Drawing and Art Library: Part Three: Watercolour Books and Artist’s Journals

Two weeks ago, I started with a discussion of general sketching and painting books in my art library, while last week, I featured some of my favourite art books for children. Because I am enamoured with Watercolour Painting, I own a number of books about the subject and this post will be covering them, as well as a few books about creating Artist’s Journals, another favourite subject area!

Watercolour Books

An Introduction to Watercolour by Ray Smith 1993

A good beginner’s guide, this Art School publication was produced in association with the Royal Academy of Arts and published by Dorking Kindersley, the series thus often being referred to as the DK Art School Series. It provides an ‘all-visual art course’, based on painting projects and exercises and using fully annotated, photographically sequenced instructions for a range of different techniques.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.10

It starts with a Brief History of Watercolour and includes Gallery Pages of works throughout the book by watercolour masters and contemporary artists, which serve to inspire the reader with examples and possibilities. They include: a Gallery of Colour; Brushstrokes; Paper; Washes; and Techniques.

Projects include:  Choosing Paints, Brushes and Papers; Mixing Colours; Colour Harmony; Light and Colour; Using Gouache; Sketching and Composition, Stretching and Toning; Laying a Wash; Tone and Colour; Brushmarks and Marks by Other Tools; Building Up Layers; Sponging Out; and Scratching Out and Resist Techniques. There is a Glossary of watercolour terms in the back, as well as Qualifying Notes on colours, pigments and toxicity, and brushes and papers.

I really enjoyed this introductory book on the subject and learnt so much about watercolours, including how the paints are made; the different types of brushes and their correct care;  the different types of paper and their qualities (absorbency/ surface and weight/acidity and manufacture); as well as the different types of washes.

There are two other watercolour titles in the Art School Series, neither of which I own: Watercolour Colour; and Watercolour Landscape; as well as books about other forms of painting, including  the titles:  DK Art School : An Introduction to Art Techniques; An Introduction to Oil Painting; An Introduction to Acrylics; An Introduction to Drawing; An Introduction to Mixed Media; An Introduction to Pastels; An Introduction to Perspective; Drawing Figures;  and Oil Painting Portraits, all written by Ray Smith. See: https://www.librarything.com/author/smithray-1.

The Complete Watercolour Artist: Materials, Techniques, Colour Theory, Composition, Style and Subject  Edited by Sally Harper 1997

An excellent comprehensive guide, similar in its size and coverage to The Complete Book of Drawing and How To Paint and Draw: A Complete Course on Practical and Creative Techniques, both featured in my first post on drawing and art books. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/02/20/drawing-and-art-library-part-one-sketching-and-painting-books/.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.27

Like the previous book, it starts with a History of Watercolour Painting, then progresses to a discussion of Materials: Paints and Colours; Tubes and Paintboxes; Gouache; Brushes; Papers (including step by step instructions for stretching paper); Drawing Boards and Easels; Palettes and Recessed Wells; Other Sundries (eg sponges; blotting paper; cotton wool, tooth brushes, scalpel, and masking tape and fluid) and Indoor Lighting.

The section on Techniques is very detailed and comprehensive, each technique description being supplemented with artworks and useful artists’ tips. They are grouped in their order of application when creating a painting, moving from washes and foundation techniques through brush techniques and colour effects and finally,  to making changes and corrections. Here is a brief summary of each group:

Laying Washes and Foundations: Flat Washes; Wash on Dry/ Damp Paper; Gradated and Variegated Washes; Textures; Granulation; Backruns; Wet-In-Wet; Hard and Soft Edges; Building Up Watercolour Overpainting and Underpainting; Glazing; Using Gouache; Drawing; and Squaring Up.

Brush Techniques, Colour Effects and Alternative Techniques, and Media: Brush Drawing; Brush Marks; Dry Brush; Scumbling (another wonderful word, referring to the technique of scrubbing very dry paint unevenly over another layer of dry colour, so that the first one shows through, thereby creating texture, broken colour effects and a glowing richness to colours, especially in opaque media); Stippling; Spattering; Body Colour and Toned Ground; Blending; Broken Colour; Highlighting; Masking; Lifting Out (removing paint from paper); Surface and Imitative Textures; Sponge Painting and Blotting; Line and Wash; Scraping Back; Wash-Off; Wax Resist; Using Gum Arabic; and Mixed Media.

Making Changes: Corrections and Colour Changes.

The section on Colour and Composition examines a number of principles, common to all forms of painting, which should be learned and understood before breaking them in the pursuit of creativity. They include:

Composition: Size and Shape; Dynamics of the Rectangle; Dividing the Rectangle; Thumbnail Sketches; Similarity and Contrast; Making and Using a Viewfinder; Edges of Paintings; Viewpoints; Composing a Figure Painting/ Townscape or Landscape/ and Still-Life; Balance and Counterbalance; Centre of Interest; Directing the Eye; Tonal Values; Illusion of Depth; Making Value Sketches; Value Scales; Keying Your Values; High-Key/ Middle-Key and Low-Key Paintings; Aerial Perspective; Creating Mood in Landscapes/ Interiors/ Portraits; and Using Limited Tones and Shadows Creatively.

Colours: Choosing Colours (Blues/ Yellows and Browns/ Reds/ Greens/ Black and Greys/ Whites); Paint Qualities (Transparency; Permanence; Mixing Qualities); Colour Relationships; Flower Colours; Mixing Colours; Mixing without Muddying; and White Space.

Again, the text is supported by examples of artist’s works and projects and exercises.

The chapter on Style examines the work of other watercolourists throughout history. In the past, many artists developed their skills by copying the styles of the masters, right up until the Impressionist era, however today, modern artists  tend to make visual references in their work to other paintings, including the use of similar compositional elements or reinterpreting a particular theme. A study of the works of past masters and painting styles aids an understanding of and development of your own stylistic preferences. Art Movements, including practising artists, photographs of art works, key features and projects, include:

Impressionism: Monet, Pissaro, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, Morisot, Cassatt and Bonnard: Working directly outdoors; Relationship of Light and Colour; and Responding to Movement, using light and colour, rather than painting subjects. Projects: Capturing Immediate Impressions and Series Paintings.

Expressionism: Ensor, Munch, Nolde, Kirchner, Bacon, Schiele, Marc and Van Gogh : Composition, Distortion and Stylization; Colours as Expressions; Key Tones; Expressive Mark Making; Projects: Expressing Character and a Sense of Place.

Abstractioning from Nature and Pure Abstraction: De Stael, De Kooning, Sutherland, Davis, Avery, Sparks, Wols, O’Keefe ,Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich, Tothko, Pollock, Louis and Stella: Sources of Absract Imagery; Compositional Elements; Abstractional Styles; Projects: Collage from a Landscape/ Still-Life; a Painted Abstraction and Colour Drawing of the Same Collage; and Geometric and Gestural Abstraction.

