Daylight Slaving!

It has been a beautiful week, culminating in a long weekend with temperatures in the early 30s. All a bit of a shock to the system, along with the advent of Daylight Saving time! We all felt the heat a bit (except for my Queenslander husband, who thought we were all being slightly wimpish!) and I really appreciated the benefits of having cool shady corners in the garden!!! My white azalea and Viburnum plicatum tomentosum are flowering well in the shady nook behind our love seat.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1412BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1411The warm days finished off the tulips and our amazing camellia, but brought on  my beautiful ‘White Caviar’ Magnolia (Magnolia figo X yunnanensis), which has had buds all Winter. I have been dying for them to open and it was well worth the wait! They smell divine!!!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1519BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1413BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1555The ranunculas are just about to open,  the cornflowers are in bud and the anemones are still producing new blooms. Like the camellia, they are excellent value in the garden! I love the clear colours and the fragility of the new Iceland poppies, as delicate and ephemeral as these beautiful dandelion clocks.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1379BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1562BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1563All the roses are in bud and two of the Soho roses are about to bloom – my bet is on Heaven Scent, followed by Lolita, then two of the new bare-rooted Old roses : Roseraie de l’Hay and Stanwell Perpetual, both superbly scented Species roses. We think (hope!) some of the peony poppies may have survived in the Soho bed, otherwise we are nurturing one very lucky weed!!!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1596BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.45.27Our climbing rose on the house, Chateau de Clos Vougeot, is in full bloom and I can’t wait to discover the identity of the other climbing rose, which is on the front wall (Ross will say ‘back wall’)  of the house!!! On the southern corner of the house, Green Goddess (Zantedeschia aethiopica) continues to delight.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1524BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1551This afternoon, we made two discoveries :  a Clivea flower, hiding in the grass – it took us completely by surprise, but now we know where it is, we can manage it better next year! And the paintbrush tip of a blue Dutch Iris in the cutting garden !BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 16.25.10BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 14.49.38The bamboo is starting to grow again and that tough old Banksia rose is sprouting madly and even throwing out the odd flower truss! It will be lovely when that corner regains its shady cover!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1526BlogDaylightslavg BG30%ReszdIMG_1595The broom on the fence outside the kitchen window is a brilliant yellow and its colour exudes sunshine and happiness!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1452BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1462The trees have almost regained their leaf cover. I love all the different greens and textures of the vegetation in our view from the verandah. Even the Cottonwood Poplar is starting to wear a fine green shawl of catkins. The apple trees have joined the crab apple in its blossom party, the Snowball tree (Viburnum opulus) is forming flower heads of great potential and the White Mulberry (Morus alba) has a huge crop of green fruit.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 14.36.07BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 16.54.37BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1387BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1384BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1428BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.22.54Ross has been very busy in the garden, watering, mulching, re-digging the Moon Bed and paving the last path in the cutting garden, so I could weed the anemones.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1559BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1421He is holding off planting the vegetable seedlings out until the cool change on Wednesday : red cabbages, lettuces, mixed capsicum and Heritage tomatoes from the market : 2 Tom Thumb cherry tomatoes, 2 slightly larger tomatoes : an orange gold Sun Ray and  a Welcome yellow and that prized French Heirloom tomato : Rouge de Marmande. We also have some Black Russian tomato seeds to plant, as well as ‘Burgundy Spray’ sunflowers! Here are some photos of our produce already.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1489BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1568However, the seed potatoes could be planted in the new no-dig bed, as well as the vegie garden – Désirée and our favourite Dutch Cream.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 17.01.27Ross experienced a strong sense of déjà vu  when we replaced the NSW Christmas Bush and Wheel-of-Fire, whose fresh Autumn growth had been badly burnt by our Winter frosts. Our new NSW Christmas Bush (Albery’s Red) has masses of flowers developing already!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1574BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1584BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1575BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1585We bought some Heliotrope ‘Lord Roberts’ to provide a beautiful deep purple carpet below my old white Tea rose Mrs. Herbert Stevens. I love the scent of this old-fashioned cottage garden favourite – it reminds me of vanilla icecream and Ross of his Auntie Maud ( a keen gardener herself ) and the old family homestead.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 14.45.37We also collected our 2 Coin Spotted Tree Ferns (Cyathea cooperi), which my daughter ordered for Ross for Father’s Day and which will be planted in the fernery between the loquat trees to shield the view of the car in the carport from the rainforest garden. These photos show before and after planting, as well as the fernery floor with its orchids and ferns. An oak tree has self-seeded below the loquat and is the succession plan for its protector!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.21.34BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.14.52BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.20.47BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.03.17We  bought a Lisbon Lemon from the market to replace the old one, which has struggled to recover after its severe crew cut with its few remaining leaves dying off one by one, so we decided to accept the inevitable and replace it now, rather than waste one month of Spring growth! When we pulled out the old lemon, we discovered it had an awful root ball – no wonder it never thrived!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.27.01 Our dear friend gave Ross a Pink Rock Orchid (Dendrobium kingianum) and a Black Passionfruit for his upcoming birthday. He was thrilled! We will plant the passionfruit vine on our neighbour’s fence behind the future glass-house, which should afford it a slight degree of protection from the frost. At least, we hope so! I have been up to some Secret Wives’ Business, but will show you the results next week, once he has opened his gifts! The first photo below is the gift; the second photo is the Lisbon Lemon with the Black Passionfruit, awaiting planting!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.39.36BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1597

