The November Garden

It has been a long month with a prolonged Spring season, but we are now finally getting some Summer heat with days in the mid-30s- a bit hot, given we haven’t had time to adjust yet (!), though we did have some beautiful soft recuperative rain last week. The Spring garden has been an absolute delight and quite magical, especially in the late afternoon sun.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-08-16-47-43blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-01-09-42-58blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-12-13-47-26 I think November has to be my favourite month with all the trees in their full regalia and Bearded Iris, Poppies and Roses all coming into their own. I just love the view from our verandah over our beautiful garden, with its borrowed landscape backdrop of trees of an infinite variety of foliage colour, texture, shape and form, especially in the misty rain or when the sun first comes up.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-08-16-45-39blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-15-09-19-04blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-15-07-41-58 The Soho Bed and Moon Bed have been such a show this Spring.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-01-09-43-04blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-12-13-47-22blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-12-17-07blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-04-11-25-22blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-12-09-48blognovgarden20reszdimg_1871blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-11-57-15blognovgarden20reszdimg_1969blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-28-13-52-13 The roses are in full swing. Here is a selection of blooms from each section of the garden:

Soho Bed:  Hybrid Tea and David Austin roses: From left to right:

Top Row: Big Purple; Alnwick and Eglantyne

Middle Row: Heaven Scent; Our Copper Queen and Fair Bianca

Bottom Row: Lolita; Just Joey and Mister Lincoln

Moon Bed:  David Austin roses: From left to right:

Top Row: Heritage; Lucetta and Windermere

Middle Row: Troilus; Jude the Obscure and Evelyn

Bottom Row: 2 photos William Morris; Golden Celebration;

Pergola:  Climbing roses: From left to right:

Top Row: Adam; Souvenir de la Malmaison and Madame Alfred Carrière

Bottom Row: La Reine Victoria; New Dawn and Devoniensis;

House Walls:  Climbing roses: From left to right:

Top Row: Lamarque; Mrs Herbert Stevens; Cecile Brunner

Bottom Row: Paul’s Himalayan Musk; Lamarque and Mrs Herbert Stevens;

Shed Front:   From left to right:

Top Row: Viridiflora; Archiduc Joseph and Madame Isaac Pereire

Bottom Row: Fantin Latour; Fritz Nobis and Leander;

Shed Back:   From left to right:

Top Row: Both photos Rêve d’Or

Bottom Row: Alister Stella Gray and Albertine;

Rugosas:   From left to right:

Top Row: Roseraie de l’Hay; Russelliana (not a rugosa but at the end of rugosa hedge) and Frau Dagmar Hastrup)

Bottom Row: Frau Dagmar Hastrup ; Madame Georges Bruant and Roseraie de l’Hay

Hedge:  From left to right:

Top Row: Kathleen; Stanwell Perpetual and Sombreuil

Bottom Row: Cornelia; Mutabilis and Penelope.

Cornelia has been such a show that she warrants another photo all of her own! She will eventually be supported by an arch. Sombreuil is on the other side.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-03-10-04-21Unexpected:   Unidentified root stocks instead of the roses I’d expected from the cuttings. Obviously, the originals had already died and been replaced by their root stocks: The deep red one is Dr. Huey, but I am not sure of the others: possibly Rosa multiflora (top left) and Rosa fortuniana (top right and bottom left), both of which have been used extensively as root stocks in the past.