The final chapter covers Subject Matter, using a similar format (artists/ photographs of artwork/ key features, artists’ hints and projects) and different techniques and approaches to portray:

Still-Life: Vermeer, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Chardin, Rembrandt, the Dutch Still-Life Painters of the 17th Century: ‘Found Groups’; Themes (Culinary/ Literary/ Pictorial Biography); Backgrounds; Setting up a Still-Life; Plants and Flowers: Composition; Indoor Arrangements; Single Specimens; and Natural Habitat. Projects: Approaches to Still-Life: Objects with personal appeal/ everyday objects/ and objects in the landscape; and Flower Arrangements (Cyclamen/ Persimmon and Plums/ and Narcissi in Sunlight).

Landscape:  English Watercolour tradition: Gainsborough, Girtin, Constable and Turner and the Norwich School: Cotman and Crome: Practical Hints for Painting Outdoors; Trees and Foliage; Fields and Hills; Rocks and Mountains; Clouds and Skies; Light and Shade; Painting Shadows; Weather: Mist and Fog/ Snow Scenes; Water: Light on Water/Moving and Still Water/Reflections; Buildings: Linear and Simple/ Complex Perspective; Inside Looking Out; and  Framing a View. Projects: Distant Hills/  Old Harry and His Wife/ Hot Sun / Moon River/ Trees and Water; and Lifting Out.

Animals: Wade, Jesty, Boys, Dawson and Willis: Sketching from Life; Birds; Domestic and Farm Animals; Wild Animals; Movement; and Textures. Projects: Horse’s Head/Squirrel/ Mackerel.

Portrait and Figure Work: Kunz, Lew, Cassels: Proportions of the Figure and Head; Head from an Angle; Flesh Tones; Shadows and Highlights; Hair and Fabrics (folds, pattern, texture, shadows,  drapery and reflected light); Capturing a Likeness; and Moving Figures; Projects: Young Skin/Hair/ Ribbed Sweater.

It is hard to imagine a more comprehensive book on the subject and I would highly recommend this book!

Now for a few specific books on using watercolours to paint one of my favourite subjects:  My Garden and its Flowers !!!

The Watercolourist’s Garden by Jill Bays 1993/ 1997

As you all know, I love my garden and this lovely book gives me the tools and techniques to portray its beautiful contents!BlogArtBooks2518-01-05 18.02.00

It begins with Basic Art Theory, common to the other art books, with notes on Materials, Colour (including a basic palette) and Complementary Colours; Drawing, Composition, Perspective and Handling Paint (watercolour techniques in a nutshell); Using Photographs and Reference and Sketch-Books; Working Outside on Location and Lighting; and Style and Inspiration.

The following chapters are divided by season and include suggestions for painting seasonal flowers and plants, as well as enlarging on specific techniques and providing step-by-step demonstrations to follow. Here are the subject headings:

Spring: Tonal Values; Wet into Wet; Painting Leaves & Vegetables; Tulips, Bearded Iris & Anemones.

Summer: Experimentation; Still-Life; Flowers in the Landscape; Wild Gardens; Summer Vegetables and Fruits; Wild Flowers, Poppies, Roses and Other Summer Flowers.

Autumn: Garden Painting; Interiors; Mood; Using Containers; Seeds and Berries, Fungi, Autumn Fruit & Vegetables; Autumn Leaves and Berries; Dahlias.

Winter: Still-Life and Landscapes; Dried Flowers; Winter Bulbs; Winter Vegetables, Early Primroses; Cyclamen and Reflections.At the end of the book are notes on Problems with Watercolour ; Exhibiting Your Work; and a Glossary of Terms.

This book was published in Britain, so the seasons are very defined, while we here in Australia have a much milder climate, though we still have seasons in the south, so we have lots of opportunities to use this book!

Learn to Paint Flowers in Watercolour by Marjorie Blamey 1984

BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.18

Even though this book covers similar subject matter, with an element of seasonality as well, I have still included it as different approaches suit different people with different learning styles and it is always useful to have advice from a variety of sources. While I personally prefer Jill’s looser style and the more informal romantic feel of her book, Marjorie’s guide probably has a more simple, straightforward presentation. She describes her background and watercolour journey, as well as her reasons for painting flowers, before getting down to the nitty-gritty with chapters on :

Materials and Equipment: Watercolour Tubes and Paintbox; Gouache; Pencils; Brushes; Papers; Mixed Media.

Drawing Techniques: Leaves; Flower Anatomy; Flowers in Perspective; Sketching Outdoors.

Colour: Greens; Flower Colour; Problem Pinks; Poppies and Cornfield Flowers; Surfaces, Shadows and Highlights; Shapes, Spots and Stripes; White Flowers; Tinted Papers; and Summer Flowers.

Painting Through the Seasons: Flowers of Spring, Summer, Autumn Tints and Winter Shades.

Further chapters include: The Broader View: Flowers in the Landscape; Keeping It Simple; and Photography and the Flower Painter.

The Watercolour Flower Painter’s Pocket Palette Volume Two : Practical Visual Advice on How to Create Flower Portraits Using Watercolours by Adelene Fletcher 2000

A lovely little pocket guide and another favourite! While I do not own the first volume, The Watercolour Flower Painter’s Pocket Palette, this companion book still provides an instant and comprehensive guide to painting over 70 different types of flowers, fruit and foliage.BlogArtBooks3018-01-07 11.39.02It starts with a guide to using the book; a useful colour chart and paint permanence ratings (see photo from Pages 4-5 above), progressing to various techniques including: Washes; Amending Colours; Creating Soft Edges; Avoiding Colour Runs; Two-Tone Brushwork; Negative Shapes; Sgraffito; and Impressing.

Flowers are categorised into their different shapes : Bells and Trumpets; Lipped and Bearded; Cup and Bowl; Rays and Pompoms; Simple Stars; Multi-Headed; and Spikes, and then grouped by colour: Yellow; Orange and Red; Pink; Purple and Blue; and White, Cream and Green, each section containing step-by-step demonstrations and concluded by an example artwork. A variety of berries and leaves are covered in the final pages.

Other titles in this series include: The Watercolour Painter’s Pocket Palette; The Watercolour Landscape Painter’s Pocket Palette and The Oil and Acrylic Painter’s Pocket Palette, all written by Adelene Fletcher.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.44And finally, to another favourite category of Art Books:

Artist’s Journals

I love looking at other people’s art and illustrated travel journals. They are always so interesting, highly personal, creative and inspiring and make you want to follow their example. The following three books show you how to achieve your aim and again, all three, while covering similar subject material, all have different approaches and presentations, so one of them should appeal!

