The March Garden

Officially, it’s the start of Autumn, but Summer is not quite ready to give up her reign, with a run of temperatures in the early to mid-thirties and quite high humidity over the past few weeks, though it has cooled off the last two days! It’s been wonderful for beach visits and sunbaking pumpkins! We have discovered a beautiful cooling swimming hole in the bend of the Bega River as it enters the sea!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6925BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0694We have finally harvested the Jap pumpkins! Here they are soaking up the last of the Summer sun before joining their cousins in the shed.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0955 BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-19 18.47.52The late warmth is also great for extending the growing season of our plants – I may yet get to view some of the new Dahlia flowers. The first flowerbuds are already forming!BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.35.18BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-19 18.42.40BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0862BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-20 16.52.17The Autumn raspberry crop is in full production- we have actually been able to feast on THREE raspberry fruits each at the one picking on one occasion! Luxury!!!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0681 The tomatoes and capsicums are still very productive.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0914BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0690The northern vegie bed has been planted up with its last vegetables for the season before the Winter shade : new carrots, lettuce and spinach with potatoes on the left and raspberries on the trellis at the back.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0958BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0956We may yet get our 2nd potato crop of Dutch Creams, so long as the 28-spotted lady beetle doesn’t decimate the foliage first! All the organic gurus advise that the best way to control them is to handpick off the ladybirds and their eggs and larvae, then squash them or drown them in a small amount of methylated spirits. Quite a task, but necessary, as we don’t want to kill all the  ‘good’ ladybirds and other beneficial insects!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0911 There is such an amazing diversity of wondrous insects in our garden. Whenever we venture down into the garden, we are assaulted by masses of butterflies from white Cabbage Moths flitting madly from plant to plant;BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0919 The more humble browns sitting quietly on foliage;BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-22 11.16.36BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.37.29BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.37.39BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-12 17.17.36BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0734 And majestic courting Orchard Butterflies chasing each other around the garden.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0113BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0155BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0127 We also discovered this precious little spotted moth and a stunning striped metallic green fly!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0645BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6957 The colourful zinnias host some equally stunning red and black beetles;BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0685BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6961BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6966BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0655 While the roses are home to grasshoppers and tiny spiders:BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0407BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0410BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0396Here is our old friend, The Blue-banded Bee, pollinating the Gaura in the Soho Bed.BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-12 17.13.50 I can’t wait to discover the creators of these leaf cocoons high up in the Kurrajong tree.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0922BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0921The abundance of insect life provides food for those higher up the food chain. This little brown frog hunts at night-time, while a variety of birds enchant us during the day.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0670 Now that the big boys of the Cockatoo family have finished their fruit-picking season, the smaller birds have reappeared. They especially love the birdbath on these hot days and often a number of different species will be taking the waters together!

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Eastern Spinebills and Yellow-faced Honeyeater
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Eastern Spinebills and Yellow Thornbill

BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0385 We often see a pair of resident Eastern Spinebills (first 3 photos) and a lone Yellow-faced Honeyeater bathing or foraging for food together. The last 3 photos are of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters (2 photos of an immature bird and the last an adult Honeyeater)BlogMarchGarden30%ReszdIMG_0782 - CopyBlogMarchGarden30%Reszd2016-02-23 10.19.19 - Copy

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A very wet, but cool, Eastern Spinebill!

BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0859BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0854BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0345We saw a New Holland Honeyeater partaking of the birdbath for the first time yesterday.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0945We have also watched a myriad of other small birds plunging in for a refreshing dip including : both Yellow (1st photo) and Brown Thornbills (2nd and 3rd photo).BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0803BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0753BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0218 Other little birds include a White-throated Scrub Wren, Silver-Eyes and a Grey Fantail (photo below);BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 19.07.59 A flock of Double-barred Finches has been grazing on the lawn.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0300BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0316Larger birds like  female Blackbirds and Bower Birds are also attracted to the birdbath for a cool drink.BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 19.10.47BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 19.13.47 We have heard the call of a Golden Whistler from the bottom of the garden, but have been unable to locate it yet, but I did finally see and photograph our cuckoo baby, an immature Common Koel,  whose incessant calls plagued us last month and I am gradually improving on my attempts to capture the Gang-Gang fly-past!BlogMarchGarden40%ReszdIMG_0239 - Copy - CopyBlogMarchGarden25%ReszdIMG_0241 BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0283Because this new camera has been upgraded from a 20x zoom to a 30x zoom, I am still learning how to control it, especially for objects in close or mid-range, which often end up blurred! It is however perfect for long-distance shots like the cuckoo, flying birds and even the moon!!!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0867BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-21 21.38.49 Back on earth, its namesake, the Moon Bed, is looking so established now. The David Austin roses are positively romping and the daisies are in full bloom.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0394BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0395BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0648 We planted a blue-purple flowering Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’, bought recently at the Lanyon Plant Fair, between William Morris and Lucetta and next to the daisy and their colours complement each other perfectly!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0902BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0865 All the roses are blooming so profusely- it is almost like they know Winter is coming!!! The first 3 photos are of my favourite Jude the Obscure, followed by Golden Celebration (photo 4), Troilus (photo 5), Heritage (photo 6) and Lucetta (last 2 photos). BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 09.36.41BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0391BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0392BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-19 18.44.55BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0687BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_1047BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0449BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0393 The Soho Bed is also full of colour and scent. I love the golden-orange Lolita, as you can see in the 3 photos below!

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Ice Girl and Children’s Rose with Ceratostigma and Lavender

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Ice Girl
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Copper Queen
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Heaven Scent
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Eglantyne
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LD Braithwaite
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Mr. Lincoln

Elsewhere in the garden, Alister Stella Gray (photo 1), Penelope (photo 2) and Devoniensis (photo 3) are also in full bloom.BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 09.35.52BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0400BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_1046Here are some photos of this month’s bouquets.

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Heritage, Lucetta, Jude the Obscure and Buddleia
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Eglantyne, Jude the Obscure, Troilus, Heaven Scent, Mr. Lincoln and Catmint
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Zinnias and Ceratostigma

BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0972The Cutting Garden is still ablaze with sizzling Zinnias, sprawling orange dahlias and intense purple and softer mauve cosmos.BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.35.04BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0905BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0915BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0684BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0673BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0414BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0660 BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6976BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6974BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0187Nearby the rhododendron throws out a beautiful red bloom.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_1051The bright orange cannas glow like flames in the late afternoon sun.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0465 The Banksia is laden with golden candles and the protea is forming pink buds.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0479BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0666 The hydrangea bed provides a cooling respite on these hot days.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0044BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0043 I love the delicate mauve and white flowers of the feral Duranta.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0417BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0402 The white Nerine bulbs are gearing up for next month, as is the Tree Dahlia. Fortunately, we have not had last year’s windy weather, when we were constantly having to support the long canes.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0689 Instead, Ross has been attaching the long side-runners to the top of the new pergola.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0419 It’s a tricky job, as he is using recycled timber of different lengths and has had to mortise beams together to achieve the full 5m length.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0480BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0899BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0471 He has done a wonderful job! All those years of building cattle yards and fencing have stood him in good stead!

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The roses on the top side have almost reached the top of the pergola!

BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0898 Meanwhile, I have been creating another cushion cover for my highly creative and artistic friend Heather, who visited us for her birthday last weekend. As Heather loves colour and abstract art, I used a design by Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979), who was a Ukrainian-born French artist, who founded Simultanism, a branch of Orphism, with her husband Robert Delaunay. She painted abstract pictures with colour rhythms, as well as designing textiles, fashion garments and stage sets. She was a thoroughly modern, independent, highly creative and versatile woman, who was a friend of Kandinsky and Chagall, so she is a perfect match for my friend! For more information about this fascinating artist, see : http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/mar/27/sonia-delaunay-avant-garde-queen-art-fashion-vibrant-tate-modern and http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/apr/13/sonia-delaunay-tate-modern-london-review

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Based on Rhythm Colour No. 1076, painted by Sonia Delaunay in 1939

It was an interesting and challenging design, involving many small pieces of felt and lots of decision-making about thread colour and embroidery stitch type, so as not to detract from the original design.BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 13.15.40 I have also started some embroidered calico patches depicting Australian animals, which I will later attach to a cushion cover. I will show you some photos next month, when I have done a few more! It’s time-consuming, but fun! Luckily, the Easter break is coming up!!! Happy Easter!!!

