a light blue variety, grown from a cutting from my sister’s old garden.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-14-20-58-40blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-08-17-58-54blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-14-20-59-13 They contrast well with the white feverfew daisies and the gold daylilies, also given to me by my sister,blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-05-12-26-29blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-06-18-17-11 along with this unusual flower, whose identity I have yet to ascertain. Any suggestions?blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-05-18-20-31blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-18-11-59 Elsewhere in the garden, roses in bloom include : Autumn Delight (photo 1) and Penelope are reflowering in the white hybrid musk hedge; Frau Dagmar Hastrup (photo 2) in the rugosa hedge; Devoniensis on the pergola (photo 3); and Alister Stella Gray (photo 4) in preparation for its future entrance arch!blogdecgarden20reszd2016-11-30-18-50-11blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-05-12-24-04blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-17-19-40-36blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-14-10-48 However, the standouts of the Summer Garden are the cooling blues and whites : the blue Convovulus maritima and the Madonna lilies with their pure white trumpets and gold stamens, heralding the start of Summer.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-27-29blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-12-16-53-47blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-06-18-30-45 They look so beautiful with the sun shining through their petals;blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-10-19-00-22blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-07-07-47-09 The potted  gardenia at the back door with its sumptuous white blooms with their exotic sharp spicy sweet scent, which always reminds me of Christmas!;blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-16-47blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-17-11-59blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-08-17-41-34 The white and blue blooms of the agapanthus bank, flowering in tandem with the mauve and white Acanthus mollis;blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-12-10-00-36 and the soft blue shade of the new hydrangeas, their huge bushes showing great promise;blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-17-19-50-41blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-14-11-54 and finally, the honey-drenched blooms of the pink and mauve buddleias down the path, constantly full of butterflies, bees and wasps!blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-01-16-40-50blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-05-18-18-02blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-01-16-41-17blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-18-31blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-21-09blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-15-12-18-55 We have also had a few exciting surprises! Our new hosta Peter Pan has flowered with sprays of mauve flowers, which complement its blue-green foliage;blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-13-12-01-05blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-13-12-01-10 Our dogwood Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’ has bloomed for the very first time. Its green buds turn white, and finally a deep pink by the end of Summer;blognovgarden20reszdimg_0083blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-06-18-28-38 The Sprekelia (Jacobean Lily) bulb nearby at the bottom of the steps has grown back after disappearing for a long while, after a mishap with the whipper-snipper, and most exciting of all … we discovered that we actually have more Jacobean Lilies, with an up-till-then unidentified bulb at the end of the tulip bed coming into bloom with its distinctive red flower, another Christmas treat!blognovgarden20reszdimg_0084blogdecgarden20reszdimg_0112 While the NSW Christmas Bush flowers have yet to turn red (delayed due to the cold I suspect!), Lady X grevillea (photo 2) is doing the right thing with masses of red blooms for visiting honeyeaters, while the wattlebirds love my neighbour’s red hot pokers (Kniphofia), another Christmas flower (photo 1).blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-17-55-28blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-17-15-02 The newly transplanted lemon verbena is also in full bloomblogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-17-18-11blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-03-10-25-19 and the rainforest plants are growing madly, including this beautiful staghorn on the loquat tree.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-05-12-30-55 Other garden stalwarts include the bromeliads, the pinks and geranium Rosalie in the Treasure Bedblogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-06-18-28-53blogdecgarden20reszd2016-11-30-18-46-22blogdecgarden20reszd2016-11-30-19-00-07 and the honeysuckle climbers on the fence.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-23-31blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-11-23-51 With so much in flower, the bees and butterflies are in seventh heaven.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-03-10-27-14blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-12-10-03-16blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-08-17-57-03blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-03-10-23-26 The fruit trees and vegetable garden are a mecca for the bats and the birds,blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-15-18-23-45blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-05-18-13-27blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-13-18-47-54 though huge breeding flocks of Little Corellas and Galahs have taken over the trees,blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-14-20-49-59blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-23-21-39-57 recently vacated motels for visiting flying foxes, which have now mostly disappeared to raid other areas.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-01-12-20-58blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-21-00-53blogdecgarden20reszd2016-11-29-21-00-23 The skies are full of these noisy party acrobats, with the odd Sulphur-Crested and Yellow-Tailed Black cockatoo cousins joining in.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-10-42-29blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-23-21-36-17blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-23-21-36-23blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-21-06-21blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-21-08-32-03blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-11-07-15blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-11-07-31 The King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas are enjoying the scarlet Duranta berries,blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-01-17-12-36blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-02-17-28-48blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-17-22-13 while the Satin Bowerbirds have been feasting on our beans and raspberries!blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-15-19-34-20blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-18-10-39-07 This beautiful immature Crimson Parrot sent us scurrying to our bird books to confirm its identity!blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-21-20-27-50blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-21-20-27-59We were very excited when some White-Faced Herons decided to build a twiggy nest platform, high in the Black Cottonwood tree, though I suspect these two were visiting youngsters, as they don’t have the white adult face.blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-01-18-13-22blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-01-18-17-14 We watch the parents’ changing of the guard (they share incubation duties) from our vantage point on the verandah. Apparently, the incubation period is 21 to 24 days, so hopefully, we will have some new baby herons for the New Year!blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-06-18-23-55blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-06-18-26-22blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-06-18-26-58 We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying a relaxing break. All our very Best Wishes for 2017! xxxblogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-23-11-16-14blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-23-11-16-25blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-09-12-11-29

