Christmas 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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