The Summer Garden

In order to avoid endless repetition and also because I have so much to say about Old Roses (both types and gardens), not to mention my favourite books, I am only posting four seasonal posts of our garden this year and each will be at the end of the three-month period. So here is our 2017 Summer Garden , but because I wrote a post on the December Garden last year, this first seasonal post will only cover two months from January to February 2017.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-07-12-51-58Once Summer finally arrived, being very late to start this season, the temperatures really warmed up, especially in the month of January with some temperatures in the late 30s and early 40s! Unfortunately, we were away most of January with a brief reconnoitre in mid-January, but a dear friend did our watering for us and kept our poor plants alive, while her daughter played with her ducks in the shade of the trees!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0820blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0810This did not however prevent a lot of the foliage and new growth being singed to a crisp and when we finally returned home for good, the garden was very blowsy and overgrown, my youngest daughter’s dream garden and mine too to a certain extent, although I still like a little sense of order and the very next day, we were out weeding, pruning back dead and dying stems and leaves and watering like mad! Here are some photos of the Soho Bed before…blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0786blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1010blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-20-04and after…blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-20-38blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-25-17blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-28-47blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-24-11We badly needed rain- most of the grass on the roadsides in Candelo was super-dry, crackly and bleached, but we  purposefully kept our front lawn green, despite the increased cost of watering, to keep our spirits up and make us feel cool on these long hot days! Even the birds were feeling the heat! Compare the lawn in the first two photos!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-49-36blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1126blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-03-16-15-28blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1001The Acanthus mollis were one of the greatest casualties of the long dry and searing heat, though their dried stalks would still look great as a dried flower arrangement and the green seeds are very attractive against the brown stems.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-18-36 The hosta and the black currant suffered burnt leaves as well and the dogwood, rhododendrons and camellias under the trees, the hydrangeas and even the protea and feral morning glory, were wilting badly with the heat.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-25-34blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-27-12Despite the dry, we still had roses blooming!

