The July Garden

A quiet month in the Winter garden, but still plenty of garden tasks from pruning roses to transplanting shrubs and sowing seed for the Spring. We have had quite a mild Winter, with fewer frosts, which are lighter than last year and clear sunny days, which invite you out to the garden away from the fire! It has been so mild that the little oak tree still has its leaves as I write! Here is a view from our front verandah on a typical July day this season.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-02 10.21.22BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-02 10.21.33BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.03.48 All the bulbs are also peeking their heads out, including the lost Delft Blue hyacinths and miniature Tête-a-Tête daffodils (see below) in the rockery bed with the grape hyacinth and the bluebells under the crab apple tree.BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0375BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 18.07.26 I have yet to find the fritillaries and the erythroniums, though I have a rough idea of where I planted them! The new tulips are growing madly- the little species tulip, Tulipa clusiana ‘Cynthia’ (foreground), is so different to its hybrid cousin, Bokassa Tulip Gold, behind it!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.10.35 The snowdrops, Galanthus, (1st photo) and snow flakes, Leucojum, (2nd photo) are flowering, though I am impatient to see them multiply and naturalize in the grass!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.33.32BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.28.45And my Dutch crocus (Crocus vernus ‘Remembrance’) are up! I was so excited to see my first splash of purple, as I had no idea where they were! They look so dramatic in front of the red camellia!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-22 14.50.17BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 17.07.59BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 17.07.54The hellebores are now starting to open their buds – in order, Helleborus x ballardiae ‘Pink Frost’ (1st 2 photos); single form of Oriental Rose, H. orientalis; and my double forms of oriental roses, given to me for my birthday two years ago by my Mum. BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-07 12.48.03BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 13.45.50BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.41.10BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0373BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0374BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0332BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-24 10.48.14BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.34.23BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.31.40 The wallflowers and forget-me-nots love the Winter, providing a splash of colour in an otherwise grey and green Soho bed!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-27 17.56.08 The thyme is thriving around the sundial.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-13 12.51.49 The violets are a sea of purple under the maple tree and up the path.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-19 08.54.23BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.16.52 The pink violets are blooming less vociferously up the sweeping entrance path and are matched by the first pink flowers of the begonias further up the steps.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.05.49BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.39.22BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-19 08.59.53 The camellia continues to delight with its deep pink, pale pink and white blooms.BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.17.09BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.53.13BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.43.25BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.42.33The Red Riding Hood camellia is also in flower and really attracts the eye in the garden.BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0331BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-19 08.56.26 The sweet scent of the opening daphne flowers and Winter honeysuckle blooms make me glad to be alive every time I go out the back door!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-07 13.33.19BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.00.04BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-19 09.24.08BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-12 16.43.35BlogTinyTreasures20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.39.55 The latter is a perfect home for my gift bird feeder, though we are using to hold water for the little birds instead!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-12 16.43.46 The currawongs are dominating the bird bath at the moment, holding group seminars of up to 5 birds at a time! Huge flocks roost in our tree overnight.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-08 09.15.15BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 15.04.32BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 15.05.14BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 15.06.07BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 15.06.16BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 15.06.22 The little birds don’t stand a chance, but the currawongs don’t seem to worry the larger birds: the magpies, king parrots, crimson rosellas, galahs and female bowerbirds, all of which are revelling in the vegetable patch! Even the male bower bird has made a brief appearance to supervise proceedings (last 2 photos)!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 14.55.50BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-15 09.46.37BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-15 09.47.32BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-17 17.27.46BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-17 17.28.09BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0366BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-10 17.32.28BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0371BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0363BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0359

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The Broccoli Burglary!

BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-29 14.53.01BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0356

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The Godfather

They loved all the soil disruption, as Ross weeded and dug in manure around all the shrubs, ready for the new Spring growth.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-23 17.35.25Meanwhile, a pair of White-faced Herons had a long sunny grooming session in the branches overhead. They are such beautiful birds!BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0419BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0403BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0437 Ross has also been busy in the vegetable garden, with lots of weeding, hoeing and preparation work, but he has planted rainbow chard and shallots. The growth is all a bit slow at the moment, but we are enjoying the fresh organic broccoli heads!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.24.11BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 17.40.10 We finally harvested our first crop of cumquats for the season to make marmalade and splashed out on our first lemonade fruit! Only 2 kg cumquats for this first picking, but there is more unripe fruit on the tree.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.26.22BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.30.27BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 13.03.53BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-16 13.51.51BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-17 16.58.04 The loquats are also forming fruit and it looks like it will be a bumper crop!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.41.43 Ross also dug up all the tough, tenacious roots of the old Kiwi vines, which were resprouting and threatening to take all the nutrients from the new citrus trees. We pruned the David Austin bed, rather vigorously this first season to encourage a good bush shape, though will probably be more lenient in future years. Here are before and after photos of their haircuts!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-13 12.29.54BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-13 13.57.08 We turned another rose (York and Lancaster) on the shed fence, then planted out 3 Albertine roses, struck from cuttings, along the back wall of the shed.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-08 12.12.45BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-08 12.12.53 We also planted a Camellia sinensis, the tea plant (photos 3 and 4), next to the Native Frangipani (photo 2) in the corner of the flat, shading the grave of our old dog, Scamp. He always did enjoy a long chat and a cuddle over a cup of tea!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.51.29BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-27 17.44.33BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.38.53BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.28.35 The Lady X grevillea behind them is positively glowing at the moment!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.51.07 The chaenomeles are all coming into bloom back in the main garden and the transplanted shrubs are coming into fresh leaf. I love our flowering quince corner of white and ‘apple blossom’ (pink & white) varieties, in front of the white-pink blooms of our Star-above-Star camellia.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.32.00BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.33.14BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-22 14.50.42BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.32.58We have a red flowering quince on the bottom fence , still in bud.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 17.09.29We even have a few daisies in bloom – some sweet little paper daisies, Rhodanthe anthemoides (photo 1 and 2), the colour of their buds mirroring the blooms of the Coconut Sundae dianthus behind- serendipity at work! ; a single white marguerite daisy (photo 3); and a spoonbill osteospermum with its metallic blue centre (photo 4). BlogJulyGarden20%ReszdIMG_0439BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 13.35.23BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.29.10BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 18.08.22 The diosma (2nd photo) is also flowering, so we may have to wait a little before moving the tank plants. They compliment the fine mauve blooms of the westringia (1st photo) behind.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-24 10.44.41BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.31.09 We also transplanted the Linum from the egg cartons and sowed fresh seed (Linum on the left and Ladybird Poppies on the right) in the cutting garden beds.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 18.04.31BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-09 17.59.49 Ross  sowed the peony poppy seeds, which has already come up in their thousands! See the fine rivers of green in the 2nd photo. Lots of seedling thinning ahead!!  I cannot wait for all the colourful Spring blooms!BlogJulyGarden30%Reszd2016-07-04 15.49.15BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-20 14.37.01 Having said that, I am impressed by the number of Winter flowers we have and the fact that we can still enjoy a few vases in the house. Even the last of the rosebuds pre-pruning were beautiful!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 10.23.23BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-14 10.22.52BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-06 17.32.37BlogTinyTreasures20%Reszd2016-07-06 17.33.14BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.30.16BlogCamellias20%Reszd2016-07-16 12.24.16 We also planted a succulent in this lovely shell for the kitchen window sill.BlogJulyGarden30%Reszd2016-07-09 15.17.18To finish, here are some lovely sky photos from July! Snowy blustery clouds as a cold change comes through and the sun struggling to get up for the day! Must have been a bad case of Monday-itis!!! Till next month…!BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-06-28 19.05.02BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-15 09.48.09BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-15 09.48.16

