Our Beautiful Earth: Part Four: Natural History Books: Reference Guides

In this post, I will be discussing some fabulous general reference guides to life on earth, including the elements which underpin its very existence: the geology and soils, the weather and climate and lastly, the amazing night sky!

Natural History by Smithsonian Institute 2010

A fabulous door-stopper of a book for anyone interested in natural history and our amazing and unique planet with its huge diversity and extraordinary wealth of plant and animal life – in fact over 1.9 million living species described to date, with more than 20 000 new species discovered and described each year.

It starts with a note on how to use the book, including pointers on size measurements; and plant icons and abbreviations, followed by a general introduction to life on Earth: its geological foundations; evolution of life forms and the classification of organisms. Active geological processes, changing climates, different habitats, human impacts, origins of life, evolution and diversity, natural and artificial selection, animal genealogy and a Tree of Life are all included in this chapter.

The majority of the book is devoted to an amazing in-depth catalogue of 5000 full colour entries, including Minerals, Rocks and Fossils; Microscopic Life Forms; and the Plant, Fungi and Animal Kingdoms.

Each entry has

: a Section Introduction, highlighting the characteristics and behaviours that define the group and discussing their evolution over time, with classification boxes displaying current taxonomic hierarchy and highlighting the level of the group under discussion and a box showing the different groups of species;

: a Group Introduction with key features : distribution, habitat, physical characteristics, life cycle, behaviour and reproductive habits;

: a Species Catalogue with common and scientific names; family; height; essential notes and annotated colour photos, showing relative sizes;    and

: a Feature Profile, which examines single specimens with close-up photographs and side profiles and data sets of size, habitat, distribution and diet.

Almost an essential reference for every library, it is a wonderful guide to the huge diversity of life on earth with all its variety of form, colour, texture, size and function.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (517)Another useful site, particularly for Australian flora and fauna is the Atlas of Living Australia: http://www.ala.org.au/.

Biology: An Australian Focus by Pauline Ladiges, Barbara Evans, Robert Saint and Bruce Knox 2008

Every natural history library should have an academic book devoted to biology, especially if it is a major interest,  and this is a good one, because it has an Australian focus, as well as a student interactive CD-ROM in the back.

It starts from the basics of life with cell biology and energetics and genetics and molecular biology, progressing through to plant form and function; animal form and function; evolution and biodiversity; and ecology, including Australian biota, population ecology, ecosystems and communities, and human impacts.

Plant Form and Function includes reproduction, growth and development of flowering plants; plant structure and nutrition; and plant hormones and growth responses, while Animal Form and Function covers animal reproduction and development; animal and human nutrition;, gas exchange in animals; circulation; water, solutes and excretion; innate defences and the immune system; hormonal control; nervous systems; animal behaviour; and their responses to environmental stress.

Evolution and Biodiversity is a huge chapter, which examines phylogeny and classification systems; the evolving earth (fossils; plate tectonics and continental drift; geological eras and biogeographic regions); and mechanisms of evolution, followed by a detailed look at all the different life forms: bacteria; viruses; protists; plants; fungi; and animals (sponges; jellyfish, sea anemones and corals; flukes and worms; molluscs; insects;  starfish; fish; amphibians; reptiles; birds; mammals; primates and humans).

I really enjoyed the chapter on Australian biota and its evolution from the time when Australia was part of Gondwanaland through the various geological eras and the influence of changing climate and aridity; changing landforms and weathering of soils; increasing frequency of fire; the glacial periods; and the arrival of humans on the continent and their impact. Terrestial and marine environments; the El Nino-Southern Oscillation influence; marine diversity; Australian flora and some of its main families and adaptive characteristics; and our unique fauna, including ancient megafauna, are also discussed in some detail.

The final chapter on human impacts is also very pertinent to Australia and looks at a host of environmental problems and concepts from decreasing biodiversity; biodiversity hotspots; land clearing and fragmentation;  the introduction of new species and the impact of feral animals and weeds; integrated pest management; land and water degradation; soil acidification;  increasing salinity; pollution; the greenhouse effect; climate change; coral bleaching; the illegal trade in endangered species; sustainability; and conservation and restoration ecology.

Being an academic textbook, each chapter concludes with a summary; key terms; self-assessment, review and extension questions and suggestions for further reading. An excellent book for basic biological concepts!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (553)Smithsonian Earth  edited by James F Luhr 2005

Another terrific Smithsonian publication, this time focusing on the Earth !

Its history : geological time; fossils; its building blocks; birth of the solar system; the development of life forms through the various geological eras; the ice ages; and the development of humans, all supported by a tabulated time line at the top of the page.

Its place in space : the universe; the solar system; the relationship between the earth and the sun and moon.

Its anatomy: the earth’s structure, shape, form and layers; the Earth’s magnetic field;  the core, mantle and crust; mineral formation, crystal structure and shape, mineral classification and identification tests; rock types and examples; fossil fuels; and soils: their formation and types.

The changing Earth : plate tectonics, boundaries and movement; weathering and erosion; deposition; mass movement; the impact of meteorites (with examples from all over the world); water (water properties and different forms; the global and local water cycles; and water resources); and life (diversity; evolution; extinctions; biomes and ecosystems; biogeography; nutrient cycles; and threats to biodiversity).

Land features: mountains and volcanoes, fault-lines and hot springs and geysers; rivers and lakes; glaciers and deserts; grasslands and  tundra;  forests and wetlands; and agricultural and urban areas.

Oceans : currents; reefs; polar oceans; oceans of the world; tides and waves; coasts and sea level; and erosional and depositional coastlines.

: Atmosphere : atmospheric structure; energy; circulation; climate regions; climate change; air masses and weather systems; precipitation and clouds; and wind.

: Tectonic Earth : focusing on all the specific earth plates, with details like area, highest and lowest points, major features, major city, and population and boundaries with lots of illustrative examples.

A wealth of information , presented in a very simple and clear format with lots of interesting examples and great photos. This is another essential book for your library!BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (531)Australian Volcanoes by Russell Ferrett 2005

Large areas of Eastern Australia have experienced intense volcanic activity over the past 40 Million years, resulting in the creation of many landforms, which have since been eroded to varying degrees. I was fascinated to learn that 16 of Australia’s volcanoes have been formed by the crustal Australian plate moving northward over hotspots in the Bass Strait, with the oldest volcano at 35 Million years old at Hillsborough, Qld and the youngest at less than 10 million years old at Mt Macedon. Also, more disconcertingly, that the Victorian volcanic region is not actually extinct, but has been resting the last 4000 years and could actually become active again!

This book examines the earth’s structure; the different types of volcanic activity in Australia; the types of eruptions; volcanic material (tephra, lava and volcanic rocks and their formation); and types of volcanic landforms (volcanic cones; domes; plains; lava tubes; tumuli; plugs; dykes and sills), before concentrating on specific volcanic features in Australia, many of which we have visited. These include the Atherton Tableland with its crater lakes and Undara Lave Tubes in North Queensland; the Glasshouse Mountains, just north of Brisbane, Queensland, and Mt Warning in Northern New South Wales; the Warrumbungles and Ebor Volcano, New South Wales; Mt Canoblas near Orange, New South Wales; Lord Howe Island and Heard Island; the Organ Pipes National Park; Mt Macedon; the Camperdown district; Tower Hill and Mt Eccles in Victoria; Mt Gambier, South Australia;  Circular Head and Cradle Mountain in Tasmania; and the diamond deposits in Western Australia’s Kimberleys.

It is a fascinating book and explains the formation of all these landforms clearly and simply.

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Rocks and Minerals by Chris Pellant 1992

This is a Collins Eye Witness Visual Guide to over 500 rocks and minerals from around the world. It is a perfect book for rock and gemstone collectors, with introductory chapters on rock collecting; geological maps and field equipment; the home kit and organizing your collection. It then has a section on mineral definition, formation, composition, characteristics (crystal systems, habit, cleavage, fracture, hardness, specific gravity, colour, streak, transparency and lustre) and identification.

The section on rocks covers their formation; types of metamorphism; the characteristics of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks and a rock identification key.

The world of geology is an enormous and complex subject, but this little book explains the basics so well, that it is interesting to even the lay person like myself and it is so important for the natural history lover to have a basic knowledge of rocks and minerals, as they underpin the rest of life itself: the soils, the plants and the animals, which live in each habitat.

Each entry is categorized into its group and there is a short note about each group at the beginning, followed by specifics about each rock and mineral. Coloured tabs at the top and bottom of each mineral entry denote the group to which it belongs, its chemical composition, its hardness, specific gravity and its cleavage and fracture properties.

The main text includes notes on its characteristics, formation, and chemical tests for identification. There are clear photographs, annotated with identification features, and drawings of the visual outline of its crystal system. The igneous rock entries have coloured tabs of its classification group, its origin, grain size, crystal shape, chemical classification, occurrence and colour; the metamorphic rock tabs also include pressure, temperature and structure, while those of the  sedimentary group includes fossils. The main text in the rock entries discusses their chemical composition and content, as well as texture and origin.

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I would really like to have a copy of this book, now that we are living on the South Coast:

A Geological Guide to Canberra Region and Namadgi National Park by Geological Society of Australia (ACT Division) 2009.* See: http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/a-geological-guide-to-canberra-region-and-namadgi-national-park/gs9780646487342.aspx.

Colour in Nature by Penelope A Farrant 1999

A  fascinating book about the world of colour and its manifestation in nature. It combines information from across the board of scientific study: astronomy, geology, zoology, botany and physics.

It starts with a chapter on the nature of colour: its production; perception; visible light; spectroscopy; refraction, reflection, diffraction, interference and absorption; and iridescence and polarisation.