We cut  all the old branches off the dead boundary privet on our side and worked out where we are going to put our compost heap . It will be 3 m long and 1 m deep, made of corrugated iron, with 3 bays (marked out in the photo by bricks). We will erect green shade cloth against the fence to hide it from the neighbour’s view. We planted a small Sweet Pittosporum behind it. It has a very sweet fragrance in Spring and will also disguise any bad smells! I am still on the search for a fragrant rhododendron for the house end of the compost bays.BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.49.34BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 16.24.23BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 16.16.10We had more visitors this week :BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.11.44One inquisitive Raven (below) inspecting the garden and checking up on the resident blackbirds above, who do a fine job keeping the bugs under control!;BlogDaylightslavg BG20%Reszd2015-10-05 15.19.29A pair of Fig Birds and a female Bower Bird sharing a drink at the bird bath;BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1363 Two Galahs and a Crimson Rosella also inspecting the lawn and garden progress;BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1298BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1301Three Black Cockatoos doing a Fly Over – even though this photo was taken into the sun, I still liked the effect! – as well as our  ultralight featured in my last post, who is obviously a local. On closer inspection, his ultralight canopy is red and black (not blue!);BlogDaylightslavg BG30%ReszdIMG_1581BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1457Oliver and Twist playing peek-a-boo from the verandah gutter;BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1319BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1322BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1335 And some old friends (of the human variety) from university days, as well as some new friends from the market, so I was busy making biscuits and slices, as well as beautiful Spring bouquets to grace the house. The new batch of home-made lime cordial went down a treat – I will include a recipe for it in December just in time for Christmas!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1465BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1470BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1480And we splashed out and bought ourselves a bright red wheelbarrow for the heavier duty work, as our poor old rusty one is pretty fragile these days ! It doesn’t take much to make us happy!!!BlogDaylightslavg BG20%ReszdIMG_1594


Mid Winter

By July, we were well into the throes of full Winter – lots of cosy warm fires and hearty vegetable soups ! My daughter was still with us and we enjoyed exploring the local coast with her and collecting shells, so I made her a seashell-embroidered cushion cover, on which I experimented with different stitches for ideas for a future cushion cover for me. She loved it and even though I just used line in the design, I think it was very effective.Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-06 12.26.07She also enjoyed spending time with our beautiful old dog Scamp ( born in 2000), who was on his last legs and who died not long after she left. We miss him so much ! He had such a beautiful nature and was such a great help in the garden!Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-02-03 15.32.17Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-07 15.18.44It was so quiet once he’d gone, so we decided to pay a long overdue visit to my parents up at the Gold Coast- plus enjoy a little Queensland warmth and shortcut the long Winter !!! I quickly made my Mum a felt cushion cover embroidered with seabirds, as she had loved her little Mother’s Day seabird plate. I used all my old photos and substituting purples and light blues for my nonexistent grey threads, I embroidered a sea eagle, pelican, silver gull, blackwinged stilt, pied oystercatcher, hooded and double banded plovers, a cormorant on a lichen-encrusted rock made of French knots and even a fairy prion in flight, the only bird photo that came from a bird book . She was so thrilled, as was I, by the result.Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-12 11.50.33Just before we left, Ross helped a builder construct a wooden fence down the side. Unfortunately, the banksia rose had lost half its bulk when our side neighbour needed to clear a driveway and the weight of the unilateral growth was pulling the huge rose down over the outdoor eating area. We had bought old wooden uprights for a supportive pergola underneath, but before we could construct it, strong winds brought the rose right down to the table overnight 2 days before we left and we couldn’t lift it up. There was no other option but to give it a massive prune on our final day and let it shoot again ! An enormous job, but it had to be done and at least we could leave for our holiday, knowing it would be safe without a supporting structure underneath !Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-01-26 12.52.46Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-31 07.22.51We pruned the buddleias at the same time and planted yellow honeysuckle plants I’d grown from cuttings along the new fence to intermingle with the new banksia rose growth, as well as a yellow Trachelospermum asiaticum, which our side neighbour gave us to replace the ivy, which used to cover the stone wall and to which she is allergic. We planted red and gold woodbine along the kitchen window part of the fence.

