It’s Party Time!

It’s my eldest daughter’s birthday today. Unfortunately, she cannot be with us today, as she is travelling round Australia and having some wonderful adventures (to read about her travels, see : exploreadventurediscover.wordpress.com), so I thought I would do a special birthday party post to celebrate, with a few delicious birthday recipes thrown in for good measure!!! Happy Birthday Darling!!!Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0021During their childhood, my kids had many wonderful birthday parties at home in an era of MacDonalds-hosted parties! Their friends used to love our parties! Admittedly, they were a lot of work and often it was so tempting to wriggle out of them as the party day approached, but once all the preparation was done, we really enjoyed them!Blog Itspartytime20%Reszd2015-10-13 16.48.28The birthday table would be set with lots of colourful tasty dishes including :
• Meringue mice with black licorice tails and eyes and pink musk stick noses and ears
• Jelly boats in orange quarters with jelly made from orange juice and gelatine, toothpick masts and sails of tissue paper
• Banana muffins decorated with viola flowers
• Bowls of smarties
• Melting moments
• Freckle sandwiches and
• Fruit Salad in a bowl or a carved watermelon – see The Sweet Spot : https://candeloblooms.com/2015/10/01/the-sweet-spot/.BlogSweetspot20%Reszd2012-12-21 15.04.00 - Copy

One year, I made a beautiful jigsaw puzzle ginger cake, whose recipe I found in ‘Entertaining at Home’ by Sheridan Rogers. See : http://www.sheridanrogers.com.au/about/books/entertaining-at-home/. Unfortunately, this lovely book is now out-of-print, but it would be worth trying to find a copy. I have included this particular recipe later in the post.Blog Itspartytime20%Reszd2015-10-13 16.48.40For drinks, we’d make a delicious fruit punch from a large tin of pineapple juice, 2 large bottles of orange juice and apple juice and pieces of pineapple and chopped kiwi fruit, passionfruit, mint and ice blocks- so much nicer and healthier than fizzy drinks with red food colouring! I’m sure the parents appreciated it!!!Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0061The birthday cake is always special! I love that moment when the birthday cake, aglow with candles, emerges out of the dark! It’s so magical! Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0025

For many years, we used my Mum’s old Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe- see later- decorated with strawberries.Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_6930Ross’s favourite birthday cake is a layered sponge cake with cream and strawberry jam- see recipe later. His birthday is in the Spring, so one year, we decorated the top of the cake with dusted icing sugar, pink striped candles and apple blossom.Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0064I loved it when the kids were finally old enough to cook my birthday cake!Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0023We have also made very rich chocolate mud cakes, carrot cakes and even pavlovas for birthday cakes.Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0054Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0047As you can see from the photos, we always have a lot of fun decorating the birthday cake! Flowers are essential! Often, I will ice the cake and mark out the birthdayee’s name or age in silver cachous balls or fruit, but sometimes, I just dust the top with icing sugar. I have some wonderful plastic cake stencils, which I use to create beautiful patterns. Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0063Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0022Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0045Candles vary from metallic silver or gold to coloured stripes and dots; singing candles and frustrating candles, which won’t blow out; long skinny tapers and even sparklers, which are very dramatic! We always tie a bow around the cake knife. Once the candles are blown out, the birthdayee cuts the first slice and makes a wish!Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0039

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Finished off with a singing candle!

We’d play lots of old-fashioned games including :

• Pin the Tail on the Donkey
• Musical Chairs
• Pass the Parcel- with a little gift for everyone
• Treasure Hunt
• The Chocolate Game

The last game was a particular favourite. The game was timed, so at the start of the session, you had to don woollen cap, scarf and gloves, then use a fork and knife to eat as much chocolate as you could before the time was up! We always made sure every child had a prize and a party bag of sweets and a slice of birthday cake to take home.

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Solving clues in the treasure hunt

Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0059Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_6928As the kids got older, the parties became fewer, though just as memorable, and the kids were able to have much more input. Caroline’s 18th birthday party was a surprise party, organized by her friends and hosted at home.Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0030Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0032Jen had a wonderful Middle eastern party for her 19th birthday just before she left to start her university studies. All the guests came dressed as Arabian sheiks, harem girls and belly dancers. One clever fellow came as a camel in a coat. He bought 2 matching tweed coats from the op-shop and cut one up to cover a polystyrene foam boulster hump.