The poppies have also been a visual delight from the simple wild form to the pink and purple peony poppies, which show such variation in colour and form.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0466blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-11-09-59-57blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-17-08-40-24blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-17-09-53-29blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-17-09-53-58 I love the seedheads, as well as their fairy-like appearance as they gradually lose their petals.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-01-13-24-39blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-01-13-24-42 The Iceland poppies planted last year are blooming for a second year and the new Ladybird Poppies Papaver commutatum ‘Ladybird’ are so dramatic, especially among the cornflowers, though the seed packet also obviously included corn poppy seedlings as well!blognovgarden20reszdimg_0065blognovgarden20reszdimg_0085blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-10-09-17-17blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-10-09-17-24blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-15-13-38-05blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-12-10-16-43 They replaced the ranunculus and Dutch Iris, which had their last blooms in early November.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0488blognovgarden20reszdimg_0484blognovgarden20reszdimg_0485blognovgarden20reszdimg_0482 The cornflowers and the Nigella orientalis ‘Transformer’ have persisted, as have the magical foxgloves, which have deepened in colour and have such amazing patterns in each bell. I love the seedheads of the nigella, which follow their exotic soft yellow flowers.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0008blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-17-09-55-16blognovgarden20reszdimg_0491blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-11-57-45blognovgarden20reszdimg_0393And the dahlias, despite their initial setback with the late frosts, have returned in a myriad of bright colours.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0006blognovgarden20reszdimg_0099blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-23-15-06-10blognovgarden20reszdimg_0440blognovgarden20reszdimg_0443blognovgarden20reszdimg_0093blognovgarden20reszdimg_0014blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-10-09-17-40Other blooms in the garden include: Feverfew, Lady’s Mantle (Moon Bed), Italian Lavender (Soho Bed) and Calendula (Herb Garden).blognovgarden20reszdimg_0091blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-05-18-45-02blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-28-13-45-45blognovgarden20reszdimg_0425 The Dianthus ‘Coconut Ice’ and ‘Doris’ are in full bloom in the treasure garden and the Rosalie Geranium and Convovulus provide a sea of blue. The bromeliads at the front entrance combine the blue and the pink.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-10-18-28-53blognovgarden20reszdimg_0438blognovgarden20reszdimg_0437blognovgarden20reszdimg_0047blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-07-11-21-28blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-17-08-47-49blognovgarden20reszdimg_0048 The blue flowering salvia in the Moon Bed is also in bloom, along with the white Aquilegia under the hydrangeas.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0454blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-14-18-58-04 I love the white petticoats of the Acanthus mollis.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-13-20-03-02blognovgarden20reszdimg_0410 Beside the pergola, the Snowball tree Viburnum opulus has been in flower for the whole month and has almost finished, the ground beneath it covered in its fallen snow-like petals.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-04-12-24-11blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-08-16-01-58blognovgarden20reszdimg_0418 The beautifully fragrant Philadelphus virginalis on the other side of the pergola has taken up the batten.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-21-11-21-08blognovgarden20reszdimg_0088 The Carolina Allspice in front of the Snowball tree has also lasted a long time.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0733 Both honeysuckles are starting to cover the fence well and I adore their fresh sweet scent.blognovgarden20reszdimg_0457blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-17-08-48-54 At the bottom of the garden, the sweet peas provide fragrance and the red bottlebrush provides a splash of colour, as does the ripening fruit on the mulberry tree.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-23-15-09-04blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-07-13-56-41blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-11-16-19-29 We have been enjoying its berries, along with the abundant strawberries, the loquats and the produce of the vegetable garden.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-01-18-13-44blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-08-15-32-01blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-08-10-26-04blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-08-18-05-52blognovgarden20reszdimg_1923 The birds and flying foxes are also in seventh heaven. The latter are so cute that it’s hard to begrudge them their bounty, though we do want some of the fruit!blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-17-08-27-22blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-20-16-59-55blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-20-17-00-11blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-20-17-00-37blognovgarden20reszdimg_0030 Visiting birds have included members of the Cockatoo family: Pink Galahs, Little Corellas, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos and Black Cockatoos ;blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-18-20-32-31blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-21-11-06-38blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-21-11-07-11blognovgarden20reszdimg_0072blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-08-16-44-42blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-08-16-43-43blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-03-09-56-17blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-03-10-01-20 the parrot family: King Parrots, Crimson Rosellas and Eastern Rosellas and the equally colourful Rainbow Lorikeets;blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-10-18-41-03blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-06-11-35-37blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-06-11-38-24blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-06-11-37-16blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-06-11-35-46blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-06-11-35-43blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-11-16-14-44blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-20-16-54-32blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-20-16-58-41 and the Honeyeater family: an unidentified honeyeater in the grevillea and the delightful miniscule Scarlet Honeyeater.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-12-09-57-41blognovgarden50reszd2016-11-12-10-00-50-copy-2blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-16-09-47-36We also have a few White-faced Herons doing the rounds.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-21-17-44-21Residents include the male Satin Bowerbird;blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-01-17-53-37 the cheeky Grey Fantailsblognovgarden20reszd2016-11-08-10-28-18 and a new baby magpie, raised in a nest high in the pepperina tree.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-06-11-38-45blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-11-16-47-53 We  found this exquisite little nest in our old camellia. Shaped like an elegant wineglass and bound by spiders’ webs, I suspect it belongs to our friend, the Grey Fantail!blognovgarden20reszdimg_0435The insects have also been revelling in the late Spring garden:  Bees in the poppies and butterflies on all the flowers;blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-17-08-40-35blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-10-18-39-52blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-11-16-14-23blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-18-12-13-32blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-10-09-07-37 beetles on the angelica seed heads and dahlias;blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-01-18-00-39blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-11-18-35-07 and Orange Stink Bugs on the cumquat trees- Ross’s form of Sport and Rec at the moment!blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-21-11-22-44blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-21-11-23-28 Not that he needs the extra work! Ross has been very busy in the garden: watering; sowing seed ; and transplanting the lemon verbena to the corner of the shed.blognovgarden20reszdimg_1928blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-17-27-54blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-10-09-10-55 He started digging up the shed bed for a cottage garden, removing the tree dahlia tubers, much to my reluctance and initial resistance and mollified only by planting one of the freshly sprouting tubers (much to his reluctance!) next to his new compost bays, supported by my neighbour’s tall buddleias. We also planned another rose arch where the rocks are positioned.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-12-19-16-50 As already mentioned , he finally assembled a compost bay out of recycled pallets behind the strawberry bed and it looks fantastic!blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-14-17-28-55 He had a play with a friend’s mulcher, reducing our enormous green waste pile to a much smaller amount of mulch for the vegie bed!blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-08-10-24-26 We also moved the potting area down to the bottom shady corner of the garden and marked out the edges of the garden beds, which we will demarcate with recycled fence palings.blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-14-17-47-26Our final job in November was to dig up the Narcissi from the Iris bed in the cutting garden, now that their foliage has died down, to allow more room for the Iris as they multiply. We transplanted the bulbs in groupings to naturalize in the lawn: The Ziva Paperwhites on either side of the garden end of the pergola, as shown; the Golden Dawn jonquils around the Lemonade Tree on the staircase; two groupings of Winter Sun under the Golden Hornet Crab Apple tree and the Native Frangipani and Acropolis in front of the Michelia at the entrance to the pergola and finally, the wild Pheasant’s Eye Actaea in a swathe between the birdbath and the hill, where they can run rampant to their hearts’ delight! Just have to clean up the Iris bed now and stake those layabout cornflowers!!!blognovgarden20reszdimg_0103blognovgarden20reszdimg_0086Meanwhile up in the house, I have been busy making felt poppy cushions, a birthday apron for a friend, who has just launched her new poetry book ‘Kangaroos in the Blood’, hence the theme of the apron (!), and our 2016 Christmas Cake and Pudding! Happy Birthday Liz!blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-15-12-55-50blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-18-18-41-09blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-18-18-51-42blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-18-18-54-34blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-21-20-23-41 I have also had a wonderful time arranging beautiful bouquets for the house, as well as for my daughter!blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-17-09-03-17blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-09-09-52-41blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-03-09-39-39blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-03-11-08-00blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-15-20-04-01blognovgarden20reszd2016-10-29-18-26-41