In the Moon Bed: William Morris (1st two photos) and Heritage (3rd and 4th photo), nestled in amongst flowering salvia, Indigo Spires;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-51-55blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-24-35blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0455blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0320 and Jude the Obscure;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-34-41blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1012 In the Soho Bed, The Childrens’ Rose;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0814 blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-06-19-06-36and Eglantyne;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-15-31-48blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-06-19-06-47blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0233LD Braithwaite and Mr Lincoln; blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0232blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1139and finally, Icegirl (1st 2 photos) and Lady X.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0316blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0235blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0251On the main pergola, Adam;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-15-19-49-54blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1065 and Souvenir de la Malmaison;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1150 and on the future single entrance arch: Alister Stella Grey.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-35-47 In the Moon Bed, Golden Celebration;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0325blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-51-15blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0323 and the Soho Bed, Our Copper Queen and Just Joey.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0817blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0404 On the front wall of the house, Lamarque;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0990 and Mrs Herbert Stevens;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-17-47 In the vegetable garden hedges, Penelope;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0813Stanwell Perpetual;blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-29-55 and Sombreuil. blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0345And finally, the sumptuous hips of rugosa, Frau Dagmar Hastrup.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0999blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1000 Flowering Salvias are in their element in the heat. I have 5 different types: the deep blue Indigo Spires and a light sky blue salvia, which I grew from a cutting from my sister’s garden, both intermingled in the Moon Bed and a perfect contrast to the pink roses of  William Morris and Heritage.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-16-57Both salvias are very popular with a metallic dark blue parasitic Neon Cuckoo Bee, Thyreus nitidulis (see photos 1 & 2) and the Blue-Banded Bee, Amegilla cingulata (photo 3). Apparently, the Cuckoo Bee lays its eggs in the nests of Blue-Banded Bees. See: http://www.aussiebee.com.au/thyreus.html.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-26-39blogsummer-gardenreszd30%2017-01-14-12-26-39-copy-copyblogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-25-48I later discovered some red-and-black striped harlequin bug nymphs, Dindymus versicolor, on the bright blue salvia and dead sunflower heads, though I am really not sure about them being on my roses!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-18-49blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-13-43blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0422blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0395I also have a red salvia (1st photo), a magenta salvia (3rd photo) and a two-toned variety (pink and white) called Lipstick, also grown from a cutting (2nd photo).blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0327blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0418blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-15-32-01 On our return, I also discovered that I had planted one cutting in the WRONG place- it had grown to a ginormous size in our absence and was obviously a cutting of the Tree Salvia. It will definitely have to go, as it is swamping my David Austin roses in the Moon Bed, but I want to see the colour of its flower first before I remove it, as I took cuttings of two different tree salvias- one pink and one lemon. It is probably too big to transplant, but I will take another cutting, then plant its seedling on the back border of the garden, though I am badly running out of space!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-19-49blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-20-02 The Moon Bed looked so much more civilized after weeding, though I must admit the fine bamboo mulch did an excellent job at keeping most of the weeds at bay! I also got the giant salvia under a little control to give my roses a chance!!!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-17-45blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-17-50On our return trip home, we called into my sister’s new garden at ‘Glenrock’, where we took more cuttings, which I know will do well here, as her garden is even colder and frostier than we are, reaching Winter minimums of minus 10 degrees Celsius! I will definitely find room for them!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0612And I have enjoyed making blowsy romantic bouquets with the roses and salvias, now that we are home! The 2nd photo is my vase for St. Valentines Day, which accompanied….blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1153blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0855 a delicious carrot cake, decorated with rose petals! Thank you, Kirsten, for your artistic input!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0891blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0894blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0896Zinnias also love the heat! I love the bright colours of my zinnia bed between the dahlias and the sunflower!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0789blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0347blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-22-56blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0458 They are such generous flowers and are obviously excellent self-seeders, as all the zinnias in my new patch were spontaneous seedlings from last year’s old patch in the cutting garden and there are more in the vegie patch and the Moon Bed as well. Their only defect in my eyes is their lack of scent!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0332blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-23-22blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-23-29blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-34-12blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0339blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-01-21-06-19blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0462blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-16-13-36-39blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0998blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0337blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0335blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-15-30-41 blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0460It doesn’t seem to worry the bees and the butterflies though!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0028blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1046Zinnias are fabulous flowers for bright cheery arrangements! I have been cutting bouquets all month, including one for this beautiful old vase, which I recently found (2nd photo).blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0356blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-11-23-45blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0361 The dahlias are also wonderful for bouquets…!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0237blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0240Unfortunately, the late frost when the dahlias were just resurfacing in late Spring finished off the scarlet dahlia on the corner of the vegetable patch, but bright orange Meadow Lea has performed very well again this year and the mixed dahlia patch recovered brilliantly, providing plentiful nectar for exhausted, battle-scarred butterflies!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-21-57blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-16-13-37-51The Cutting Garden also had a big cleanup after its rampant romp while we were away!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-07-12-52-09The wild dandelions in the lawn were the next victims in our sights, even though they look so sunny and pretty!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-07-11-54-27blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-07-11-54-47Agapanthus and Hydrangeas are essential components of the Summer garden, their cooling blues contrasting dramatically with the fiery red of the Monbretia flowers.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-50-02blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-52-51blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1015blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1018blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1022blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0988I particularly loved the varying colours of the hydrangeas this year, with lots of green and graduated blues.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-19-33blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0287blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1051blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0367 Ceratostigma, Convovulus maritima and the Rosalie Geranium also provide touches of blue in the garden,blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-19-15blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1070 while the cigar plant and this unidentified seedling (another cutting) lend purple hints.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1067blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1057 The thyme surrounding the sundial in the Soho Bed is in full flower.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1149blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1148I was very excited to see the green bells of my one and only Molucella (Bells of Ireland) seedling (from sown seed).blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1144 I love the dusky pink bells of the correa on the terrace and the red bottlebrush blooms at the bottom of the garden,blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0266blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-09-18blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-09-41blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-01-21-08-58 as well as the deep red blooms of my potted ivy leaf geranium, a reminder of our rose trip to Clare, South Australia, in October 2014.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-18-42The feverfew recovered brilliantly from its transplanting in the cutting garden, then positively romped ahead, blooming profusely with its pretty white daisy-like flowers.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0811 Caroline’s chamomile flowers are very similar in appearance. I have separated all the tiny plants and planted them in front of the Tea plant and the Native Frangipani over our old dog Scamp’s grave. They could have a battle with the couch, but if successful, will form a lovely patch to sit on while we commune with Scamp and drink tea – Chamomile Tea of course!!!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-22-42blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-21-19blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-21-25 My Dianthus ‘Doris‘ and ‘Coconut Ice’ are reblooming and even the Philadelphus virginalis got a bit confused with the later Summer, throwing out a late bloom mid January!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-30-09blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-18-03blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1016 We planted Autumn crocus bulbs, given to us by my sister, under our quince tree and the first two have already bloomed!