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Archive for September, 2015

Seed pearls front cover

‘Seed Pearls’ presents my collection of short Japanese verse forms. Within this little book are examples of the three line haiku, (the experience of nature or the seasons), the three line senryu, (human foibles spiced with humour) and the five line tanka, (dating back 1200 years, its content is passionate and descriptive, the perfect vehicle for expressions of love and loss).

Many themes are explored in this chap book and the messages can be deeply felt when reflected upon—a mindful meditation of sorts.

‘Seed Pearls’ can be purchased through Amazon and retails for $0.99 USD and in Australia from Amazon.com.au. Go to the Kindle store then type in, Seed Pearls. The book retails for $1.43 AUD.

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Stanthorpe poppies

In nature, annuals appear in open spaces as they grow, bloom and set seed within one short season. Annuals give gardeners great flexibility, particularly when gaps appear after spring flowering plants all finish their show and have been cut back. Many annuals come into season in late spring or late summer, to fill these spaces with a vibrant display of colour. As one example – Flander’s poppies provide a touch of brilliant scarlet to energize a tired garden. The poppy range also includes colours of pink, yellow, salmon and white.

For an aesthetic garden design, different shapes and styles of annuals include: fluffs, spikes, discs, and climbers. One example of a fluff is Queen Anne’s Lace, with its wde heads of delicate white flowers. These beauties can quickly fill a space and are easy to cultivate.

Queene Anne's Lace 2

Spikes include snapdragons and larkspurs that display tall spires of double flowers, together with the elegantly vertical hollyhock, so much loved by our grandmothers.

Tasmanian hollyhocksFor disks, think of sunflowers, that thrive in summer’s heat, together with multi-coloured field flowers and daisies.

Straw daisies, Hobart

Climbers like sweet peas only require a little support to help them reach for the sky, while nasturtiums gain the top then cascade down in a symphony of yellow, orange and red.

Nasturtiums jpg

Despite their many useful qualities, annuals have been overlooked by gardeners today, who often favour the formal garden bed. Yes, annuals are large and bright, but they bridge the gap into autumn beautifully. And who knows – in time annuals may even become fashionable once again.

Tasmanian snap dragons

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About Spring

Cottage garden


“I must have flowers,
always, always and always”.

Claude Monet

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Illawarra flame tree full shot

As we move into September, my anticipation begins to grow at the thought of the flame tree’s arrival. It won’t be long before our magnificent Illawarra Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerfolius) drops its leaves then comes into flower. What a scene it displays—covered with a mass of rich scarlet bells. So intense is its colour that the tree appears to be on fire. As the flowers and fruit fall, its leathery green leaves—resembling the five lobed maple leaf—regrow to cover the tree again.

Flame teree wikimedia commons

Is there a downside to all this splendor? Unfortunately these unique trees—native to Australia—produce invasive root systems. In addition they scatter their litter of leaves, buds, flowers, and dry seed pods to create a thick blanket beneath them. Yet this inconvenience is a small price to pay for the joy of seeing the flame tree appear again in all its radiance.

Illawarra Flame Tree

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Rose flower,Carrington Hotel

“And the day came
when the risk it took
to remain tight inside a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took
to blossom.”

Anais Nin

(I incorrectly appropriated this quotation to Anais Nin. My thanks to Steve Schwartzman for bringing it to my attention. This Risk poem has been written by Elizabeth Appell.)

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