The Summer Garden

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

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

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

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

The December Garden

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

The 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One year on and January’s feature plant: Agapanthus

It’s official! We have now lived here for exactly a whole year! It has been such an exciting time establishing the garden and learning all about our new climate, birds and local environment. We celebrated by purchasing a beautiful gardenia – a plant whose scent we have always loved and which we didn’t think we would be able to grow in this climate, but we have planted it in a pot beside the house in a slight shady position, which the nursery lady assures us should give it a measure of frost protection. Hopefully, she’s right!!! It’s certainly worth a try, as it is one of our favourite plants! We also had a superb first anniversary feast tonight- delicious salads, garnered from our vegetable garden, and featured in my next post on Thursday.

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First Anniversary Feast!
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A Summer feast!
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A Gardenia to celebrate our first year in Candelo!

This post is a bit of a mix- a review of what has worked well or not quite so well; ideas and plans for the future; and finishing with an in-depth look at the first of our monthly feature plants, the agapanthus, which was the dominant plant on our arrival one year ago and an all-time Summer favourite!

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A blank canvas: the start of our garden adventure

We have been really happy with the general garden design. Even though it faces east, with trees on the northern side, creating Winter shade, the site is beautifully protected from strong winds and the soil is superb – a mix of basalt and fertile river loam (with lots of iron from the old blacksmithing days!). It is a real boon to start with established mature trees, which provide a framework to the garden and give pointers for future plantings. Sadly, we did have to remove the beautiful she-oaks last Winter as they produced too much shade and even though it was difficult at the time, we are really pleased we did! The new boundary fence has also been a great addition, as not only does it delineate boundaries, it has protected the bamboo from the horse next door, provided a solid backdrop to the buddleias, especially when they are pruned in Winter, and given us much needed privacy on that narrow side of the house. It should weather to a grey colour and will soon be covered by honeysuckle and woodbine.

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The garden one year on

Apart from our severe Winter frosts, shade and sun are the biggest factors, which we have to consider in the garden. We did make a major blue at the start by digging up the two beds on the northern side of the path- they are shaded by the boundary trees in Winter, thus delaying our growing season. However, it did mean we had to establish the other 2 beds on the southern side of the path much sooner than we might have. And the no-dig method worked well for the 2nd cutting garden, eliminating much of the digging, though we will have to do a final dig now to ensure all the grass roots have gone.

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This photo shows the shading of both northern beds by the trees on the left

We were particularly pleased with the Soho and Moon Beds, which work really well and have looked great all year. All the smaller plants (Bearded Iris, Verbena, Flowering Sage, Lavenders and Catmints) have established well and complement our beautiful Soho roses, which have taken on a new lease of life. We do have to continue the brick edging round the rest of the Moon Bed, as well as doing the same on the Soho Bed and Cutting Garden, as it makes the edging much easier to maintain. The brick paths are also very useful in both the Soho Bed and Cutting Garden, apart from the fact they we have to pull out the odd weed and they provide homes for the snails! But also the Blue-banded Bee I might add!! We do need to discover a cheaper source of bulk mulch for all the garden beds.

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The Soho Bed
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Edging the Moon Bed with bricks
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David Austin roses in the Moon Bed

The white hedge behind the Soho Bed is growing well with the Philadelphus having tripled in size. We urgently need to construct 3 wooden arches (one at each end of the path and one at the shed corner), as well as the Main Pergola to support the climbing roses.

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The position of the Main Pergola entering the garden

We did have a few problems with the strike rate of the seeds we sowed in the cutting garden. We still have to get used to managing the annuals and bulbs together. We may yet sow all our seed in pots before transplanting to the garden, except for the ones that prefer to be planted in situ and do have a good strike rate eg Poppies. The dahlias have been fabulous- abundant flowering and excellent growth. I’d like to plant another 2 dahlias on the opposite corners of the path. The bulbs also provided a terrific display, even though the anemones disliked the shadier end of the garden. I was particularly impressed with the tulips! It will be interesting to see how they perform this year, having been underground for the whole Summer. The cornflowers were disappointing, as they required staking, and the strike rate of the bupleureum, foxgloves, cosmos and nigella was poor, but the latter two shouldn’t be a problem after this first season! However, the poppies and peony poppies, the calendulas, the zinnias and even the stock (despite its late entry) have been very impressive! It has been fabulous being able to step out into the garden to pick bouquets for the house!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.24.45BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.25.01BlogSpringpalette20%Reszd2015-10-14 13.59.47Blog Printemps20%ReszdIMG_1246BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-19 16.15.52The vegetable garden has also been a great success, despite the 28 spotted potato ladybird larvae, which decimated most of the foliage; the cabbage moth, which attacked all our brassicas; and the fact that we are still learning what to plant when! The raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb and black currant have grown well, sending out lots of fresh shoots and canes. Unfortunately, one of the blueberry bushes died, but the remaining one is doing well. And the asparagus has been slow, but is flowering at the moment, so hopefully it will establish itself over time. We are still working on the tomatoes- they have been affected by grubs too, but nothing eats the pumpkin, nor the rainbow chard! The latter is definitely worth growing, along with the purple cabbage, for its colour alone, and the sweet peas, although late, have really progressed and look so pretty in the vegie garden, as well as smelling divine! The sunflowers have also been show-stopping and flower very generously! Here are some photos of our Summer harvest :

1st photo : Dutch Cream potatoes, variety of lettuce leaves, rocket, tomatoes, capsicum and sweet peas for tonight’s first anniversary feast

2nd photo : All washed with basil and parsley addedBlogSummerSalads20%ReszdIMG_5260BlogOneYearOnAg20%ReszdIMG_5264BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 17.22.53The rose hedge behind the vegetable garden also smells wonderful, although there is a little too much shade from the white mulberry tree, whose branches we may have to trim back further still.