Further chapters explore :

Colour in the universe;

Atmospheric colour : including noctilucent clouds; coloured coronas, double rainbows and auroras;

Colours of the earth’s surface : oceans; rivers; glacial lakes; reflections; precious gems and opals; and different types of rocks and soils;

Colourful habitats :  tropical and subtropical rainforests; deciduous and coniferous forests; polar and mountainous areas; grasslands and deserts; oceans and lakes; and the darkness of caves and the deepest depths;

Leaves : photosynthesis and chlorophyll; other pigments; variegated leaves; Autumn colour of deciduous trees; new Spring growth; and low light habitats;

Flowers and Fruits : evolution of flower colour; inflorescences; variable and changing colour; pigments; environment and colour; pollinator preferences; fruit colours to attract birds; ripening fruits and seed colour;

Seeing in colour: light receptors; simple and compound eyes; adapting to light and dark; seeing underwater; animal eyes; human colour vision and colour blindness;

Animal pigments : skin colour and melanins; colour abnormalities and albinism; and all the different animal pigments with examples in the animal world;

Structural colour in animals : interference; iridescence; background colour; transparency; coloured lights; light regulation; luminescent lures; bioluminescence; nacreous pearls; and blue eyes.

Changing and variable colours : chromatophores; colour change with mood, day and night and camouflage; cuttlefish and chameleons; environmental factors and  visual stimuli; seasonal colour change; sexual colours; changes with age; colour and natural selection;

Survival strategies : camouflage and communication: false colours; warning colours; toxic insects; mimesis and mimicry; and  colour mimics in plants; and finally,

Colour, nature and humans: colour wheels; primary, secondary and tertiary colours; colour harmony and clash; colour in the garden; foliage colour; photography; and natural pigments and dyes.

The world of colour, particularly in nature, is such an enormous and endlessly fascinating field. This book offers a wonderful insight into everything to do with colour and, even though it can be quite complex with so much to know, the text and beautiful photographs help expand that knowledge and understanding of some of the basic concepts, like the colour changes with age and the seasons.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd25%Image (539)

The Australian Weather Book by Keith Colls and Richard Whitaker 2001

A very important book, given the enormous contemporary challenges of the changing climate! Climate change is upon us, whether we like it or not, and we are only just seeing the tip of the ramifications to come, and yet so many people still stick their heads in the sand and try to deny it, despite the wealth of scientific evidence:  the melting ice caps and sea level rises; the extinction of plant and animal species, changes in migration patterns and the dying of the coral reefs; the higher temperatures; and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events like floods, droughts and fire. I find the denial really hard to understand, given that these people have children and grandchildren, who will not be able to be insulated from the effects of the climate and will have to deal with the problems our generation has created. If one excludes sheer greed or fatalism, the only other excuse is ignorance about the weather and the fact that so many people have been separated from nature and live in controlled urban environments for most of their day. Hence, the importance of this book!!!

It starts with the history of meteorology, followed by notes, accompanied by weather maps, on our diverse Australian climate: its rainfall; temperature; snow and frost; thunderstorms and hail; hours of sunshine and cloud cover; evaporation; drought and flood; tropical cyclones and wind (cyclones and floods being particularly topical and pertinent, given recent weather events!); humidity; and climatic discomfort.

The third chapter discusses the general circulation of the atmosphere: its chemical composition; vertical structure; and global wind circulation, while the following chapters focus on macro-scale circulations (air masses and the forces acting upon them in the atmosphere; weather fronts and low pressure systems; and what those isobars on the nightly TV weather maps mean!); meso-scale circulations (sea breezes, the southerly buster, topographic and downslope winds, eddies and cloudlines) and clouds (their formation and type).

Meteorological instruments (barometers, thermometers, rain gauges, anemometers and weather stations) are discussed, as well as the effects of weather on society and finally, climate change, including its history and theories, greenhouse gases and ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere.

Further reading and websites and a glossary are provided in the back. A very factual and informative book from the Australian  Bureau of Meteorology.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (530)

The Cloudspotter’s Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney 2006

For those of you, who wanted more than just one chapter on clouds, here is a whole book, written by the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society in 2004! I love his manifesto, especially his description of clouds as nature’s poetry and an expression of the atmosphere’s mood, as well as his inclusion of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s beautiful poem ‘The Cloud’, which starts :

‘ I am the daughter of Earth and Water and the nursling of the Sky…’!

After photos of the different cloud genera and a cloud classification table, he proceeds to discuss the low clouds: cumulus and cumulonimbus, stratus and stratocumulus; then the middle clouds: altocumulus, altostratus, and nimbostratus; and the high clouds: cirrus, cirrocumulus and cirrostratus.

Each chapter has a guide to spotting that particular cloud type, including a description, its altitude, place of formation, precipitation, species and varieties and confusing look-alikes, as well as lots of interesting information about cloud-associated history, literature, mythology and artwork and their formation and effects. There are also accessory clouds, sidekicks to the 10 main cloud types: pileus, pannus and vellum, as well as supplementary features like tuba, the first sign of a waterspout (which we were lucky enough to see one day at Blue Pool, just south of Bermagui (see photo below), incus, mamma, arcus, virga and precipitatio; and the stratospheric and mesospheric  nacreous and noctilucent clouds.BlogEnvtlBooks2015-01-28 12.32.54There is even a chapter on contrails, formed by high altitude aircraft and their contribution to global warming;  the glider pilot’s cloud surfing nirvana, the Morning Glory of the Gulf Savannah region of North Queensland; and a cloudspotter’s quiz, in which you should be able to get full marks after reading this entertaining and informative book!

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It really makes you appreciate the beauty of our daytime skies with their ever-changing array of clouds!  For our wondrous star-studded nighttime skies, I have three books:

The Night Sky by Steve Massey 2003/ 2007

A very practical guide to observing the sun, moon and planets.

It starts with a concise history of astronomy, followed by a guide to understanding how and where stars and planets are placed and can be found in the sky.

Part Two examines observing the solar system and everything concerning the sun and the moon, including solar and lunar eclipses, solar flares, sunspots, earthshine, the moon phases and the craters and geography of the moon.

Planets are discussed in order of their respective orbits or distance from the sun, starting with mercury and ending with the furthermost planet, Pluto. Each planetary chapter starts with a table, detailing salient details like its visual diameter, axial tilt, magnitude, number of known moons, distance from the earth and the sun, orbital period and primary atmospheric composition. It’s a mind-boggling field, even more confusing than geology and geological time periods! Information is included on observing each planet, their structure, surface markings and rings or moons and their transits.

There are also chapters on asteroids, comets, meteors and meteor showers, as well as an in-depth section on using the tools of the trade: telescopes, refractors, reflectors, catadioptric designs, focusers, finderscopes, collimation, telescope mounts and axis drives, drive motors, eye pieces, lenses and filters and even binoculars; as well as recording your findings with sketches, conventional film photography, CCD imaging, digital cameras and video recorders.

Throughout the book are beautiful photos, as well as clear explanatory diagrams. A very useful book for the home astronomer.

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The Book of Constellations by Robin Kerrod 2002

The night sky has been a constant wonder to peoples from all cultures and time periods and has inspired a large number of myths and legends, which are explored in this book, as well as a wealth of factual information about each heavenly body and information about locating it in the night sky.

I love all the names of the constellations and all the history and mythology behind them. Apparently, there are 88 constellations (finalised worldwide in 1930), 48 of which were recognized by Ptolemy and the Ancient Greeks in 200 AD. While the Greeks were responsible for the names of the constellations, the Arabs named many of the bright stars like Betelgeuse in Orion and Aldebaran in Taurus.

The book explores the concept of the celestial sphere with maps of the northern and southern constellations; the constellations of the zodiac (12); and the major constellations (33) and planets.

Each double page spread includes the mythology behind each constellation; its astronomical features; its location in the night sky; and a constellation map showing the main stars, linked together by a fanciful image of the name of the constellation group.

It is a fascinating book and introduced me to many new constellations, of which I had never heard, as well as informing me about the more familiar ones!  I was amazed to learn that the Ancient Babylonians and Greeks were far enough south to see the Southern Cross, our most famous Australian constellation, and that the little cluster of coloured stars, which can be seen with the naked eye and through binoculars, at the base of left-hand cross, close to Beta, is called the Jewel Box. BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (550)

Incidentally, the Australian aborigines had their own mythological stories about the night sky and often saw patterns in the negative space between the stars like The Emu in the Sky and the Seven Sisters that make up the star cluster known as the Pleiades, in the constellation Taurus. See: http://www.emudreaming.com/whatis.htm and https://japingkaaboriginalart.com/articles/star-dreaming-seven-sisters/.

There are also two books about aboriginal astronomy:

Emu Dreaming: An Introduction to Australian Aboriginal Astronomy  by Ray and Cilla Norris 2008. See: http://www.emudreaming.com/book.htm  and

Night Skies of Aboriginal Australia- A Noctuary by Dianne Norris 1998 / 2014. See: http://www.botanicalbookshop.com.au/product/night-skies-of-aboriginal-australia—a-noctuary/sy9781743323878.aspx.

The Box of Stars by Catherine Tennant 1993

A similar publication in content to Robin Kerrod’s book, but with a slight different approach, using a lovely little boxed set of 32 cards called  Urania’s Mirror, originally hand-painted by ‘a lady’ and published in London in 1825.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (528) Each card is pierced with holes, which mark the stars of the constellation and which glitter when held up to the light, acting as a learning guide to each constellation.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (532) - CopyThere is also a small booklet with night sky maps of the northern and southern hemispheres and seasonal descriptions of the stars, including lists of cards to use during that time.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (532) - Copy - Copy Each card is further discussed with information about each constellation, its location and the mythology behind it. It complements the previous book well.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (534) - CopyBlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (535) - CopyThe Australian Sky by WJ Newell 1965

I am including this tiny little Jacaranda Pocket Guide, despite its age and the fact that some of its information is no doubt out-of-date (!), because its explanations are so good and easy to understand. Each constellation is covered in great depth and while it also covers the mythology behind the stars, it seems to have more information about the actual stars, especially in relation to the Australian night sky!BlogEnvtlBooks50%Image (646)

I feel astronomy is such a vast and complicated subject, one can never have enough books or guides and each one has a slightly different slant. Finally, here are some excellent websites on this subject:

http://www.abc.net.au/science/starhunt/

http://www.scitech.org.au/the-sky-tonight

https://maas.museum/observations/category/monthly-sky-guides/

http://asv.org.au/

https://astronomy.org.au/general/sky-guides/.