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Bedouin tent created from sheets hung from the ceiling

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We transformed the lounge into a Bedouin tent with multi-coloured sheets draping the ceiling and sat on floor cushions to partake of our Middle Eastern feast! Some of the food included:

• Pomegranate dip
• Freshly-made flat breads
• Fruit salad in a watermelon with a carved camel
• Layered pavlova with cream, strawberries, blueberries and rose water
• Camel birthday cake
It certainly was a night to remember!Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0037Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0042

And now for some special birthday recipes !!!

Mum’s Chocolate Birthday Cake Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0046

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Cream 125g butter and 250g sugar. Add 3 eggs singly.
  • Sift 250g self-raising flour, 1 tsp cream of tartar, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp salt at least 3 times.
  • Add to the butter mixture alternately with 1 tsp vanilla in 1/2 cup milk.
  • Add 1/2 cup cocoa, dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water.
  • Spoon mixture into 2 cake tins (18 cm diameter), lined with Gladbake.
  • Place on middle shelf of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Turn out onto cooling racks.
  • When cool, ice one of the cakes with chocolate icing made from : icing sugar, cocoa and 1 tbsp melted butter. Decorate the top with silver cachous balls or berries and candles.
  • Place the other cake upside-down on serving plate, spread with strawberry jam then a layer of whipped cream (with 1 tsp sugar and a few drops of vanilla in it), then top with the iced cake. Make sure the serving knife is tied with a bow, then light the candles! Happy Birthday!!!

 

Jigsaw Puzzle Cake  (Credits : ‘Entertaining at Home’ by Sheridan Rogers)

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  • Cream 250g softened butter and 185g brown sugar. Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, then add 300g honey.
  • Sift together 750g plain flour, a pinch of salt, 3 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp cinammon and 1/2 tsp allspice.
  • Add to butter mixture alternately with 3 tsp bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 125 ml boiling water. If the dough feels too soft, add more flour. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in Gladwrap or greasedproof paper and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray (40cm by 33cm) with Gladbake.
  • Roll dough directly onto this tray to a depth of 5mm with a well-floured rolling pin.
  • Trim edges, leaving 1 cm round the sides to allow for spread.
  • Cook for 15 minutes, then remove. Cut into large jigsaw shapes with a sharp knife.
  • Return to oven, reduce heat to 150 degrees Celsius and cook for a further 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and separate the jigsaw pieces slightly. Cool on wire rack, keeping the puzzle in shape.
  • Brush crumbs off each piece and coat with royal icing smoothly with a spatula. Leave to set for 2-3 hours or overnight.
  • When dry, paint a picture on the surface with small clean paint brushes and food dyes, diluted in water or mixed to produce different shades. Have fun !!!

Royal Icing

Whisk 2 egg whites until stiff. Gradually, beat in 500g sifted icing sugar and the juice of a small lemon. Beat till smooth. Keep icing covered with Gladwrap to prevent it from drying out.

Sponge Cake     (Credits : The Essential Baking Cookbook Murdoch Books, 2000)

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  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line 2 cake tins (22cm diameter) with Gladbake.
  • Beat 6 eggs in a large bowl with an electric beater for 7 minutes. Gradually, add 220g caster sugar, beating well after each addition.
  • Sift 150g self-raising flour and 75g plain flour 3 times and using a metal spoon, quickly and gently fold in sifted flours and 2 tbsp boiling water. Do not beat.
  • Spread mixture evenly into the 2 tins and bake for 25 minutes till lightly golden. The sides of the sponge should have shrunk slightly away from the sides of the tins.
  • Cool in tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  • When cold, spread 1/2 cup strawberry jam over one of the sponges. Beat 1 cup cream, then spread on top of the jam and top with the other cake.
  • Dust with icing sugar and decorate the top with flowers and candles.

Melting Moments   (Credits : The Essential Baking Cookbook Murdoch Books, 2000)

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  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line 2 baking trays with Gladbake.
  • Cream 250g softened unsalted butter and 40g icing sugar in a bowl with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla essence.
  • Sift 185g self-raising flour and 60g custard powder and mix into the butter mixture with a knife, using a cutting motion, to form a soft dough.
  • Roll level tablespoons into 28 balls and place on trays. Flatten slightly with a floured fork.
  • Bake for 20 minutes till lightly golden. Cool slightly on trays, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
  • Make Passionfruit Filling : Beat 60g unsalted butter and 60g icing sugar in a bowl, then beat in 1.5 tbsp passionfruit pulp. Use to sandwich the biscuits together. Leave to firm before serving.

