Monday, 30 April 2012

AUTUMN in the Southern Highlands

Beautifully dressed in Autumn colours - the Potting Shed at Two Gates Farm

I really love Autumn and always look forward to the soft, glowing days, crisp cool nights and pretty leaf colours flurrying past and lying scattered on the green lawns.  But this year at South Acres, Autumn has rather been missing in action, the result of all the rain we've had of late.  Happily, however, when visiting a couple of gardens over the weekend, in Mittagong - a half-hour's drive from here,  I was lucky enough to take some photos of lovely Autumn colour.
The Highlands has a reputation of showing off beautifully in the Autumn.  There are many European trees planted throughout the Highlands in and around the towns of  Mittagong, Bowral, Berrima, Robertson, Burrawang  and Moss Vale.  

The golden Sycamore tree at South Acres
The Pin Oaks in the drive-way at South Acres

Entry to South Acres and Penny and Bunny in the foreground !

Lovely gateway just outside the village of Burrawang

This beautiful Nyssa next to the dam  at "Wandella" near Mittagong

These beautiful trees at Coombe Wood near Mittagong

The Golden Tulip tree at Coombe Wood

The dam at Coombe Wood

Coombe Wood again

Autumn leaves on the reflection pond at Two Gates Farm, East Kangaloon

Crisp clean lines of the Box hedges, softened by the russet tones of the Virginia climber at Two Gates Farm
Have a look at my new Blog -Homestead Interiors

Sunday, 29 April 2012

'THE GROUNDS'  What SYDNEY does best!
Brilliant Brunch 

Oh my goodness !  What a delicious breakfast experience  we  had this morning.    Attention all Sydneysiders, Facebookers, Tweeps and Peeps... The Grounds in Alexandria is brand new and awesome !  Their website is not quite up and running yet so perhaps this post will do!    The re-fit of an industrial space made so exciting with a huge outdoor area, amongst old sleeper raised beds filled with organic herbs, citrus, veges and other plants.  The space filled with young families, children, babies , all loving the chicken coop in the vegetable garden.  Inside, a space cordoned off by a glass wall, housing the state of the art coffee roasting machines.   Mostly raw face-brick walls,  plants and baskets hanging up on levered pulleys,, beautiful lighting, and at the back a fantastic coffee station (one of two)  or brew bar with the custom La Marzocco, clover, syphons and drip filters.   The place was buzzing with lots of people and the service was excellent.  Most of us had breakfast, all of us had their coffee served in bright green cups/saucers from Germany.  Overall an amazing experience unlike any other in Sydney.   The address is  2 Huntley street Alexandria, NSW.
One of so many raised beds with an assortment of herbs, veges, flowers etc.

The timber posts of a massive pergola each under planted with climbers... cant wait for next summer and the cool of the shade created!

Just two of the assortment of great lights - the second coffee station with coffee syphons and drip filters, behind.

Busy busy !!

One side of the inside eating area.

Delicious muffins

Original way of serving milk and sugar and the table number !

Huge coffee roasting machines behind a glass wall

Kitchen on the left... this place has a huge staff 

Even the toilet is adorable !

The big room divider... GREEN everywhere !
Have a look at my new Blog -  Homestead Interiors

Friday, 27 April 2012

I have been noticing all week that blue seems to be everywhere in the decor world, and it's got me thinking about the colour blue in my garden.  In the herbaceous garden,  the predominant colours are apricot, bronze, orange and pale yellow.  I definitely want to see more blue in my garden and now is the time to make decisions about what will be flowering in the garden next spring/summer.  I will be looking through the bulb catalogues this weekend for  blue ideas and buying more Giant Delphiniums are definitely on my list as well.  We have hot summers here in Australia... perhaps not as hot here in the Highlands as in other parts, and blue is such a cooling colour and it looks so perfectly beautiful with green... my favourite colour combination.

My hydrangeas were wonderful this year.  I have blue and white hydrangeas planted in the woodland garden.  We have  had so much rain and so many gloomy days this summer, that I was unable to take good photographs of them.  I have hunted through my photos and see below some blue flowers in my garden... and hopefully many more next year!

At least I have a good photo of the blue hydrangeas in a vase on my entry table !

Clusters of perfectly formed little flowers - the Hydrangea

Blue bells next to the pond

Aquilegaia near the wooden bridge

Newly planted giant delphinium in my courtyard in early summer

Close-up of the delphinium - amazing blue !

Beautiful Bluebells

Bluebells growing next to the pond - early spring and Forget-me-not behind.

Plumbago - such a pure soft blue - Indigenous to South Africa
By the way - have a look at my new Blog - Homestead Interiors!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A GARDEN POND - Before and After

Six years ago we embarked on creating a new garden at South Acres.    The first big step was to build a pond near the house.  When we bought the farm,  the little stone cottage was surrounded by a grass paddock,  a couple of huge lovely trees,  and a shrub here and there.  Having grown up in South Africa at the knee of a committed gardener (my mother),  I heard time and time again, her laments that European trees were mostly unavailable there.  We began our search for new trees to plant in our new garden , and how  excited we were to discover that most European trees were available here in Australia... where they are referred to as "Exotics"!     Oh dear... stopping me was almost impossible, and yes,  there ARE too many trees in our garden, but I love each and every one of them.  I remember only too well, the countless hours Michael and I spent, each with hose in hand, watering every tree (more than 100 )  during the first hot, relentless summer.   Below shows how it all began !

May 2006.  See my hand-drawn shape.  At that stage, I had no idea how my garden would develop.   I decided to place the pond next to the big Liquidambar which stood in the middle of the home-paddock.  The tree is now huge despite the visible  damage to the trunk.  I wonder how this happened ?
The pond builder was not taking any chances that the roots of the soon to be planted trees would invade the pool walls !
The completed pool... mid-winter. and the newly planted trees.  Behind is the very long Laurel hedge I spoke about in my previous blog on Garden hedges  The pathways around the pond were yet to be laid.
The second spring after construction - the plants around the pond are beginning to grow and so are the trees !

Beautiful reflections - the pond here is probably 4 years old

The mighty Gunnera !

The pathways around the pond now softened by plants spilling over them - Iris, Heucera, Borage and Euphorbia are some of them.

The Pear Arbour constructed at the far end of the pond...We have trained the branches of the pears (Pyrus Chanticleer) to form an arbour over a wooden frame.

The hand-made bridge using old timber planks picked up on the farm

Although the pond was the very first element of the new garden,  it has somehow landed up being right in the middle of the garden! 

Have a look at my new Blog -  Homestead Interiors