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 Lilac Tree

In deepest darkest winter I often look out of our back windows and try to remember the lilac tree in spring. Now that it is in full bloom, it is most certainly a place of great serenity. A garden, even though it is hard work, is a place to find that peace and tranquility which is often lacking in our busy lives. As school teachers, we find the garden conducive to thoughts and ideas as well as a place of welcoming for our neighbours.

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20121112-211447.jpg The back deck overlooks this great tree.

20121112-211839.jpg We had the great privilege of meeting the woman who planted this stunning specimen. Susan was a nurse with four little children and doing it on her own without any formal horticultural experience. It was her elaborate combination of colours, scents and shapes which we tend. We are then custodians of her vision and her carefully orchestrated plan to create a place of calm.

20121112-212458.jpg I truly believe that we must devote time to nature, admiring each and every change in the garden.

20121112-212833.jpg This afternoon I spent time admiring the lilac tree from beneath its arching branches. It gave me a different perspective from each angle; it engaged all senses – it’s wonderful colour, its delightful distinctive perfume, even the currawong flew in to sing its distinctive song among its flowers!

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20121112-214035.jpg I hope you can find your own place to contemplate, even for a short time, leaving the hectic pace and place, for a moment in a garden, whether it be your own or a communal one. I leave you with today’s warming back deck sunset!

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Maxi Wombat and Sargie Cat

The mountainside and the bush always seem to reveal a surprise. Recently while exploring the bottom section of our block we came across a huge, dug out hole.

20121022-220048.jpg This brings me to the second reason why we live here on the side of the mountain – the wildlife. Yes, if you haven’t guessed it this is a wombat hole. His home or burrow. Wombat holes can up to 3 metres deep and run along for up to 100 metres! They are nocturnal animals so a photo is difficult to come by (but we are trying). Our very brave cat, Sarge, who often accompanies me when I am gardening or clearing up, decided to explore this new discovery.

20121022-220544.jpgHere he is deciding – should I go in or not?

20121022-220747.jpg Yep, just coming out – not much happening down there. Better get out fast just in case!

20121022-220908.jpg We have seen and Wombat wandering around the streets at night and have dubbed him Maxi because of his stumpy, chubby size. Recently I commented on four reasons why we live here, the fauna comes next after the flora. Apart from wombats and the odd echidna digging up my stone walled pathways, cockatoos often come to perch on our deck. These two sulphur crested ones shared a cuddle!

20121022-221357.jpg king parrots are also frequent visitors. Maybe I’ll be lucky soon and snap Maxi for you!

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