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. 

Spring or Autumn?

It’s a beautiful day on the Mount. The season is turning and we are approaching the delight which is autumn up here. However, I have this potted plant which I haven’t been able to identify. I have scoured the Plant Encyclopaedia, maybe just looking in the wrong place. It seems like a spring plant not an autumnal one.

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It can’t be a crocus as it doesn’t die back. I thought it was an orchid when I bought it pot-bound at a garage sale in early summer. I repotted it and forgot about it. Now it has this lovely creamy white flower.

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Maybe my little white cat knows what it is!

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Any suggestions welcome.

Go to the back of the block, sit down and stop

As any one with a large (or even not so large) garden knows, there are always jobs to do: extensive seasonal tasks like pruning and planting as well as weekend jobs such as raking and weeding. With so many tasks we are often left with little time and energy to simply sit and contemplate our efforts let alone the stillness and solace a garden can bring. So today, after we finished the mowing (well, Colin actually did that), the raking and the wheelbarrowing I have decided to spend some time at the back of the block, simply sitting and contemplating.

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Though quite rugged and unruly, the back of our block extends to the next street via a series of steps. Flanked by rhododendrons, emerging, acanthus it winds its way down and up the hillside.

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It can be a wild old place, this bush land but the newly mowed pathways help.

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These little moments of quiet in our frantic world seem few and far between. The habits of keeping busy, keeping time and keeping track suffuse those little moments when we allow ourselves to stop, sit and listen to the rustling of the leaves in the breeze, chirping of the birds and the buzz of the insects. That’s what I’m doing now sitting on these old chairs. Join me for the outlook.

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Here on the Mount it can be up to seven degrees cooler than in the city. The cool weather and the altitude can also impede our time outside. In my first few years here I used to garden in mid July wearing two pairs of gloves and two pairs of socks – on my feet, that is! By the time Spring came along I could sit back and enjoy my hard work. Some of those rewards are still evident in this cold climate garden.

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The first iris of the season

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The clematis searching for sun
Sitting here in the sun, I am reminded that the garden offers us such peace if we allow it to show us how to slow down and discover what it wants to tell us. How does the garden speak to you?

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Share your gardening comments with me, I’d like to read your thoughts and suggestions for utilising both tasks and down time in the garden.

Garden Gratitude Theme: Pink

No, not the popular female singer but the crimson colours of the camelias! On this unusually sunny morning and the walkways strewn with pink petals, it never ceases to amaze me how these trees push forth their abundance.

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In our decade here on the Mount, we have experienced drought conditions, heat waves, strong, hot northern winds and torrential rains. As a consequence, we have lost our fair share of important trees – a weeping cherry, the year we went to Italy; an established magnolia, the year of the drought and along with it, a magnificent pale pink rhododendron, odorata. With these significant losses we have tried to keep our mainstay trees alive during summer. Perhaps our lovely neighbours’ example of abundant watering makes sense! Our rewards are many.

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If you look carefully you can make out our rooster’s tail feathers in the background!

My gratitude really must go to the previous own of this property. She was a remarkable woman. Raising her four children alone and working as a nurse by night, she had a grand vision of the colours in a garden. Painstakingly planting camelias, rhododendrons, azaleas, lilacs and magnolias she created an English garden beneath a canopy of gum trees. In this season, however, it is the camelia which takes pride of place.

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Some of them only briefly make their appearance.

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Others linger to create carpets of petals.

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At least one of our weeping cherries survived!

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With this vision of abundance we marvel at nature itself: its glory, its veritable magnificence which reaffirms our own existence.

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Are you “pinked” out yet?

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The English poets knew their landscapes. William Wordsworth wrote of paths and country meanderings. John Milton wrote about “those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world”. For me these are all found in a garden.

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One last flourish before I go (pardon the pun) – happy gardening, contemplating and appreciating!

Garden Gratitude Theme: Yellow

This week end, while I endeavoured to complete my weekly rituals of checking the chicken house, scrubbing their water trough, replenishing the water and reorganising the straw, I sat for a moment to give a little thanks. I say ritual because these repeated acts, like a garden itself, gives me a sense of order and gratitude. Once completed, I can move on to the other areas of my day in need of attention.

This week end, though, I stopped for a lengthier time to notice how many colour combinations had appeared in the garden. There were too many to commit to one post, so I am compiling them into themes. Today’s snapshot theme is yellow – all that is pale, primrose, amber, golden or creamy has a special place in this post. So, let the show begin….

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The obligatory golden daffodils…

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Creamy Camelias

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A blazing bush….

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The first tulip to bloom – you guessed it – it’s canary yellow!

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Add a touch of “jonquil” to the mix

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And an emerging magnolia

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Let’s finish off with a compilation

With all its simplicity in a complicated world, let us give thanks for gardens in all seasons – they are the rituals that soothe our souls.

How does your garden grow – is it a metaphor for how you live?

What a winter, but what a wonder…

Ten years on the Mount and what a winter we’ve had. Last weekend we tried to burn our ever increasing pile of winter debris, to no avail. Instead we set about trimming the abundant camellias – one of which shot over the roof of the house! I salvaged its ruby blooms.

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What good is the warmth of summer without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. (John Steinbeck)

It’s been a winter of mists, fogs and log fires. Nothing new here really, but this year every weekend brought with it the wonder of winter! In early August, I raced up to the Mount when I heard there was “snow on them there hills”! I have done this a handful of times over the years, much to the bemusement of friends and family. The last time we had snow on the back deck was August, 2008 but each year, the Mount, at elevation 1013m, is dusted with the soft, white ice. We are 750 metres, so often we just get sleet.

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One weekend we ventured to our favourite country town, only to be confronted with thick lunchtime fog!

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Daylesford on a not so clear day…

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Brrrrrrr, I can hear you exclaim! Yes indeed, it is quite chilly.

Top five mountain garden tips for winter
1. Weed, weed and then weed again
2. Rake those leaves and clear those paths
3. Watch the bulbs emerge
4. Visit the camellias or pay homage to any floral friend – they love to be admired!
5. Smell the clean, intoxicating air
But there’s one more
Head for that log fire at the end of the day!

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Emerging camellias

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The beauty of winter can be seen in every turn. The sparsity of foliage is countered by the abundance of those beacons of colour; those buds and blooms that wink at us around each corner of the garden. We can only be in awe.
Thy knowest, winter tames, man, woman and beast. William Shakespeare’s, The Taming of the Shrew.

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As we prepare for a few more chilly days, wear our coats, scarves and gloves, may the wonder of winter be kind to us!

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Today’s view from the back yard deck. How is your winter (or summer) experience?

ANZAC Day Tribute

At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them

The 98th remembrance of the first diggers of WWI.
Just a couple of kilometres from our home stands a giant, white Memorial Cross. Each ANZAC Day it is the centre point for one of the many remembrance ceremonies to make this important day in our national psyche.

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The many wreaths, some with native banksias and waratahs, line the base of the memorial.

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The 21 metre (69ft) high Cross was originally built by resident William Cameron in memorial for his son and for all those who died in WWI.
It is not a day to glorify war but one to remember the sacrifices of all those who gave their lives, not only in the First World War but all major wars since. Their families, relatives and friends now march in tribute to them and to our collective affinity…. Lest We Forget

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