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!

Blue Beans

There aren’t too many blue shades in nature. I remember my grandfather, many years ago, getting very excited telling me he was growing a new rose called “Blue Moon”. But really it was a lavender colour – not blue at all.

Sure, there are bluish pansies and violas, however, they also have a purplish tinge. I have lots of blue pots but otherwise no blue plants. So you can imagine my surprise when I opened a packet of seeds this afternoon….

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Well! The pack read Roma Beans from a reputable mail order company. They were duck-egg blue, they even looked like tiny duck eggs! When I read further, I discovered they were treated with a fungicide. Well! Do I want to plant blue beans? Do I want to eat the next generation of blue beans? Mmmmm…..

My little garden patch is struggling after the cold winter.

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A little garlic, some spindly spinach, regularly nibbled on by Mr Kangaroo, who, by the way is still around. Some sorrel and a bowl of lettuce.

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And today we had shots of brilliant sunshine – I had to plant.

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I’ll keep you posted.

Spring Chicken

I’m not sure why this blog has been silent for six weeks, but I do know that in the blogging world, that’s too long. Maybe it’s been the short winter days, some busy weekends or maybe I’ve been chicken or just plain lazy but I’m back to chronicle our garden’s ever changing moods, here on the Mount. I’ll begin by reintroducing you to our chickens – our particular Plymouth Rocks – Long John Silver, his four girls and their Isa Brown and Australorp friends.

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IMG_4069.JPG At this time of year, our friends, the chickens, can scratch around their favourite camellias and hide amongst the hellebores.

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IMG_4067.JPG There’s more to come as we are invited to step into each garden “room” to experience the colours of Spring.

IMG_2735.JPG I won’t be chicken and you’ll see me out in the garden more often.

Winter Wonders #2

It always amazes and delights me to see so many plants beginning to emerge and flower in the midst of winter.

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Tunnelling tulips

The days here on the Mount are cold and yesterday was particularly foggy until lunch time. Today we had some bursts of sunshine enabling us to wander down and discover some new winter wonders.

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hellebores

Ten winters ago I was tending a tropical garden. Although I loved the bougainvilleas and the bromeliads, winter was a time to grow vegetables and trim the palms. Now there are so many tasks in winter – pruning, planting, planning for the changes and simply assisting plants to survive. However, these specimens need no assistance at all.
Colourful camellias

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Just plant and stand back – they will surprise you every day! How’s your garden surviving in the winter or, for my northern hemisphere friends – this summer?

Christmas in July

The annual Christmas in July expedition to country Victoria with the family’s Buick Car Club. A suitably cold day needing long coats and hats.

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A lovely, hot Christmas lunch and lots of classic cars.

Our own white 1982 model went out for a spin. It was a good experience chatting and lunching with familiar people and meeting new ones who shared stories and connections.

Christmas in July – it can only happen here in Oz but we like the opportunity to socially and "automotively" show off!

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New hatchlings!

My sister-in-law’s fantastic brown chook has done it again. This time she has managed to hatch one of our Plymouth Rock eggs.

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The chick with the white stripe on its head we expect is a Plymouth Rock from daddy Long John Silver and one of his girls.

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Mum and dad doing just fine!

Tea for two or three?

We have spent much time in our autumnal garden this Easter break. While last year I tried my hand at baking hot cross buns, this year I was not so adventurous.

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And I was quite pleased at the result….

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I had great intentions of baking a special Easter cake – a simnel cake perhaps, but all I could muster was a healthy muesli slice. Taking it into the garden for afternoon tea, I turned away for one second under the arbor to find one piece missing.

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You guessed it, stolen by a cheeky chicken.

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Others joined in quickly, including naughty Long John Silver, the rooster.

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Must have been tasty – even Whitey cat wanted some 🙂

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I hope you had a Happy Easter holiday.