And lastly, a good atlas is essential in any well-stocked home library! In fact, you probably need at least three or four atlases in a lifetime, as borders are constantly changing, as well as environmental challenges, and cities and populations are always growing!

We were given The Times Atlas of the World as a wedding present back in 1983 and it served us well, particularly for the two overseas trips we made over the following ten years, but since then the European landscape has totally changed. Yugoslavia no longer exists, having been replaced by Slovenia, Croatia, Boznia-Herzgovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia; Czechoslovakia is now two countries: the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic; while East Germany and West Germany are now the one Germany; and White Russia is now called Belarus.

So, in 2014, we decided we needed to update our library and update bought a new atlas:

Philip’s Atlas of the World: In Association with The Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers

While not as large as our original atlas, a distinct advantage, given the Times Atlas was an absolute whopper (!), this new atlas is incredibly comprehensive with a wealth of interesting information about our wonderful world!

The frontispiece features a Key to World Map Pages (including Keys to City Map Symbols and World Map Symbols; and World Maps Elevation and Depth Tints), while inside the back cover is a Key to European Map Pages and a World Country Index.

The atlas starts with a User Guide and Statistics for Countries (Area, in square kilometres or miles; Population; Capital City and Annual Income) and Cities (population figures), followed by large sections on :

The Future of the Oceans and Seas: Temperature; Salinity; Oceans and Carbon Dioxide; Oceanic Conveyor Belts; Ocean Currents; the Coriolis Effect; Oceans and Resources; Overfishing; Aquaculture; Oil; Dead Zones; Red Tides; Waste Material; Plastic; Ocean Acidification; and Rising Sea Levels.

Satellite Images of the Earth

Gazetteer of Nations (alphabetically organized):  Geography; Politics and Economy; and Key Statistics: area, population, capital city, ethnic groups as a percentage, languages, religions, currency; and a small map and flag.

World Geography:

The Universe: Life of a Star; Black Holes; Galactic Structures; the Home Galaxy; the End of the Universe; the Nearest Stars, with distances in light-years; Star Charts for both hemispheres; and a List of Constellations.

The Solar System: Planetary orbits; Planetary Data (Mean distance from the sun; mass; period of orbit; period of rotation; equatorial diameter; average density; surface gravity ;and number of known satellites); and descriptions of each planet.

Seasons, Time and Motion: The Seasons; Day and Night; Earth Data: distance from the sun; angle of tilt; length of year; superficial area; land and water surfaces; equatorial and polar circumference,s diameters and radii; and volume and mass; Sunrise and Sunset; the Moon and Moon data : Distance from the Earth; Size and mass; Visibility; and Temperature; Phases of the Moon; Eclipses; Tides; and a map of Time Zones and the International Date Line.

Geology of the Earth:

Model of the Earth; Continental Drift; Plate Tectonics; Distribution of Volcanoes; Geological Time Periods; a Map of Earthquake Zones; and a List of Major Earthquakes since 1900.

The Atmosphere:

Structure of the Atmosphere; Circulation of the Air; Frontal Systems; Chemical Composition; Air Masses; Classification of Clouds; Maps of Pressure and Surface Winds and Weather Records for barometric pressure (minimum and maximum); fastest wind speed; windiest place; and worst storm and tornado.

Climate: Climate and Weather Terms;  Maps of Climatic Regions, Temperatures and Precipitation; Temperature and Rainfall Figures; Beaufort Wind Scale;  Monsoons; and Climate Records (minimum and maximum temperatures and precipitation; longest heatwave; driest and wettest places; and heaviest hailstones and snowfall).

Climate Change and Global Warming: Maps of World Carbon Dioxide Emissions per capita; and Annual Average Surface Air Temperatures and Annual Average Precipitation; Models of Regional Climate Change and Projected Changes in Global Warming; and Diagrams of Recent and Future Sea-Level Changes and Arctic Sea Ice.

Water and Vegetation: The Hydrological Cycle; Water Distribution; Annual Sediment Yield; Longest Rivers; and Maps, showing Water Scarcity and Natural Vegetation throughout the world.

Biodiversity and the Natural World: World Maps of Threatened Animal Species and Environmental Hotspots; a Map of Australia’s Introduced Species (rabbits, foxes and cane toads) and the Value of Nature (provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural services).

Population: World Maps of Population Density and Population Change; Diagrams and Graphs of World and Nation Income; Population by Continent; Japan’s Ageing Population; and World Population Change over Time; and Data Sets of the Largest Nations; Most Crowded Nations; Least Crowded Nations; and Fastest Growing and Declining Populations.

Food Supply: Water; Fertilizers; Demand for Meat; Pests, Diseases and Weeds; Genetic Modification; World Crop Production and Global Land Usage; Land Management; and Future Potential.

Cities: World Maps of Urban Population and Urbanization of the Earth over time; Graphs of World Urbanization, Urban Advantages (mortality/ literacy) and City Growth; the Largest Cities; Slum Cities; Sustainable Cities; and a List of Cities with over 10 Million inhabitants. Apparently, in 2008, for the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population lived in cities.

The Human Family: World Maps of World Migration; Refugees; and Predominant Languages and Religions.

Conflict and Cooperation: World Maps of the Global Peace Index and International Organizations; and Bar Graphs showing Refugee Numbers and Military Spending.

Energy:  World Maps of Energy Balance (the difference between energy production and consumption), Energy Production, and Oil Movements; Bar Graphs of World Energy Consumption and Energy Reserves (oil, gas and coal); Data Sets of Nuclear Power, Hydroelectricity and Wind Power; Peak Oil; Fracking; and Alternative Energy Sources (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal and biomass).

Minerals: World Map of Mineral Distribution; and Figures and Bar Charts for Specific Minerals (diamonds, blood diamonds; uranium; iron ore; rare earth elements and scrap metals).

Employment and Industry: World Maps of Employment, Industry and Trade, Unemployment, and Tourism and Travel; an Employment Pie Chart; the Percentage of Men and Women in Employment in Selected Countries; and a List of the World’s Busiest Airports.

Trade: World Maps of World Trade, Dependence on Trade (exports as a percentage of GDP), Globalization, Trade in Primary Exports and the Balance of Trade; a Bar Chart showing Traded Products, Pie Charts for Major Exports; and the Globalization Index.

Health: Millienium Development Goals; World Maps of Food Consumption and Infant Mortality; Bar Charts focusing on AIDS; Causes of Death, Medical Provision, Access to Safe Water, Sanitation, and Malaria; and Data Lists on Maternal Mortality Rates and Expenditure on Health in Selected Countries.

Wealth: World Maps of Income Levels, Inflation, and Growth in GNI; Bar Charts showing Indicators for Different Income Levels (high, middle and low), and Extreme Poverty; a Pie Chart for Continental Shares of Population and Wealth; State Finance; and Tackling Poverty.

Standards of Living: World Maps of Indexes for  Human Development and Gender Inequality; and Bar Charts showing Education Levels (primary, secondary and tertiary) in Selected Countries; the Distribution of Spending; Fertility and Education; and Gender Equality.

The next major section contains street maps of all the major world cities in alphabetical order, and then finally, we reach the main World Map Section: world maps of the physical and political world, including thicknesses and depths of the continental plates and oceans; followed by maps of each continent and individual countries.

It finishes with a geographical glossary and an index to all the World Maps with latitudes and longitudes, abbreviations and notes on pronunciation. An excellent publication!BlogEnvtlBooks20%Image (645)

Next week, I am discussing rose pruning, a timely topic since we have just finished pruning all our roses, ready for their new growth in Spring! We will then resume our book posts with the final parts of Our Beautiful Earth: Natural History Books, with two posts on the environmental challenges our special planet faces and measures we can take as individuals to help the situation, before finishing the cold season with a post on our Winter Garden.

Books on Specific Types of Gardens : Part Two : Vegetable Gardens; Sustainable and Organic Gardens; and Dry Climate Gardens .

Continuing on from my post last week, I am now focusing on vegetable gardens, organic and sustainable gardens and dry climate gardens, all of which are highly inter-related. In our view, vegetable gardens should only ever be organic and sustainable, as they contain the very food we eat, not to mention the importance of these concepts for our environment and the natural world around us! While most of the books are Australian, a few are written by English authors, notably Christopher Lloyd,  Joy Larkom and Jane Taylor. We might discuss the books by the first two writers first.

Gardener Cook by Christopher Lloyd 1997 was one of our early vegetable garden books and is a lovely introduction to the world of vegetable growing! His chapters on fruit trees, soft fruits, root vegetables, green vegetables, salads and herbs include delicious recipes and mouth-watering photographs by Howard Sooley. They include information on all the different types of fruit and vegetables; their varieties; cultivation and storage and lots of personal anecdotes.  An essential book for the gardener-cook and anyone who loves food!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-398

Christopher actually quotes from my next book: The Salad Garden by Joy Larkom 1984. It is a comprehensive guide to all things salad: creating salad gardens; the cultivation of salad greens; garden practices like raising from seed; sowing outdoors and indoors; germination; manures and compost; weeding; mulching and watering; greenhouses, cloches and container gardening; and pests and diseases; as well as specific techniques for salad plants like blanching; seed sprouting and cut-and-come-again; salad making – the different types of salad, preparation and presentation and delicious recipes for different salads and their dressings; and a large section on specific salad plants and their components – leaves; stems and stalks; fruits; bulbs, roots and tubers; cooked and cold legumes and potatoes; and the use of herbs, flowers and wild plants. The appendix includes salad crops for special situations; plants for saladini crops, a glossary and facts about salad crops, including their vitamin content, seed life, germination temperature and fertility index. It was written at a time, when Australia’s culinary world was suddenly and markedly expanding and has such a wealth of information, that I am not surprised that it was in Christopher Lloyd’s library!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd30image-401The Cook’s Garden : From the Garden to the Table by Caroline Gunter and Karen Green 2000 is an Australian Women’s Weekly publication and has its typically high standard! After a brief examination of planning for production and cultivation for success (including recipes for home-made sprays), it follows a seasonal pattern with a seasonal diary of picking and planting chores for each different climate zone (temperate and cool; subtropical and Mediterranean; and tropical) and detailed notes on the fruit and vegetables grown in each season, including their cultivation in the garden and their preparation and presentation for the table. It is a very practical and useful publication and has some delicious recipes. It finishes with a brief chapter on preserving the season’s abundance including freezing; bottling and drying, as well as a map of world climate zones.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-399

