Sunday, 30 October 2016

How do you say goodbye to all's gonna be tough

Yes folks, Bloomfield Cottage is up for sale.

After 20 years of passionate gardening, creating, and nurturing, we have decided it's time to move. My adult daughters were shocked, as are many of our friends and community but it's time for a change - you guessed it, a sea change.

This will potentially be the last spring here, and everything is looking amazing, so I thought I would just share some of the beauty that is Bloomfield Cottage at the moment. Each time I take a photo now, I think, 'This is the last time I will see how gorgeous this is' - I'm gonna miss it, even though I'm excited to embark on a totally different lifestyle on the coast!

The incredible flowers of my Macadamia tree - 'Pinkalicious'

Till next time ......hope you enjoyed my garden :) and er, I guess I'll let you know if it sells.....

Monday, 10 October 2016

20 years at Bloomfield Cottage - from woe to go .........

It's only when you look back at old photos that you realise how much has changed over the last 20 years. Of course, having adult children now is the real reality check, but looking back at how much blood sweat and effort, not to mention cuts, bruises, strained muscles and bad backs, has gone in to our 20 yr labour of love. As you can see we had very humble beginnings living on site with two little toddlers in a caravan whilst we built the house. Fortunately the big shed has a toilet and two rooms where we stored most of the furniture and a small room we converted into a basic bathroom. Life was simple and exciting, full of the future we were embarking on.

Little did my husband know what was going through my head for the gardens! I would often see builders shaking their head when I was right down the furthest reaches of our 1.5 acre, planting hardy shrubs and lugging watering cans around - they had no idea of how important this backbone layer of the garden would be one day, after all you can't plant soft and pretty things until you create the right environment for them to grow. We are situated high above the suburb and can get a lot of weather and extreme winds from time to time, so creating wind breaks with Juniper 'Spartan' was essential. There literally was no shade until it grew, so now we have 20 year old trees on the property.

At this stage of my life, I was heavily into borrowing beautiful country gardening books from our local library. I would gaze longingly at Edna Walling gardens (hence the drystone sandstone edges) and read 'Garden of a thousand roses' by Susan Irvine (also hence, the 600 or so roses!). I still have hundreds of gardening magazines and became an avid organic vegetable gardener and planted a small orchid of fruit trees near the large 6 bed vegetable patch.. The soft and pretty English gardens and roses have always resonated with me most, that, and a childhood spent with great aunties at the beautiful Adelaide Botanical Gardens. And so, I melded both, and now describe Bloomfield Cottage as an English Parkland Garden. 

These are scanned photos of the originals - and a map used for some of our Open Garden visitors.

As you can see, we've come along way in 20 years

View from the front door towards the pond.

And soon all the roses will be flowering - I can't wait

Keep watching for the next blog - we've got some big news ....

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Homing some new Fan-tailed doves

I bought my husband a Dove Cote for his 50th Birthday some years ago. I had always admired a garden with a dove cote and he had always shown an interest in birds, so it was a great gift idea, and has been a huge hit with friends and visitors to our garden.

We are always asked why they don't fly away - but of course, once they are 'homed' to their house or cote, and their feeding stand, they just stay. The dove cote itself is situated in a protected part of the yard, quite near the koi pond,so water is always available. Right behind is the lookout - a tall, dead tree that is the home to our bee hive and used as a roost to survey all.

Beautiful aren't they? But over time our numbers dwindled for one reason or another and so we needed to buy in some new birds and 'home' them, which is a bit of a process, but worth the time and effort when you finally free them.

We use star pickets to stake a wire fence around the dovecote and feeding stand, leaving a makeshift gate to come and go from. Then we cover the lot with bird netting, tying it down securely so no roaming cats can get in, making sure the birds have an adequate flight path to the feeding stand and the ground. And that's it for 6 weeks! Then, hopefully when we remove it all - the birds stay.

We set them free after six and a bit weeks, one Friday afternoon. They flew up into the sky where they hovered for a few moments, then flew off. We weren't too worried until the wind started blowing a gale not long after they flew off. Boy, our timing really sucked this time, as the wind blew harder and it got dark, and our doves were nowhere to be seen. We lay in bed that night, listening to the wind blowing over pots and generally reeking havok, and wondered where our poor birds were and if we would see them again. 

The next morning it was raining and windy - and still no sign of the doves :(  We felt so bad that we had let them out before a storm and cursed our poor judgement. We stayed in a lot that Sunday, watching Game of Thrones, as it was bitterly cold outside, so it wasn't until we went out late in the afternoon that we discovered the doves had found their way home! Three weeks later all is well as the doves discover the joys of flying, bathing on the stones in the pond and walking about on the lawns and gardens. They love their new home - and why wouldn't they, it's beautiful when the roses are out.

You can see more of Bloomfield's roses  here              

Friday, 8 July 2016

A winter walk around the garden July, 2016

There's not a lot going on around the garden at this cold and wintery time of the year. There is a bareness, a naked view of the bones and structure of the whole scene. I love to prune bare trees at this time, when I can see the structure and future shape of just the branches.

Im not going to ramble on much today - I just thought I'd take you around the yard to see what's going on in the dead of winter. We are fortunate that we don't actually get snow here, but frost and zero degrees at night is normal in our winters (we also get to 45 degrees celsius in summer!)

So we'll start from the front of the house which is normally lush with wisteria and roses

I need to get cracking on rose pruning - there are literally hundreds, many are large climbers and old fashioned shrubs, including an extensive display of David Austin's. If you want to see an array of some of our most beautiful roses, go to the Featured Post -It's Rose time at Bloomfield Cottage

The Camellia hedge is looking great after some good rain to perk it up. These blousy Sasanqua's are first to flower, then the more formal Japonica's follow.

The pond always looks nice, even in it's winter state. We don't feed the koi fish much at all at this time of the year.

I have been busy though, building a new raised garden with some sandstone my husband bought home some time ago, and of course I tidied up the whole pathway whilst down there. 

Looking back the other way. I love the hidden pathways around the garden :)

I've also been busy in the vegie beds. 

All the Broccoli, Kale and Brussel Sprouts are netted from the pesty cabbage moth - no sprays used here. The soils are all freshened up with lime, cow manure, horse manure, and organic seaweed.

I don't have a lot in the glasshouse at the moment, however the orchids are all starting to flower.

This patch of succulents seem to thrive on the cold. In fact, it's tips turn quite pink with the cold weather. We are going to use little florets of this succulent for my daughter's wedding tokens, done up in little glass terrariums!

And of course, winter is the beginning of bulb time here. These are the first to come up and flower in the middle of winter - Erlicheer jonquils, always a cheerie sight with a strong fragrance!

Daffodils and Tritella's coming up in clumps under deciduous trees.

I can't believe how much new growth some of the roses have already - much too soon. It makes it very difficult to spray with lime sulpher after pruning, as it will burn the new delicate foliage. It is an important step at rose pruning time as it cleans up any over-wintering blackspot and fungal spores.

And as you can see, I have loads of roses to prune in the diamond beds. These are the Hydrid Tea roses that I use for showing and cutting.

And because Cleo followed me around everywhere while I took photos I thought I,d put one in of her for good measure.

See you next time ..........