Create Your Own Artist’s Journal by Erin O’Toole 2002

BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.53I love this hardback book with its thick matt paper pages, its chatty personal text and its logical simple approach. I also like the fact that visual journals can be produced anywhere and can include sketches and paintings of familiar home surroundings and objects, not necessarily images of exotic travels, though I do love those as well!!!  I love her use of quaint illustrations, rather than photographs, to depict her suggestions.

There is a brief history of Erin’s journey, as well as a useful metric conversion chart in the front, followed by chapters on:

Starting a Journal: First Marks; Creating a Routine; Observation Skills; Page Design and Construction.

Materials: Store-Bought and Home-Made Books; Painting and Drawing Media and Equipment; and General Kit: Shoulder Bag; Art Tackle Box; Field Guides and Maps; Camera and Binoculars; Viewfinder; Fixative; Water Bottle; and a Folding Chair. There are also instructions for Making a Book with One Sheet of Paper.

In the Garden: Flowers; Insects and Cocoons, and Birds and Creatures; as well as notes on Dark and Light; Light Angle; Colour; and Garden Plans.

About the Neighbourhood: Architecture; Public Parks; Market and the Zoo; People; Pets and Family and notes on Drawing While Waiting and Sketching in Public.

On the Road: Braving the Elements; Taking the Slow Road; Maps; Historic Places; Farm Animals; Weather; Landscapes in Watercolour; On the Water; and Drawing from Photos.

Drawing Wildlife: Subject Matter and Venues (Wildlife Sanctuaries and Natural History Museums); Line Drawing; Using Binoculars; Unexpected Animals; Wild Flowers; Natural Habitats; and Observation Skills.

Refining and Sharing Your Journals: Hand Writing ; Making Changes and Corrections; Research; Taking Notes; Story-telling; Sharing with Family (Colour Photocopies; Scanning on Computer; Use on Postcards, Cards and Letters; Websites and Blogs); and Submitting Drawings to community organizations, and natural history  groups and historical societies.

In the back is a useful list of Suggested Reading for Art Journals, as well as Books on drawing, watercolour, writing, and bookbinding. I love Erin’s informal, romantic and blowsy style.

Artist’s Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures by Cathy Johnson 2011

Another book with a more modern feel and a bold, common sense approach, which encourages experimentation.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.03.01  It has five chapters:

Getting Started:

Exploring What You Want (Reasons and Desires; Subject Matter; and When and How);

Drawing a Journal Map and Overcoming First-Page Jitters (something of which  I am commonly guilty!); Journal Name; Sharing; Errors; and Jump Right In;

Physical Journals and Other Materials and Supplies, including Different Media.

Test Drive:

Experiment with Different Media and Test Drive Graphite Pencil/ Coloured Pencil/ Pen/ Watercolour/ Gouache/Watercolour Pencils/ Collage;

Page Design and Composition: Positioning Text; Text for Balance; Eye Path; Borders and Grids; and Double Page Spreads.

Exploring Journals:

Different Types of Journal (with hints for producing each type): The Daily Journal; Travel Journal (Physical and Virtual); Memory Journal; Reportage Journal and Nature Journal.

Journals can also be used to document Dreams and Imagination; Dealing with Challenges; Spiritual Journey; Life’s Journey (Integrated Journal), as well as to plan and practice techniques.

Journaling Lifestyle:

Attitudes and Habits: Allowing Time; Developing a Habit; Important Moments and Honoring Milestones; Work Anywhere and Work Fast; Gesture Sketches and Grids; Composite Pages; Weather; Classes and Sketch Crawls; and Using a Journal as a Learning Tool.

Pulling It All Together: Favourite Media/ Style/ Subjects and Journals; Patch as a Design/ Decorative Element; Things That Don’t Work; Rules Don’t Apply; Continue to Explore; Go Online; Follow Your Inclinations; Travel Light; and Daily Practice.

The book finishes with a Section on Resources, complete with websites for further exploration: Contributors; Illustrated Journals and Diaries;  Books on Journaling and Sketching and Drawing; and Instructional CDs and DVDs and Classes.

The Decorated Journal: Creating Beautifully Expressive Journal Pages by Gwen Diehn 2005

A final beautiful hardback guide to creating artist’s journals, the subtitle says it all! It covers many areas and subjects, not covered by the previous books, and has a totally different approach and style.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.03.11The book being divided into four sections:

Materials and How To Use Them: Determined and Neutral Materials; Paper and Blank Books; Binding Styles; Pigments and Paints: Watercolour, Gouache and Acrylic; Brushes; Pen and Ink; Adhesives; Pencils and Crayons; Grounds; and Other Useful Tools: Stencils; Matt Knives and Straight Edges.

How Does Your Journal See the World: Different World Views and their Translation into Journals:

Layered World : Resulting in a Layered Journal, naturally!;

Creative World : Used as a resource of ideas and information for future creative projects;

Wabi-Sabi World: Key tenets are simplicity, humility and modesty; Nature; unconventional beauty; impermanence; and imperfections, hence these journals are simple and rough; made of natural materials, employ warm, earthy, dark colours with low intensity, and use minimal medium;

Naturalist’s World: Functional precise nature observations with maps, diagrams and sketches;

Spiritual World: Journal dimensions form golden rectangles and page elements display golden proportion and rectangles, as well as other proportions and geometric forms from sacred geometry. Journals are covered in sensuous materials and decorated with rich colours and textures, the text is laden with imagery and journals can even include a few drops of essential oils, inviting contemplation, reflection and meditation;

Symbolic World: Dreams and Symbols, Patterns and Motifs; Abstract Colours and Forms; and Collage Elements;

Inner World: Surrealism and Subconscious Imagery; Automatic Writing and Morning Pages; Doodles and Random Marks; Lists of Words; Collections of Ephemera; Patches of Texture; Fragmented Images; Thoughts and Feelings; and Memory Prompts.

Pages in Stages: Ways of Working:

Ways to Get Started: Paper; Poured Colours; Printed Forms; Maps and Diagrams; Copier Transfer; Collage; Stitching; Challenges; Altered Books and Pages; and Patterns Lost and Found.

Middles: Writing; Subtracting Text; Extending Collage; Drawing; Mapping; Painting; Relief Prints , Rubbings and Stamping.

Toppings: Writing; Watercolour Washes; Eliminating Work; Separating Layers; Journaling with Children; Collage as a Link; Collaborations and Group Journaling; and Pauses.