The June Garden

I don’t know if it was my imagination, but Winter seemed to start later this year with the Autumn leaves persisting into early June.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-04 10.16.23BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.15.51BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.16.22BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.17.14BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.21.14 Certainly, the frosts were later, the tree dahlias eventually succumbing to heavy winds rather than frosts this year!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-04 12.47.12BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-05 11.34.10 We had some wild and woolly weather in the first week of June with one quarter of our annual rainfall (247 mm) in 3 days. The gully and creek were in flood- the creek level rising high, with the fast-flowing current cutting hard into the bank and bringing down trees. The local coast also experienced enormous tides with cunjevoi and sea tulips ripped from their beds and washed up on the beach.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-03 15.13.46BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-03 15.13.36BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-03 15.15.17BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-03 15.15.32BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-03 15.16.48 We had so many puddles in the garden and Ross had to race out in the middle of it all to dig a trench around the cutting garden.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-04 12.51.23BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-04 10.16.29 By mid-June, the weather finally turned cold with some lovely sky effects.

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Rain over the ocean, taken from Chamberlain Lookout, Tathra

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Dark clouds threaten to replenish Candelo Creek after the flood-waters subsided

BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-21 12.23.10 The Winter garden finally arrived, its palette predominantly white and purple with a few lemons and pinks thrown in! The violets are a mass in the maple bed and along the path.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.16.04BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-05-31 12.32.31BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-07 12.45.46BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-07 12.45.52 My rockery is full of bulbs poking their heads up, as well as divinely-scented lemon jonquils and white Coconut Ice dianthus, both demanding obeisance every time we walk past!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.51.22BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 15.05.18BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.51.36BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-05 11.32.13 I also love the fresh lemony smell of the tiny flowers of the Winter Honeysuckle, as we enter the back porch.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-11 15.10.29 Our daphne is in full bud, promising further fragrance as the Winter progresses.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.27.39 The wallflowers in the Soho bed (below) and stock in the cutting garden have a warm spicy scent.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.21.57 The bulbs have greatly multiplied under trees and in the cutting garden with tulips, iris, daffodils, freesias and ranunculas all growing madly.

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Erlicheer jonquils
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From back to front : Dutch Iris, Cornflowers and Daffodils
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The old tulips have multiplied
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New Bokassa Gold tulips