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1048blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-13-10-54-59blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0398My lemonade tree was also in flower over that period and we now have lemonade fruits developing nicely, as well as a large number of Tahitian limes, one Navel orange and one Lisbon lemon, our first crop for all trees!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-34-56blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-21-57blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-20-51blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-23-17blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-20-04I think we will be getting a bumper crop of cumquats again this season! The scent in the air from the cumquat blossom is intoxicating!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0399blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0400Fortunately, I don’t think fruit bats like citrus (though Ross’s favourite orange stink bugs do!), as a small colony has decided to extend their holiday in the trees across the creek. Because we were away, we never got to taste our plums this year, though I suspect the fruit bats did (!), but we were the lucky recipients of this box of home-grown peaches, given to us by our lovely watering angel!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1075blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1073blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-11-58-33 It appears that this year, we are going to have a really good fig season too- hopefully they will ripen before the onset of Winter and the bats don’t get them first! Maybe this is why they are still hanging round (literally!) !!!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0274I’m uncertain as to whether flying foxes don’t eat Golden Hornet crab apples either, but maybe they haven’t discovered them yet!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0017blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-50-26blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0805 We have even had our first fruit on our Camellia sinensis (Tea) plant!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0804We have also been enjoying fresh salads from the garden, lettuce (now bolting!), spicy rocket and delicious warm cherry tomatoes, all picked straight from the garden just before eating!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0798blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-25-22 We have been particularly impressed with the golden cherry tomatoes, which self-seeded from a single bush last year. They are so pretty in the salads! I love the red ones too!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0799 blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0899blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0249We also feasted on bruschetta, made from our own freshly-picked tomatoes and rocket on our own home-made bread, still warm from the oven!blogsummer-gardenreszd25%2017-02-15-13-11-36 I’m not sure whether we will actually get many pumpkins this season, but at least the insects are enjoying the flowers! This year’s crop is obviously not as thuggish as their parents last year, although they are still attempting to take over the new compost bays!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0326blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0344blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0343They are making a late run for their money! Most of the pumpkins are tiny, though we did discover this larger beauty, skulking by the tree dahlia under lots of large leaves!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0414blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0418And Ross’s beans have also come to the party, their long purple pods contrasting with the bright orange self-seeded zinnias below. These delicious purple beans are quite magical, as they turn green on cooking!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-27-25blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-26-28blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0794blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1004 Though we did wonder why their leaves were so ratty and denuded at the top! A female Satin Bowerbird was the culprit!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0386blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0377By the end of Summer, Ross felt he had the garden under control to some extent and had even dug and started edging the vegetable gardens with old wooden fence palings and pruned the raspberry canes, which had finished fruiting, though our gardening helper still manages to find the odd ripe one!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1167blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1169blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0396blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0411blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0428blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0419blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0042Fortunately, the feral Duranta, which suffered so badly during the worst of the Summer heat, has now recovered with fresh green leaf, flowers and new berries for the birds (compare the first two photos before and after the rain – the brown shrub in the background of the 1st photo is the Duranta!) In the 3rd photo, the Duranta is the 2nd shrub back on the left side,blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-10-20-00blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0279blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0300blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0269though our resident Grey Fantail still likes to keep an eye on the progress in the vegetable patch!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0792Other visitors to the garden include a Yellow Thornbill in the pepperina tree;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0868a female Koel or Storm-Bird;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0581A pair of jet-black Ravens;blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0474and a female and immature male King Parrot.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0600blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0597The big news of Summer is the development of the White-Faced Heron chicks. If you remember, last December, we watched the parents build a very flimsy platform of twigs and sticks, high in the Cottonwood Poplar.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-24-09blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-11-47-15Our verandah is an excellent vantage point to watch the herons through binoculars and I was able to take some good photographs of the babies, once I attached my camera to a tripod.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-01-24blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-02-27Even though the chicks are very well-camouflaged and hidden behind the leaves, once you have worked out your landmarks (the twig wreath in the photo below) to accurately pinpoint the birds with the lens, it was possible to get a few shots.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-13-42-09-1 I suspect there may have initially been three chicks, as this photo suggests.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-14-12-02-58 However, by the time we arrived home, there were only two surviving chicks and they had grown enormously!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0588BlogSummer GardenReszd20%IMG_0533.jpgblogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-13-01-01blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-12-24-14 We enjoyed watching them sit high above the nest and learn balancing skills, though they were still a bit wobbly. They started jumping from branch to branch,blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-12-21-19BlogSummer GardenReszd20%2017-02-09 17.40.31.jpgand quickly mastered their grooming techniques,blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-12-41-01blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-12-40-05 their fluffy undersides giving away the fact that they were still babies!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-13-09-37blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-13-13-52Another difference between babies and their parents is that the adults have white faces.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0422blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0429I really hoped we would get to see the chicks’ first flight. It’s always such a miraculous moment and such a leap of faith! Maybe the sight of these more experienced aviators was helpful- a large flock of Little Corellas, which returned briefly in mid January to wheel and dive in the blue blue Summer skies of Candelo!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1041blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1043blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1031Or maybe, it was the flock of Gang-Gang Cockatoos, but we did achieve our desire!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0652 It was just so exciting! I think the first brave baby got the shock of its life, when it first ventured forth, flying straight back to the nest immediately! But as time went on (with the constant encouragement of their parents), they both gained confidence and were soon wheeling and diving with sheer joy!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0556blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1106 We were very happy to see them return to the tree each night, as well as during the day, for a rest and groom. They brought their teenage friends home, at least that’s what I assume, as none of them had white faces!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0902blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1015blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1018blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0944blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0931 Following the lead of their parents,blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1142blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1109 the chicks soon discovered the local rooftop next door.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0003blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0009 One day, the most confident chick flew into the top of the bamboo stand by the house, and then flew straight at me to land on the verandah roof!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0607blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0626The sight of these beautiful herons on our roof , their soft mushroom plumage complimenting the house colours so well (their yellow legs even matched the gutter colour!), with the rising morning moon in the background, gave me a sudden revelation with regards to our long-deliberated house name: ‘Herons’ Rise‘ – just perfect!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0712blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0687blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0695blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0717blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1136Here are some closeups, showing the complimentary colours!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0706blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0718blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0744 They also liked to feed in the gutter and even sat on the verandah edge.blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0767blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0796blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1084blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_1098 It’s a shame they don’t eat wasps, as this nest on the outside edge of the verandah is a little too close for comfort!!!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0261But I am glad they didn’t discover this praying mantis!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0365And then, by late February, they were gone! At least from our tree, though they did hang around in the local neighbourhood, fossicking down by the creek, flying in tandem over the local park and occasionally returning to the roof! I miss watching them watching us, but hopefully they will return to their old nest when it is time for them to rear their chicks!