The Reluctant Bookbinder :

How to Make Books: Basics; Three-Minute and Six-Minute Pamplets; 30 minute Multiple Pamphlet Journal; Making a Travel Journal; Two-Hour Journal; Sewing Frames; and

Customizing a Blank Book: Removing Pages; Adding and Changing Elements ( eg Envelopes/Smaller  Piggyback Journals/ Sheets of Watercolour Paper/ Grid Paper/ Coloured Paper/ Tracing Paper/ Specialty Papers); Laminating Pages; Modifying Covers (eg. Encrustation; Collage and Lettering); Altering a Book; and Using an Old Book Cover.

Overall, I would have to say that I’ve saved the best till last, though really all the books are beautiful and have their own individual strengths and advantages. However, I did find that this last book was such an interesting read and I learned so much about a wide variety of subjects: Making ochre pigments; egg tempera, casein paints, and inks from oak galls and charcoal; Historical Inventor’s Journals; The Japanese Aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi; Making a Golden Journal; the Practices of Surrealism; Book Binding Methods and History; and Making the Physical Journal.

Next week, I will be discussing some of my favourite printing books. In the meantime, Happy Journalling and Art Making!

The Festive Season 2017

It has been a wonderful festive season with the return of my daughter from Berlin for three weeks and long-awaited visits from old friends to relaxing lunches and beach trips on the warmer days, as well as plentiful rain, resulting in a blowsy overgrown garden, full of colour!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-15 17.43.06BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 08.39.13OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA While the roses are taking a break, except for the wonderfully generous Archiduc Joseph, the sunflower patch has been prolific and the honeysuckle has scaled the side fence.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 09.10.54OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe self-seeded pumpkin, tree dahlia and tree salvia are also heading to the heavens, the latter never missing a beat after its transplantation from the Moon Bed, and a remnant kiwi fruit vine hitching a ride on the tree dahlia!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-12 08.44.18BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.42.31Here is a sample of the plants in bloom this Summer:

Roses:

Left to Right and Top to Bottom:

Heritage, Archiduc Joseph (2 photos), Ice Girl, William Morris and The Children’s Rose:

White: Gardenias; Hydrangeas; and Madonna Lilies:

Purples and Pinks: Buddleias, Poppies, Hydrangeas, Geraniums, Bergamot and Dahlias;

Golds and Reds: Dahlias and Calendulas; Meadow Lea Dahlia and Gladioli; Ladybird Poppies and Alstroemeria; Red Dahlia and Pomegranate; and Sunflowers.

Hopefully, the flowers of the pomegranate will develop into fruit! We have had a wonderful fruit season with raspberries for breakfast every morning and now strawberries and plums.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.45.47BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.02.43BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-02 13.00.44BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-29 11.37.43We have also been harvesting the chamomile flowers daily to dry for a relaxing tea.BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-02 15.07.20BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.46.22 We only just caught the wild plums (photo above) in time after a mini-raid by a party of hungry Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos and are now watching the ripening of the purple plums with eagle eyes, in case they suffer the same fate!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-12 08.55.19 We are similarly vigilant with the apples (third photo), though the cockatoos have not yet discovered our Golden Hornet crab apples (first and second photos).BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-21 11.42.30BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-07 09.09.18OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Elder tree (Sambucus) is also growing fast and has blossomed for the first time. I look forward to using the flowers in future years to make elderflower cordial!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.44.36Here are some photos of the local inhabitants of the garden:

A blue-tongued lizard sunbaking; a butterfly resting and another butterfly feasting on a buddleia flower; and a happy snail exploring after rain :BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 09.42.27BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 08.53.00BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.42.58BlogFestiveSeason5017-12-02 13.02.37And the birds: Huge flocks of very noisy Little Corellas (photos 1 and 2), who wake us up every morning at 5 am (!); and a pair of Crimson Rosellas, grazing in the Soho Bed:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-23 18.04.09OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith all the wonderful colour in the garden, I have been spoilt for choice and have revelled in making beautiful bouquets for the house! Here is a bucket of freshly-cut blooms, ready for arranging!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 07.48.37From simple blue agapanthus to a single rose bloom (Lucetta):

Soft Pinks and Purples:BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-30 11.11.46BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 15.00.16BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-20 07.55.54And bright golds, oranges, reds and purples: BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-30 11.22.09BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 14.28.15BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-07 09.43.54BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-09 16.20.39-4BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 15.01.40To the vibrant colours of the Christmas table:BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 08.41.30BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 08.12.18Other creative pursuits included home-made Christmas gifts: a spectacle case for my Mum:BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.46.18 and a table runner for my friend Heather to compliment the set of Russian vintage wooden folk art spoons, which I found for her!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 17.35.51 We have also been loving the musical sessions with both my daughters, who are keen musicians and composers. Here is a photo of my youngest Caro playing at Bodalla Dairy.BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-10 14.31.30I will finish with a photo of our beautiful Christmas Tree!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your New Year!