The September Garden

It’s such an exciting month in the garden, as it is just waking up from its long Winter sleep. Every day, I look for new discoveries – fresh leaf, new blossom and the emergence of long-lost bulbs and perennials, which have disappeared over Winter. By the end of the month, the garden is positively exploding with fresh colour!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-10-27-36blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-16-40-24blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-13-13-19blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-22-13-14-39We have been fortunate to get good rain to start the growing season , the frosts have almost finished and the sunny days are getting longer and longer.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-08-49-57blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-11-09-35-29 The crab apple is in full bloom and beat the white prunus this year, though the latter quickly caught up and now dominates the garden by its sheer size!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-16-39-35blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-13-17-38-10 We were really thrilled to see the bluebells in bud under the crab apple !blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-11-02-25blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-11-02-48 The white mulberry and the maples have new leaf and buds forming, as have a number of the shrubs like the new pink weigela and spireae and viburnum, the latter two now opening up.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-13-15-21blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-12-12-11-13blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-16-36-43The garden is experiencing the changing of the guard from the final blooms of Winter honeysuckle and daphne to the yellow banksia rose and white maybush;blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-10-23-23blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-10-23-35The violets to the new maple leaf and bulbs of the treasure garden in early September,blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-02-18-38-02blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-11-19-00-04blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-04-15-21-56 the latter in turn to be supplanted by the cutting garden as the month progressed;blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-11-05-26 The pink violets to the red grevillea, Lady X;blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-14-11-36-09 The japonicas, camellias and hellebores to the exochorda, lilacs, red rhododendron and roses; blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-17-11-50-13blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-16-35-46blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-10-33-13 blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-06-16-28-01The deep red hellebore finally got its act together with a late show of flowers.blogsept-garden20reszdimg_1147The roses have been shooting new leaves proliferously and the early roses are in bud: Chateau de Clos Vougeot (photo below) is the most advanced this year; the Banksia rose and Fortuneana are set to explode and we have new buds on Viridiflora and Countess Bertha,  Alister Stella Gray,  Stanwell Perpetual and Mutabilis,  Adam and the new Souvenir de la Malmaison.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-17-22-03Along the back path, the lilies are shooting madly, the acanthus has new flower spikes and the Italian lavender and daisies are in full bloom.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-13-10-32blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-15-16-51-28blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-04-12-41-11The sunny heads of the calendula complement the bright golden laburnum nearby.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-13-10-53blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-08-48-49The Peony has finally surfaced, as have the Snakes’ Head Fritillaries, whose pendant buds have such a distinctive chequerboard pattern. Here is the bud opening over the week.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-10-24-48blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-23-18-28-48blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-25-09-54-55A sole blossom on Narcissus panizzianus (1st photo below) has joined the clivea buds, which have opened into clear orange bells.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-16-00-56blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-22-10-30-52 The Cutting Garden is gaining more and more colour every day.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-13-13-14blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-13-12-50blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-16-46-36 blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-18-00-06We started the season with Bokassa Gold and Clusiana species tulips, which are now guarded by wire cages, since their first bloom (photo 2) was decapitated by the bower birds!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-06-13-32-44blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-05-13-02-15blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-09-17-39-14blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-06-13-30-16 The tulips are now in full steam. In order, two photos of each : Lily Tulips Claudia and Synaeda Orange; Destiny Parrot Tulip; Bokassa Red and Verandi; and pale pink Monet Tulips.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-12-11-42-43blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-13-24-33blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-16-45-55blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-09-13-55-35blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-13-12-54blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-13-12-04blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-13-12-30blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-13-11-52blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-16-46-27blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-13-11-32blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-25-12-46-49blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-13-13-47 In the daffodil row, Golden Dawn and Winter Sun have been joined by the delicate Actaea and luscious Acropolis.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-05-16-14-30blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-05-16-14-50blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-17-11-44-11blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-10-59-57 The divinely-scented freesias have finally opened, as well as a few blue  cornflower blooms and  a golden Iceberg Poppy from last year.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-23-18-31-29blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-10-32-54blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-14-11-24-48blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-13-17-34-43 And our first ranunculus is in bloom!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-25-12-47-51We labelled all the daffodil and tulip bulbs, so that when their foliage dies, I can transplant them to new areas around the garden.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-11-05-26In the Soho Bed, the loyal Wallflowers are now joined by pink verbena blooms, Italian Lavender, pink thrift and recovering catmint , as well as masses of sweet little forget-me-knots. We have even had our first wild poppy!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-10-27-55blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-18-13-25-34blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-13-13-58blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-10-56-33blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-17-11-41-23blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-22-10-38-23 We still need to thin out the peony poppies, which self-seeded from last year’s crop, but we have done the deed in the hand-sown bed, so it is looking much more ordered!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-06-18-17-18 Ross made a separate strawberry bed behind the peony poppies. blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-06-18-17-24 We weeded the Moon Bed.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-07-11-06-53 Ross has also done lots of work in the vegetable garden, including making protective wire guards. He has also potted new cuttings and planted out the rose cuttings, which were struck last year.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-11-09-36-14I too have been busy! In early September, I made a second batch of Spring bulb cushion panels, as well as some based on spring blossom and tulips, to keep me occupied until the garden started exploding in Spring growth. It is such an exciting time of year!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-04-14-00-16blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-11-18-36-17blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-13-10-14-00The birds are also loving the Spring! The female blackbird has made a nest in the giant bamboo, well away from the neighbourhood cats, but her mate still keeps a watchful eye on proceedings!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-09-54-36blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-13-14-46-05The male bower bird is in full decorating mode in his attempts to impress a mate! We caught him in the act, plucking a blue cornflower, the colour complementing his violet-blue eyes!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-25-09-50-40The Red-browed Firetail Finches and Eastern Spinebills are loving the insect life in the fresh new foliage.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-09-55-02blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-04-14-23-41blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-04-14-23-30The Silvereyes, Crimson Rosellas, King Parrots, and Satin Bowerbirds are feasting on the blossom!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-10-46-59blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-13-17-43-44 The latter two are also testing out the ripeness of the loquat fruit on a daily basis.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-04-17-15-44blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-18-06-12blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-18-08-04 It’s lovely to watch the parrots grazing in amongst the bluebells, the grass kept unmown for the bulbs, though I still hate it when the birds (I blame the bowerbirds!) cut off flower heads and new growth! Even the roses and grevillea have been attacked!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-16-08-46blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-16-08-34 And if that weren’t enough food, there is always grain to scavenge from my daughter’s budgie cage on the verandah! These birds are such characters!