And to top it all off, we finally we did get rain- blessed blessed rain! It’s not just the garden and we gardeners that are happy! These Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos were having a ball!blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-16-12-08blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-24-22blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-05-11-24-13blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-16-14-14blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-16-13-51blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-16-12-30 We had 38 ml of rain over February, so we could still do with more, but at least it did freshen things up! Hopefully, we will get some more in March!

Already, the weather is starting to feel a bit like Autumn! I love this season, even though it is tempered with the knowledge of the approaching Winter! The buds on the camellia are already forming! Our Northern Hemisphere friends on the other hand are getting very excited about the end of their Winter and the beginning of Spring! One of the great things about blogging is that you have virtual friends all over the world and are always learning something new! One of the blogs I follow (https://chronicleofellen.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/fairy-doors-and-luck-magic/) mentioned ‘martenitsas‘, a term with which I was not familiar. On further research, I discovered that they are Bulgarian good luck charms, which are given to your nearest and dearest on the 1st March (Baba Marta Day) to welcome in the first day of Spring and wish them good health, happiness and longevity. They are then worn until the wearer sees their first stork or swallow returning from migration or a blossoming tree, so recipients in the Southern Hemisphere could be wearing them for six months!!! I was quite taken with the whole notion, even though we are entering Autumn, so followed the directions on a video tutorial (http://www.prettyprudent.com/2014/03/by-craft/yarn/martenitsa-bracelet-puppet-tutorial/), although I suspect the colours were muddled up, as traditionally, the male doll Pizho is white (representing purity), while the female doll Penda is red (the colour of life and passion), though really I don’t know if it really matters! I had so much fun making them and everyone seems to have loved them! So, Happy Baba Marta Day !!!blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0448

