A short post this time, looking back on the past year and forward to the future in 2019! We started the year camping on New Years Eve at Wyanbene Caves, Deua National Park, then sliding down the slippery-slide rocks at Tuross Falls, Wadbilliga National Park. Summer is Agapanthus time and filled with the deafening noise of cicadas, so I loved this photo of the combination- pure Summer! We said a temporary goodbye to eldest daughter Jen, back to Berlin and the rugged German Winter, but welcomed Caroline’s husky puppy, Floki, into the family.
The long hot days continued into February with swimming at Bithry Inlet, beautiful roses like William Morris, and harvest feasts for body and soul!In March, we explored Brogo Dam by kayak. The floral extravaganzas continued…, and we had a week’s holiday in Victoria, celebrating my friend’s birthday, viewing the Marimekko exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery and visiting many beautiful gardens like The Witches’ Garden and Frogmore Gardens. April saw the arrival of materials to finally start lining the ceiling of our old shed and evict the possum squatter forever (though he has pushed his way through the gutter wire to squeeze into the cavity between the roof and the new ceiling- all very cosy with the insulation as well!); the installation of solar panels on the roof, another longheld desire; a holiday origami workshop with Zoe; and the creation of a beautiful felt cushion and card for my Mum’s birthday and based on my favourite Pinks, which were just starting to come into flower. By May, we were well and truly into Autumn and the changing of the guard in the foliage of our borrowed landscape and backdrop to our garden. The Little Corellas briefly returned, as well as huge flocks of very hungry King Parrots grazing on the lawn and feasting on tomatoes, cumquats and anything else they could find! We visited Picnic Point and Wapengo Lake… and explored the top end of Brogo Dam.We did the big trip north with daughter Caroline to visit my Mum in Brisbane in June, a welcome break from the Winter cold and a wonderful opportunity to view the Winter flowers of Mt Annan (Australian natives) and Mt Tomah (South African and Australian Proteacaea family) Botanical Gardens…
and the camellias of the EG Waterhouse Gardens and Eryldene, the camellia mecca and home of the great man himself. In the Blue Mountains, we heard the wonderfully haunting strains of a didgeridoo echoing across the valley from Pulpit Rock on our bushwalk in Blackheath. On our arrival home, Ross started lining the shed ceiling with builder Tony. July saw lots of activity in the sewing room, making embroidery and crochet rolls, toy mice and rabbits, lady beetle purses and a Mama chook, Henny Penny, with her brood of juggling chickens. The Winter was bracingly cold, the icy skies filled with snow-laden clouds, but it didn’t stop Caroline performing at Bodalla Dairy with her biggest fan! August is hellebore time and the start of the Spring bulbs like these Tête à Tête daffodils. A major fire started to the north-east of Bega, its smoke billowing for months with burning back work. It was also the month of the eclipse and a blood-red moon. Floki turned into a beautiful hound, who is not afraid to take the odd liberty, but with such a complimentary colour scheme, how could I scold him! He also started Caro off on her career as an animal portraitist. It still blows me away that she used pencils! And our Jen returned from Germany to live back in Australia permanently- at least, we hope so! It is so wonderful having her back!
The garden started to wake up in September with hyacinths, grape hyacinths, daffodils, English primroses and Dutch crocus. All blooms were later than usual, because of the prolonged drought, and we found this phenomenon replicated in the natural environment, when we introduced Jen to one of our favourite walks from Bittangabee Bay to Hegarty’s Bay, expecting to admire the annual Spring wildflower display, which was non-existent! It is so lovely to finally have some blooms for flower arranging and decorating Caro’s birthday cake. By October, Spring had well and truly sprung, starting with the Bearded and Dutch Iris, the former flowering for the first time. The intersectional and tree peony blooms were also firsts, then it was the start of the rose season with Souvenir de la Malmaison in full perfect bloom! How I love this rose, especially when she is behaving! We had a quick trip to Sydney in early October to diagnose Ross’s eye problem- the sight in his left eye had dramatically reduced to 5/30, so we called into Canberra en route to view the Cook and The Pacific exhibition at the National Library and the 60 000 wonderful crocheted and knitted poppies in the lawns of the Australian War Memorial (Honour Their Spirit). The weather started to warm up in November with a trip to Wonboyn with a visiting friend; the first blooming of our Shady Lady Waratah; a glut of strawberries; and an explosion of colour in the garden with lavenders, roses and poppies of every description! I was spoilt for choice with flower arranging! In preparation for the shed opening in December, there was a final burst of creative activity with my felt cushions, as well as sign writing (Jenny) and publicity for the opening day, which included an open garden tour with Ross and music provided by my two gorgeous girls. Even the shed roses came to the party: Fritz Nobis on the front beside the side door and Albertine on the frame on the back wall of the shed. And finally, December with the big shed opening on the Candelo Market Sunday, the 2nd December, a wonderful occasion with lots of positive feedback and good will from over 100 visitors. The shed looked beautiful with lots of wonderful handmade goodies, flowers, Caroline’s cards and Kirsten’s handmade ceramics and calendula soap balls for sale. A tawny frogmouth mum and baby visited the garden for the occasion, while Oliver is a regular fixture. The Little Corellas are also back with their huge raucous flyovers waking us up at 5am each morning. It has been super-busy ever since with a whirlwind visit to the Sydney Eye Hospital for microsurgery to remove numerous eye cancers in his left eye- a legacy of farming days and a salient reminder to all of us to wear sunglasses!
We made the most of the unexpectedly free morning before the operation to visit Nutcote, the beautiful old home of May Gibbs of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie fame, featured recently in the film, Ladies in Black, set in 1959 Sydney. We are now preparing for Christmas, as well as continuing to open the shed on Sundays. It is such a fun time of year and the blooms reflect it! We are also loving the dogwood, dahlias, lilies and alstroemeria at the moment.So, plans for the future?!! Having thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, we will continue to open the shed on Sundays, replenishing handmade items as they are sold, as well as fulfilling a few commissions. I will also be holding hand sewing workshops for children every month. Jen painted the sign and flyers for my workshop too. Ross will be busy in the garden, building a garden shed and a chook house, as well as re-terracing the future lavender bank and…maintaining the garden for general enjoyment, garden visitors and my floristry! This increased workload will however necessitate restructuring my time next year and alas, I am sorry to say that I will only be posting once a month, if that, in order to be able to fulfill my work obligations. Time is so precious! I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the blog over the past three years, so the journey is not over- more a temporary respite! I loved this quote from Goethe on a sign on the steep staircase leading up to Nutcote from Kurraba Point in Neutral Bay, Sydney.Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and safe Christmas and 2019.
All our Love and Best Wishes, Jane and Ross xxx