Monday, 31 October 2016

A Queen's Lace

Clustered together, on the exquisite umbels of Queen Anne's Lace, are hundreds of tiny white flowers. What a collective impression they make! Each large and full flowerhead is reminiscent of frilly white lace. According to legend,  delicate white lace tatted by Queen Anne of England became the flowers of this beautiful plant. A very regal beginning!

Oh, so fine! The delicate, frilly flowerheads of Queen Anne's Lace.

One of the things I love about this old-world plant is the way in which the flowers bloom. At first, each umbel is closed up while tiny buds form. Then, each umbel's "spokes" gradually open out until the flowers are in full bloom, covered in a mass of white "lace". After the flowers are spent, the "spokes" of each umbel become dry and brown and close in on themselves again. So much like opening and closing umbrellas!

The beautiful umbels of Queen Anne's Lace.

Queen Anne's Lace is known by another name too, Wild Carrot (Daucus Carota). As a member of the carrot family, its young roots are edible though I have never tried them (and one has to be careful as I've read that certain relatives of Queen Anne's Lace are poisonous) as I grow it just for its beautiful blooms and the beneficial insects it invites into the garden. 

I planted just two little seedlings of Queen Anne's Lace in my garden a couple of years ago. Now, thanks to the ease with which the seeds disperse on the wind from those dry, closed-up umbels, I have dozens of plants and many white, lacy flowers to enjoy each Spring. 

Do you grow Queen Anne's Lace too?



Friday, 21 October 2016

Hooray for Hippies!

A row of beautiful, bold and bright red buds have burst into bloom in our garden. They are simply stunning!

 A red row in the morning sunlight.

 A cluster of buds.

 Hippeastrum blooms up close.

Similar to those in Selina's garden, but with streaks of white upon their deep red petals, they are the flowers of the gorgeous Hippeastrum lily (or Hippies, for short). The bulbs which give rise to these amazing flowers were given to me by my sweet mother-in-law, coming from her garden to mine. What a gift! 

I planted my row of bulbs just out from the verandah above, in a position where they receive full morning sunlight and afternoon shade. The soil they are planted in is deep but not overly rich. They don't get a lot of water there, just whatever they soak up from the rain and the odd watering when I'm refilling the birdbath.

Hippies only flower for a few short weeks, but the opening of their striking red blooms is much anticipated every year. Hooray for Hippies!


p.s. If you'd like to see some of the different Hippeastrum blooms or grow some Hippies in your garden, this link has some helpful information. 


Monday, 17 October 2016

Down to the River

A tradition is emerging. Slow, Sunday Spring mornings down by the river. 

The view up river. 

 The view down river. 

These river mornings begin with a very short journey in our old ute. Sir Steve dog, his enthusiasm knowing no bounds, barks "happy woofs" the whole way there as if to announce to everyone in our neighbourhood (and beyond) that he's going somewhere.

A walk!

A swing!

A turtle!

That somewhere is a local river, wide and deep. A gravelly walking track to follow, birds and fish and turtles to spot as one walks along. Swings to dangle from and rocks to hop across. And, most important of all, sticks to fetch over and over again!

Sir Steve dog playing fetch.

This favourite game, repeated over and over again, fills both stick-thrower and retriever with delight. It ends only when Sir Steve dog, drenched and having drenched everyone else with his wagging "sprinkler tail" and whole body shake, carries his stick beyond the river bank and returns, not to the river but to the ute, for the drive home.

These warm Sunday mornings, spent by the river, bring our boy and his very best friend to explore and to play together. I'm sure we'll make the short trip to the river often this Spring...and in many of the Springtimes to come.


Monday, 10 October 2016

Here & Now 6

The day dawned, golden and quiet. As the sun rose, so did I. And, as I do on many a quiet morning, I made my way down to the garden while others slept. I spent the early morning hours visiting the flowers, watering the veggies, pulling a few weeds and waiting for our bees to deem it warm enough to leave their hives. Mornings that begin like these always leave me grateful for the here and the now that is mine.

This morning's warm and glowing sunrise.

 A little posy of 'morning flowers' from my garden.

  Fresh food ...picked this morning.
Loving // The warm colours of a sunrise that sets the sky aglow.
Eating // Homemade vanilla ice-cream with flecks of chocolate and honeycomb. Mmm...
Drinking // In the warmth, colours and scents of Spring.
Feeling // Soil under my fingernails and on the soles of my feet.
Making //  As many mulberry and apple pies as I possibly can!
Thinking // There is nothing so happy as a dog with a stick to fetch:)
Dreaming // Of river swims.

For more Here and Now, you can visit Sarah over at Say, Little Hen. The trail of links others leave will surely lead you to little snippets of their own happiness.



Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Gorgeous Groundcovers

These sweet, cheerful groundcovers intermingle happily as they spread out over one of our largest garden beds. Hundreds of their blooms offer up their 'daisy faces' to the sun, to the honeybees that visit them often and to me, as I walk by.

The lovely Lilac Hawkesbury River Daisy (a native groundcover).

"Blue-eyes" with silvery foliage and beautiful blue blooms.
The sweet and simple flowers of Seaside Daisy.

Each individual flower is simple and beautiful but, when planted in drifts or so they spread over a larger expanse, the impact of those single blooms is multiplied many, many times over. They are my own little field of flowers in my suburban garden bed.

Over time, these groundcovers have grown and spread out to create a carpet of pretty little flowers. They have covered and shaded the soil, kept weeds at bay, softened the edges of our concrete driveway, fed the bees and found themselves in many a homegrown posy or daisy chain crown. They are a true delight!


p.s.  Here is a website list of ten Australian native groundcovers. Perhaps you might have room for one or two to run riot in your garden!