Diggers Club also produces wonderful books on heirloom gardens, especially vegetables! The Australian Vegetable garden: What’s Old is New by Clive Blazey 1999 is one of their excellent publications. Clive is a passionate advocate for heirloom varieties of vegetables, because of their superior flavour, longer harvest period and disease resistance, not to mention their decorative qualities! In this informative book, he discusses the value and importance of heirloom varieties; different vegetable gardening styles; space-saving; and growing basics – the soil; water; mulch; temperature and heat; as well as seed sowing and saving. He provides a calendar and plan for growing a year’s supply of food in just 42 square metres and another one for seed sowing. And he discusses each heirloom vegetable in depth, including its historical background; varieties; preparation and management. There are so many varieties which I had never even heard of!  Apparently, Diggers have over 112 commercial and heirloom varieties of tomatoes. One day, I would love to grow their Moon and Stars watermelon , an old American variety!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-400Organic Gardening by Peter Bennett , first published in 1979, is another very important and seminal book for the organic vegetable gardener. We have the 6th edition, dated 1999, but there is now a new revised 7th edition, published 2006. Peter is THE authority on organic gardening in Australia and a forerunner of the current sustainable and environmental movements. Even though he has since died, he can still be seen in this You Tube clip at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ua6Or0-W9W4. In his wonderful book, he talks about all the wonderful creatures that make up the life of the garden; the living soil; the preparation and maintenance of the organic garden; the use of natural fertilizers and acceptable alternatives to dangerous pesticides; composting; community gardens; and the organic cultivation of many different types of vegetables, fruits and flowers. His appendixes include photographs of useful tools and accessories for organic gardening, a table of the composition of compost ingredients; another table of the minimum depth of container required for growing vegetables in containers; a sowing guide for flowers and vegetables, including the best months for sowing in tropical/ subtropical, temperate and cold climates; best sowing method (seedbed or direct); the sowing depth for seeds; the number of days it takes for seedlings to emerge; the distance to thin seedlings apart; and the number of weeks till flowering for type of flower or vegetable. There is also a list of Goods and Services referred to in the book. This is an essential book for all gardeners! I cannot recommend it highly enough and the fact that it has sold more than 160,000 copies since it was first published in 1979 supports my claim!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-402

Now for another very important book, Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Bill Mollison 1988. Bill Mollison (1928 – 2016) was the co-founder of the permaculture concept, along with David Holmgren, from 1972 to 1974. The first classes in permaculture started in 1981 and since then, thousands of people from all over the world have studied this concept. It is now practised in over 20 countries, providing  wonderful hope for the future.

Permaculture, a term coined from two words ‘permanent agriculture’, is defined in the book as ‘the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems, which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people, providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.’ Its principles include: working with nature, rather than against it; the problem is the solution; make the least change for the greatest possible effect; the yield of the system is theoretically unlimited ; and everything makes its own garden and has an effect on its own environment. It relies on cycles; pyramids and food webs; complexity and connections; diversity; stability and harmony and self-regulation.

Permaculture garden designs are based on flow patterns and zones:

Zone 1 (ideally ¼ acre for a family of four) is the most intensively used space in the immediate area of the house and can include vegetables and salad greens with a short growing season; small trees with commonly used fruits like lemons; worm farms; workshops and sheds; glasshouses, cold frames and propagation areas; rainwater tanks; fuel for heating like gas and wood; and small animal pens eg rabbits.

Zone 2 (ideally 1 acre for a family) is also used  intensively, but less than Zone 1 and  includes perennials and vegetables with a longer growing season; fruit trees and orchards; compost bins; bee hives; ponds; chook pens and enclosures for larger animals requiring regular attention.

Zone 3 (4 to 20 acres) is farmland for main farming crops; orchards of large trees like oaks and nut trees; livestock grazing by cattle and sheep; and water storage dams.

Zone 4 can be any size and contains wild and partly managed land for the collection of wild foods; timber production; a source of animal forage and more pasture for grazing animals.

And finally, Zone 5 is unmanaged wild and natural ecosystems with bushland, forest and wilderness conservation areas for observation; meditation and reconnection with nature. Hunting and gathering can occur in this zone.

Permaculture garden design also involves planning to control external incoming energies like wind, sun angles, unwanted views and danger from fires and floods, using a number of strategies to block, channel or open up an area to their impact. It is a HUGE topic and an enormous door-stopper of a book, but essential reading for gardeners interested in the philosophy behind permaculture!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-404

The Permaculture Home Garden by Linda Woodrow 1996  is a much lighter, smaller, more portable and very practical book on the subject. It covers permaculture garden design based on the principles of time-and-motion; multiple use; working with nature; and synergy and using a seven mandala system of circles to maximize use of space and energy efficiency. She discusses : choosing a site; climate: light, temperature; wind; frost and pollutants; water; soil management; mulching, composting and worm farming; propagating plants; lunar planting; guild planting; maintaining the garden and coping with pests; building a chook dome; and the cultivation of fruit trees and a large variety of vegetables. It is a very useful book, especially for gardeners in Northern New South Wales.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-403

Two  more terrific practical permaculture guides, both of which I would not be without  and both written by gardeners in Maleny, Queensland are: You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat It Too by Robin Clayfield 1996 and Paradise in Your Garden by Jenny Allen 2002. Robin has practised permaculture since 1983 and lives at Crystal Waters Permaculture Village in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. This great publication is a fantastic book to dip into at random, with snippets of information on permaculture principles,  garden design and techniques; sustainability; natural pest control; cash crops; health and diet; food combining; natural cosmetics; food preservation; bulk cooking; bush tucker; gift giving; and even party games; all with lots of wonderful recipes from herbal teas to soups, nibbles and dips; salads and main courses; and desserts and party nights. It is a wonderfully generous book and has such a wealth of information to explore and digest! For more about Robin, see: http://dynamicgroups.com.au/ and  https://permacultureprinciples.com./post/permaculture-pioneer-robin-clayfield/.

blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-405Paradise in Your Garden is a beautiful book, both visually and creatively! Jenny uses photographs and experience gleaned from her own garden  to illustrate the  basic permaculture principles of multiple use; zoning; smart placement; elevational planning; diversity; recycling resources; homemade insurance; using nature’s gifts and seeing solutions, instead of problems. It’s an inspiring book, with lots of fun, imaginative ideas like aspirational trees; mediation areas; hammocks and swings; firepits and water features; places for wildlife; kids’ gardens; healing gardens and even an aphrodisiac garden! She has a large section on garden design and understanding site factors like sun and wind; weeds and stormwater; soil types; frost; and noise, providing an 18 point design checklist and techniques for managing these factors, like creating microclimates by managing Summer sun; building effective  windbreaks; managing soil, water, frost and weeds; and reducing annoying noises. She discusses integrated pest management and  smart use of monetary and time resources. Her descriptions of exciting and unusual edible plants and bush foods makes you want to go straight out and plant them and she also includes some great project ideas from sheet mulching and lasagne gardening (no-dig); building herb spirals, ponds, swales and paths; making worm farms, compost heaps and home brews for plants (comfrey tea); and planting green manure and cover crops. In the back of the book is a list of useful resources and recommended reading. For more current information  on Jenny Allen , read this article in the Hinterland Times on the 4th May 2016 at : https://www.hinterlandtimes.com.au/2016/05/04/is-the-love-affair-over/.

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And finally, a swag of books by the wonderful and knowledgeable Jackie French, who has a wonderful organic garden in the Araluen Valley near Braidwood in Southern New South Wales. On her website (http://www.jackiefrench.com/), she describes herself an Australian author, ecologist, historian, dyslexic and honorary wombat, which is all very accurate! She was also 2014 – 2015 Australian Childrens’ Laureate and 2015 Senior Australian of the Year and is the patron of Youth Educational Support Services (YESS),which delivers the MultiLit Literacy Program, developed by Macquarie University to improve reading skills in local primary and high school students. I volunteered with this rewarding program at Bega Valley Public School in our first year here. We have nine of her books, in order of their publication:

The Wilderness Garden: Beyond Organic Gardening 1992

Jackie has a delightful enthusiastic writing style and this book focuses on how to make gardening fun by changing our approach to gardening and using new or different methods or as she coins it: ‘the wombat way of gardening’ ! She has a very commonsense, practical approach in both her gardening and writing with chapters on different gardens for different places (wet areas; dry areas; polluted areas; seaside areas; and frost zones); feeding the garden (mulch; compost; nitrogen fixation); easy garden beds (weed-mats; hanging gardens; tyre gardens; raised beds; vertical gardens; and modified jungles (I just love that concept!); organic pest and weed control; and vegetable, fruit and flower gardens, with a very useful garden calendar at the end.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-411

Backyard Self-Sufficiency 1992

This publication has been a very well-thumbed book in our house over the years. While steering the reader away from the toil of total self-sufficiency, she has some wonderful ideas for still growing a fair proportion of your own food from staples (grains, legumes, oils and sugars and sweeteners) to vegetables and fruit all year round. We particularly liked her lists on fruit for small places; footpath trees; unusual fruits; edible fences; hardy fruiters and  fruit for cold, temperate and hot climates. She also has chapters on growing in adversity; scavenging in the suburbs; small animals for small gardens; saving the surplus; and the backyard supermarket and medicine chest with lots of great recipes for cosmetics and bath products; dyes; cleaning products; and drinks (beer, cocoa, tea and coffee and coffee substitutes). Her final chapter on self-sufficiency, including her self-sufficient owner-built house, and her general philosophy of simple living resonates so strongly with us and should be a blueprint for all human beings, living in harmony with nature and all is inhabitants on this very special planet we call home. This book also finishes with a comprehensive calendar covering planting; harvesting; other jobs; pests and fruit. This is such a useful book!