Meringue Kisses : An instant sugar hit!!!

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  • Preheat oven to 110 degrees Celsius.
  • Beat 6 egg whites until stiff.
  • Add a pinch of salt, ¼ tsp cream of tartar and 1 tsp vanilla.
  • Add 1.5 cups caster sugar 1 tsp at a time and beat well. When all the sugar added, beat for a further 6 minutes.
  • Spoon mixture into a piping bag with a 1cm star tip and pipe kisses onto a tray lined with Gladbake.
  • Reduce oven to 100 degrees Celsius and bake for 1.5-2 hours till dry to touch.
  • Note : You can use the same recipe for Meringue Mice. Pipe the mixture into a long body; cut tails out of licorice sticks, with tiny bits for eyes, and ears and noses out of finely chopped pink musk sticks. For Meringue Hedgehogs, pipe as for meringue kisses, then use slivered almonds to create the quills and tiny licorice bits for eyes. You can also sandwich them together with a coffee cream filling made from 1 cup icing sugar, 3 tbsp unsalted softened butter, 1 tsp vanilla and 2 tsp coffee dissolved in 2 tsp hot water OR 5o g unsalted butter, 1/4 cup (45 g) icing sugar and 1 tbsp Kahlua or another coffee-flavoured liqueur.

Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0017Sending lots of meringue kisses your way, darling Jen! Happy Birthday once again and may your year continue to be filled with lots of wonderful adventures, laughter, love and happiness! xxx

Blog Itspartytime20%ReszdIMG_0013PPS. We have been checking out the planets at 4 am each morning in the first week of February. See : http://theconversation.com/all-five-bright-planets-come-together-in-the-morning-sky-53226. The night sky is so beautiful! If you have missed out this month, all five planets will be lined up again in the evening sky in August. I just had to include this dodgy photo of Venus for Jen’s birthday : it really is the Planet of Love!!!

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Birthday Blessings

This is why I am NOT a millionaire! I NEVER win my bets!!! Amongst the known contenders for the Candelo Rose Cup, Stanwell Perpetual won by two lengths, followed by Heaven Scent, then Lolita. But the two dark horses were the unidentified (still!) rose on the lane side of the house (front/back wall!) and a very sneaky Alnwick in the Soho Bed, right under our noses!!! I think we decided in the end that the winning trio were : Stanwell Perpetual (photos below) , Alnwick , then the unidentified climber !BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.23.22BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-07 17.03.02I love Stanwell Perpetual! She is so modest and unassuming, yet so generous with her blooms. She is often the first and last rose to bloom in the season and she has a divine fragrance! The following photos show : Heaven Scent; Lolita and our two dark horses: our unidentified climber and Alnwick.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 13.35.33BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 07.56.22BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 14.26.19BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.10.47We visited Canberra on the hot Tuesday and caught up with old friends, who both work at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. The gardens are a real show at the moment and so impressive! There has been so much growth and development since our last visit 10 years ago.BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-06 11.31.16BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-06 10.29.43Afterwards, we called in to the lovely Heritage Nursery at Yarralumla (http://heritagenursery.com.au/), where I found a scented rhododendron at long last. Rhododendron ‘Daviesii’ has a lovely warm spicy fragrance and will be perfect to hide the compost bay.

I  discovered and bought my long-desired crabapple , Malus ‘Golden Hornet’, but because it was a bare-rooted tree, which has been potted, we will have to wait till Christmas to plant it out, so that we don’t damage its fragile new roots. We also bought a French Tarragon and a Sprekelia bulb (Jacobean Lily).BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.24.45BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 13.37.29We arrived home to discover that the blue Dutch Iris and ranunculas had finally opened.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.21.07BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 16.28.51The poppies are a real show of happiness!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.25.01BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.16.59The ranunculas always remind me of Can Can girls, with their frilly skirts and rich exotic colours!

BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.30.03BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.16.45BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.20.06BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.19.52‘Madame Lemoine’ (white Lilac) and  the ‘White Caviar’ (Magnolia below) are still flowering, but the bluebells and  ‘The Bride’ have bowed out. It looks like we could get a bumper crop of navel oranges!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-07 17.05.35BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 14.25.25A few more unexpected discoveries :

‘Little Red Riding Hood’ has her first flower and I just discovered the first of the highly scented old-fashioned Grandma’s freesias!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 09.03.28BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.16.14The anemones continue their amazing display!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 13.36.51BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.18.08BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.18.23BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.17.54This is the last of the tulips, as well as the first blooms of a Scented Geranium.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.15.19BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 08.05.42The Banksia and Fortuneana roses are throwing plenty of blooms and our daisies are looking very happy!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 08.06.01BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.01.17‘Green Goddess’ has been joined by this exotic bromeliad bloom.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 08.04.29BlogBdayblessgs40%Reszd2015-10-10 16.59.10 - CopyLots of garden tasks this week!

We planted out the new Rhododendron in front of the compost bays behind the red Azalea, the new Lemon next to the Cumquats and the Black Passionfruit vine on our neighbour’s fence, about which she is delighted!!!BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-09 09.03.47BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-08 14.00.43We transplanted the herbs to new pots and replaced the Russian Tarragon with the tastier French Tarragon, banishing the former to the vegie garden. We planted out the Heritage tomatoes, the lettuces, the red cabbages and the mixed capsicums and sowed sunflower and carrot seed.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.21.14BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.21.32BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.37.58We planted the Jacobean Lily at the bottom of the steps, where its red blooms will be a real eye catcher. And we tied back the climber Clos de Vougeot, which is covered in blooms and found a home for my 3 metal fairies in the shady reading nook.BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-26 16.29.01Ross found a perfect spot for his Pink Rock Orchid in a natural depression in the trunk of the Pepperina tree, where it can be seen from all angles of the garden.BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.03.48BlogBirthday blessings20%Reszd2015-10-09 14.04.23And we celebrated Ross’s birthday at the end of the week. Finally, I can show you a photo of the gift I made him – a cushion covered in his favourite rain forest birds! It was so difficult finding Ross-free time to make it and I was almost caught out a number of times towards the end! He loved it !!!

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We had a great birthday dinner with friends and dear Katrina made him a spectacular chocolate cake, decorated with mixed berries, apple blossom and purple Bouganvillea and a cute little wheelbarrow, which she found in the toy shop! A great addition to the collection, though a trifle small!!!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 19.36.00BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-09 19.37.22BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 07.54.12BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 07.54.53A pod of 8 Humpback Whales even made it to the party (though a day late!). We were so thrilled to finally see some and they were so close into the shore. The adults and their babies are heading back down south for the Antarctic Summer!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.59.20BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 11.10.32BlogBdayblessgs40%Reszd2015-10-10 11.31.50 - Copy (3)BlogBdayblessgs30%Reszd2015-10-10 11.15.48 - CopyOn our way home, we took some photos of the beautiful Spring wild flowers in bloom.BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.07.02BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.18.16BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.08.24BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-10 10.08.42But the best birthday treat of all was a surprise visit by our youngest daughter and friend on Saturday night! So it was back to Tathra the following afternoon! Alas, no whales this time, but we did find this little fellow moseying along the footpath!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-11 12.13.09BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-11 12.12.43

My daughter was slightly concerned that the echidna might try to cross the road, but when she tried to divert him, he just dived into his ball and dug his toes in, so firmly that he wouldn’t budge! We waited and watched him as he approached the gutter, but I suspect he may have been pretty street-wise, as he veered away from making the leap down onto the road! They are such cute creatures and great survivors, being one of only two Monotremes (egg-laying mammals) in the world. It is thought that they originated over 200 Million years ago. When both whales and such primitive mammals turn up for your birthday weekend, you know it has been a pretty special one!!!             Happy Birthday Ross!!!

Late Winter

A sniff of Spring in the air in August with the melodious song of the Striated Pardalote from the Pepperina tree and the slowly lengthening days.Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-04 08.27.34Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-07-31 09.54.12The daphne blooms are browning off, but the pink violets are exploding everywhere. This is obviously their month ! The purple and deep purple violets continue their lengthy show.

Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-03 15.03.53Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-03 15.04.42The banksia rose and all the new bare-rooted roses are sending out fresh shoots and leaves. The birch sports lemon catkins and the Prunus, tiny white blossoms. and the pink buds on the Malus floribunda get bigger and bigger every day!Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-29 12.17.03Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-01 15.06.43Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-02 17.15.17Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-02 17.20.33We have had our first anemones (purple, blue, pale blue, red and white), cheerful golden Winter Sun daffodils and sweetly scented Paperwhite jonquils in the cutting garden. The Dutch iris and cornflowers are growing madly and the Iceland poppies have finally surfaced and are developing well.

Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-24 16.29.31Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-02 17.16.13Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-01 15.09.17Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-31 11.13.19Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-04 15.14.51Sadly, a wicked rabbit or bandicoot decided to munch into 6 of my tulip bulbs, just as they were peeping their heads up, so Ross immediately made a wire guard to protect them. I don’t think that tulips could be too palatable, as the raider spat out all the leaves ! Some of my unfortunate Peony poppies emerged in the Soho Bed after our early Spring rain- I only hope there is enough of them to seed well for next year !Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-28 15.20.04Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-04 15.21.16The forget-me-knots are flowering and all the Soho seedlings-the flowering sages, verbenas, catmint and lavenders are sending out fresh leaves, as are the Soho roses.Blog LateWinter20%ReszdIMG_9085

When we were making the fernery, we discovered a huge pile of buried broken red bricks, so we used these to create 2 of the paths through the cutting garden and they look terrific and very rustic ! It makes it much easier to access the bulbs and weed the cutting garden.

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We also moved the bird bath, so we could see the visiting birds better (like these dear little  Eastern Spinebills) and transplanted the Galanthus to form a meandering border around it, as well as the japonicas and mauve lilac.Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-02 11.29.48Blog LateWinter20%ReszdIMG_9084I found one of my favourite Japonica camellias, Nuccio’s Gem, at our local Mitre 10. I was thrilled as I had been constantly on the lookout for it, to no avail up until now. We planted it in honour of a dear friend , who has just lost her battle with cancer, under the apple tree, full of the chatter of King Parrots and bird song, near our shady loveseat nook (where we read on hot Summer days) and opposite the cutting garden. I think she would appreciate its position , as well as its perfect white formal blooms, as she was a very stylish lady, who loved people, books, gardens and singing. How I wish she could have seen this place, but she loved all our photos and descriptions.

The tiny little Flowering Currant and Viburnum are flowering valiantly and the Exochorda is covered in new leaf and buds- it should be a real show stopper over time. I only hope my puny little Philadelphus gets its act together soon, otherwise I may be tempted to buy a bigger shrub of it if I happened to see it in my travels !!!

But I’m afraid I was tempted big-time! An email arrived from Misty Downs, advertising their end-of -season sale with their bare-rooted roses at greatly reduced prices. So easily led astray, I made an executive decision without the restraining influence of my husband and ordered 11 roses, which were on my 2016 Wish List!!! My rationale is that since I would have bought them next year anyway, this way I’ve saved money and the plants have gained a year’s growth, compared to if I’d bought them next season! According to Ross, I’ve just blown the Citrus budget, but we already have the Lemonade Tree and I’m sure we will find a way to afford the cost of citrus in late Spring. Ironically, with all the lovely August rain, it looks like many of the rose cuttings from up north could well be successful! I hope so anyway !!!Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-03 15.04.17The roses arrived at the end of the month, so my favourite wombat has been madly digging holes! The exciting news is we will now have to build the Main Entrance Pergola this year for my favourite climbing Noisette, Mme Alfred Carriere , and Climbing Tea roses: Adam and Devoniensis. The last corner will grace an exquisite Bourbon rose, Souvenir de la Malmaison, or maybe a Dupontii or an Alba ( Alba Maxima or Alba Semi Plena – depending on which cuttings are successful! ) The steel posts mark the position of the future wooden pergola uprights.Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-28 15.16.24Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-28 15.15.57We also bought another climbing Tea, one of the best white Teas, Mrs Herbert Stevens, to climb beside Lamarque on the front wall of the house.Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-29 11.27.55We completed our David Austin Bed with Lucetta and William Morris and started our old fashioned heritage rose bed along the fenceline by the old shed with Tea roses: Countess Bertha (Duchesse de Brabant) and Archiduke Joseph, the unusual green China rose, loved by florists : Viridiflora, and an Alba : Maidens Blush. The Kordes rose, Maigold, will arch over the corner of the shed . While digging the holes for Archiduke Joseph and Maigold, Ross unearthed a 1922 penny and a very artistic looking rusty iron railing- treasure indeed !

Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-29 12.10.01With a final load of manure, the new vegie bed was ready for action, so we transplanted some of the old silver beet, which has taken on a new lease of life, as well as planting new broccoli and lettuce, for which Ross immediately designed and built 2 very impressive slim long wire guards.Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-24 16.30.40Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-29 12.19.40We planted bare-rooted raspberry canes-one of each type-late Summer fruiting varieties : Chilcotin and Chilliwack and an Autumn fruiting Heritage variety; 2 blueberries : Denise( early) and Brigitta(late) ; a Black Currant Bush for its fruit, cassis and black currant cordial and syrup, and lastly asparagus and rhubarb crowns. We sowed radish, carrot and rocket seed, all of which have come up.

Back on the patio outside the kitchen, we planted up long pots with herbs, both seeds and plants- Russian Tarragon, Flat leaf and Curly Parsley, Coriander, Marjoram, Basil and Chives.

Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-02 17.27.44Ross painted Scamp’s old dog food tins in pastel colours- pink, mauve, aqua, lime green and gold – to hold the beautiful bouquets I plan to sell, once the flowers finally establish themselves !

Blog LateWinter20%ReszdIMG_8910We had more visitors and discovered the culinary sensations of local oysters and mussels, gathered straight off the rocks at Tathra, as well as the more unusual taste of sea urchins, collected off the sea floor off Merimbula Wharf by diving friends. They taste a bit like oysters with the creamy richness of scallops, but given the  effort involved in preparing the urchins, I suspect it will be a one-off experience!BlogFordHdld SliceHx 20%Reszd2015-08-11 18.57.42Blog LateWinter20%ReszdIMG_8942I decorated a banana travel cake with pink and purple violets for our friends’ departure.Blog LateWinter20%ReszdIMG_8953

Finally, and only because tomorrow is actually my youngest daughter’s birthday and she has already opened this present , I have been working on a lovely Yoko Saito embroidery design . You can see some of Yoko’s designs on : https://www.pinterest.com/jsholley/yoko-saito-quilts-more/. This patchwork panel consists of 9 different patches, each embroidered with a different dog or cat for my animal loving daughter. They are so cute and so simple- just outline stitch ( stem  stitch ), straight stitch and French knots – and they capture the essence of the animal perfectly. When the patches are stitched together, the panel is backed with batting and the seams are embroidered with a leafy vine, which takes ages to do, but looks fantastic. Yoko made this design as a quilted wall hanging, but having spent all morning hand-quilting one square – a first for me- I decided that really I preferred the non-quilted look and the effort involved was just not worth it, so I undid the quilting, then attached the patchwork panel to an antique rose patterned fabric, embroidered the vine around the bordering seam and then made it all into a cushion cover. She  LOVED  it !!! Happy Birthday Darling !!! xxxBlog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-01 08.56.53

Having finally caught up on the last 8 months of garden development and the start of our new life, tomorrow’s post is the official start of Candelo Blooms as it will appear in the future! I plan to hopefully manage at least one blog post a week ( though it could be more depending on the week’s activities) and will chronicle all the current garden projects, developments and dreams (as well as what is in bloom), our creative endeavours (both culinary and crafty ) and all that inspires us- including our beautiful local scenery; our dear little adoptive village Candelo; local events; our wonderful local birdlife and nature (even the weather!), internet or library discoveries and the work of fellow bloggers- the list is endless !!! Happy reading ! I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have so far!Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-09-01 14.06.41Blog LateWinter20%ReszdIMG_9079PS  I can’t resist some more photos of our beautiful camellia!!!Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-26 16.47.39Blog LateWinter20%Reszd2015-08-26 16.47.45

 

 

Mid Autumn

April and the leaves are turning beautiful Autumn colours , including our neighbour’s Virginia creeper. The purple violets are starting to bloom and we discovered white nerines in amongst the mondo grass in the border of the back path.Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-12 17.02.51Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-22 10.53.07After treating all the garden beds and new plantings with manure and mulch from a friend’s farm, we planted our first vegetables : lettuce, broccoli and silver beet.Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-06-07 12.12.35

We covered them with a wire guard to protect them from the bower birds, of which we have a huge population next door ! Lovely birds, but very destructive in vegie gardens!

Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-09-02 12.28.26

We planted our Spring bulbs in the new cutting garden, except for the tulips, which needed refridgeration, and marked their planting rows with stakes of small bamboo. In between each pair of bulb rows, we sewed annual and perennial seeds to gradually grow and replace the spent bulbs as their leaves dry off. In effect, within the one cutting bed, we had 4 long  skinny  beds, separated by paths:

  • Dutch Iris and daffodils with cornflowers in the middle at the back;
  • Freesias and ranunculas separated by Iceland poppies;
  • a bed totally devoted to blue, red and white de Caen anemones with calendula in the middle and finally
  • a late bed of erlicheer jonquils and tulips, which will be planted in May and then joined by stock seedlings after the Winter frosts. We raised the  stock  in seed trays on the sunny verandah, along with Sweet Pea seedlings, again to be planted out after the frosts.Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-08-28 15.20.04 (2)

We marked out 4 paths in the Soho Bed and finally transplanted the Soho roses into their permanent positions:
2 pastel quarters :
1st quarter
• Icegirl (white)
• the Children’s Rose (pink)
• Eglantyne (pink); and
2nd quarter
• Fair Bianca/
• Fragrant Plum(soft purple) and
• Just Joey (salmon) and
2 brighter quarters :
3rd quarter
• Copper Queen (gold)
• Mr Lincoln (dark red) and
• Alnwyk ( mid pink);
4th quarter :
• Heaven Scent (blue pink)
• LD Braithwaite (deep red) and
• Lolita (orange, gold and pink).

Here are some vases of the Soho roses.Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-03-26 16.26.00Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-03-17 08.45.09Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-02-19 16.43.38

We edged the bed with lavenders ( English, French and Italian ), which we’d raised from cuttings and catmint from the local nursery, as well as planting blue and red flowering salvias, a pink verbena, a white gaura (which was damaged by later frost) and 4 gold bearded iris corms in each corner of the sundial .Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-18 10.00.02

A scarlet robin flew down to sit on the sundial and inspect our progress that same afternoon!Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-18 11.56.23We placed our 2015 rose order from both Misty Downs (http://mistydowns.com.au ) and Treloars (http://www.treloarroses.com.au ) in Victoria- the start of our new rose empire !!! We also planted an evergreen Bull Bay Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) in the centre of the rain forest area. I adore their luscious huge creamy- white flowers and glossy foliage.Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2014-11-22 10.17.01We also had lots of visitors in April- my daughters for Easter, as well as my sister and her husband and several close friends, so the kitchen saw lots of activity ! I made an Easter cake decorated with salvia flowers and my eldest daughter, who had just returned from a 3 month holiday in South East Asia, taught me how to make Vietnamese rice paper rolls.Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-10 18.27.54Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-04 15.27.39

I attended a local sour dough bread workshop and added it to our repertoire, although over time I reverted to our No Knead bread recipe, which does have yeast, as my husband preferred it.Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-18 11.30.11Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-18 11.29.00Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-19 15.44.10And we made cumquat marmalade from our generous trees- 37 jars of it ! I tried 2 recipes- Caroline Velik’s with lemon juice ( https://carolinevelik.wordpress.com/2010/07/ ) and Stephanie Alexander’s recipe from Merci Mama’s site (http://merci-mama.com/cumquat-mmmmmarmalade/ ). Both set well and I really couldn’t decide which recipe I preferred. It was so easy, as the fruit is only quartered and the numerous pips removed at the very end just before bottling. It has become our favourite breakfast spread.

Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-11 17.06.41Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-04 09.49.18

I continued making aprons for the store with Mother’s Day coming up and made a cute little alien designed by Melly and Me ( http://mellyandme.com/) for another new baby, as well as a little appliquéd felt bird purse (designed by Salley Mavor from her book Felt Wee Folk. See : http://weefolkstudio.com/) for my youngest daughter.Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-09-03 09.49.16I also made a star cushion to thank my friend Beryl for the beautiful bunting she made and gave to me.Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-28 15.35.29Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-28 15.33.18Blog MidAutumn20%Reszd2015-04-28 15.32.55