Do you think we should?
What are they up to?
Got it!
I only have eyes for you!
Lean pickings!
A very handsome bird!

Finally, a few photos of special moments this first month of Spring… a spider web caught in the dew;blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-04-10-06-25blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-04-10-07-10 a new sun for my daughter’s birthday;blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-06-08-51-50blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-06-08-52-27 a rising moon and a beautiful fluffy sunset cloud.blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-13-19-35-58blogsept-garden20reszdimg_1084blogsept-garden20reszdimg_1091

Summer Days

The first garden post of 2016 and what a wonderful Summer we are having! Apart from a few scorchers, followed by recuperative rain, the days have been long and sunny and in the very civilized mid-twenties!!! Perfect for eating ice creams, swimming at the beach (or pool, if the thought of swimming with sting rays doesn’t appeal! See Caro’s great photos below), sun baking, feasting on plums, seed saving and …. making Mint Jelly, of course!!!

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My daughter’s icecream cone- a selfie of sorts!
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A lovely afternoon at Terrace Beach

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Our local swimming hole, home of the sting rays below
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Swimming companions
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Who wouldn’t want to swim with them?!!!
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Our resident Blue-Tongue Lizard sunbaking

Our mint, like the pumpkins, zucchinis, sunflowers, tree dahlias and hydrangeas, was indulging in EXCESSIVE growth, so my son gave it a severe haircut and brought in 2 massive jugs of Garden Mint and Peppermint. The kitchen smelt divine!!! I tied the latter into bunches for drying in the shed. We love our Peppermint Tea!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-26 12.06.26BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-26 12.06.47BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-26 13.11.05And obviously, Mint Jelly was the way to go to make the best use of that beautiful Garden Mint, but we had no pectin and the apples, which we had bought before Christmas, were looking far too old to have much pectin in them still!!! Luckily, we have lots of new green apples ripening on the tree, so I picked a basketful from the lower branches. Ross had been wanting to prune them, as they were scraping the ground, but I had wanted the apples first, so it was a win-win situation and now there is much more light under the tree for the camellia to grow.

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Pruned at long last!
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Still plenty of apples!
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Home-grown ingredients for Mint Jelly

I found a lovely recipe for Mint Jelly on the internet. See :, though it only yielded 2 jars (compared to the 4 jars cited)and I did have to suspend the muslin bag of mushed apple & mint over the bowl overnight. I boiled the juice and sugar mix for a full 20 minutes and was VERY impressed with the jelly formation!! It’s a beautiful golden colour- I decided not to add green food colouring, which is what gives commercial Mint Jelly its green colour! Can’t wait for a leg of roast lamb now!!! Don’t you just love these preserving jars- a Christmas gift from a dear friend.

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Roughly chopped apples (no peeling or coring) and chopped mint
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Cooking with vinegar prior to mashing
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Apple pulp suspended in a muslin cloth overnight to strain the juice
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Very impressive jelly formation
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Our very first Mint Jelly ever!

