The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. ~ Alfred Austin

Thursday, 28 November 2013


I arrived home from work this evening to find Megan cooking dinner and Daniel outside cleaning out the chook houses and yards. We sat out the back under the patio and ate our dinner and not long afterwards I noticed some amazing cloud formations. These photos were taken between 7.10 and 7.20pm. At one stage the sky looked it was on fire. They have been saying for the last couple of days we could expect a thunderstorm but it never eventuated. There is lightning out there now, so maybe tonight we might end up getting one.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

A Few Of My Favourite Roses

Here are just a few of my very favourite roses.

Mr Lincoln. My absolute all time favourite red rose. This gorgeous rose is a hybrid tea and very tall growing, reaching heights of about 1.8 metres. Because the leaves on Mr Lincoln are so tough, is a a good rose for withstanding very hot summers. Mr Lincoln is well known for it's exquisite perfume.

Mary Rose is an English rose and was bred by David Austin. Flowers are found on the medium shrub size bush reliably all throughout the summer months. The fragrance I think is delicate and reminds me of an old rose fragrance.

Seduction is a newer rose having been released in 1988. Seduction is a floribunda and is nearly white or very pale with wavy pink edges. It is a smaller bush and mine when it flowers is covered in masses and masses of delicate flowers. It has a delicate fragrance to match.

Just Joey is another of my absolute favourites. Just Joey is a hybrid tea and grows to about 1.5 metres. The flowers are large, loose, informal and have frilled petals. It is the most gorgeous apricot colour and has the most heavenly spicy perfume. Just Joey was voted the world's favourite rose in 1994. It has been a favourite of mine for a long time.

Eglantine is another English rose bred by David Austin. The flowers have a strong old rose fragrance. They are also large double flowers which the bees in my garden seem to love.

Princess De Monaco is another hybrid tea and grows to about 1.6 metres. The flowers are a cream colour with pink edging. It is a very elegant looking rose. The one I have growing in my garden only seems to have a slight fragrance but they are supposed to be highly fragrant. Maybe mine needs more fertiliser, or water. Not sure, but either way it is still a beautiful rose.

So there you are, just six of my favourites out of the many rose favourites that  I have.
The advent calender is coming along well. I was hoping to have it finished by now, but after having excruciating pain in my shoulder for a couple of days, that put a stop to anything other than the absolute necessities. So hopefully I will be back in a few days with the finished calender.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

While I Wait...

While I wait for a phone call from work letting me know what time I need to do a patient pick-up, I thought I would make a start on a Christmas advent calender panel I have. Most days I know what time and where I am going well beforehand, but just occasionally such as today, I have to wait for a phone call. Usually on these days I seem to waste and fritter away my time instead of doing something constructive. Today I was determined would be different. I contemplated baking a cake, but then thought better of it. I would hate to have just put it in the oven and then get called away, so instead I did a small craft project, it's not quite right, but I am really happy that I at least finally did it, as I am the world's worst procrastinator! Two loads of washing, ironing and some general tidying up were also crossed off the list.

Well the call just came through, so I am off.  At least now my advent calender is all cut out and just waiting for me to start sewing.  Hopefully I will be back in a few days with my very first bit of Christmas sewing.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Harvey Dam

After our lunch at Stirling Cottage and after we had wandered around the gardens, we took a short drive out to the Harvey Dam. It is a really nice spot and there were quite a few families having a picnic lunch in the shade.

There is lots of grassed areas for sitting and playing on as well as lots of picnic tables,
 free electric bbq's and a children's playground.
The curved roof in the photo is the amphitheatre, which can be hired out for reunions,
business meetings and weddings. I didn't get a full photo of the amphitheatre as there 
was a lot of people in there.
In the background you can see the 45metre dam wall.

Harvey Dam
Holds 56 gigalitres.
Has 126 square kilometres of catchment area.
Has a surface area at full storage equal to 533 hectares.

The original Harvey Dam, was the sixth one to be built in Western Australia. Construction on it began in 1914 and it was completed two years later. It was built by 100 men using only horse and dray for all of the excavation works. An amazing feat! In 1931 work began to increase the size of the dam in order to increase the storage capacity. 

By the early 1990's it was realised that a new dam would need to be built as they needed to greatly increase storage capacity. It was originally planned for 2012, but had to be brought forward by fourteen years because of population growth. Harvey is lucky in that they have a relatively high and reliable rainfall to boost the dams storage.

Nice spot for a picnic lunch.

One of our many stunning Western Australian Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos)

The red was a bit harder to photograph to get a true colour.
It looked stunning mass planted in the garden beds.

In the background you can see how dry the paddocks are although not as dry
as what the paddocks here at home are.
In the front you can see the grass tree (xanthorrhoea) with it's tall flower spike.
I love the grass trees, they are very slow growing. Would love to have one in my
garden one day.

I have decided I definitely need lots more Kangaroo Paws in my garden. I have a few, but I need more. Funny how we used to take them for granted growing up, they were just part of the bush block. Those ones were the red and green and probably my all time favourite.
I have also come to the conclusion after Saturday's visit that we need to move back to this area. It really is a very pretty spot.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Harvey...The Gardens

Back today with some photos of the gardens that surround Stirling Cottage as promised. I always enjoy walking around other gardens, because there is always some idea you pick up along the way, that inspires you to try something new in your own garden.
Warning this is a picture heavy post :).

