Monday, 21 January 2013


The herbaceous garden at South Acres Farm gives a special performance during January and February.    Unlike any other part of the garden,  the colour-scheme is apricot, pale yellow, cream, bronze and red.   Gertrude Jekyll who designed over 400 gardens in her time used these warm colours in many of her designs.  This colour scheme is not usually a popular choice with most people preferring blue, pink and white.  

When planting up the border,  I struggled at first with plant choices and it was when I decided to compliment the old stone wall of the cottage which looks onto this border and has similar tones,  that everything fell into place.  The border lies to the west of the house, exposing it to very hot afternoons,  and the plants have coped very well,  proving Gertrude's theory that "hot colours" do very well in these conditions!      

Surprisingly, this area of the garden doesn't really require much work as it is densely planted,  not allowing much space for the weeds.  As with any herbaceous border,  there are usually two big "cut-backs" a year - a task I really enjoy!  

When first planting up the border,   we had huge problems with clay and water-logged soil  and had to re-plant and dig these beds over a few times before  the plants began to thrive.  The hero in this part of the garden is undoubtedly the David Austin's climber - Crown Princess Margareta.  John has managed to get this rose to climb up the stone wall and it really is a magnificent sight  to enjoy while walking up the garden path to the front door.  

The beginning - Eight years ago -  the stone wall of the old cottage and the new addition to the right of that.

Last summer

The first re-dig and re-plant!
All grown up!

The first successful summer 

The beautiful climber - three years old!

And now.. 

Early summer when the Iris bloom

Roses from the border

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


I was thinking, while lying in bed this morning,  that this is the first week in probably 5 months that I honestly don't have anything to do although I know it is the calm before the storm as we have to move off our farm by 26 April.  As the family all left the beach house last Saturday,  there are no early morning squeals from the little girls, prompting me to rise and shine and get on with breakfast!  It is absolute bliss just knowing I can lie in bed for a while although I do miss the happy mayhem of the past few weeks!

Guess who else is lazy!

The past few days have been spent catching up with washing huge loads of bedlinen and towels .  I am ever grateful that I decided that everyone would be sleeping in king-single beds here at the beach house as it is so much easier making a single bed, not to mention the folding/ironing.  

A couple of days ago we experienced a torturous heatwave and our area was  right in the middle of the danger zone. By mid-afternoon,  the temperature was 45deg!    Determined not to loose our lovely hydrangeas Mr R-I and I carted hoses around in the searing winds watering lawns etc.  

Picked before the heat wave.

We were so fortunate being able to stay indoors in the airconditioning. The hot dry winds left filthy deposits everywhere and I "washed" the whole house yesterday... literally squirting windows, walls, balustrades, decks and paving.  Apart from washing all of the salt off the screens,  the house is now gleaming!  Very gratifying I can tell you!!   Tomorrow brings more heat I believe and I guess we will do more of the same.

Beautiful sky after a searing day.  A huge smoke cloud out to sea.

In the spirit of trying to be more healthy,  I have been cooking vegetarian meals with quinoa being one of my favourites.

Salads, salads and more salads!  Trying to undo the excesses
of the holiday feasting!

Friday, 4 January 2013


I really can't believe that it's January 2013! I haven't written anything for  ages... New grandchild, Christmas family holidays... a new computer, ...

2012 was a very busy year with a great deal of travel and sadly a great deal of tragedy for many of our close friends who lost their beloved children.  It is almost impossible to understand the devastating tragedy of losing ones child... and even more so  that our dear friends Patrick and Emma lost both of their beautiful daughters in an horrific car accident in Morocco.   Life does go on though and for us the highlight of the year was the birth of Arabella - born in November.  She is now 7 weeks old and is just perfect in every way. Newborn cries, burping, unsettled tummies, mummy's blues, cooking, shopping and toddler's antics was my happy life for most of November and December.   My daughter Sarah's mum-in-law was also part of the necessary support team as Kitty was only 18months old when she Arabella born.   

Christmas at the beach house was a very happy celebration with little girls having pram races on the deck on Christmas morning.  The turkey this year came from Victor Churchill  in Woollahra.  Victor Churchill is no ordinary butcher.... As one steps inside from leafy Queen Street in Woollahra,  the marble floors,  wooden panelling,  rock-salt walls,  glass,  copper, leather and more all make for a very unusual butchery experience!  One gets  the feeling of buying something really special  ... a treat for the weekend, Christmas, or the perfect ingredient for a family supper.   I want to do a special post on this wonderful butchery..... soon!!

We had a quiet reflective New Year's eve - discussing ways of keeping to our resolutions which created much amusement!
An early morning trip to Lucky's Fish shop in Ulla Dulla on New Year's eve provided the evening meal.  Snapper fillets  cooked on the Bbq,  stir-fried prawns with ginger, garlic and coriander, sauteed potatoes and a big green salad.  Finished off with tubs of home-made ice cream from the deli in Mollymook - our local town.   The well known chef,  Rick Stein has a restaurant in Mollymook - at Bannisters.   

A happy daily routine of breakfast/beach/pool/sleep/lunch/ play/beach and dinner has been all part of this very happy family holiday and I do really feel blessed having my family together, sharing these celebrations as well as the laughter and delight of the little grand-daughters.  

Here's wishing everyone who reads this blog,  all  the very best for  2013... blessed with good health, peace and happiness.

What a treat - fresh crayfish for dinner accompanied by a salad of greens, mango and asparagus and a dressing of limes and Maple Syrup!

The Christmas table

Pram races on Christmas morning!

These legs of lamb were delicious after being cooked in the pizza oven for 4 hours!... courtesy of Alex

Crumpets on a chilly afternoon

Daddy is an expert with baby Arabella!

Isabel and her Daddy