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Switch : Home-based Power, Water and Sewerage Systems For The Twenty-First Century by Jackie French and Bryan Sullivan 1994

This little book expands on the concept of the self-sufficient integrated house and gets down to the practical nitty-gritty of ways to actually achieve this. It examines home-based power systems (solar, wind, steam, petrol or diesel, hydro and hybrid or combined systems), as well as batteries and invertors; installation and maintenance and living with your own power system. There are separate extra chapters devoted to lights and a wide variety of appliances (power tools; vacuum cleaners; stoves; kettles and toasters; refrigerators; computers; sound systems; irons; washing machines and solar dryers, to name but a few); and heating and cooling (new house design and orientation; ventilation; insulation; greenhouses; pergolas and more active heating and cooling systems, as well as specific problems and solutions). The authors then turns their attention to water supply, including measures to reduce use; grey water systems; rainwater tanks; bores; pumping water and hot water systems. Sewage treatment is next and includes information on outdoor dunnies; septic tanks; methane digesters; composting toilets and finally garbage processing: the concept of reduce/recycle; compost; worm farms and chooks. Even though this is now quite an old book, it was cutting edge when it was first published. Renewable energy and sustainable technology and alternatives have come a long way since then (though it still has a long way to go and should have been de rigueur by now for every home!), but the basic principles are still the same and this is still a very valuable little book.

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The Earth Gardener’s Companion: A Month-by-Month Guide to Organic Gardening 1996

Exactly what it pupports to be! A very comprehensive month-by-month guide to organic planting and harvesting and pest control solutions, with some wonderfully obscure recipes along the way from culinary delights like Chinese pickled vegetables, soy cheese and beetroot flour to chilli massage oil and even a chilli bosom enhancer!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-413

Making Money From Your Garden 1997

This is another Earth Garden magazine publication and its treatise on ‘Time or Money’ is sufficient reason alone to own this book. We have photocopied and shared that article so many times in our lives, as it is the basic creed by which we live! While sufficient money is important, so you are not stressing out your little brain constantly, ‘sufficient’ being the key word here, time is a far more valuable and precious commodity, which is often under-valued in today’s busy world with its hectic lifestyles! While money may have been a constant challenge for us, we have raised a family to adulthood and always met our basic needs, and our lives have been very rich and fulfilled, with time for creativity, family fun and relaxation. In this book, Jackie shares so many ideas and recipes for making a living from your home and garden from selling surplus or gourmet produce, seeds, potted trees and bush tucker; herbs; bonsai; flowers; and animal produce to making garden gnomes, topiary pots and  terrariums; natural bath products, cosmetics and cleaning products; paper and textile crafts and of course, delicious culinary delights to opening your garden or providing accommodation or a much-needed service like child-minding; home or specialist catering; garden design; or running kids’ parties. So many wonderful suggestions….!!!

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Growing Flowers Naturally  1997

The world of flowers is such an enormous and magical subject, it requires a whole book of its very own! They speak to the soul and fulfil the human desire for beauty! Like Jackie state in her introduction, one can never feel poor when surrounded by beautiful flowers, especially when they are straight from your own home garden! This sentiment applies to home-grown vegies too!!!  After citing a dozen good reasons to grow flowers, Jackie explores flower magic; popular native flowers; cut flowers; drying flowers; roses; bulbs, corms and rhizomes;  perennial and herbaceous borders; and climbers, shrubs and trees, before delving into the practical advice about starting a flower garden; different ways of growing flowers; flower problems and their solutions; and propagating flowers. She even covers medicinal flowers and includes recipes for perfumes, skin and hair products, and flower food. She finishes with an alphabetically ordered flower compendium with notes on their description; requirements; sowing times and potential problems. I’d forgotten how good this book was!

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Seasons of Content: A Year in the Southern Highlands 1998 is a lovely dreamy read, which should possibly be part of next month’s post on inspirational gardens, but I am including it here, amongst Jackie French’s other books! Written in the form of a diary, it describes a year in the Araluen Valley, following the seasons and enjoying all that nature has to offer. It’s a delightful read, as well as being packed with delicious recipes! Equally good to read all at once or dip into for a quick revitalizing pick-me-up!

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How To Guzzle Your Garden 1999 is a great book for kids and for inspiring the gardeners of the future! Linking gardens with food and eating is a brilliant and inspired decision, and such an obvious notion when you stop to think about kids! As a very popular childrens’ author, Jackie knows what turns kids on and this book is so much fun for a kid to read! I also love the pencil sketches by her illustrator Judith Rossell! The book is written in a question-answer format. It addresses making jam, cordials and sweet treats and eating edible weeds and flowers and bush foods, as well as the more practical aspects of planting from seed and pips; tree planting; and making compost.

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There are also lots of fun projects like growing plants in joggers, bottles and boxes; growing an apple tree in an orange; and making an egghead with watercress seeds or shrunken heads from apple cores. I blame Jackie for my daughter’s optimistic (and we thought doomed!) decision to grow a pineapple in a pot from the discarded top and leaves in the depths of the Armidale Winter, but would you believe, it did actually produce a small pineapple on our move to the warmer subtropical climes of Dorrigo !blogspecific-garden-bksreszd50image-423blogspecific-garden-bksreszd50image-423-copyThe Best of Jackie French  2000 Our final book and a culmination of over 30 years of gardening wisdom, this book is typical of all her other books- light-hearted and fun, enthusiastic and inspiring; practical and knowledgeable and incredibly generous with recipes, not to mention eminently readable! There is SO MUCH in this book, I will have to leave it to you to peruse at your leisure!!! Suffice to say Jackie has been a wonderful ambassador for sustainability, self-sufficiency and organic gardening!blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-412

Sustainability is a such an important issue, especially nowadays with the increased incidence of droughts and rising temperatures associated with global warming. The following books shed light on ways of dealing with our uncertain future and all the challenges it issues.

Earth Garden, the publisher of two of Jackie French’s books, has also produced a publication called The Earth Garden Water Book 2004, with lots of interesting articles by Earth Garden magazine contributors and readers on  water collection, purifying, conservation, reuse and recycling and water-saving tips.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-422

Readers’ Digest elaborates on these principles in their book Waterwise Gardening 2010 with chapters on climate; soil; waterwise garden design; waterwise plants; wise use of water; plant care and maintenance and a waterwise plant guide.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-419

And finally, two increasingly important books when it comes to choosing plants, which can cope with hotter and drier climates:

Even though Jane Taylor is English, her book: The Dry Garden: Gardening With Drought-Tolerant Plants 1993 focuses on Australian gardens and includes many Australian natives. It was published just before the start of the Millenium Drought (late 1996 to mid 2010) in South-Eastern Australia, so was a very useful book during that period. She briefly discusses dry climates and drought; plant mechanisms for coping with lack of water and the maintenance of dry climate gardens (including notes on soil; planting; windbreaks; lawn and lawn substitutes; and irrigation techniques), but the majority of her book is devoted to an in-depth discussion of over 1000 drought-tolerant plants of all types: trees and shrubs; conifers; palms and cycads; climbers; perennials and ephemerals; grasses and bamboos; bulbs; and succulents and xerophytes, the latter being plants especially adapted to dry conditions. In the back are lists of plants with special characteristics: bold and lush foliage; sword-shaped leaves; fragrance; wind-tolerance; and horizontal growth, making them ideal for ground-covers. It certainly is an inspiring book and offers hope and optimism for future gardens which, although different, can still be beautiful havens.blogspecific-garden-bksreszd25image-421

Plants For a Changing Climate by Trevor Nottle 2004/ 2011, an Australian garden writer and historian, who has also written books on cottage gardening, perennials and old roses, which I have already discussed in Part 1 Specific Gardens last week and favourite Rose Books. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/03/21/books-on-specific-types-of-gardens-part-one-cutting-gardens-cottage-gardens-and-herb-gardens/ and https://candeloblooms.com/2017/01/10/fabulous-rose-books/ . Being a South Australian gardener, Trevor has had to cope with a hot, dry climate for over 30 years and is well-versed in Mediterranean-style gardening. Unfortunately, with climate change and global warming, the rest of us will have to adjust to a different style of gardening, less dependent on unfettered water use and more appropriate to future climatic conditions. In the introduction to his second edition and concluding chapter, Trevor examines the future implications, especially for gardeners, in great depth and offers possible solutions for the challenges ahead. He has divided his plants into a number of chapters with interesting titles : Shademakers; Statement Makers; Structure makers; Scent Makers; Silver Superstars; Useful Food Plants and Vegetables; Super-Special Plants; Geraniums; Succulents; Perfect Perennials; Roses and Other Pricklies; Little Potted Histories; Surprises From Last Summer and a Motley Crew of 10 of his favourite plants. Trevor is so knowledgeable about Mediterranean plants and so generous with that knowledge. It is a great addition to any horticultural library and is particularly pertinent in contemporary gardens.blogrosebooks25reszdimage-234

Next month, I will share some beautiful dreamy and inspirational garden books from our library, as well as some fascinating books about gardening and plants!

