Saturday, 30 March 2013

.... a white Easter???

We arrived home on Tuesday and it was still snowing.  It was snowing when we left, apparently it has snowed almost every day of the six weeks we have been away, and each morning since we got back we have woken to yet another fresh fall of snow.  It really is most bizarre.  The sun has shone too, and melted away most of the snow during the day, ready to start all over again overnight.

However, Tilly and I have been walking every day and it has been lovely to catch up with the countryside.  Very little seems to have changed while we have been away.  I was expecting daffodils to be in evidence and I would pick some for Easter.  As it turns out the snowdrops are still blooming
and colour has not yet returned to the edges of the fields but I love the movement the winds of winter have instilled into these reeds.
Yesterday we went for a walk on the beach at North Berwick.  The tide was so low that the harbour was empty of water.  I couldn't resist the rare opportunity to take a little peep inside.  
At the moment the backdrop to our East Lothian landscape are the snow covered Lammermuir Hills.  This afternoon my eldest grandson and I walked up Traprain Law. We enjoyed meeting the pack of 11 Exmoor ponies who roam wild on the law and looking out across the landscape.
 In the distance, behind this pony, you can see Arthur's Seat rising up from the midst of Edinburgh.
 When I was young, at Easter time, we would always go for family walks along the Basingstoke Canal near Dogmersfield in Hampshire and pick big bunches of primroses.  Or walk through the copse on my uncle's farm near Odiham and return home with pretty collections of primroses, violets and cowslips.  Those posies mean Easter to me far more than chocolate.  Easter isn't Easter without a bunch of primroses.  We have a handful of clumps in the garden and I won't be able to resist picking a few flowers tomorrow morning.  One of the plants has been in bloom since Christmas!
Happy Easter.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

Last week we went to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show which was held in the Royal Exhibition Building and amongst the gardens surrounding it.  We were very pleased at the prospect of visiting the exhibition hall because it was the venue for Masterchef Australia which we watched last year and we could see that it has an amazing interior.

The show was very enjoyable.  Not exactly Chelsea but we had a good old mooch around all the stands and displays.  Here are some photos from our day.
Underneath the dome there was a spectacular display of cascading sprays of tiny yellow orchids. They had been gathered together to form a tree.  It was very impressive.
Although I don't have any floristry training I have arranged flowers and think I have some understanding of good and graceful arrangements.  On both trips to Australia I am a bit disappointed to say that I have yet to come across one single flower arrangement which has "it". I have not seen one and I am not sure why this is.  If you want to get an idea of what I mean have a look at this website  This is a florist working in Brooklyn, New York and they produce the most breathtakingly beautiful work you can possibly imagine.  Not like the two or three examples shown below. Sorry!
Anyway, onwards and upwards!  These orchids were rather spectacular, especially in the stunning surroundings of the Royal Exhibition Building.  
An uninvited visitor!
My favourite magnolia leaf again!
The stalls and stands in the gardens around the exhibition hall were full of garden accessories and fripperies.  
Bill and Ben appear to have rocked up in Melbourne.  I wondered what had happened to them.  Weed is alive and well and living in our garden.
A superior cut out kangaroo and friends.
Something for the birds.
This stall was selling a garden fruit salad tree!  That means one tree which bears the fruit listed on the pink label below.  This is a slightly disconcerting thought but I suppose it is definitely space saving for small gardens!
This is my favourite photo of the whole show.  The lady presents a wonderful back view and behind her there are rows of plants which were on standby to top up the nursery stand to her left.  She is working away, loving her plants which is what gardening is really all about.
There are many types of ginger plant.  I saw them in the botanical gardens and also growing in the wild on my trip to Coffs Harbour and in the woods in the Dandenongs.
A designer Wendy house!  Outside
and inside.
Kangaroo paw flowers.
Kangaroos and friends.
Here is a plant stall with a difference.  Here you can buy bits of epiphyllum plants of numerous varieties.  The cuttings must be very easy to grow and certainly they are very popular.  The stand selling these was mobbed.
Pretty as well as convincing - these are silk water lilies.
These lovely little chaps are representing the superb wren.  That's their name.  The Superb Fairywren or Superb Blue Wren.  
Altogether we had a very enjoyable day, wandering around a beautiful exhibition venue.  

A couple of days later we were on the train, travelling back to Armadale from the centre of town, and I spied this lovely rose in the next carriage.  It was parked in the corner along with several pots of precious purchases made on the last day of the garden show.  I wonder where this rose is blooming now!