The April Garden

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

 

 

The March Garden

Officially, it’s the start of Autumn, but Summer is not quite ready to give up her reign, with a run of temperatures in the early to mid-thirties and quite high humidity over the past few weeks, though it has cooled off the last two days! It’s been wonderful for beach visits and sunbaking pumpkins! We have discovered a beautiful cooling swimming hole in the bend of the Bega River as it enters the sea!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6925BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0694We have finally harvested the Jap pumpkins! Here they are soaking up the last of the Summer sun before joining their cousins in the shed.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0955 BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-19 18.47.52The late warmth is also great for extending the growing season of our plants – I may yet get to view some of the new Dahlia flowers. The first flowerbuds are already forming!BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.35.18BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-19 18.42.40BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0862BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-20 16.52.17The Autumn raspberry crop is in full production- we have actually been able to feast on THREE raspberry fruits each at the one picking on one occasion! Luxury!!!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0681 The tomatoes and capsicums are still very productive.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0914BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0690The northern vegie bed has been planted up with its last vegetables for the season before the Winter shade : new carrots, lettuce and spinach with potatoes on the left and raspberries on the trellis at the back.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0958BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0956We may yet get our 2nd potato crop of Dutch Creams, so long as the 28-spotted lady beetle doesn’t decimate the foliage first! All the organic gurus advise that the best way to control them is to handpick off the ladybirds and their eggs and larvae, then squash them or drown them in a small amount of methylated spirits. Quite a task, but necessary, as we don’t want to kill all the  ‘good’ ladybirds and other beneficial insects!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0911 There is such an amazing diversity of wondrous insects in our garden. Whenever we venture down into the garden, we are assaulted by masses of butterflies from white Cabbage Moths flitting madly from plant to plant;BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0919 The more humble browns sitting quietly on foliage;BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-22 11.16.36BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.37.29BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.37.39BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-12 17.17.36BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0734 And majestic courting Orchard Butterflies chasing each other around the garden.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0113BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0155BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0127 We also discovered this precious little spotted moth and a stunning striped metallic green fly!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0645BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6957 The colourful zinnias host some equally stunning red and black beetles;BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0685BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6961BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6966BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0655 While the roses are home to grasshoppers and tiny spiders:BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0407BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0410BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0396Here is our old friend, The Blue-banded Bee, pollinating the Gaura in the Soho Bed.BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-12 17.13.50 I can’t wait to discover the creators of these leaf cocoons high up in the Kurrajong tree.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0922BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0921The abundance of insect life provides food for those higher up the food chain. This little brown frog hunts at night-time, while a variety of birds enchant us during the day.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0670 Now that the big boys of the Cockatoo family have finished their fruit-picking season, the smaller birds have reappeared. They especially love the birdbath on these hot days and often a number of different species will be taking the waters together!

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Eastern Spinebills and Yellow-faced Honeyeater
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Eastern Spinebills and Yellow Thornbill

BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0385 We often see a pair of resident Eastern Spinebills (first 3 photos) and a lone Yellow-faced Honeyeater bathing or foraging for food together. The last 3 photos are of Yellow-faced Honeyeaters (2 photos of an immature bird and the last an adult Honeyeater)BlogMarchGarden30%ReszdIMG_0782 - CopyBlogMarchGarden30%Reszd2016-02-23 10.19.19 - Copy

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A very wet, but cool, Eastern Spinebill!

BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0859BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0854BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0345We saw a New Holland Honeyeater partaking of the birdbath for the first time yesterday.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0945We have also watched a myriad of other small birds plunging in for a refreshing dip including : both Yellow (1st photo) and Brown Thornbills (2nd and 3rd photo).BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0803BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0753BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0218 Other little birds include a White-throated Scrub Wren, Silver-Eyes and a Grey Fantail (photo below);BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 19.07.59 A flock of Double-barred Finches has been grazing on the lawn.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0300BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0316Larger birds like  female Blackbirds and Bower Birds are also attracted to the birdbath for a cool drink.BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 19.10.47BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 19.13.47 We have heard the call of a Golden Whistler from the bottom of the garden, but have been unable to locate it yet, but I did finally see and photograph our cuckoo baby, an immature Common Koel,  whose incessant calls plagued us last month and I am gradually improving on my attempts to capture the Gang-Gang fly-past!BlogMarchGarden40%ReszdIMG_0239 - Copy - CopyBlogMarchGarden25%ReszdIMG_0241 BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0283Because this new camera has been upgraded from a 20x zoom to a 30x zoom, I am still learning how to control it, especially for objects in close or mid-range, which often end up blurred! It is however perfect for long-distance shots like the cuckoo, flying birds and even the moon!!!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0867BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-21 21.38.49 Back on earth, its namesake, the Moon Bed, is looking so established now. The David Austin roses are positively romping and the daisies are in full bloom.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0394BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0395BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0648 We planted a blue-purple flowering Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’, bought recently at the Lanyon Plant Fair, between William Morris and Lucetta and next to the daisy and their colours complement each other perfectly!BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0902BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0865 All the roses are blooming so profusely- it is almost like they know Winter is coming!!! The first 3 photos are of my favourite Jude the Obscure, followed by Golden Celebration (photo 4), Troilus (photo 5), Heritage (photo 6) and Lucetta (last 2 photos). BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 09.36.41BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0391BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0392BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-03-19 18.44.55BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0687BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_1047BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0449BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0393 The Soho Bed is also full of colour and scent. I love the golden-orange Lolita, as you can see in the 3 photos below!