The May Garden

With Autumn colds, exploratory trips of the local area and the demands of general day-to-day life, we have not spent as much time as we would have liked in the garden this month, but the weather has been superb! Hence, the recent excursions to the national parks of the hinterland and the escarpment, before it gets too cold or too snowy!!! We’ve visited Tuross Falls and the Cascades (Wadbilliga National Park); Deua National Park, both covered in last week’s post, and this last weekend, Lake Crackenback Resort, between  Jindabyne and Thredbo.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-12 12.27.36BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-02 16.50.50Ross has however managed to upkeep the vegetable garden from liming the soil to planting out new vegetable seedlings (sugarloaf cabbage, cauliflower, Winter greens and onions) and sowing spinach and snow pea seed.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-22 14.26.07BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-23 13.28.54BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-23 13.22.44BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.56.46BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0597 The capsicum are still productive, but the tomatoes are taking much longer to ripen. We harvested them all today to make Green Tomato Chutney!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-22 19.22.03BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-22 13.36.01BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-22 13.36.30He has also totally finished the pergola, with all the wiring done as well, so we should be able to train the climbers correctly for next season.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.21.46BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0587BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.18.48BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.19.07 We were rewarded with some late blooms of the climbing tea rose Adam.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 12.42.31Other roses still throwing out blooms include: Alister Stella Gray; Jude the Obscure and Evelyn; Heritage, Eglantyne and Alnwick; Mrs Herbert Stevens and Lamarque; Icegirl and The Children’s Rose; and Mutabilis and Monsieur Tillier.BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0596BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.02.40BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0590BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 12.41.56BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.58.16BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0592BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0577BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0578BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0594BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0595BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-02 17.06.03BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.10.37As you can see from the pergola photos, the Autumn foliage of the Snowball Tree (Viburnum opulus) has been superb from muted golds (south) to fiery reds (north).  BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-12 12.11.02BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.19.22BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-11 16.37.59 The Carolina Allspice beneath the snowball tree is also turning, its golden green leaves contrasting well with the red of the latter.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-11 16.37.49BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 17.16.14At the bottom of the garden, where the poplar and plums are bare, the pomegranate provides a welcome splash of gold.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-11 16.33.20 A softer gold carpet is forming under the Floribunda Crab Apple Tree.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 17.13.10 The maples too vary from an green-orange-red combination to more red-purple-orange hues, depending on the variety.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 12.21.21BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 12.56.02BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 12.01.38BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 16.59.07BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 16.59.02 In fact, the whole backdrop to the garden is in its most interesting and colourful phase.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 15.34.41BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 11.55.52The Paris daisies are in full gold regalia in the Moon Bed and attract many butterflies.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-11 16.36.58 The dahlias are the other major highlight in the May Garden.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-23 13.21.56 The tree dahlias are finally in bloom, their fragile, soft mauve-pink flowers and buds superbly contrasted against the intense blue Autumn skies.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.56.04BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.56.45BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 12.00.35BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.54.33BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.56.37BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-11 16.40.03 This is why I still grow them, despite their instant capitulation to wind and frost!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.53.27BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 18.43.05BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 12.01.27The seed dahlias have provided us with such joy and are unfortunately slowly finishing off for the season.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 12.56.15BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_1402BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.03.34 Knowing that their days are limited, their foliage already touched up by a few early light frosts, I have started cutting them with longer stems for beautiful floral arrangements for the house.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.44.04BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.35.40 It is such a shame that they don’t flower over Winter, as they really cheer the place up with their wonderful colours.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.31.59BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.33.19BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.32.23BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.32.46BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.47.18BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.47.23BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.46.38BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.46.49BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-01 12.10.49BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-01 12.11.12 While I love the flamboyance of the deep reds, deep gold and bright oranges and pinks, I equally love the softer warm orange-pink shades.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.34.29BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.36.46BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 12.21.41BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.36.08 I suspect this is the last dahlia bouquet for the season!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 19.26.55BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 17.28.47BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 17.28.56Here is the last zinnia bouquet, picked in early May as we cleaned up the cutting garden, as well as a sweet little posy of violets, the first of the season.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-01 12.08.45BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-03 10.37.59We attacked the chaos of the late Autumn cutting garden with a vengeance, pruning back the rampant wayward stems of the ‘Meadow Lea’ dahlia, removing spent plants and transplanting the Angelica and Lady’s Mantle to more appropriate (ie larger) sites of the garden. We transplanted the foxgloves to the back of the cutting garden and left the old biennial stock, the new cornflowers and a very brave, tenacious but foolish Iceland poppy seedling !BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-02 16.55.28BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-02 16.55.55BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.58.43 I have sowed seed of Ladybird Poppies, Linum and more Stock in egg cartons, for less disruptive transplantation in the cutting garden later on.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.48.25  All the old bulbs are surfacing, except for the De Caen anemones, whose corms have disintegrated to nothing! Possibly, the ground was too wet during their dormant period or maybe the greedy zinnias took all their nourishment! We planted out Species Tulips (Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’), as well as 3 ‘Bokassa Gold’ Tulips, down the centre of their empty bed on Mothers’ Day.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 12.37.17 We also moved 2 camellias (‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Nuccio’s Gem’) forward, so they get more light, while still being shaded, and removed the dying Maple on the north-west corner of the cutting garden, which will be a great improvement , as it will decrease the amount of Winter shade on the bed.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 12.40.45 Earlier this month, we also planted the bulbs of Snake’s Head Fritillary, a Delft Blue Hyacinth and miniature Tête à Tête daffodils in the rockery garden, as well as 25 Grape Hyacinth, which are already up. I also planted some pinks: Valda Wyatt, Dianthus Pretty and Coconut Sundae into this bed . The Rockery Garden is a good spot for all my smaller treasures! We moved the Rozanne Geranium into the end of the bed, and while it will die back with the frosts, it should come again in Spring.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 15.34.49BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 17.31.54BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0579Across the way, the heliotrope continues to colour the foot of the climbing rose Mrs. Herbert Stevens.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 18.37.45 The violets are coming into their own, as are the forget-me-knots in the Soho Bed.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 17.30.20BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 17.30.34BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 17.18.56BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.58.09At the back of the house, the white Nerine show is coming to a close, but the Nandina is now taking centre stage with its red Autumn foliage and berries and the occasional cream flower spike.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 18.44.29BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 18.44.38BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0826BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.59.38BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.54.37 The Bowerbirds are  loving the black ivy berries.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.55.16 The Loquat trees are in full bloom this year, so we should get plenty of fruit (and probably accompanying flying foxes!).BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-15 10.28.02BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 17.17.13 BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.07.14The King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas are back to harvest the Duranta berries, as well as nibble the fresh shoots of the Giant Bamboo.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 10.08.59BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 10.11.01BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-08 10.09.20BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_1180  The bird bath is still a popular venue with female Bowerbirds, Crimson Rosellas and Currawongs all vying for a place!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 14.16.29BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 14.18.38BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 14.21.30 And the first of the camellia blooms are out- a soft pink and a few deep rose pink flowers, complementing the warm pink cyclamen at the front door.BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 11.56.10BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-13 11.58.44BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-24 15.34.24The Grevillea has grown so much and is in full bloom and the protea is flowering again.BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0584 BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-22 18.20.34We have started protecting our second Firewheel Tree and Silky Oak from the frost with hessian covers.BlogMayGarden20%ReszdIMG_0585The cumquats are covered in little orange globes – I can’t wait to make a new batch of Cumquat Marmalade!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-06 12.44.14 BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 17.17.00This little thrush is doing a stirling job keeping the bugs under control! Not a sign of the bronze orange stink bugs, though Leaf Miner has been distorting the leaves on the new citrus plants, so Ross has administered an application of Eco-Oil to treat them. See : http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2528879.htm BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-12 12.13.50BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-12 12.13.56Maybe, we should send this little praying mantis down to the citrus!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-09 13.23.07 I can’t wait for all the citrus to reach fruit-bearing age, though our Lemonade already has 3 fruits on it! I feel another batch of Lime Cordial is also calling!!!BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-04-29 12.09.30And my first ever Peony Rose (Dr. Alexander Fleming) and Lily-of-the-Valley bulbs have just arrived from Tesselaars, so I am back into the garden! Till next week…!