The Festive Season

Seasons Greetings! We hope you all had a wonderful relaxing Christmas and are now gearing up for New Year. We had a lovely first Christmas here in Candelo with perfect weather in the mid-twenties.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 10.21.17 My daughter was up early and not because she couldn’t wait! She has been babysitting our neighbour’s beautiful black Labradors and they were very impatient for the day to begin! Caro took the following photos:

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Photogenic Dougal in Black-and-White
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Everything a girl could want: a guitar, computer, mobile phone and a friend staying over!
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Dougal and Jamie with their Christmas toys
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Do you have to go up for Christmas?

We started the day in a very civilized fashion with delicious fruit, sourdough toast and lime marmalade and tea before sitting down to open our gifts.

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Christmas 2015
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The youngest always distributes the presents!
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A reminder of Caro’s field study on moulting Fairy Penguins
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Christmas breakfast

My daughter has rediscovered water colour painting and has been busy this past week making beautiful cards for all her family and friends.

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Watercolour cards for Christmas
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A kookaburra for Ross and a hedgehog for me
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More cute watercolour cards
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A Christmas card for sister Jen and her boyfriend
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The fox and the butterfly

We organized Christmas lunch, then I popped down to the neighbour’s house for a Christmas photo shoot with the dogs! They are such characters!! It was quite a saga getting them to wear their antlers at the same time and long enough to be photographed!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.25.10BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.23.51BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.28.17I love Dougal’s eyes! He is such a handsome fellow, but a bit of a rogue!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.28.41BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.29.08Caro has a real soft spot for Jamie!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.26.44Lunch was delicious! Roast turkey with fig, orange and cranberry stuffing, ham, roast potatoes, roast pumpkin with rosemary, little onions roasted in thyme and balsalmic vinegar, green beans and a delicious home-grown, red cabbage dish. We crashed for a much-needed sleep, forgetting that we had left the pudding on to boil! Luckily, Ross topped up the water and even though it boiled for an extra hour than it should have, it didn’t affect it and I think it was the best Christmas Pudding ever! Thank you Syd for the tip about Gladwrap – a perfect seal (see my late November post: Christmas Pudding Wishes : https://candeloblooms.com/2015/11/26/christmas-pudding-wishes/) . We were also very impressed with the Christmas Cake this year- lovely and moist and not burnt for once!!!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 15.21.47BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 17.42.47BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 17.40.09The festive season has also definitely begun in the bird world! The Little Corellas (white) and Pink Galahs are loving the ripe Duranta berries.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-20 10.13.25BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 20.27.54BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-20 10.07.44BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 20.28.02Some of their more rogueish elements have also started on the plums and apples!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-19 20.59.37BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-20 10.08.24BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-20 10.13.59I am always amazed at the pink plumage of Galahs and Little Corellas are such endearing clowns with their blue eye patches and engaging antics!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 20.27.20BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 20.28.28BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-20 10.08.51We are still treated nightly to their aerial manouevres and mass flock spectacles, occasionally livened up with a blur of pink from the galahs joining in!

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A blur of pink!
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Mixed flock of Little Corellas with the odd Galah!
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The density of the flocks always amazes me!
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A tree decked in pink!
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Night-time companions