My next task was to make plum jam. There are far too many fallen fruits on the grass below the plum tree. Why should birds have all the fun!!!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-26 12.57.35BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.08.19BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.08.11BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.06.20There was a very quiet Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (hard to believe, I know!), munching into the plums when I took this photo and all you could hear was the slight rustle of leaves and the gentle plop of fruit as it hit the ground! The cockatoo in the last photo kept on eating while we were harvesting plums.BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 11.58.06BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 11.57.13

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There were also a couple resting in the nearby poplar tree- having their lunchtime nap, grooming, surveying the fruit canopies for future plunder and generally minding their own business- for the moment anyway!!!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.34.13BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.06.52BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.41.29BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.35.34

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Perhaps not so quiet!

Last Wednesday, the huge population of Little Corellas suddenly vanished into thin air! I’d love to know where they went to and why then?! It is SO quiet without them (and rather relaxing I must admit) !! We still see the odd little grouping and a few galahs, but the majority have gone. There must have been a great New Year’s Eve Party somewhere else!!!

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Cockatoo cousins: Three Little Corellas

While I was photographing the Sulphur-crested Cockatoos from the verandah, a resident pair of Striated Pardalotes were feeding on insects in the old Pepperina tree. They are such lovely quiet little birds!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.38.31BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.38.55

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Not so quiet either, but quieter than the cockatoos!

BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.43.31And on the evening of New Year’s Day, Oliver decided to pay a visit- no doubt wanting to start the year the way he meant to carry on. Alas, Ross wouldn’t let us succumb to his advances (the King Parrot that is!)!!!

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A very quiet, obviously hand-fed King Parrot!
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Oliver returns to try and retrain us for 2016!
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Such a beautiful bird- how could we resist?!! (But we did !!!)

All fired up with the success of my Mint Jelly and wanting to make the most of the plum crop before those cockatoos ate them all, we harvested the closest ripe plums, then made 6 bottles of Wild Plum Jam, following this lovely recipe : 17.45.05BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 17.45.22BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 18.01.05

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Washed plums in water

Because quite a few of the plums were deep red and fully ripe and the rest were soft, we decided to use the 2nd recipe, though we did split the plums, which weren’t fully ripe. It is a very easy straightforward recipe. We had 1.5 Kg of fruit and I used 1 Kg of caster sugar. The most tedious bit (and it really wasn’t too much of a problem!) was fishing out the pips at the end, though I managed to remove many of them during the last stage of the boiling process, using a slotted spoon and long tweezers.

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Warm sugar added and set to boil
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Depipped setting jam
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Wild Plum Jam

Then we bottled the setting jam in my friend’s beautiful jars, labelled them and stored them in the pantry. I love the red glow through the glass. It reminds me of the wonderful image in Salmonberries (the film with the beautiful haunting soundtrack, which introduced us to the magnificent voice of KD Lang)) of light filtering through Summer-made jams on glass shelves in the window of the librarian’s cottage in the depths of the freezing snowy white Alaskan Winter! Quite magical!!!

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Wild Plum Jam
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Late afternoon sun shining through bottles of Wild Plum Jam and Mint Jelly

This week, I also processed all the dried poppy and tulip seeds for sowing next year, though I just couldn’t discard the attractive tulip seed heads. Next time, I will cut them with longer stems, as I think they would look great in flower arrangements! I should have saved some of the poppy heads for this purpose too, but had to cut into the seed heads to get all the seed. Mind you, there were millions of seeds, and there are still a few poppy plants in the Soho Bed, so I will definitely reserve a few flower head stems next time!!! Amazing that those tiny little seeds hold so much life potential and grow into such enormous plants with such beautiful blowsy blooms!!! Nature really is a miracle!!!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 11.09.09

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Processing Peony Poppy seedheads
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Peony Poppy seed

Pity help me when it comes to processing sunflower seeds! The heads are enormous!!!

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Velvety brown ‘Burgundy Spray’ Sunflowers
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This beetle’s colour complements the sunflower head
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Hitching a ride!