 

The April Garden

Autumn is well and truly underway in Candelo. The view from our verandah has turned into a tapestry of different colours as the leaves turn and then fall for Winter.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 13.56.05 Already our plum trees are bare and the poplar leaves are turning from green to gold.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 13.19.13 The leaves of the snowball tree and the local Liquidambar trees are turning red.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.13.00BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-08 12.35.16The Monbretia berries sport Autumn colours and our Japanese Maple is covered in red-winged seeds.BlogAprilGarden20%ReszdIMG_0201 (2)BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 13.20.36Our neighbour’s fence is also ablaze with vibrant reds of Virginia Creeper!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-08 12.10.06BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-08 12.08.54Our cutting garden is providing a last blast of colour before Winter dormancy with its cosmos, zinnias and dahlias.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.11.53BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 12.45.10BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 13.56.15BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-08 15.03.04BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-05 12.36.08Unfortunately, the cosmos were just too rampant and their intense purple clashed too much with the zinnias, so we pulled them out! I’m sure there must be a spot, which is just right for deep purple cosmos, but it’s certainly NOT the zinnia bed! BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 14.19.30BlogAprilGarden20%ReszdIMG_0178 (2)The dahlias and zinnias however complement each other beautifully with their wide range of colour and form.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 13.56.30BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.31.38We are so impressed with the new dahlias, which grew from seed! Beautiful colours and forms and very fast growing! I love all the pinks, oranges and reds together!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.09.47BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-13 11.05.35BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.10.30The zinnias are equally delightful with their long-lasting blooms. Even the dying ones exhibit beautiful faded hues.BlogAprilGarden20%ReszdIMG_0191 (2)BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.30.54BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.36.07BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.36.00BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 14.14.09And ‘Meadowlea’, our golden dahlia, just keeps on keeping on! Such wonderful value for money! Its days are numbered now, but we enjoy its splash of gold while we still can!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.09.56BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.12.08BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.11.05The hydrangeas soldier on with their final days of blooming before the frost hits!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-06 14.07.17BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.14.32BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.14.42The roses are also throwing out their last  blooms before Winter. Both the Soho Bed and the Moon Bed are well-established now.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-13 11.04.42BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.36.54BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.09.13BlogAprilGarden20%ReszdIMG_0174 (2)BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.28.43BlogAprilGarden20%ReszdIMG_0198 (2)BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.28.56BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.27.56BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.09.20BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.29.43BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.30.12BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.35.15BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-11 17.23.51BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.09.35 On our recent travels, we collected lots of Flowering Salvia plants and cuttings. We potted all the cuttings and heeled in all the tiny plants in any spare patches we could find. It will be interesting to see how many survive our Winter frosts! I love the huge variety of colours and versatility of Flowering Salvias. Our Pineapple Sage has bright red flowers – see photo below. The golden Euryops daisy came from a cutting earlier in the year and is now a substantial bush.BlogAprilGarden20%ReszdIMG_0169 (2)BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 13.16.33 We also planted a pink Weigela between the Quince tree and the Michelia and a Choisya between the pergola and the Tahitian Lime in front of the deciduous Snowball tree. Eventually the crown of the lime will extend across to the pergola, so the Choisya will provide an evergreen block at the base of the lime to enhance the privacy of the garden from the road. Its sweetly scented white flowers will complement the white citrus flowers.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-06 14.04.23The cumquat is covered in flowers and ripening fruit at the moment and fortunately no stinkbugs, so Ross’s efforts were well worthwhile!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-11 13.51.30BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 13.17.43BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-11 13.51.51 The vegetable bed has been very productive with capsicums, lettuce and baby spinach.BlogAprilGarden20%ReszdIMG_0180 (2)BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.37.22We have also been busy planting out Spring bulbs in the lawn and the terrace bed : Dutch Crocus and Bluebells and Paper White Jonquils in the lawn, Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ under the quince and Snake’s Head Fritillaries, Grape Hyacinth , Miniature Daffodils and Delft Blue Hyacinth in the terrace garden bed. I’m waiting till Mothers’ Day to plant out my tulips, which are currently cooling in the fridge. In the cutting garden, all the old bulbs from last year are already sending out shoots and the cornflower seedlings have just been thinned out- see photo above.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-06 14.07.04BlogAprilGarden20%ReszdIMG_0172 (2)The native plants are also starting to flower -the Pepperina tree is flowering, the Correa has a mass of pink bells and the Banksia is covered in golden candles.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 13.19.34BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-11 13.56.12 The Protea is also blooming, however it is very slow-growing. I hope there is not too much shade in its current position and am really looking forward to seeing it grow a bit larger, as I’m sure the little native birds who visit the birdbath will love it! The Grey Fantail and Eastern Spinebill are two of my favourites!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-05 17.34.56BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-05 17.35.03BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.27.36BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-08 15.05.39BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-08 15.06.19BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-06 14.13.19Larger birds like this raven and two Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos also visit the garden.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 12.44.51BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-16 13.34.08And our Little Corellas have unexpectedly returned! Why we don’t know, nor for how long, but they are certainly very noisy!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-15 18.59.14BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-15 18.58.40BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-15 18.54.27We have been doing a lot of garden planning and have made the decision to eliminate the backing hedge behind the Soho Bed, as we are worried there is not really enough room between the Soho Bed and the cutting garden and the larger plants could cast too much shade, even though they are deciduous. So, we have a few plants to transplant in the coming month. My poor Philadelphus shrub, which is already very confused, sending out ‘Spring’ blooms in Autumn, won’t know what’s hit it! We will probably also move a few of the rhododendrons forward from the fence, so they have a bit more light. We also have a few seeds to sow – more cornflowers, calendulas, poppies and stock- to fill up the bare patches in the cutting garden. So plenty of work in the garden ahead!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-05 17.36.28BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.35.01Because we have been away this month, our creative endeavours have lagged a bit! The pergola is almost finished- we had hoped to join the final cross-piece this morning, but the sun in the photos below turned to rain, so we could not use our electrical power tools! But we’re very close to the finished product and I think it already looks amazing!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-16 10.08.45BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-16 10.11.55BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-16 10.10.17 While the sun was out, I couldn’t resist picking some of our beautiful dahlias and zinnias to brighten up the house. I am revelling in their cheery colour! Their only drawback is lack of scent, but my rose bouquet with its stock and ‘Indigo Spires’ salvia made up for that!BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-15 12.08.52BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-15 12.05.08BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-15 13.10.57And I have finally finished my zinnia and cosmos cushion ! Very bright like its subject matter and complements my abstract flower cushion well. I kept the top layer of petals free, so they could reflex back and give a more three-dimensional look and feel.BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.10.32BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 14.02.11BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 14.01.48P.S. More photos of my beautiful new dahlia plants! Such treasures! Thank you Jane xBlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-14 12.10.42BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-11 17.21.53BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.33.04BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.31.51BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.31.54BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.32.34BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-10 18.32.47BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-06 14.46.13

 

 

The February Garden

The February garden has been full of excitement and industry with the construction of the Main Pergola, the decommissioning of the pumpkin patch and the harvesting of all the Summer fruits and vegetables, not to mention finishing the brick edging of the Moon Bed and the multitude of Summer tasks from weeding, watering and mulching to lawn mowing and planting out new vegetables and seeds!