The jonquils and tiny snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis, are so pretty.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-02 14.20.13BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-13 16.57.41 I constantly look for new bulbs every day and it is always so exciting when I spot one emerging from the soil like this tiny bluebell under the crabapple tree.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.19.44 The hellebores are all in bud, ready to provide a splash of colour under the trees.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.22.12 I love the sweet diminutive forget-me-nots and the splash of gold of the Winter Jasmine, Jasminium nudiflorum, on the laneway.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.55.24BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-07 17.19.30 Here is a colourful black and gold ladybird from the bottom of the garden.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-22 14.00.15 I am really looking forward to seeing the japonica buds open.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-14 14.22.43 The camellia at the front door has already blessed us with a number of light pink and deep pink blooms.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 18.19.48BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 18.20.35BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-01 16.50.16BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 18.19.54BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.20.50 The new camellias are also in bud and Star-above-Star has had its first flower.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.18.22BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.22.34BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.22.50 The roses have still thrown out the odd bloom: Eglantyne (pink) and Golden Celebration (gold).BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-10 14.01.46BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-10 14.02.30 My birthday Souvenir de la Malmaison is already in new leaf.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.23.53 I cut the last blooms of the roses and frost-damaged hydrangeas for two final bouquets for the season.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 16.17.07BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 16.16.57BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.48.43 I pruned the hydrangeas and all the Soho Bed roses rather severely on the weekend.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 11.30.19BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.25.49BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.23.18BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 14.23.04BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 14.23.10We also turned and transplanted quite a few of the roses. Despite our careful observation of outer buds and planting for correct shape, my roses have a habit of sending their shoots out at 90 degrees to where I want them! Now that the roses are dormant, it is a good time to correct their positions- hence Lamarque was dug up after the heavy rains (a perfect time as the soil was so soft), turned 90 degrees and replanted, so that its long canes can diverge horizontally and create the desired fan shape up the house wall instead of  growing out from the wall as before.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.52.00 We did the same with Cornelia, so it arches it long canes to the left over the gateway to the chooks (we have yet to build a simple wooden single arch for it), instead of throwing them up into the apple tree to its right.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.20.25BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.20.34 We transplanted Aimee Vibert from its initial position as part of the cutting garden screen behind the Soho Bed to the other side of the arch to replace the dying Kathleen. We also turned Penelope, so it was a member of the hybrid musk hedge rather than the vegetable garden! See the new hedge-line in the photo below : From front to back : Penelope, Aimee Vibert and Cornelia.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-21 13.45.26 We made a decision to eliminate the screening hedge between the Soho Bed and cutting gardens. There really was not enough room for the hedge and path, the mature shrubs would have cast too much shade on the cutting garden and in the end, we concluded that we actually like seeing the cutting garden. So, we transplanted the white lilac to the corner of the cutting garden, the Philadelphus to the main pergola corner next to climbing Tea rose, Adam (photos 1 and 2), the Viburnum burkwoodii ‘Anne Russell’ to the camellia border (photo 5), the Exochorda between the purple-pink lilac and the pink-and-white Japonica (photo 4) and the Flowering Currant  to the front of the Snowball tree (photo 3). Its future pink Spring blooms will complement the pink Weigela on the other side of the pergola entrance.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.13.06BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.13.13BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.13.51BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.15.40BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.18.43 We finally moved the Alister Stella Grey rose to the shed corner to create a golden yellow arch with Rêve d’Or in front of the cumquats, lemonade and quince trees.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.14.49 We still have a number of potted roses, raised from last Winter’s cuttings, to transplant- a hedge of Russelliana on the fence behind the White Mulberry and an Albertine hedge along the back side wall of the shed, the old timber a perfect background for the warm pink blowsy blooms.

We are starting to feel like we are finally achieving a sense of control and structure in the garden. We plan to build a compost bay with 3 divisions against the fence behind the no-dig cutting garden (see the bamboo markers behind the garden fork). The seed dahlias are over-wintering in the front of the bed under their blanket of mulch. Ross has just redug the patch behind the dahlias prior to sowing last year’s peony poppy seed for Spring, to be succeeded by zinnias in Summer and Autumn. Both plantings should benefit from having their own area, as both are very tall and take up a lot of room. Behind the zinnias and poppies will be a strawberry patch, then a path in front of the compost bay. On the left end of the compost bay, we will create an asparagus bed and on the right end, we will grow angelica and rhubarb.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.21.57There are also self-seeded peony poppies sprouting in the Soho Bed and I have some Iceland poppies in egg cartons awaiting transplantation to the cutting garden.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-10 13.59.30 Other pending tasks are to construct the chook fence (and chook house) behind the hybrid musk hedges and transplant the natives in the old sandy septic tank, so we can transform it into a shallow rock-lined pond.  Ross has limed the vegie garden. The growth of the new vegies is a bit slow because of the cold and Winter shade.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-24 12.20.48BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-10 14.04.36 We have yet to prune the raspberries and harvest the cumquats for marmalade!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-10 14.05.56 Our first lemonade fruit is almost ripe!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-20 14.42.22 We are anticipating a huge crop of loquats this year, as it is still flowering!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-08 13.40.23 With all this time in the garden, we have enjoyed the company of lots of little birds from fairy wrens to brown and yellow thornbills, flycatchers, eastern spinebills and silvereyes.BlogJune Garden 25%Reszd2016-06-05 11.42.19BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-08 12.35.49BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 13.50.47BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 13.50.52BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 13.51.22BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 18.01.50BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 18.01.39BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 13.53.09BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 13.53.25BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.57.08BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.57.32 We will often look up to see a King Parrot quietly grazing within arm’s reach.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-05-31 12.43.57BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-09 14.59.22BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-06 17.59.39 A large flock of Little Corellas materialized briefly one week, transforming bare branches into the appearance of white blossom.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-01 18.56.37 The very same roosting trees were a sea of pink the following week with a large flock of galahs.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-05 18.16.37BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-05 18.16.48 The rich diversity of bird life in our garden is a constant joy. We found the perfect spot on a Winter Honeysuckle branch to hang my bronze bird feeder, a birthday gift from a dear friend. It looks like it has been there forever!BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-17 14.20.06 I will finish with a few photos of a spectacular Winter night sky last week.BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 20.25.29BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 20.30.07BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 20.24.07BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 21.15.46BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 20.30.11BlogJune Garden 20%Reszd2016-06-18 21.16.52