The October Garden

Well! What a month it has been! The mid-Spring garden has more than compensated for its late start and even though the temperatures are cooler than usual, the days are still sunny. There was an excellent fall of snow on the mountains last week – now that all the ski lifts have closed! The photos below were taken on our trips to Canberra on the 19th (first photo) and 23rd October (last 2 photos) this past week. It was actually snowing in Nimmitabel on Sunday!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0030blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0262blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0007 The cooler weather has prolonged the flowering season of many of the early Spring blooms, including bluebells under the crab apple tree, tulips (early October), hellebores and clivias.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0210blogoctgarden20reszd2016-09-29-11-16-38blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0130blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0280 The trees have all just about gained their new foliage for the season, the poplars being the last trees to come into leaf, and the plums have finished flowering, while the crab apples are in their final days (photos 3 to 5).blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1893blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1902blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-09-09-08-14blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-11-12-26-00blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0116 The cockatoos (photos 3 and 4) and king parrots loved the blossoms- a bit crazy really, as they are depleting their future fruit source! The latter (photo 2) also love to graze the weeds in the vegie garden, as does the white-faced heron (photo 1)!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0300blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0279blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0024 blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0013The apples have luscious white blooms and are setting fruit already.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0111blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-11-02-22blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0119 Meantime, the loquat fruits are turning yellow, attracting king parrots and bowerbirds by day and possums and fruit bats at night, the latter occasionally waking us up with their skirmishes. I don’t think we humans will get much of a look in when it comes to the fruit!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0142blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1821 At least, the white mulberries are starting to ripen and the blueberries and raspberries are in flower.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0182blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0147blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0229 We have been feasting on delicious organic strawberries from our new bed, though I suspect a slug may also have been, as the wire guards preclude attack by birds or rabbits!blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-11-03-15blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0162 The rhubarb has also provided delicious desserts and I have been substituting angelica leaves for the sugar, at least in the fruit part of rhubarb and apple crumble- a great success!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0106blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0107 We have been enjoying our own home-grown onions, lettuce, rainbow chard and baby spinach from the vegetable garden.blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-11-12-38-20blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-09-11-54-39I also made another batch of cumquat marmalade from the 1 kg fruit we harvested. I would strongly advise NOT to combine blogging with jam making, but I think I just got away with it. Even  though the marmalade is darker than usual, it set brilliantly! Fortunately, the cumquat trees are still covered in lots of new blooms. I love their sweet scent as we walk past them. The Michelia has almost finished flowering too, but the Weigela next door has now replaced it.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0199blogoctgarden20reszd2016-09-29-16-43-08blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1691 Initially, its blooms opened white and I was a little disappointed, as I had bought it as a pink weigela to complement the pink flowering currant on the other side of the pergola entrance. I thought that the plant must have been mislabelled, but to my great delight, the blooms then turned a soft pink, deepening in intensity as they age. This plant is so pretty with its colour variations! The second photo below is my neighbour’s pure white weigela.blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-11-16-33-07blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1850blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1692 Unfortunately, the flowering currant did not flower this year (with all its moves!), but it is doing well and the snowball tree behind it has masses of lime-green, turning white, globular blooms.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0096blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0088blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0090blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0238blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0299 The choisya has a mass of white starry flowers, which look very similar to the blooms of the citrus trees behind it.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0116-2 The Carolina Allspice has a number of buds this year, as has the Philadelphus virginalis, and I am keen to see the form of the latter’s blooms, as when it first bloomed last year, the flowers were the correct double form, but I did find some single ones later on, which could be root stock. We will just have to wait and see! On our recent trip to the Southern Highlands, we bought a Belle Etoile Philadelphus, with large single very fragrant flowers, which we have planted next to the old lilac on the fence. Ross has cut an archway between the bamboos and a path behind the large stand to access this part of the garden.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1907blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0209-2blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0205The blackbird has finished nesting in the bamboo, but a magpie has been very busy creating her brooding chamber high in the top of the Pepperina tree.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1861blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0346Our new Katherine Havermeyer lilac is a delight and is growing and blooming well.blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-10-11-44-53 The Chaenomeles are still throwing out the odd bloom and the red rhododendron and white azalea are in full bloom, though we will probably move the azalea into a less shaded situation after it has finished flowering. My Grevillea ‘Lady X’ is perpetually in flower (last photo)!blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-11-12-38-58blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-18-24-22blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-18-20-25blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-18-23-30blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0298blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0251 Unlike the azalea, the Viburnum plicatum however appears to be thriving in full shade and we also bought two different hostas- Peter Pan and Allan P Mc Connell- from Moidart Nursery, near Bowral, to fill out this shady nook.blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-18-21-38 I also discovered some Winter Aconite Eranthis hyemalis there- very expensive, as it is very difficult to source here in Australia- in fact, this is the only place I have ever seen it- and I may also let it run riot here among the snowdrops, though initially will put it in the treasure bed until I am sure it germinates next year! Here are the treasures we brought home!