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The February Garden 2016
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Harvest time!

We were so thrilled with the Main Pergola and even though it is far from finished, the positioning of the new stringybark uprights gives a real sense of its potential and provides a framework and a perfect entrance way to the garden, as can be seen in the photos below. We used 2 old tall fenceposts (from the old Kiwi trellis) in the middle of the pergola. which lend it a rustic air and fit in well!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0235BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0236BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0237

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Looking back from the garden to the street

Wombat Ross dug all 6 holes by hand, all to a depth of 850 mm, which was as long as his arms could reach to scoop out the loosened soil with an old salmon can, but that was sufficient!

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Wombat Ross
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Super-Ross! Do not be fooled!
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The First Post!

We strung up a horizontal wire and tied the laterals of the climbing roses to it, finally providing them with their much-needed support! As we source the wooden beams, we will gradually complete the top of the pergola, but the major part of the work has been done!

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Adam finally under control!
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Devoniensis opposite Adam
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Adam’s beautiful Tea bloom

Having achieved the major goal for February, Ross then turned his attention to the rampant pumpkin patch, which was again threatening to take over the maple tree and was growing pumpkins up the back chook fence and sneaking through to the neighbour’s garden!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0062BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0300Even though it was still producing tiny new pumpkins on a daily basis, we felt we had more than enough for the season and Ross was keen to reinvent the No-Dig Bed. My friend’s prized dahlia seedlings were up and running and we need to thin them out and transplant the extras to a larger area. I just hope that they last the distance and can reveal their beautiful flowers before the late Autumn frosts!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0060BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0196BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0285He was also keen to establish a Winter crop of peas, cauliflowers and brussel sprouts, while we still have this wonderful growing weather. He has already planted new chard, carrots, lettuces and baby spinach, as well as a late Autumn crop of Dutch Cream potatoes.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0063But back to Ross’s revenge attack on the pumpkin patch! It was swift and it was brutal and in no time at all, we had a new vegetable garden, as well as 37 Queensland Blue pumpkins and 4 GINORMOUS marrows, which are really zucchinis or courgettes, which have been let go (or forgotten in our case!)BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0195

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Devastation!
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Hidden treasure!

Leaving one for our neighbour, we stored the rest in the shed in our trailer, bringing back memories of Ross’s mercy mission, when he and his brother delivered a trailer load of Queensland Blues to the starving people of Brisbane after the massive 1974 floods! A bit ironical really, given that Ross has always disparagingly referred to them as ‘pig food’! Please don’t read that the wrong way!!!

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The start of the Pumpkin-for-pears scheme!
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Ready for the next flood!

We much prefer the smaller, striped Jap pumpkins, which are growing in the future chook enclosure and to which we have allowed a grace of one extra week to fully mature!!!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0173BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0175So, plenty of hearty Winter Pumpkin soups ahead! Fortunately, our son is staying with us at the moment, so not only was he able to help Ross out with the pergola posts, but he has been concocting the most delicious lunches and dinners from produce, fresh from the garden, including the dishes photographed below. As my son remarked, he feels he has given the humble and much-maligned marrow a measure of respect! Even though considered quite bland and requiring other ingredients with strong complimentary flavours, the texture of the flesh was superb! I had half expected this old zucchini to be tough and stringy, but it is tender and really quite delicious, even on its own. I’m a fan!!!

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A proud father!

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Delicious Roast Marrow slices baked with Bolognaise sauce and fried egg
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Warm Chicken and Marrow Salad, made with chicken, onion, marrow, red cabbage, lettuce, mallow (the last 4 ingredients home-grown) and a dressing of soy sauce, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, tomato paste, olive oil, chilli and pepper. Divine!!!
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Delicious Marrow Soup with bacon, onion, carrot, tarragon and chicken stock
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Vietnamese-style Pumpkin Flower Soup with onions, coriander, basil, chilli and chicken stock. The green flower ends were a bit bitter, but the rest of the soup was lovely!

Today, we enjoyed an exquisitely light and creamy  home-grown Red Cabbage Soup, garnished with parsley and an Italian Lavender flower! Red Cabbage is also incredibly healthy: see website:http://www.weightlossresources.co.uk/healthy_eating/eat-a-rainbow/anthocyanins-blue-purple-food.htmBlogFeb Garden20%Reszd2016-02-20 13.25.36We harvested the last of the Dutch Cream potatoes. When Ross dug up the old pumpkin patch, he discovered another bucketful of this delicious and much-coveted potatoes. We are storing them in a bucket under the house, but I dearly wish we had kept our old wire safes to store them!!!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_7043

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Beef Stroganoff with our own broccoli and delicious Dutch Cream potatoes

We have also been very impressed by our colourful capsicums, a first-time crop for us!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0262BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0316BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0317BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0167The heritage tomatoes also produced a large crop and we made tomato chutney and a spicy tomato sauce, not unlike Barbecue Sauce, as well as using them in all our salads and on toast for lunch!

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An interesting character!

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Making Tomato Chutney
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We filled these old commercial bottles with Spicy Tomato Sauce- Home brand in the true sense of the word!
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A delicious Summer lunch! Tomatoes and Basil on toast.

We also made a Sweet Apple Chutney from our small apple crop. Unfortunately, the birds had demolished a fair number of them, even though they were not ripe enough to eat!

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One of the few apples showing signs of ripening!
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A meagre harvest!
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Sweet Apple Chutney

The neighbour’s Beurre Bosc pears appeared to be about to suffer the same fate, so we picked them all for her (and lucky us!), to later discover on researching their harvesting that pears are always picked unripe and stored in the fridge to ripen. We have already enjoyed 3 delicious dessets of stewed pears and cream. It really is a beautiful pear with a sweet taste and firm flesh.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_7074

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Bird attack!

BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0248 I knew it was only a matter of time before the birds stooped to harvest the tiny new crab apple, being one of the last fruits left for the moment, and I didn’t want to see the fragile branches damaged with the weight of the raiding Vikings, so I picked all 135 fruit, yielding 758g fruit, just enough for 2 scant jars of crab apple jam. The fruit was quite golden by this stage, despite the reddish tinge, so I am assuming its labelling as a ‘Golden Hornet’ crab apple was correct after all!!!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0210BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0102So now we are waiting for the raspberries, our one fig (courtesy of the neighbour on the other side!), our first lemonade fruit and our cumquat marmalade crop!

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Our raspberry crop shows great promise!
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A lonely and very brave fig!
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Our first Lemonade fruit!