During our trip up north, we raided our old garden in Armidale for cuttings of my favourite heritage roses, many no longer on the market, as well as getting cuttings from another rose-mad friend at Black Mountain. It was quite a task, as I didn’t want to mix up the cuttings and only had a limited number of pots, as well as limited time, so we numbered each pot and used bands of orange electrical tape, so we could use each pot for 3 cuttings each of  2 different roses.Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-09-05 14.10.57We bought 2 smaller grevilleas : Lady O (1-1.5m tall ), on left side of basket, and Fire Works (1m tall ) at the back of the basket, to grace the bank behind it.Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-09-05 14.12.42We also stayed with friends, whose property included rainforest, so we were able to collect plants for our rainforest fernery : elkhorns, staghorns, birds nest ferns, felt ferns, sword ferns and maidenhair ferns. We  purchased a Lemonade tree on sale, a Star Above Star camellia like the bloom in our guest bedroom vase at Black Mountain (see photos ) and an Armeria ‘Pretty Petite’ (thrift) from nurseries en route. How I regretted not buying that delightful blue species clematis, Clematis macropetala ‘Pauline’, from a nursery in the Blue Mountains !!! We also returned home with lots of homemade jam and chutney ( in exchange for the cumquat marmalade we had taken up as thank you gifts for accommodation ) and huge bags of homegrown limes and mandarins !Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-28 14.09.27It was lovely to get home after our first trip away and discover that all the plants had survived. The new japonicas were all flowering , despite their small size, and we planted the Star above Star camellia up behind the white and apple blossom japonicas, as its pink and white blooms will complement them well.Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-28 13.52.31

The daphne buds had finally burst and smelt divine and the multigraft camellia, Winter honeysuckle, violets and hellebores continued to delight.Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-31 07.22.57Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-31 07.28.24Blog Mid Winter20%ReszdIMG_8906Blog Mid Winter20%ReszdIMG_8674Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-31 07.27.13My Mum’s pink begonias were all in full bloom down the rainforest path and the hydrangeas were all sending out fresh bud.Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-09-02 17.27.04Blog Mid Winter20%ReszdIMG_9098The first day back, we repotted all the rose cuttings into their own pots, labelled with their name in whiteout pen !Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-08-27 09.31.03We planted 3 more David Austins, ordered before we left from Treloars and awaiting our return : Heritage, Troilus and Golden Celebration. Ross pruned the old kiwi fruit vines behind them, but discovered that their stems were quite rotten- no wonder we only had 3 tiny kiwi fruit this year ! Since that part of the garden is prime growing real estate with full northern Winter sun all day long and we have such limited space for new trees, we decided to remove the vines and replace them with citrus trees – an Imperial mandarin, a Washington Navel, a Lemonade Tree and a Tahitian Lime.

And Ross finally started his fernery ! He cut his gardening teeth on his own fernery in childhood and has always loved them. He tied the staghorns and elkhorns to the loquat and pepperina trees, where they should thrive, as well as planting out potted orchids and all the ferns.Blog Mid Winter20%ReszdIMG_9094

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I was baking Mandarin cakes and making Mandarin Jam and the most divine Lime Cordial- so easy and delicious- I will never buy Lime Cordial again !!! See my post on Christmas Drinks and Nibbles for the recipe :