The July Garden

A quiet month in the Winter garden, but still plenty of garden tasks from pruning roses to transplanting shrubs and sowing seed for the Spring. We have had quite a mild Winter, with fewer frosts, which are lighter than last year and clear sunny days, which invite you out to the garden away from the fire! It has been so mild that the little oak tree still has its leaves as I write! Here is a view from our front verandah on a typical July day this season.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-02 10.21.22BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-02 10.21.33BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.03.48 All the bulbs are also peeking their heads out, including the lost Delft Blue hyacinths and miniature Tête-a-Tête daffodils (see below) in the rockery bed with the grape hyacinth and the bluebells under the crab apple tree.BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0375BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 18.07.26 I have yet to find the fritillaries and the erythroniums, though I have a rough idea of where I planted them! The new tulips are growing madly- the little species tulip, Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’ (foreground), is so different to its hybrid cousin, Bokassa Tulip Gold, behind it!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.10.35 The snowdrops, Galanthus, (1st photo) and snow flakes, Leucojum, (2nd photo) are flowering, though I am impatient to see them multiply and naturalize in the grass!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.33.32BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.28.45And my Dutch crocus (Crocus vernus ‘Remembrance’) are up! I was so excited to see my first splash of purple, as I had no idea where they were! They look so dramatic in front of the red camellia!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-22 14.50.17BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 17.07.59BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 17.07.54The hellebores are now starting to open their buds – in order, Helleborus x ballardiae ‘Pink Frost’ (1st 2 photos); single form of Oriental Rose, H. orientalis; and my double forms of oriental roses, given to me for my birthday two years ago by my Mum. BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-07 12.48.03BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 13.45.50BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.41.10BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0373BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0374BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0332BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-24 10.48.14BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.34.23BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.31.40 The wallflowers and forget-me-nots love the Winter, providing a splash of colour in an otherwise grey and green Soho bed!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-27 17.56.08 The thyme is thriving around the sundial.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-13 12.51.49 The violets are a sea of purple under the maple tree and up the path.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-19 08.54.23BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.16.52 The pink violets are blooming less vociferously up the sweeping entrance path and are matched by the first pink flowers of the begonias further up the steps.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.05.49BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.39.22BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-19 08.59.53 The camellia continues to delight with its deep pink, pale pink and white blooms.BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.17.09BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.53.13BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.43.25BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.42.33The Red Riding Hood camellia is also in flower and really attracts the eye in the garden.BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0331BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-19 08.56.26 The sweet scent of the opening daphne flowers and Winter honeysuckle blooms make me glad to be alive every time I go out the back door!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-07 13.33.19BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.00.04BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-19 09.24.08BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-12 16.43.35BlogTinyTreasures20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.39.55 The latter is a perfect home for my gift bird feeder, though we are using to hold water for the little birds instead!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-12 16.43.46 The currawongs are dominating the bird bath at the moment, holding group seminars of up to 5 birds at a time! Huge flocks roost in our tree overnight.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-08 09.15.15BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 15.04.32BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 15.05.14BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 15.06.07BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 15.06.16BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 15.06.22 The little birds don’t stand a chance, but the currawongs don’t seem to worry the larger birds: the magpies, king parrots, crimson rosellas, galahs and female bowerbirds, all of which are revelling in the vegetable patch! Even the male bower bird has made a brief appearance to supervise proceedings (last 2 photos)!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 14.55.50BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-15 09.46.37BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-15 09.47.32BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-17 17.27.46BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-17 17.28.09BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0366BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-10 17.32.28BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0371BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0363BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0359

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The Broccoli Burglary!

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The Godfather

They loved all the soil disruption, as Ross weeded and dug in manure around all the shrubs, ready for the new Spring growth.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-23 17.35.25Meanwhile, a pair of White-faced Herons had a long sunny grooming session in the branches overhead. They are such beautiful birds!BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0419BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0403BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0437 Ross has also been busy in the vegetable garden, with lots of weeding, hoeing and preparation work, but he has planted rainbow chard and shallots. The growth is all a bit slow at the moment, but we are enjoying the fresh organic broccoli heads!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.24.11BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 17.40.10 We finally harvested our first crop of cumquats for the season to make marmalade and splashed out on our first lemonade fruit! Only 2 kg cumquats for this first picking, but there is more unripe fruit on the tree.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.26.22BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.30.27BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 13.03.53BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 13.51.51BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-17 16.58.04 The loquats are also forming fruit and it looks like it will be a bumper crop!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.41.43 Ross also dug up all the tough, tenacious roots of the old Kiwi vines, which were resprouting and threatening to take all the nutrients from the new citrus trees. We pruned the David Austin bed, rather vigorously this first season to encourage a good bush shape, though will probably be more lenient in future years. Here are before and after photos of their haircuts!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-13 12.29.54BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-13 13.57.08 We turned another rose (York and Lancaster) on the shed fence, then planted out 3 Albertine roses, struck from cuttings, along the back wall of the shed.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-08 12.12.45BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-08 12.12.53 We also planted a Camellia sinensis, the tea plant (photos 3 and 4), next to the Native Frangipani (photo 2) in the corner of the flat, shading the grave of our old dog, Scamp. He always did enjoy a long chat and a cuddle over a cup of tea!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.51.29BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-27 17.44.33BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.38.53BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.28.35 The Lady X grevillea behind them is positively glowing at the moment!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.51.07 The chaenomeles are all coming into bloom back in the main garden and the transplanted shrubs are coming into fresh leaf. I love our flowering quince corner of white and ‘apple blossom’ (pink & white) varieties, in front of the white-pink blooms of our Star-above-Star camellia.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.32.00BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.33.14BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-22 14.50.42BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.32.58We have a red flowering quince on the bottom fence , still in bud.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 17.09.29We even have a few daisies in bloom – some sweet little paper daisies, Rhodanthe anthemoides (photo 1 and 2), the colour of their buds mirroring the blooms of the Coconut Sundae dianthus behind- serendipity at work! ; a single white marguerite daisy (photo 3); and a spoonbill osteospermum with its metallic blue centre (photo 4). BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0439BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.35.23BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.29.10BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 18.08.22 The diosma (2nd photo) is also flowering, so we may have to wait a little before moving the tank plants. They compliment the fine mauve blooms of the westringia (1st photo) behind.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-24 10.44.41BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.31.09 We also transplanted the Linum from the egg cartons and sowed fresh seed (Linum on the left and Ladybird Poppies on the right) in the cutting garden beds.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 18.04.31BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 17.59.49 Ross  sowed the peony poppy seeds, which has already come up in their thousands! See the fine rivers of green in the 2nd photo. Lots of seedling thinning ahead!!  I cannot wait for all the colourful Spring blooms!BlogJulyGarden30%Reszd2016-07-04 15.49.15BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.37.01 Having said that, I am impressed by the number of Winter flowers we have and the fact that we can still enjoy a few vases in the house. Even the last of the rosebuds pre-pruning were beautiful!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 10.23.23BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 10.22.52BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-06 17.32.37BlogTinyTreasures20%Reszd2016-07-06 17.33.14BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.30.16BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.24.16 We also planted a succulent in this lovely shell for the kitchen window sill.BlogJulyGarden30%Reszd2016-07-09 15.17.18To finish, here are some lovely sky photos from July! Snowy blustery clouds as a cold change comes through and the sun struggling to get up for the day! Must have been a bad case of Monday-itis!!! Till next month…!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-28 19.05.02BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-15 09.48.09BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-15 09.48.16

The June Garden

I don’t know if it was my imagination, but Winter seemed to start later this year with the Autumn leaves persisting into early June.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-04 10.16.23BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.15.51BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.16.22BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.17.14BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.21.14 Certainly, the frosts were later, the tree dahlias eventually succumbing to heavy winds rather than frosts this year!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-04 12.47.12BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-05 11.34.10 We had some wild and woolly weather in the first week of June with one quarter of our annual rainfall (247 mm) in 3 days. The gully and creek were in flood- the creek level rising high, with the fast-flowing current cutting hard into the bank and bringing down trees. The local coast also experienced enormous tides with cunjevoi and sea tulips ripped from their beds and washed up on the beach.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-03 15.13.46BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-03 15.13.36BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-03 15.15.17BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-03 15.15.32BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-03 15.16.48 We had so many puddles in the garden and Ross had to race out in the middle of it all to dig a trench around the cutting garden.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-04 12.51.23BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-04 10.16.29 By mid-June, the weather finally turned cold with some lovely sky effects.

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Rain over the ocean, taken from Chamberlain Lookout, Tathra

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Dark clouds threaten to replenish Candelo Creek after the flood-waters subsided

BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-21 12.23.10 The Winter garden finally arrived, its palette predominantly white and purple with a few lemons and pinks thrown in! The violets are a mass in the maple bed and along the path.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.16.04BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-05-31 12.32.31BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-07 12.45.46BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-07 12.45.52 My rockery is full of bulbs poking their heads up, as well as divinely-scented lemon jonquils and white Coconut Ice dianthus, both demanding obeisance every time we walk past!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.51.22BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 15.05.18BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.51.36BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-05 11.32.13 I also love the fresh lemony smell of the tiny flowers of the Winter Honeysuckle, as we enter the back porch.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-11 15.10.29 Our daphne is in full bud, promising further fragrance as the Winter progresses.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.27.39 The wallflowers in the Soho bed (below) and stock in the cutting garden have a warm spicy scent.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.21.57 The bulbs have greatly multiplied under trees and in the cutting garden with tulips, iris, daffodils, freesias and ranunculas all growing madly.