They dominate the garden and the lead plant is now taller than the maple  behind it in the photo. I love the way their nodding heads follow the sun – the 1st photo was taken in the morning (flower head facing east- full face on in photo), the 3rd that afternoon (flower head has turned to the south – towards the left edge of photo).BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.02.02BlogSummerDays20%ReszdIMG_3870BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 17.41.12The Soho Bed looks so lovely, now that most of the brown dying poppy plants have been removed and the garden has been weeded. Time for some more mulch!!!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 10.50.15BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.09.25The roses are still superb …

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Penelope is one of my favourites!
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Alister Stella Gray
Golden Celebration
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Jude the Obscure

We are starting to really enjoy the produce of the vegie garden. We ran out of our supply of store-bought potatoes the other day and Ross was able to pop down to our own ‘store’ to collect some Desiree potatoes and some small Dutch Creams. I still get such a kick out of being able to pick our own vegies straight out of the garden with maximum nutritional goodness and freshness! The tomatoes are just about ready to harvest too.

Tom Thumb Cherry Tomatoes
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Rouge de Marmande Tomatoes
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A baby pumpkin forming

We planted Angelica in the cutting garden, pink Bergamot and yellow Geum in the Soho Bed and Sage in a pot by the kitchen door. I love Angelica- not only is it a pretty plant, but it is a great sugar substitute! It will grow much larger than the photo below, so we have planted it at the back of the Cutting Garden.BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-29 10.31.45And the first of the Zinnias is flowering! I love their bold bright colours!!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2016-01-01 11.36.07It is so hard to believe that we have almost been here a full year! The garden has developed so much and we are very happy with the basic design. It is wonderful seeing established beds, as we had envisaged them, compared to the bare lawn when we first arrived. Ross is a fantastic gardener and the resident blackbirds have done a stirling job under his supervision! I am looking forward to seeing the shrubs and hedges reach their full potential, as well as building all the garden structures : the Main Pergola and wooden arches to mark either end of the central path, the compost bays and chook shed & yard and finally the glass house!

Our garden by the end of 2015
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The Under Gardener surveying the vegie patch
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Looking back at the Cutting Garden from the shade of the Wild Plum tree
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Monbretias lining the side path- apart from the pots, it is much the same as when we first arrived
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Summer is definitely here!

Because we have completed the seasonal cycle for 2015, rather than repeat myself, I will focus on new developments in the garden and special events, as well as perhaps taking a more in-depth look at some of the stand-out flowers of the month. I will leave you with a photo of my neighbour’s front hedge of 4 O’Clock Flower, also known as Beauty-of-the-Night or Marvel of Peru  (Mirabilis jalapa), which contrasts beautifully with her lovely blue house. I love all the variation in colours, especially when combined in the one flower! Another marvellous creation of Mother Nature!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.00.04BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.01.16BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.01.50BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.01.35BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-25 19.01.45‘Mirabilis’ means ‘wonderful’ in Latin, so on that note….!

All our Love and Very Best Wishes for a Mirabilis 2016!!!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-28 15.47.25P.S. Fireworks over Merimbula to usher in 2016! It’s obviously going to be a year full of music!BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-31 22.59.55-1BlogSummerDays20%ReszdIMG_4167BlogSummerDays20%ReszdIMG_4165BlogSummerDays20%ReszdIMG_4188BlogSummerDays40%ReszdIMG_4178 - Copy (2)




























Butterfly Heaven

Now that the Peony Poppy season is over, my new obsession is … Butterflies!BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.24.57BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.25.02BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-05 17.20.39BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.28.19BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.29.08BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.30.47 With the Buddleias in full bloom, we have so many flutter-bys of many different varieties, as well as lots of busy bees!!!BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 08.45.49BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-03 10.24.44BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.32.16BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 19.04.05BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.31.21BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-05 17.17.59The latter also enjoy sunbaths in the few remaining poppies.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%ReszdIMG_1764The wasps are also very industrious, building their hexagonal nests on our house walls.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-11-27 18.08.20We saw a beautiful, delicate dragonfly resting on the Dogwood, as well as a tiny white spider on our new purple rose in the Soho Bed.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 19.00.33BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 09.20.35The roses have been stunning in the Soho Bed.

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Copper Queen
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L D Braithwaite
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Mr Lincoln
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Lady X

I couldn’t resist cutting them for the house! Two new bouquets for the week!