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 : https://candeloblooms.com/2015/12/17/christmas-eve-drinks-and-nibbles/

Early Winter

The Winter frosts kicked in with a vengeance with the start of June, but the days were beautiful – crisp blue skies and we could still sit in the sun on the verandah. All the deciduous trees were now bare except for the maples, whose leaves were persisting in a blaze of rich warm colours.Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-04-17 09.42.06And the Winter blooms were appearing :

  • our wonderful multigraft camellia at the front door with its variety of coloured blooms from white to white laced with pink, light pink, pink striped with deeper pink and a full deep red – underplanted with white and soft pink hellebores, as well as pink and purple violets;
  • the divinely scented Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima);
  • Galanthus nivalis flowers- the true English snowdrop- I started with one bulb in a pot and now have 20 !
  • And snowflakes ( Leucojum), which replaced the nerines.
    Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-07-01 11.10.16
    Galanthus nivalis
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    Species hellebores and violets under camellia

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    Our camellia sports blooms of different colours

All these flowers were such good value, as they lasted all Winter and kept our spirits up. I have also included a photo of a magnificent camellia hedge at Kalaru.Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-14 12.43.36We fed the beds with more manure, severely pruned the old lemon tree, thinned the calendula and cornflowers and put cardboard over the 2nd cutting bed.

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New cutting garden on right under cardboard and lawn clippings

We planted the old in-ground septic tank, now filled with sand, with tiny native plants from the local market:

  • a Westringia fruticosa-Wynyabbie Gem,
  • a ‘Dusky Bells’ Correa (Correa pulchella X reflexa),
  • a Crowea exalata and

Dwarf Pink Diosma (Coleonema compactum), knowing full well that even just one of these shrubs will ultimately fill the tank alone and we will probably have to transplant 3 of them later on as they grow, but for now they all fit and its lovely seeing their tiny little blooms through Winter as well. The birds should love them and we will have a wonderful view of them from the verandah!

Other new plantings included:

  • Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) in the cutting garden for its pretty frilled foliage which holds raindrops and its yellow blooms;
  • Lilacs: Mme Lemoine (white) for the white border and Katherine Havemeyer (mauve pink);
  • Flowering Quinces ( Chaenomeles) in red, white and apple blossom pink and white.The japonicas and mauve lilac replaced the sheoaks and the red japonica graces the bottom of the garden; and
  • a red camellia (Little Red Riding Hood) and red rhododendron ( Vulcans Flame) on the side border under the deciduous trees to provide an evergreen screen.

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    White japonica

We collected sand from the creek and laid the paths in the Soho Bed with rustic old bricks, which we found under the house or edging well established garden beds, where they were now superfluous. We only just had enough for 3 paths, so the last path was paved with my neighbour’s old bricks, hence christened ‘the Anne Path, ’ leading south towards her fence ! We planted 4 types of thyme around the central sundial : Ordinary/ Variegated Lemon/ Orange Peel and Creeping Bergamot thymes.Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-26 12.56.41Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-27 16.29.03

We also planted double pink and mauve Peony poppy seeds ( a bit like the old opium poppies) from Lambleys :  http://lambley.com.au/ , which were immediately picked off by some crazed drug-addled bird, rabbit or fox ! There were little pockmarks all over the Soho Bed the next day, so I don’t expect a great strike rate unfortunately !