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Erlicheer jonquils
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From back to front : Dutch Iris, Cornflowers and Daffodils
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The old tulips have multiplied
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New Bokassa Gold tulips

The jonquils and tiny snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis, are so pretty.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.20.13BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-13 16.57.41 I constantly look for new bulbs every day and it is always so exciting when I spot one emerging from the soil like this tiny bluebell under the crabapple tree.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.19.44 The hellebores are all in bud, ready to provide a splash of colour under the trees.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.22.12 I love the sweet diminutive forget-me-nots and the splash of gold of the Winter Jasmine, Jasminium nudiflorum, on the laneway.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.55.24BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-07 17.19.30 Here is a colourful black and gold ladybird from the bottom of the garden.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-22 14.00.15 I am really looking forward to seeing the japonica buds open.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-14 14.22.43 The camellia at the front door has already blessed us with a number of light pink and deep pink blooms.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 18.19.48BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 18.20.35BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-01 16.50.16BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 18.19.54BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.20.50 The new camellias are also in bud and Star-above-Star has had its first flower.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.18.22BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.22.34BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.22.50 The roses have still thrown out the odd bloom: Eglantyne (pink) and Golden Celebration (gold).BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-10 14.01.46BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-10 14.02.30 My birthday Souvenir de la Malmaison is already in new leaf.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.23.53 I cut the last blooms of the roses and frost-damaged hydrangeas for two final bouquets for the season.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 16.17.07BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 16.16.57BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.48.43 I pruned the hydrangeas and all the Soho Bed roses rather severely on the weekend.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 11.30.19BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.25.49BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.23.18BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 14.23.04BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 14.23.10We also turned and transplanted quite a few of the roses. Despite our careful observation of outer buds and planting for correct shape, my roses have a habit of sending their shoots out at 90 degrees to where I want them! Now that the roses are dormant, it is a good time to correct their positions- hence Lamarque was dug up after the heavy rains (a perfect time as the soil was so soft), turned 90 degrees and replanted, so that its long canes can diverge horizontally and create the desired fan shape up the house wall instead of  growing out from the wall as before.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.52.00 We did the same with Cornelia, so it arches it long canes to the left over the gateway to the chooks (we have yet to build a simple wooden single arch for it), instead of throwing them up into the apple tree to its right.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.20.25BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.20.34 We transplanted Aimee Vibert from its initial position as part of the cutting garden screen behind the Soho Bed to the other side of the arch to replace the dying Kathleen. We also turned Penelope, so it was a member of the hybrid musk hedge rather than the vegetable garden! See the new hedge-line in the photo below : From front to back : Penelope, Aimee Vibert and Cornelia.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-21 13.45.26 We made a decision to eliminate the screening hedge between the Soho Bed and cutting gardens. There really was not enough room for the hedge and path, the mature shrubs would have cast too much shade on the cutting garden and in the end, we concluded that we actually like seeing the cutting garden. So, we transplanted the white lilac to the corner of the cutting garden, the Philadelphus to the main pergola corner next to climbing Tea rose, Adam (photos 1 and 2), the Viburnum burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’ to the camellia border (photo 5), the Exochorda between the purple-pink lilac and the pink-and-white Japonica (photo 4) and the Flowering Currant  to the front of the Snowball tree (photo 3). Its future pink Spring blooms will complement the pink Weigela on the other side of the pergola entrance.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.13.06BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.13.13BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.13.51BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.15.40BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.18.43 We finally moved the Alister Stella Grey rose to the shed corner to create a golden yellow arch with Rêve d’Or in front of the cumquats, lemonade and quince trees.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.14.49 We still have a number of potted roses, raised from last Winter’s cuttings, to transplant- a hedge of Russelliana on the fence behind the White Mulberry and an Albertine hedge along the back side wall of the shed, the old timber a perfect background for the warm pink blowsy blooms.

We are starting to feel like we are finally achieving a sense of control and structure in the garden. We plan to build a compost bay with 3 divisions against the fence behind the no-dig cutting garden (see the bamboo markers behind the garden fork). The seed dahlias are over-wintering in the front of the bed under their blanket of mulch. Ross has just redug the patch behind the dahlias prior to sowing last year’s peony poppy seed for Spring, to be succeeded by zinnias in Summer and Autumn. Both plantings should benefit from having their own area, as both are very tall and take up a lot of room. Behind the zinnias and poppies will be a strawberry patch, then a path in front of the compost bay. On the left end of the compost bay, we will create an asparagus bed and on the right end, we will grow angelica and rhubarb.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.21.57There are also self-seeded peony poppies sprouting in the Soho Bed and I have some Iceland poppies in egg cartons awaiting transplantation to the cutting garden.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-10 13.59.30 Other pending tasks are to construct the chook fence (and chook house) behind the hybrid musk hedges and transplant the natives in the old sandy septic tank, so we can transform it into a shallow rock-lined pond.  Ross has limed the vegie garden. The growth of the new vegies is a bit slow because of the cold and Winter shade.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.20.48BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-10 14.04.36 We have yet to prune the raspberries and harvest the cumquats for marmalade!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-10 14.05.56 Our first lemonade fruit is almost ripe!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-20 14.42.22 We are anticipating a huge crop of loquats this year, as it is still flowering!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-08 13.40.23 With all this time in the garden, we have enjoyed the company of lots of little birds from fairy wrens to brown and yellow thornbills, flycatchers, eastern spinebills and silvereyes.BlogJune Garden 25%Reszd2016-06-05 11.42.19BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-08 12.35.49BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 13.50.47BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 13.50.52BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 13.51.22BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 18.01.50BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 18.01.39BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 13.53.09BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 13.53.25BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.57.08BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.57.32 We will often look up to see a King Parrot quietly grazing within arm’s reach.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-05-31 12.43.57BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 14.59.22BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.59.39 A large flock of Little Corellas materialized briefly one week, transforming bare branches into the appearance of white blossom.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-01 18.56.37 The very same roosting trees were a sea of pink the following week with a large flock of galahs.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-05 18.16.37BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-05 18.16.48 The rich diversity of bird life in our garden is a constant joy. We found the perfect spot on a Winter Honeysuckle branch to hang my bronze bird feeder, a birthday gift from a dear friend. It looks like it has been there forever!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.20.06 I will finish with a few photos of a spectacular Winter night sky last week.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 20.25.29BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 20.30.07BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 20.24.07BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 21.15.46BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 20.30.11BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 21.16.52

The January Garden

What a wonderful Summer we have been enjoying! Perfect temperatures in the late-20s with some mid-30s and the odd scorcher above 40 degrees Celsius, as well as Summer storms and beautiful rain, resulting in flooded creeks and river beds early in the new year. It is always good to see a decent amount of water in Candelo Creek and the birds love it! I couldn’t catch the fast-flying reed warblers, but I did see this gorgeous swamp hen on her grassy platform, which was at the back right of the large central island in the 2nd photo.

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Looking down Candelo Creek from the bridge
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Looking up Candelo Creek from the bridge

BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 10.02.51There has been so much growth in the garden! The stems of the climbing roses on the Main Pergola are so long and are urging its immediate construction! We ordered 4 freshly-cut, 3.2 m long stringybark posts yesterday, so the roses and I can’t wait for the building to start!BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 10.06.23Ross also wired up Lamarque, the climbing rose on the front wall of the house, to train its increasingly wayward canes, as well as making a raspberry trellis at the back of the northern vegie patch. We will transplant all the new canes to the vacant half of the trellis this Winter, so have sowed some multi-coloured sweet pea seed for a last crop in Autumn.

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Educating Lamarque!
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Ross sowing Sweet Pea seeds under the new raspberry trellis

We also planted some very special dahlia seeds given to us by a dear friend. I can’t wait to see the colour combinations in Autumn. While Ross was sowing seed, I collected the bupleurium seed.

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Planting the special Dahlia seed
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Bupleurium seedhead

When we were ordering the pergola posts, we also picked up 50 old red bricks, so we were able to complete the brick edging around the Moon Bed. It looks terrific and will make maintenance so much easier. I would really like to edge the Soho Bed in a similar fashion, though we might have to use smaller broken bricks on their ends because of the continuous curve of the circle.

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Ross laying the brick edging of the Moon Bed
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I didn’t even notice Ross’s deviation joke!!!

We have also done lots of watering, weeding and mulching throughout the month, not to mention giving that rampant pumpkin a severe haircut!!!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5799BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6747BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5490All Ross’s hard work in the garden is now paying off! Even though the potato plants have struggled, we still had a good crop and we are harvesting red and gold heritage tomatoes every day. We made a second batch of Wild Plum Jam and more Basil Pesto.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5146BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_4529BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5131BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5733BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.13.20We feast on delicious fresh salads, divine home-made pesto and tasty pizzas for lunch! The pizzas were made with our own onion, tomatoes, capsicum, basil and pesto.

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All home-grown except for the eggs!!!

BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5406The plums have been superb! We have been eagerly awaiting the ripening of the large purple plums and after a spell of warm days, we harvested 2 buckets worth. We kept a third of the ripest to eat for breakfast, then experimented with 2 different recipes : http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/11891/dolous+dark+plum+jam and http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/backyard-plum-jam. Both have similar ingredients, but their method and timing differ. The first probably set better than the 2nd, but both are delicious and we now have 15 jars of divine Plum Jam for our pantry. And there are still more plums on the tree!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5849

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Ingredients for Plum Jam : Plums, water, sugar and lemon juice. I didn’t end up using the limes, as I had enough juice from the old lemons in the tub!

BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5794Our neighbour’s pear tree also has a bumper crop!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5782We have had plenty of avian visitors to the garden, keeping a close eye on the ripening of the fruit. We have chased off a number of raiding parties of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.

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Yum-a-Plum!!!
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This smart cookie was cleaning up the fallen plums underneath the tree
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Munching on plums
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This bird definitely needs a bib!!!

Oliver and Twist have been regular visitors to the verandah. They seem to like our company and chatter away to us, good-naturedly accepting our less-than-perfect-host behaviour by refusing to feed them! They like nibbling away at the fresh winged seeds of the nearby maple.

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I love the under-colours of the female King Parrots!
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Twist on the verandah
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Oliver is the more confident of the two!
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Oliver sheltering from the rain
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A Maple seed feast

The Crimson Rosellas are also enjoying the Duranta berries and at least one of them has been led astray by Oliver and has tried joining him on the verandah!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5316BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 14.39.03

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Crimson Rosellas also have beautiful colours underneath!

We even have a young Butcher-Bird, much to the alarm of the other bird parents.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5298The January garden is full of flowers! We have been so impressed with the pink sweet peas, which despite their late start, have positively exploded and are enjoying a long season!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5213BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5216The Burgundy sunflowers are equally impressive for their colour, boldness and vigour, producing many many flower heads.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5166

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Sunflowers after rain

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This bloom literally glows!
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Caroline’s wonderful watercolour painting also looks alive!
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The geometric form of the new blooms is stunning!

The dahlias are still brightening up the cutting garden with their generosity, as are the calendulas.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5487

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This wet dahlia bud has a metallic glow!