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1682blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0164 We also bought some blue primroses, a lovely deep blue auricula (photo 3), Pulsatilla vulgaris, Rhodohypoxis baurii (photo 4), a variegated Arabis procurrens and Azorella trifurcata to fill out the gaps in this bed as the grape hyacinth die down- I love their little seed pods (photo 2)! We planted the new plants in the treasure bed yesterday morning.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1684blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1974blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0291blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0245 The Lily of the Valley (photo 1) are also up and the Rosalie Geranium has returned. The Acanthus soldiers and blue Convovulus mauritanicus (photo 2) are on the march nearby. blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0054blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0211-2I love the pattern and form of the Acanthus, the photos below showing why their common name is Oyster Plant, and their colour really compliments the house walls. blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1837blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1834 The Garden beds have been such a treat this Spring!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0097-2blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0136blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0145blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0158blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0255 The Cutting Garden is a delight with lots of clear royal blue, pale hyacinth blue, bright gold and clean white Dutch Iris and blue cornflowers, forming a backdrop to the bright intense jewel-like ranunculus. Such a treat!blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-11-12-39-55blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1786blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-10-58-52blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0224blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0120blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0216-2blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0121blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0322blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-10-15-50-24 The beautifully-scented freesias (photo 1) have just about finished, but the nigella amongst it is in bud. I suspect they are the self-seeded progeny of last year’s lime-green variety (photo 2), rather than the new blue nigella, which we sowed last Autumn. The foxglove is in bloom again, its flowers displaying a similar habit to the weigela- white turning pink, from the base up (photos 3 and 4)!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0250blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0312blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0284blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0285 The Iceland Poppies from last year also self-seeded, producing white, gold and orange blooms. So stunning and long-lasting when cut.blogoctgarden20reszd2016-09-29-11-19-09blogoctgarden20reszd2016-09-29-11-18-56 Here are more photos of the individual ranunculus blooms.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0091blogoctgarden20reszd2016-09-30-15-41-43blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0124blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-10-15-51-18blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-10-16-11-36blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-18-28-54The Soho Bed  is such a picture and there is very little bare ground to be seen! I am a bit eclectic when it comes to style and colour, but somehow the jumble of colours seems to work – in my eyes anyway!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0204blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0210blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0240blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0067 The loyal wallflowers have been joined by a variety of other mauves and purples in the catmint, the wild poppies and the stunning Italian Lavender; blue forget-me-knot; pink thrift and verbena and gold highlights in the old gold bearded iris and now the geum.blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-11-12-40-06blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-18-16-32blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1731blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0263blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0055blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0073blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0078 The bees, both honey bees and native bees, and butterflies are in heaven!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1924blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1911blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1908blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1946blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1926 Here are two Spring vases from the garden!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0330blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0133 The Moon Bed is also very beautiful with soft mauve bearded iris, rescued from the heavy shade of the cumquat trees and transplanted to the new Moon Bed, where they can recapture the glory of their flowering period.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0098blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0222blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-11-12-30-17 We did not know what colour they would be, so waited with baited breath as their blooms slowly opened. We were delighted with their dreamy colour, Ross’s favourite, and one which really suits the Moon Bed, while the gold bearded iris are perfect in our sunny Soho Bed!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0095blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-11-12-30-17 The blue salvia, yellow Paris daisies and day lilies and pink peony (1st photo below) are all growing madly and the roses all have fat buds and are just about to open! SO exciting! November is going to be heavenly! Even the roses from my cuttings last year are in bud! The second photo below shows the blooms of a white tree paeony Paeonia suffruticosa, which we saw at Red Cow Farm on our recent trip to the Southern Highlands , promptly purchasing a seedling, which we will plant at the bottom of the steps next to the pergola and the Philadelphus next Autumn! I will be describing this trip in more detail in my Favourite Gardens post in December.blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0241blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1063blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1064 The highlight of the October roses has been the Yellow Banksia, R. banksia lutea, over the outdoor eating area. I can safely report it has now fully recovered from its drastic initial haircut and has been a mass of bright gold and softer lemon blooms!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1904blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-09-11-39-16blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0289blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0079 The Spirea on the fence nearby has also been a mass of blooms, but is now finishing off, while the honeysuckle is set to take over.blogoctgarden20reszd2016-09-30-11-06-22 blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0168blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0211The white banksia rose, R.banksiae alba plena, on the bottom future chook fence, has also been in full bloom, as has its partner, the Jasmine, Jasminium polyanthum.blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-11-02-02blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-09-11-53-04 I think both of them are vigorous enough to compete with each other, as I have seen two instances out and about this Spring- a wall covered in yellow banksia and potato vine and an old pergola obliterated by a white banksia, a jasmine and a snail creeper!blogoctgarden20reszdimg_1758