Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday again

The first of the quilts is finished!

When I first concocted the idea of making this pair of matching quilts, I thought to myself 'I'll make a pair of matching quilts, nothing complicated, just something quick'.  What is that sound I can hear?  Why, it's the sound of quilters the world over, laughing like drains.  The moment you think they're going to be uncomplicated and quick, they turn into the absolute opposite.  And I'm going to get in first and admit that I have been less than careful and accurate and that I have committed great quilting transgressions with this first one - including trying to quilt it with the backing fabric only minutely larger than the quilt top, and ending up with one corner where the backing didn't reach the edge of the border and was therefore fudged with an extra bit of backing.  Dreadful!

We have a new resident at the Kurrajong garden!

His name is Merlin - now Merlin the Great or Merlin McTavish or Merlin McDougall.  He is 9 years old and a purebred Cairn Terrier.  He was rescued from the pound 2 years ago and rehomed with a lady who neglected him badly - despite being a house dog, he's been locked outside for the last 2 years and when she surrendered him back to the rescue organisation, he was matted and flea ridden and with 'dry eye' which hadn't been treated for 2 years.  So he's been in a foster house for the last month, learning how to live inside again.  We saw him on the rescue website on Friday evening, rang them up and he was ours by lunchtime Saturday.

He is an absolute sweetheart, calm as can be, doesn't bark, LOVES his food and is getting on nicely with our Daisy and Ewan McGregor.

Welcome to our garden, Merlin!  We love you already.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What's in the garden today

Well, not me unfortunately.

No, not quite true - I did spend a couple of hours this morning spraying toxic poison on the weeds!  Sometimes, pulling them out just doesn't work.  And obviously bad things happen in our shed because the spray bottle that I use wouldn't work either.  It was working fine when I put it away last time, now it won't hold the pressure when you pump the thingy on the top.  So I had to spray and pump at the same time.

Aumann clematis on the archway.  Nice.

Jean Galbraith, complete with dead heads and black spot.  Hmmm.

ENORMOUS caterpillars on the gardenia.  They've nearly eaten every leaf.  Crikey!

I used to think this was Angel Face.  Now I'm wondering if it is Blueberry Hill.  Lovely.

Abraham Darby.  How many petals!  More than lovely.

The rest of the day, I have spent inside.  First I shampooed two stinky doggies and then I've continued quilting the first of the quilts.  It is taking me forever.  Sigh.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Red Cow Farm

Yesterday was a good day for a Sunday drive, being Sunday, and I can think of no better place to drive to than to a garden!  And one I have not visited and always wanted to see is Red Cow Farm at Sutton Forest in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

So after a two hour drive, with a minor detour via McDonalds, we arrived at the front gate of the sweet little historic cottage, surrounded by 6 acres of garden.  And Mike and I spent the next hour and a half wandering up and down and round and round, totally entranced by the sheer quantity and variety of plants and the vision gone into the planning.  Well, I was entranced, Mike was more enjoying our walking companions, a pair of Border Collies who led us dutifully up each pathway, waiting not so patiently for us when we paused to look at things.

This is the Curved Pergola.  And I want one.

Here is Apollo Walk, looking from the Curved Pergola.

Through a doorway from the Walk, was the Abbess's Garden.  Look at the clipped box hedges!

Another look at the Abbess's Garden.  The nepeta was covered in bees.  I had some growing in my previous garden, but haven't planted any here, I love it's soft, billowy growth out over the path.

There is a huge lake in the middle of the garden, with grassy walks like this through the trees towards it.  You can see our garden guides up ahead!

Here's the lake, with one of our guides emerging from a quick dip!  I snapped the photo and then scampered to avoid the inevitable dog-shake shower.

After the more informal sections of the garden around the lake, we came to the Monastery Garden.  More clipped box edges and lovely cottage-y plantings.

We then back-tracked back around the lake again and walked up towards the house through the Beech Walk.  It made me giggle at my feeble attempts at clipping hedges.

On the southern side of the cottage is the walled garden.  More nepeta and roses and aquilegias.  And Mike disappearing up the path, pretending he can't hear me saying I want one of these too!

The walled garden again.

The cottage was purchased in 1990, sitting in essentially a bare paddock.  After a two year period of house renovation, the garden was started in 1992.  I'm in awe of the guys who made the garden and their vision in it's design.  I've wanted to visit this garden since reading Susan Irvine's chapter about it in 'Rose Gardens of Australia'.  It was certainly full of lovely gardening inspiration.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


On Tuesday, I weeded and mulched the garden around the concrete tub pond.  Great dereliction of duty has occurred with regard to the pond - I gazed into the murky depths as I weeded and counted two million mosquito larvae swimming around.