Quiet spot overlooking the river.

Water fountains are always nice in a garden.

This shady gazebo was the perfect spot to sit in order to keep out of the very hot sun.

There were a number of butterfly bushes (Buddleia) planted and the butterflies really did seem to love the bushes. It was a bit tricky trying to get a photo of the butterflies as they were flitting from one flower to another. I would just get a butterfly all lined up with the camera and off they would go onto another flower.

They even had a small vegetable garden and quite a few fruit trees.
The original Stirling Cottage had a large vegetable garden along with many fruit trees.
We saw corn, tomatoes, bush beans lettuce, artichokes, cucumbers and lots of herbs,
which I'm guessing they would use in the kitchen of Stirling Cottage for the lunches
that are available daily.

Past the Silky Oak tree...

Through the arch and down the garden path

The river walk.

Lots of tree ferns and...

I didn't really take any photos of the river itself, because to me, it didn't look to be in great shape.
I remember the river from years ago and this was nothing like it, and I was shocked at how little
water there was in there.
The only photos I did take were of...

Mumma Duck and her babies!

This gorgeous Hollyhock had self seeded from one of the garden beds higher up, into a crack in the footpath that ran along the edge of the river.
It was such a hot spot for it to be growing.

These Lilliums are beautiful.
One plant I don't grow in my garden because they are deadly to cats.
I just admire them in other gardens.

That was a long post! That was only some of the many many photos I took. We didn't actually even see all of the garden as it was just so hot walking around out there. One thing I noticed too is there were mass plantings of Hydrangeas under the trees. None of them were out in flower yet, but when they are, it will look gorgeous. I will be back tomorrow with part 3, photos from Harvey dam and some pics of our stunning Australian Kangaroo Paws.

It is starting to feel and look very much like we might get a thunderstorm. It is so hot and muggy. It would be nice to get a storm and some rain. We really need some rain our rainwater tank is virtually empty which means any day now we will have to switch back over to town water - yuck! Only problem is the farmers don't want the rain as they are now all harvesting their crops.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


Today saw us take a trip to the pretty town of Harvey.Years ago when Megan and Daniel were only little we used to live near there and spent quite a bit of time around Harvey. It is a very pretty place. A very green place. There are lots of beautiful dairy cows there. Todays' visit was to catch up with my Uncle and take him out for lunch for his upcoming birthday. The three of us along with Mum and Dad went down there for the day. It was a lovely day, although stinking hot. We spent the majority of the day doing the aussie salute! The flies were shocking.

I will probably get into trouble for putting this one on the blog - oh well!

This is where we had lunch, Stirling Cottage. This particular cottage is a replica of the original cottage that was built in the mid 1800's.The original had fallen into major disrepair by the late 1960's, so on the 9th October 1994 the replica Stirling Cottage pictured above was opened to the public. I can't believe it, but I actually forgot to get a photo from the back of the cottage which has a deck that juts out over the Harvey River and is a nice spot to sit and eat lunch. As today was so stinking hot we chose to sit inside, in the cool, with the air conditioning.

The original Stirling Cottage was built by convicts and was home to many pioneering farming families including the family of May Gibbs, famous for her children's books of which Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is well known. May Gibbs and her family lived in the cottage in 1885 and 1886. It is thought that this is where May Gibbs created Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, whilst riding her pony through the surrounding bush, she would stop and do drawings and paintings of the bush around her.

I feel a bit funny posting pictures of the public toilets, but they are a cute idea.
Once again they are a replica, based on the original cottage's stables...
hence the colts for the boys and fillies for the ladies!
But you will be very pleased to know they were indeed very
modern inside!!

The above four photos I took of the paintings that have been done by local artists and they are at the entrance to the Harvey Visitors Centre and Moo Shoppe. The Moo Shoppe has all kinds of giftware and trinkets, not only to do with the local dairy cows, but also other Australian birds and animals. I crossed one Christmas present off the list whilst I was in there! Hard to believe it is only 39 days until Christmas!!

Both going down and coming back up the Coalfields Highway we got stuck behind oversize vehicles. This monster was the biggest one, he was so big he took up the whole entire highway. Luckily for us we weren't stuck behind him for too long before he and all his support vehicles (there were another 3 in front of him as well as the truck and van directly behind him) were able to pull into an area off the highway, and the long stream of traffic was able to get past.

I took sooo many photos today, I think I will come back tomorrow with part 2 which will show the lovely gardens surrounding Stirling Cottage and the Harvey river. In fact I think I will do it in three parts as I also took quite a few photos out at the Harvey Dam, that we also visited before heading for home. I didn't take any photos of our meals, because I always feel really self conscious doing that sort of thing, but get me out in the gardens and I snap away like crazy. Even though I didn't take any photos of the meals we all thoroughly enjoyed what we had to eat. And with that I am going to go and raid the fridge. None of us really felt like eating when we got home as we were still full from lunch and also it was just too hot, but I am starting to get a bit peckish now.

So Stirling Cottage at Harvey is well worth a visit and I will be back tomorrow with photos of the gardens.