That’s life

More often than not, an opportunity to be in the garden offers a time for reflection. I reflect on recent changes, our return from Prague and family. I used to say that all problems are solved in the garden. For me, this is still true, especially when experiencing loss. It is during these times of complicated thoughts, that the garden offers solace and peace.  Over the twelve years on the Mount, one companion has helped me dig, watched me weed, walked the paths with me and called out when it was time to go in. So when his time came a week today, it was very sad. Sarge, our fourteen year old cat, was a quirky character and a very personable cat. He was brave and fearless in his territorial duties – even venturing down a wombat hole.

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He now rests in the garden he loved.

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I guess that’s part of life. Nature overcomes all. For now, I continue to think of how fortunate it is to have a garden like this and animals to give it joy.

   
While I repot and re-plan, I reflect on the myriad  of relationships we share with others and with Nature itself. Let us use our gardens to reflect on that which is lacking in our world today – peace. I wish you this in your garden today. 

Capture

After months of sunless days, today we captured the sun. 

  These tiny seasonal delights appeared and were caught – tangible sunshine.

  Though the light fades and returns, the start of Spring is near. 
  White cat captures the moment.
  And these cold-flowering rhododendrons are awash with crimson flowers and afternoon sun.
  The mountain light subdues another remarkable day. We are captured by its  

  

 beauty and tranquility.
  

 Capture each day – for it is wondrous. Enjoy your own special season – have a good weekend. 

Mid-winter garden

It’s time I went back into the garden. Our rambling garden is never too far from my thoughts even when I am away. However, despite its low light and chill, winter is a special season here. It was during this time we found this garden – glistening in the late afternoon, beckoning me. That was twelve years ago, in July.

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During winter our mountain garden seems so still and silent. It sleeps, quietly now, nurturing its progeny. As the temperature drops and with the June winds abated, each garden bed is preparing to reveal its private secret.

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The mid-winter garden is always remarkable – it is a profusion of colours. Tall, pale pink and scarlet camellias arching their flowers to the sun. Short squat ones caressing the ground. Oversized faces turning to catch the light. The slow emergence of bulbs – tulips, narcissus, daffodils and the garlic. Nodding hellebores are now making themselves known, their burnt summer leaves gone, replaced now by new, vivid, green serrations.

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As the temperature drops, I can rely on three certainties in the garden: an abundance of colour, a stillness and peacefulness and, my favourite, winter rosella adorning the leaf-less trees. Mid-winter wonders, indeed.

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As the temperature drops, I can rely on three certainties in the garden: an abundance of colour, a stillness and peacefulness and, my favourite, winter rosellas adorning the leaf-less trees. Mid-winter wonders, indeed.

The Caves

We have left our garden, cats and chickens for a short time to travel to Western Australia. This much awaited second trip will take us form Perth to Albany, about a six hour drive, south, staying in various locations in between. Currently, we have nestled into a beautiful bush setting overlooking Bunker Bay near Cape Naturaliste.

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After a track walk to the lighthouse with spectacular views and a fright – a little brown snake crossing our path – recovery, we reached the lighthouse with a further surprise – whales in the distance.

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Our surprises for the day, however, were only to increase.

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Who would have thought a spectacular ancient cave was just down these inconspicuous steps?
As a child I visited some caves in New Zealand but nothing like this one. Ngilgi Cave (pronounced “Nilgi) a show cave which opens up for kilometres! In a classic tale of good and evil, the aboriginal dreamtime spirit of Ngilgi now resides in the caves.

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I can tell you that it was a privilege and a rare experience to spend an hour down in these caves. The air was heavy with humidity but the main chamber was a colossal experience with stalactites from the ceiling and stalagmites as well as straws and shawls – highly recommended.

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If you ever get the opportunity to visit a limestone cave don’t pass it up.

Peppermint Gum

To my non-Aussie readers you may presume this post will tout the benefits of masticating a certain confectionery. No. Or indeed if you are crafty you may presume a perfumed, gluey substance suitable for many projects.

To my Aussie readers you will immediately visualise that tall eucalyptus specimen which abounds throughout our wide, brown land. The eucalyptus is a beautiful tree, habitat to our koala and available in many varieties: blue gum (eucalyptus globulus); yellow gum (leucoxylon); some are lemon scented and others have fascinating trunks – my favourite, the scribble gum (haemastoma) much admired on our trips to Fraser Island, off the Queensland Coast, its bark looks like a child has taken a crayon and scribbled across it.

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(meanjin.com.au)

Despite its importance to the landscape, this particular specimen, the peppermint gum has caused us many sleepless nights.

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As you can see it has a double trunk and is positioned three metre behind our bedroom! So with much deliberation and a thick cheque book, it had to go. We didn’t want to have to call the SES one stormy night. Remember what happened to our neighbour’s tree recently….

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Fortunately we have a fantastic arborist who, with his team, climb up and safely bring the tree down. Guess Mr Peppermint will have a second life as firewood!

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Let the stacking begin! Just in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t smell of peppermint at all!

Mountain Perils

Living on the Mount can be serene and immensely beautiful, however, it can also be very perilous. A silent kangaroo – camouflaged; a wombat hole, deep enough to fall in to and….

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this sight which greeted us a few doors down the dirt road….

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A shallow root system and high winds toppled this tree onto its owner’s driveway missing their “For Sale” sign and water tank! Take care this winter, everyone on the Mount!

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Happy Valentine’s Day from a secret friend

We have a tall, dark, 6 foot stranger living in our garden. We thought we heard him a few weeks ago. We thought we saw him a few days ago. Then today, here he was staring straight at us. He kept looking at us as we stood in shock. He had never been so close before. We were a little frightened at his stillness. He was hungry and thirsty; he was big and strong. He looked straight at us today, on Valentine’s day. He even left a few deposits!

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Due to the recent bush fires in our area, kangaroos are coming closer and closer to houses seeking a little fresh grass. Colin came out to look; Whitey cat was too use smelling the flowers to notice.

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See you later big guy, but please don’t surprise me behind the camelias!

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