And then the roses arrived ! My Mum gave me 3 David Austin roses from Treloars (http://www.treloarroses.com.au ) to start my David Austin bed early in June and my Misty Downs (http://mistydowns.com.au ) order arrived towards the end of June. It was so exciting planting them ! We dug holes for the David Austin roses : Windermere, Evelyn and Jude the Obscure – to be later formed into a moon shaped crescent bed with the best aspect in the garden – full Northern Winter sun all day !Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-07 12.08.54

White Hybrid musks: Autumn Delight and Kathleen joined Penelope at the back of the left hand vegie garden, the latter covering half the chook gate arch over the path. On the other side of the chook arch, we planted Cornelia, then the right hand vegetable hedge was continued with another pink Hybrid Musk Felicia, then Stanwell Perpetual, the already planted Mutabilis and at the end of the row and the start of the Rugosa hedge, running at a perpendicular direction around the corner, the exquisitely scented deep pink Roseraie de l’Hay.

The rugosa hedge also included the pale pink single Frau Dagmar Hastrup and my favourite double white rugosa : Mme Georges Bruant. I love the scent and generosity of the continuous flowering Hybrid Musks and Stanwell Perpetual is a favourite old Species rose, which is one of the first and last to flower. The rugosas, which we first saw lining the French motorways, are tough, beautifully scented and extremely prickly, so we will have to be very careful when patting our neighbour’s dogs !

We planted the Noisette roses : Alister Stella Gray over the Soho arch to be joined on the other side by a blue clematis one day,  and a creamy white lemon/apple scented Lamarque to climb the front wall of our high set wooden house. Ross is going to devise a fold-down trellis network of some sort, so he can still paint the wall in the future if he needs to, without disturbing the climbing rose too much!Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-09 08.06.25

While I was waiting for my roses to arrive, I was busy in my sewing room. I designed a new ‘vase of flowers’ embroidery, just using embroidery stitches (first photo), then when I was satisfied with it, I used it as a basis for an appliquéd felt cushion cover for myself.

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I traced glass circles on different coloured felts, embroidered each circle with a different combination of stitches and colours and then attached them to a dark navy felt front. I added green felt leaves, each one displaying a different embroidery technique to depict the veins ( that multi toned green Perle thread is fantastic for foliage !) and the mauve vase was again a sampler of different embroidery stitches in its own right.

I completed the centre of the bouquet with an  abstract flower and bud inspired by Angie Lewin ( see : http://www.angielewin.co.uk/ )  to complement the vase colour, then backed the cushion cover with a bright tartan plaid from my stash, a fabric once reserved for a girl’s skirt pattern. It has been wonderful to finally use some of my long held fabrics at long last! I love working with felt and shiny No. 5 Perle thread, though I used No. 3 Perle thread to blanket stitch the felt panel to the backing material instead of ric rac.Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-04 18.40.24Blog Early Winter20%ReszdIMG_8907

I also made 4 jewellery rolls (old Vogue Pattern 1528) out of fat quarters for my nieces’ birthdays with 3 zips, 5 pockets and a little silver charm or key ring hidden inside, as well as trying out a pattern for a petal pocket fabric knick knack holder designed by Valori Wells (http://www.valoriwells.com/ ),  a cute pattern which is very easy to make, so good for a quick emergency gift !Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-18 12.25.05

When my youngest daughter visited on her mid-semester break, I helped her to make a patchwork vintage cushion cover out of material scraps and some cosy wheatbags -with the proviso that she never sleep with them due to the risk of fire !Blog Early Winter20%Reszd2015-06-26 12.53.20