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Ice Girl and Children’s Rose with Ceratostigma and Lavender

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Ice Girl
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Copper Queen
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Heaven Scent
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Eglantyne
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LD Braithwaite
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Mr. Lincoln

Elsewhere in the garden, Alister Stella Gray (photo 1), Penelope (photo 2) and Devoniensis (photo 3) are also in full bloom.BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 09.35.52BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0400BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_1046Here are some photos of this month’s bouquets.

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Heritage, Lucetta, Jude the Obscure and Buddleia
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Eglantyne, Jude the Obscure, Troilus, Heaven Scent, Mr. Lincoln and Catmint
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Zinnias and Ceratostigma

BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0972The Cutting Garden is still ablaze with sizzling Zinnias, sprawling orange dahlias and intense purple and softer mauve cosmos.BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-25 11.35.04BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0905BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0915BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0684BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0673BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0414BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0660 BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6976BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_6974BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0187Nearby the rhododendron throws out a beautiful red bloom.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_1051The bright orange cannas glow like flames in the late afternoon sun.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0465 The Banksia is laden with golden candles and the protea is forming pink buds.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0479BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0666 The hydrangea bed provides a cooling respite on these hot days.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0044BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0043 I love the delicate mauve and white flowers of the feral Duranta.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0417BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0402 The white Nerine bulbs are gearing up for next month, as is the Tree Dahlia. Fortunately, we have not had last year’s windy weather, when we were constantly having to support the long canes.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0689 Instead, Ross has been attaching the long side-runners to the top of the new pergola.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0419 It’s a tricky job, as he is using recycled timber of different lengths and has had to mortise beams together to achieve the full 5m length.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0480BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0899BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0471 He has done a wonderful job! All those years of building cattle yards and fencing have stood him in good stead!

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The roses on the top side have almost reached the top of the pergola!

BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0898 Meanwhile, I have been creating another cushion cover for my highly creative and artistic friend Heather, who visited us for her birthday last weekend. As Heather loves colour and abstract art, I used a design by Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979), who was a Ukrainian-born French artist, who founded Simultanism, a branch of Orphism, with her husband Robert Delaunay. She painted abstract pictures with colour rhythms, as well as designing textiles, fashion garments and stage sets. She was a thoroughly modern, independent, highly creative and versatile woman, who was a friend of Kandinsky and Chagall, so she is a perfect match for my friend! For more information about this fascinating artist, see : http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/mar/27/sonia-delaunay-avant-garde-queen-art-fashion-vibrant-tate-modern and http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/apr/13/sonia-delaunay-tate-modern-london-review

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Based on Rhythm Colour No. 1076, painted by Sonia Delaunay in 1939

It was an interesting and challenging design, involving many small pieces of felt and lots of decision-making about thread colour and embroidery stitch type, so as not to detract from the original design.BlogMarchGarden20%Reszd2016-02-23 13.15.40 I have also started some embroidered calico patches depicting Australian animals, which I will later attach to a cushion cover. I will show you some photos next month, when I have done a few more! It’s time-consuming, but fun! Luckily, the Easter break is coming up!!! Happy Easter!!!

The February Garden

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

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The February Garden 2016
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Harvest time!

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

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Looking back from the garden to the street

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

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

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

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

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

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Devastation!
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Hidden treasure!

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

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

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

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A proud father!

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

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

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Beef Stroganoff with our own broccoli and delicious Dutch Cream potatoes

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

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An interesting character!

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

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