Ross continues to wage war on the stink bugs, who have now just discovered our new citrus trees, as have the Orchard Swallowtail Butterflies (Papilio aegeus) ! Despite the fact that they are bad news for citrus trees, I really do love these huge handsome butterflies, who are a mainstay of the garden. I have been voyeuristically chasing courting pairs around the garden with my camera, obviously to no real detriment, as their spiky progeny is now appearing on the citrus leaves!

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Chasing round the garden!
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Heaven!
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Post-coital recovery!
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The peak of condition!
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Slightly bruised and battered, but still hanging in there!!!
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Baby larvae of the Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly
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Teenage Orchard Swallowtail Caterpillar

These slightly plainer brown butterflies are also very attractive, as are these stunning flies, wasps and beetles!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0183BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0191BlogFeb Garden40%Reszd2016-02-06 15.41.38BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0111BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0322BlogFeb Garden20%Reszd2016-02-12 10.24.58The praying mantis keeps a much lower profile in my washing basket, as do the house spiders with their cunning camouflaged egg sacs, masquerading as leaves, suspended mid-air in their webs.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_6887BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0013

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Egg sacs of the above spider
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Similar egg sacs, but belonging to a different spider- see photo below.

BlogJanGarden20%Reszd2016-01-03 15.20.28Mid-air antics are not just the preserve of the arachnids however! On investigating some luminescent shiny tracks on our stone wall one night, we were introduced to the fascinating Leopard Slug (Limax maximus), one of the largest of the keeled slugs. Apparently, they mate mid-air, spiralling down a thread of their own mucus, which they consume after exchanging their sperm! For more information, see : http://www.molluscs.at/gastropoda/terrestrial.html?/gastropoda/terrestrial/limax.htmlBlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0022BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0020We did not see their twirling dance, but for mucus of a different kind, see the next photo:BlogFeb Garden20%Reszd2016-02-13 16.28.20My sewing room is proving to be an excellent vantage point for bird photography! I really must clean my windows!!! Often, I will have my head down writing or sewing, only to look up at a Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo quietly watching me from the Pepperina tree or a King Parrot feeding its offspring!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0097BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0092BlogFeb Garden20%Reszd2016-02-13 16.28.54BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0120Now that the apples have finished, the King Parrots are feasting on the maple seed.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_7027BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0084BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0350BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0080 We often watch them from the verandah or surprise them as we walk down the path, but they must be very hungry or very quiet, as they rarely fly off. And some like Oliver are just plain nosy parkers! He often startles us by swooping in close by our heads to land closeby and check out our latest activity!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0365 Candelo really is Cockatoo Heaven! This month, we hosted a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Convention down in the bottom corner of the garden. We are mystified about their food source, as the plums and apples are all gone. Perhaps the tiny fruit of the Floribunda crab apple has fallen!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0137

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All in order!
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From the State Box!

And my beloved Gang-Gang Cockatoos have returned, doing their morning and night-time flyovers every day, though unfortunately, I haven’t yet captured them on film. I can however show you a photo of them feeding on Hawthorne berries last Autumn!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_2645We have also had garden inspections from a Spotted Turtle-Dove , a  Red Wattlebird, a female Satin Bowerbird and some migrant Dollarbirds, as well as a very noisy, but as yet unphotographed, Cuckoo baby (possibly a Stormbird or Koel- its timbre is the same!), whose non-stop demands must really annoy its overworked host parents even more than us!!!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0083 (2)BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0290BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0272And finally to the flower garden…BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0284BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0306BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_6995

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We now have a ‘Full-Time’ carpet around the sundial!

The Soho Bed, as generous and abundant as ever:

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Fair Bianca with her own carpet of white petals
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Eglantyne also has a pale pink carpet
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Eglantyne
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Fair Bianca
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Heaven Scent
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Lady X
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Just Joey
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You could drown in a bloom of Just Joey!
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Copper Queen

The Moon Bed, glowing in satisfaction with her beautiful soft David Austin blooms and flowering Paris Daisy, as well as her fully completed brick edging at long last!BlogFeb Garden20%Reszd2016-02-19 13.27.36

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Paris Daisy (Euryops chrysanthemoides)
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Golden Celebration
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Windermere
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Lucetta
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Lucetta
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Heritage
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Troilus

Leander, the cutting which we just planted out on the shed corner, has been generously proving her worth, as has the continuous flowering Cornelia in the Pink Hybrid Musk Hedge and Frau Dagmar Hastrup in the Rugosa hedge against my neighbour’s fence.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0265

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Leander
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Cornelia
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Frau Dagmar Hastrup

The Cutting Garden has been ablaze with colour, the Zinnias taking over from the Dahlias, which are just about on their last legs.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0294BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_7014BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0258BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_6949BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0056BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0059BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0260 We also have some late Cosmos, in amongst the stock, and Foxgloves.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0311BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_6985BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_6982 I finally discovered the identity of these weird looking plants. I was mistakenly sent seeds for Nigella orientalis ‘Transformer’ instead of the blue variety : Nigella hispanica, which I had ordered.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_6906BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0299 They certainly have dramatic seed heads!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0039My Ceratostigma plants have finally flowered and have an electric blue colour, which goes well in mixed bouquets (see rose bouquet later).BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0161 The Sunflowers were casualties of the pumpkin rampage, but fortunately most of their blooms had finished. I tied paper bags to their spent heads and hung them under the house to dry, so I can save their seed for next season.BlogFeb Garden20%Reszd2016-02-12 10.21.10 Our other giants, the Tree Dahlias, having attained their full height, are now gearing up for their brief spectacular finale before the first frost obliterates them. The grevilleas and Silky Oak in the rainforest area behind the shed are powering along!

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Tree Dahlias ready for action!
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Grevilleas growing well!
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Silky Oak hitting the high stakes. Last year on planting, it was one quarter the size!

And the Giant Bamboo on the side fence has finally made a recovery, as has the Banksia Rose over the outdoor eating area! BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0016The Woodbine is also well on the way to scaling the fence and has such pretty scented blooms! BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0291BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0292The hydrangeas are still blooming. I love their soft blue-green petals and the purity of their white blooms. BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0118BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0354The Cannas are beautiful at the moment with their orange flowers and ruby-red fruit!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0373It is impossible to resist making up bouquets with all the beautiful garden blooms :

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Heaven Scent, The Children’s Rose, Troilus, Jude the Obscure, Blue Sage, Lavender, Ceratostigma, Feverfew, Stock and Catmint
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Sweet and simple Cosmos
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Old-fashioned Hydrangeas
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Zinnias with Zing!

I just had to include a photo of my neighbour’s beautiful rambling back garden. I feel we complement each other well!!! Till next month…!BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_0219

 

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_5316