So yesterday, I went to the local pet and aquarium shop and bought four plump comets, two gold and two black.  I didn't think at the time that, having painted black waterproofing goo on the inside of the pond, black fish would be hard to see, I just realised that when I tipped them out of the plastic bag and the black ones disappeared!  Completely!

The water iris has been out of the pond and when I put it back in yesterday, the water immediately went a bad brown colour.  However, the fish are certainly doing a great job - the mosquito larvae have completely disappeared (along with the black fish).  How do I know this?  Because it is only the middle of the day and I have already been out there three times, sitting on the end of the verandah, watching the fish!  Surely something so enjoyably mesmerizing can't be called a waste of time.  I took out the camera in the vain hope of catching them - no, nothing, can't see them, no, wait, yes! definitely a quick flash of gold in the corner!

Leander on the verandah has streaked for the sky!  And had a second flush of blooms as well!  Must have heard me grumbling about the lack of flowers.

Look at that stormy sky!

I wish you could smell this rose!  It is the most luscious, intoxicating perfume, not complex like some of the David Austins, but just old-fashioned rose perfume, like you remember your grandma wearing.

Echinacea in the birdbath garden, with DA Graham Thomas behind going crazy and completely blocking the garden path!

DA Summer Song, with DA Crown Princess Margareta behind on the fence.

Friday, March 5, 2010

More Rain!

Rain clouds on the mountain looking towards Bilpin

I have planted the rest of my Angel Face roses.  Five went in last week on the western side of the driveway to replace the recently departed plumbago.  The other five I took walking yesterday along the front garden and anywhere I found a spot near things I thought would be complimentary to their pinky-mauveness, I popped a pot down and got digging.

One went near the white spirea that will replace the dreaded yellow broom, which was condemned to death months ago, even to the point of the spirea being planted right next door, but which hasn't been cut down as I've been waiting patiently till autumn when it's shade won't be required any more for the voilets growing underneath.  Did that make sense?  What I mean to say is that I have delayed the chopping down whilst it was summer because I needed the shade the broom created.  That's nearly as confused as the first time.  Anyway, one Angel Face went in between the white spirea and a buddleja alternifolia which I bought online last year.  It hasn't flowered here yet, here's one I had in my last garden.

I love this shrub, particularly the way the flowers bloom kind of spiraling around the stems.

Another one went in front of Brother Cadfael.

Here he is on a previous sunny day.  The dear Brother has grown up very tall and hopefully Angel Face will hide his long straight legs!

The other three I put in a sort of triangle between another heliotrope 'Lord Roberts', DA St Cecilia, and this rose which grows behind the lavender hedge.

I bought this rose at a reputable rose nursery - as DA Abraham Darby!  When it got it's first bloom, I stood there and scratched my head for quite a while, the second bloom I took back to the nursery and said to the lady "it's still got it's Abraham Darby label attached" to which she replied "well, take it off because it's not!!"

So this pretty rose is now know as 'Not Abraham Darby'!

But with a forecast of increasing rain over the weekend, this might be all the gardening that gets done this week.  In the meantime, I have progressed with the cross-stitch -

and as well have put the last round of blocks on the first of the pair of lap quilts!

Just got to make another 45 of the edge blocks and the second one will be done as well.  I have achieved everything but great gardening this week!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Ahh!  The bliss of knowing summer's over.  Not to say we won't get more hot weather, but at least there's light at the end of the heat tunnel.

Even the sound of the word makes me feel happy.  And putting a blanket on the bed last night and snuggling in under it was so good.  Putting a woolly jumper on this morning was bliss.  Although I do think I'm probably dressed warmer today than most people on account of how I feel.

The doctor tells me I have a kidney infection.  Which is quite a relief to me, as I was fairly convinced that I was dying from bubonic plague.  It's been a very long time since I have felt quite so second hand.  Consequently, no gardening is being done, I have cross-stitched some more, Poppy and I have chatted about the price of fish and other current affairs and we have practiced our evil laughs together.

A persimmon growing on the persimmon tree.  Last year, it was loaded and the flying foxes ate every single one before they ripened.  This year, I will pick them and ripen them inside the house.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Meet Poppy!

My daughter and her husband have gone up the coast for a week, to celebrate their first wedding anniversary.  Where has the time gone?

And I am babysitting Poppy, their Indian Ringneck Parrot.  It's been raining most of the day today and I'm not feeling terrific, so I've spent most of the day sitting at the table, cross-stitching.  And I've been asked about 10,000 times "whatcha doin?"

She also has the phone ring sound down to perfection, even the interval between the tones.  She does a perfect incoming SMS tone, and a variety of other sounds and sayings, including "Gimme a kiss!" and giggle, giggle, giggle "Oh, that tickles!" which is a copy of an Elmo doll sound.

She's been lovely company on this very non-gardening day.