They have been joined by exotic scarlet, gold, orange and pink zinnias. Their colours are so intense, as is the purple of the cosmos.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6764BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6766BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6741BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6650BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5831BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 17.32.17The Tree Dahlias have surpassed the shed roof and the corner of the house is a mass of blue and mauve hydrangea mopheads. They are my monthly feature plant for February!BlogHydrangeas20%ReszdIMG_5331BlogHydrangeas20%ReszdIMG_5333The agapanthus provide a sea of blue to cool the senses on the really hot days.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5221And the roses continue to romance us! The Moon Bed looks so pretty with it soft pink, cream and gold David Austin roses.

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Golden Celebration
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Heritage
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Troilus
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Lucetta

The Soho Bed is also undergoing a fresh burst of blooms.

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Lolita
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Just Joey
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Ice Girl
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Mr. Lincoln

The climbers are also throwing out fresh blooms.

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Devoniensis
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An older bloom of Devoniensis
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Mme Alfred Carrière
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Alister Stella Gray

My rose cuttings from last Winter are thriving and their roots have reached the base of their 2nd larger pots already, so we have decided to plant them out in their final positions over the next few weeks to make the most of the growing season.

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Planting cuttings of Mme Isaac Pereire and Fantin Latour on the shed fence
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Planting the species rose : R. foetida bicolor on the bottom fence
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The Reve d’Or cutting has a flower
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The Leander cutting also has a bloom

The diversity of the insect world in the garden continues to astound us. We discovered the culprit, which defoliated our potato plants : the larvae of the 28-spotted ladybird (Epilachna vigintoctopunctata). It appears that not all ladybirds are good!!!BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 17.27.51BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.15.13BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 19.37.34These red beetles were much more attractive, but had little impact on either the pumpkins or the sunflowers!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5121BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.06.51These beetles were mating on rhubarb leaves.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.10.56I love the jewel-like beetles on the raspberry below. One could almost forgo that berry for their beauty!But not our precious cumquats for the 2016 marmalade season!BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.18.18

Our stink bugs continue to thwart Ross’s efforts to eliminate them!  Unfortunately, their awful smell cancels out any benign thoughts or appreciation of their own unique beauty!

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The Cumquat Battle
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Post-War breeding!
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First of the Baby Boomers!
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Almost armour-plated!

This little moth is in heaven!

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Heritage Moth (as in rose!)

The handsome Orchard Butterfly is back, flitting heavily from the buddleias to the Soho Bed.BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5625BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5599There are some stunning wasps and spiders.BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.28.02BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 16.30.32BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 15.20.28These cute little grasshoppers are hopefully behaving themselves!

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His antennae extend beyond the photo edge!
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Ready for Lift-Off!!!

Summer also means lots of beautiful bouquets for the house!

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Dahlias, Catmint and Sweet Peas
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Monbretia, Calendulas, Poppies, Feverfew, Blue Salvia and Stock
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Sweet Peas, Stock and Catmint

And it’s been so wonderful having our daughter here on holidays. Lots of exploring our beautiful local area, as well as relaxing at home. Caroline always enjoys sewing when she visits and made this beautiful cushion- the pattern sourced from : http://cluckclucksew.com/2011/03/tutorial-sprocket-pillows.html.

We actually made it a little larger, so she could use it as a floor cushion. We had a quick impromptu lesson on tassel-making from the habadashery lady, as she had no gold tassels in stock, then Caro made all 12 from gold embroidery thread within half an hour! I was very impressed!!! We had even more fun attaching the central buttons! Having pulled both buttons together tight, we were trying to hide the thread end and actually lost the entire needle inside the cushion!!! Fortunately, we were able to retrieve it and disaster was averted!!!BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-16 20.21.33BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-16 20.21.06Caro has also had a lot of fun with her watercolours. Having had a lesson from her friend on the way over, she really developed her technique over the holidays. She loves painting animals, especially in quirky or fantastical  situations. Here is some of her work!BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5802BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-05 15.48.43BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_6652BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-11 18.47.42BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5464

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Splendours

This week started with a bang! Last Tuesday was a momentous day weatherwise with a meteorite shower from 1.30am to 4am, then a huge electrical storm out to sea between 10pm and 4am on Wednesday morning. Here in Candelo valley, we are nestled between two steep hills, but as we face east, we were able to sit protected on our verandah and watch both events safely. Unfortunately, the meteorite shower was a bit of a fizzer (Ross’s description), though we did see a shooting star every two minutes, even though it wasn’t very bright or for very long! It was still worth getting up in the wee hours of the morning for the beautiful starry night sky and the sound of the flap of bat wings from the neighbour’s apple trees and the melodic trill of the reed warbler down in the creek.BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 01.25.51BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 01.22.36And the electrical performance at the end of the day more than compensated for the earlier event and was totally unexpected! I drifted in and out of sleep for the first two hours, before I decided that I had better get up and see why the street light kept flickering on and off, only to discover that it wasn’t the culprit at all. Hughie was having a party upstairs and flicking all the light switches in the night sky! Because we are just over 20 km from the coast, we could not hear any thunder rumbles, but the chain lightning was spectacular and well worth capturing on film (though I had to use a Sports setting and the majority of the shots were black)!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 01.22.32BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 01.28.51My butterfly obsession has now been replaced by birds in flight and the mass movement of Corellas! Every evening, we are treated to these spectacular shows- primarily Little Corellas, but sometimes Galahs as well.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2586BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2569BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2574BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2594BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2547BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2542It is always interesting seeing which tree they decide to settle in for the night! When we first arrived almost a year ago, it was their cousins, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, who dominated the bird scene, and we do not remember such a huge population of Little Corellas. Perhaps, by the time we arrived, they had finished marauding Candelo and moved on to fresher, fruitier pastures!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2597BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2620BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2629BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2636So far, we still have our plums, apples and pears, touch wood! I do hope we get to sample some of the fruit once it ripens!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 18.08.37BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2486BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2479BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2469BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2503BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2492The insects are also enjoying all the fresh Summer growth!

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Our house wasp has a mate
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One of the many lady beetles on the potato foliage
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Three Cabbage Whites sucking nectar from Verbena blooms
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Cabbage White Butterfly on Rocket flowers
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Closeup of Cabbage White
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The start of the Butterfly Life Cycle : a hungry caterpillar on a sunflower leaf!
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The end of the Butterfly Life Cycle : a dead butterfly on a Zucchini leaf
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Adult Orange Stink Bug- one of the survivors- on the Cumquat tree
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Interesting spider on Alnwick rose
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Tiny grasshopper on Ice Girl rose
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More spotted beetles- still unidentified- on Lucetta bloom

Roses of note this week include the following:

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Alister Stella Gray
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This photo shows why Alister Stella Gray is also known as Golden Rambler
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Mutabilis
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Autumn Delight
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Eglantyne
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Alnwick
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Lucetta buds
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Lucetta blooms
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Frau Dagmar Hastrup
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Evelyn after rain

I just adore arranging them into beautiful bouquets!

Photo 1 : EglantyneBlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 09.37.49Photo 2 : Childrens’ Rose in centre; Eglantyne (soft pink) and Alnwick (warm pink); Troilus (cream) and Jude the Obscure (cream globular at back)BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.22.00Photo 3 : The above bouquet with stock, blue salvia, lavender and catmint addedBlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.37.57Photo 4 : Close-Up of finished bouquetBlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.39.27Photo 5 : Beautiful AgapanthusBlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 10.08.48The Agapanthus are so elegant and perfect, both in the house and the garden.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2514BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.00.06

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Mullein in the foreground of our bank of Agapanthus
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The Agapanthus Bank

BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 18.12.29BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-14 18.12.17The Agapanthus are so elegant and perfect, both in the house and the garden!The Eastern Spinebill is delighted that the Agapanthus season has started, while his cousin, the Yellow-faced Honeyeater was more interested in the old tank!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-18 19.00.21BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-18 18.59.53The orange of the Canna Lilies complements the blue of the Agapanthus so well!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.00.43BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.00.39The bromeliads and agapanthus have continued the blue theme!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2520BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2515I really like the lime-green Bupleurium in the cutting garden. Unfortunately, only 3 plants grew from seed, but hopefully next year’s crop will be more successful!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2478BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2477

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Bupleureum after rain

The feverfew has also come into its own!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-19 10.08.10The dahlias are still a real show and the tree dahlia has now eclipsed the shed window!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2490BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2507The growth of the Burgundy Spray Sunflowers is equally aggressive and they now sport stunning bold flower heads, contrasting dramatically with those of the coriander, which are white, delicate and feathery.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2444BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2461The scorching temperatures later in the week really browned off the Peony Poppy pods, so very soon, my impatient gardener will be able to pull out the scruffy plants and clean up the Soho Bed!BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-17 18.30.01BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-17 18.30.21We also harvested the Tulip seed. I didn’t know that you could propagate tulips from seed, nor that camellias could produce seed pods.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2524BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2521In the vegie patch, the tomatoes are flourishing, though have yet to ripen. Meantime, we enjoy our carrots and onions.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2456BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2468BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2523The raspberries continue to tantalizingly produce fruit one at a time and the strawberries are sending out fresh runners.BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2474BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2465The zucchinis and pumpkins engulf everything in their path! The first two photos show their progress from one day to the next. I love their spiral tendrils and bright golden flowers!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2470BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-17 18.33.22BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-19 10.11.28BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2455BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2457BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-15 09.13.27Finally, I shall leave you with some cheery Christmas shots and the future promise of Monbretia buds. You know it’s truly Summer, when these beautiful bulbs are in full flower!

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Our neighbour’s Red Hot Pokers- another quintessential Summer bloom
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Our own Christmas trees, complete with fairy lights and cone baubles
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New South Wales Christmas Bush- just in time!
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Duranta berries, beloved by birds
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Grevillea ‘Lady O’
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Monbretia bud
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The first Monbretia flower of the season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our neighbour’s Red Hot Pokers, another quintessential Summer bloom
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Our own Christmas trees, complete with fairy light flowers and cone baubles
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New South Wales Christmas Bush – just in time!
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Duranta berries, beloved by birds
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Grevillea ‘Lady O’
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Monbretia bud
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The first Monbretia flower of the Season