It is lovely having the Eastern Spinebills back in the garden and the verandah is an ideal spot to watch them sucking the nectar from the agapanthus.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-24 12.37.58The latter are now in full bloom and absolutely stunning!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.35.37BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 18.29.53BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.03.26BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 18.30.44The hydrangeas are forming giant flower heads of soft mauve, blue and pink.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.06.29BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.06.22BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 20.10.44BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.06.41We were thrilled to discover a Blue-banded Bee (Amegilla cingulata) in the Soho Bed. ‘Cingulata’ comes from the Latin ‘Cingulum’ (belt), referring to the bands. Apparently, the males have 5 stripes and the females 4 stripes on their abdomen. These beautiful Australian native bees are quite solitary, unlike their Honey Bee cousins. The males cling to the plant stems overnight, while the females live in burrows in the soil or soft stone and have a limited foraging range within 300 m of their nest, so they must be resident in the garden! Perhaps they nest in between the old bricks of the Soho Bed path. Apparently, they love blue flowers, so they should feel very at home in our garden with all the lavender, blue salvia, agapanthus and hydrangeas! Photo 1 shows a Blue-banded Bee on a Lavender stalk. The 2nd photo is a close-up, in case you could not find it! BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-21 11.58.47BlogFestiveSeason30%Reszd2015-12-21 11.58.47 (2)Here is a Honey Bee on a rose leaf.

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The Soho Bed is the home of the Blue-banded Bee.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-21 11.28.50Perhaps, the female has her nest in between the old bricks of the path, shown in Photo 5, with the Pink Verbena.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 19.59.52The insect world and its ingenious defensive mechanisms and camouflage never ceases to amaze me! If I was a bird, I wouldn’t want to eat this spiky spider with its yellow dots.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-19 16.12.49 Nor this spider with the scary face on its bottom!!! BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-19 16.44.26This spiky furry caterpillar would be quite a mouthful! (Caro’s photo)BlogFestiveSeason70%Reszd2015-12-20 06.38.27

I love all their patterns and dots.BlogFestiveSeason40%Reszd2015-12-19 16.36.19 (2)BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.11.19BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-21 11.55.48BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-21 10.51.59BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 18.30.22We felt pretty special finding this Christmas Beetle down in the vegie garden on Christmas Day.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 18.27.23Another very exciting discovery on the day after Boxing Day was the opening of the sunflower blooms, all ready for the New Year!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 20.05.37BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.10.42BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.11.04The pumpkin flowers are prolific and their parent plants and the zucchini plants continue their relentless march across the garden, consuming everything in their path!

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A pumpkin flower
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Heading for the Moon (Bed)!
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Pumpkin Attack!

I love all the warm colours in the garden too : the Dahlias, the Red Hot Pokers, the Calla Lily seeds and all the ripening fruit and vegies.

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Bright sunny Dahlias
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Our very own Red Hot Poker
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Calla Lily seeds
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A tiny pumpkin forming!
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Golden Heritage Cherry tomatoes
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Tom Thumb cherry tomatoes
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Rouge de Marmande tomatoes
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Within the day, the above tomatoes had turned red!
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Parrot delight!
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Purple plums
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Almost ripe!
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Maybe this is a Golden Hornet Crab Apple after all!

For Christmas, we decided to buy the hardwood posts and cross-beams for the Main Pergola. The steel posts in Photo 1 show the position of the uprights. Adam (Photo 2) and the other climbing roses are growing so quickly, they urgently need support.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-21 12.01.13BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 20.07.12Here are the other beautiful blooms this week: In order, Penelope; Blanc Double de Coubert; Troilus; Eglantyne; The Children’s Rose and LD Braithwaite.BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.08.50BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.21.09BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 18.29.36BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 19.59.14BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 19.59.20BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 19.59.28And my Christmas vases: Agapanthus; Orange Calendula and Blue Cornflowers; LD Braithwaite (red), Eglantyne (pale pink), Children’s Rose (globular pink), Feverfew and Catmint; A vase of Troilus with Buddleia, white and purple Stock, Feverfew, Catmint and Blue Salvia complements the beautiful Simplicity calendar, which our son gave us; Close-up of the same vase; Stunning red dahlias and finally, cheery orange dahlias for Christmas!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.06.19BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 10.04.11BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.24.29BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.33.37BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 11.35.11BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 10.05.48BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-22 10.06.44Finally, some photos of our beautiful Full Moon over Christmas. If you look at the 4th photo carefully, it looks like there is a 2nd very faint moon above the real moon! I loved the cloud effects! The last photo was taken on the full zoom of the camera, but has not been further enlarged. It is an amazing little camera and really comes into its own with long-distance shots!!!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 22.13.13BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 22.10.36BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 22.11.16BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 20.04.57BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 22.15.08BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 22.17.40