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The pink rose hedge between the vegetable garden and mulberry tree in its infancy
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Penelope is in the white Hybrid Musk hedge behind the northern vegetable garden

The established fruit trees have also been a great success, with 3 types of plums, 2 apples and the White Mulberry, all of which we have used to make jams, jellies and pies. I’m looking forward to the new citrus trees developing- they all need weeding, manure, blood and bone and mulching. The passionfruit has also been eaten badly- I suspect the grasshoppers! We are still getting to know all our pests! Having said that, I love watching all the birds and butterflies that visit our garden!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2486Now to the rest of the garden!

Back of the house :
The Cecile Brunner arch is a great addition to the front gate and already the climber has reached the top of the side frame, and when fully grown, will shield us from the view of the old house opposite, as well as affording more privacy to the guest bedroom. The multigraft camellia, the Winter honeysuckle, hellebores and violets provide a wonderful and long-lasting display all Winter, although the daphne’s flowering season is a bit short! The Mondo grass provides an excellent low maintenance edging, but the ivy requires constant vigilance and the cement path gap needs filling.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-13 13.12.56Blog LateWinter20%ReszdIMG_9079Side Path :
The Banksia pergola has also been a great success and the Banksia rose is well and truly recovering from its drastic prune last year and is already providing a measure of shade to the outdoor eating area. The May bush and buddleias have also responded very well to their Winter pruning. The rose cuttings from our old garden in Armidale have taken well and will be planted out next Winter.BlogOneYearOnAg20%Reszd2015-12-29 10.38.29The herb pots have been wonderful and we have enjoyed their use in cooking, as well as for pesto and mint jelly.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 19.02.53The acanthus provide a dramatic low maintenance cover against the house and I love the peaceful corner under the maple tree with the statue, violets and wind flowers. The Blue-tongue lizard enjoys the sunny sheltered corner provided by the geranium pots. The mosaic stepping stones look great, as if they have always been there and probably always will!!!BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-10-27 18.06.39BlogOneYearOnAg20%ReszdIMG_5199Front Terrace :
The climbing roses against the front of the house have grown and flowered well, but urgently need their training wires. The native bed in the tank was not successful- I think that there was too much straight sand. The crowea died and the other plants have failed to thrive, so we will transplant them to the native area and maybe turn the old septic tank into a shallow pond with a protective grid cover. The fine bamboo looks beautiful, but the large bamboo suffered last Winter and will need chopping back and rejuvenating. The agapanthus bank recovered well after the severe Winter frosts and has provided another magnificent low-maintenance Summer display. We will definitely be looking after the cliveas this year, now that we know where they are! And the hydrangeas are as big as ever and obviously loved their heavy pruning last Winter. The bergenia edging on the path has worked well.BlogOneYearOnAg20%Reszd2015-12-27 17.39.52Fernery :
Not as successful as we would have liked. We suspect that area still gets too much sun, especially damaging on those 40 degree days! So we plan to move the fernery onto a shadier area close by, under the loquat trees. Eventually, we hope to have a large rainwater tank in this corner. We will also have to protect the new Wheel of Fire and NSW Christmas bush from the early Winter frosts.Blog LateAutumn20%Reszd2015-05-23 11.03.06

Old Shed :
Most of the old-fashioned roses planted so far have grown and flowered well, though some are a little slower. This Winter, we plan to plant out the remaining gaps with the rose cuttings struck last Winter. The tree dahlias will need heavy mulching as well to protect them from the frost, but even though they are so seemingly fragile and succumb so easily, their dramatic displays make them worth keeping and they do keep coming back every year, so they are not that much effort!BlogSummersplendrs20%ReszdIMG_2514I would love to plant Albertine against a rose trellis the length of the shed back wall, where it will look stunning each year. We also want to construct an entrance arch for 2 yellow Noisettes next to the cumquats. And I still hope to find my Golden Hornet crabapple, which I will plant in line and next to the Gorgeous variety, which we were mistakenly sold! Ross has found the stink bugs on the cumquat trees a bit of a challenge, so will spray the trees with Eco-Oil this Winter and investigate a pyrethrum spray for next Summer. We will also have to research organic controls of the 28 spotted potato ladybird larvae, cabbage moth and grasshoppers.

While I have been writing this review, I have also been writing a separate list of all the garden tasks, which need to be done and it’s a long one!!! But that is what is so great about having our own garden again. It’s an endless source of things to do, as well as inspiration, pleasure and enjoyment, and we love it! Finally, the promised description of our first monthly feature plant!

Agapanthus (also known as African Lily, Lily-of-the-Nile)

Nothing spells Summer as much as a cool sea of blue agapanthus, with the odd white one thrown in!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 13.35.37
It is the only genus in the subfamily Agapanthoideae in the Flowering Plant family Amaryllidaceae, which is the major group in the Angiosperms and has 79 genera. Agapanthus are herbaceous and mainly perennial and bulbous flowering plants in the Monocot order Asparagales and include : Alliums, Cliveas, Crinum, Galanthus and Leucojum, Narcissi, Hemerocallis, Hippeastrums, Nerines and Zephyranthus.BlogOneYearOnAg20%ReszdIMG_5203Their name comes from the Greek : αγάπη (agape) = love, άνθος (anthos)