Photo 1: Icegirl (white), Lady X (mauve), Just Joey (pale pink), Children’s Rose (pink), Alnwick (pink)BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 09.27.52Photo 2: Mr Lincoln (red), LD Braithwaite (deep red), Copper Queen (gold) and Lolita (orange pink).BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-03 12.46.47Lamarque is also blooming again in front of the house.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 18.59.02Mutabilis (1st photo) has a new lease of life, as does Archiduc Joseph (2nd and 3rd photo) by the shed.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-03 10.27.46BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-11-30 18.03.01BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 09.23.43The Dahlias are still mind-blowingly stunning!BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-05 17.29.09And the Tree Dahlia is now halfway up the window!BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 19.14.26The army of Acanthus and Agapanthus is steadily advancing, with its numbers swelling every day and has been joined by a surprise contingent of orange Canna Lilies.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 19.15.28BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 19.15.47BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 19.16.06BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 19.18.38BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-05 17.29.53My Madonna Lily, also known as Peace Lily (Lilium candidum), will certainly have its work cut out! So will its Praying Mantis!BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 19.19.25BlogButterflyHeaven 20%ReszdIMG_1774BlogButterflyHeaven 20%ReszdIMG_1775BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 08.43.39The first of the hydrangeas is flowering – another beautiful white bloom!BlogButterflyHeaven 20%ReszdIMG_1768The main garden tasks this week have been watering, weeding, manuring and mulching, as well as planting out Cosmos seeds in the tulip/stock bed and zinnias in the Calendula bed.

Down in the vegie garden (1st photo), the Burgundy Spray sunflower is growing taller (2nd photo). The 3rd photo shows the back of the sunflower (left foreground), with pumpkins and zucchinis, then Dutch Cream and Desiree potatoes, all in flower, and the cutting garden in the background.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 17.22.53BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 17.20.36BlogButterflyHeaven 20%ReszdIMG_1767The old-fashioned Sweet Peas are starting to flower and smell divine!BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-03 10.26.56BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-11-30 17.58.42I love the attractive star-shaped fruit of the Pomegranate.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-11-30 18.00.01The thyme has almost completely surrounded the sundial.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 19.01.47These African Spoonbill Daisies (Osteospermum ‘Whirlygig’) also remind me of clock faces and the passing of time.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-11-29 16.19.57Time seems to stand still, when relaxing on the front verandah and looking out into the different layers of green in the background. We feel so fortunate to be sheltered by this wall of green, unbroken by houses or traffic!BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 18.51.26Little wonder that this area is so rich in birdlife! We love hearing and watching the huge flocks of Corellas flying over the garden in the early morning and late afternoon, with the sun shining through their wings. Here are some photos of their newest recruit with his mother in the gum tree in the lane way behind our house.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 09.17.46BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 09.17.14


























Summer’s Here!

I love the start of Summer! The warmer temperatures before it becomes too hot; the longer daylight hours, so you can still garden at the end of the day after work; the excitement of watching the fruit develop and ripen; and the amazing colours in the garden!BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-26 16.40.36BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-26 16.40.27BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-26 16.41.26BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-26 16.41.36Roses love Summer too! Here are photos of the roses blooming this week :

In the Soho Bed :

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Mr Lincoln
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Fair Bianca
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In the Moon Bed :

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Golden Celebration
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William Morris

By the shed :

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Countess Bertha
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Archiduc Joseph

On the Main Pergola (desperately waiting for its construction and madly growing in the mean time!) :

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And in the rose hedge behind the vegetable garden :

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I love creating new bouquets from them all!

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Copper Queen, Blue Salvia and Catmint
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Heaven Scent, Copper Queen, Lolita, Just Joey, Icegirl, Dahlias and Salvia
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Alnwick, Windermere, Children’s Rose, Heaven Scent, Verbena and Catmint
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Closeup of first photo
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Calendulas and Cornflowers
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Left to right : Mr Lincoln, Icegirl and Lolita

The dahlias have blasted on to the scene with their eye-catching gold and red.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-22 17.18.07BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.54.02BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.53.47BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.52.32BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.52.05Their magnificent bold display is only matched in intensity by the scarlet pomegranate flower and the bright orange Calendulas. They are paving the way for the orange Monbretia later in the season.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 19.37.37BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-27 11.10.32BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.51.03BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-25 18.54.30Lily time is almost upon us. I expect these Madonna Lily buds will open next week. The blue and white Agapanthus (also known as ‘Lily of the Nile’) are forming great regiments to supersede the Acanthus, once it finally finishes. It is amazing how their giant heads can be contained within the cases of their tight buds.