The Autumn Garden

These flowers on a Mahachok plant are delicate and perfectly white. The Mahachok, originally from Thailand, prefers a shaded position in the garden. They grow from a bulb and have wide shiny evergreen leaves.  Growing in our side garden in a sheltered position, they flower in early autumn and are always a delight.

Our beautiful Frangipani has produced a new flush of these amazing flowers. With colours ranging from dark pink to light pink, orange and white, these fragrant blooms make a welcome addition to our garden.
Knowing that the flowers and leaves will disappear in winter – leaving the trunk bare – makes this last flush especially enjoyable.

This striking red Dahlia, which has deep wine-red flowers with dark centres, has just produced an amazing amount of flowers. Its open flower is attractive to butterflies and bees, and the dark foliage blends in well with the light green leaves on the surrounding plants.

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Garden Glimpses #2

Marigolds are great plants for brightening up any garden. Easy to grow, they will continue to flower for months.  Deadhead frequently to ensure continuous blooming, collect and dry the spent flowers and you can sow fresh seeds next year.

This ornamental bird cage, too small to house birds, is ideal for planting some succulents.

Ideal for containers, baskets and gardens, our white Euphorbia always seems to be in flower.
Easy to propagate by carefully removing a rooted section and replanting, these pretty little plants will soon fill a bare space in the garden.

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Edible Gardens #3

Our second crop of capsicums is growing to a nice size.
Some beautiful flowers on the oregano and a perfect flower on the mint show that herbs are decorative as well as flavorful.
Our basil has provided us with fragrant leaves all summer, and a self-seeded “Tiny Tim” tomato plant is still producing sweet fruit.

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Owls – burnished and Raku-fired

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These small owls – made from Keane white raku clay – were burnished, part glazed and raku-fired. Being small, they were formed from a solid ball of clay, then shaped and patterned using various pottery tools.  Holes were pierced into the base of the formed owls to reduce cracking as the clay dried.
The burnished effect was created by smoothing in a circular motion, using the back of a spoon. The owls were then dried, bisque fired, part clear-glazed and raku-fired.
Immediately after removing them from the gas fired raku kiln, they were placed in a lidded bin, lined with combustible material (newspaper and sawdust). This causes post firing reduction and blackens the clay and crackles the glazed areas.

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Narrow spaces

The narrow spaces beside the house and side fence are usually out of sight and out of mind. Ours was no exception and became an unruly mess, full of tangled weeds.  A redeeming feature was an edging of mondo grass, which – as it can tolerate almost anything – was still thriving underneath the weeds.  My grandson decided that it was time for a makeover and after much digging, tugging and cutting, he had cleared the area. A thick layer of newspaper, three bags of pine bark, some strategically placed bush rocks and the result was a side path to be proud of.

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Pear & Coconut Upside-down cake

¾ cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup light olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
¾ cup desiccated coconut
2 cups self raising flour, sifted
¾ cup milk
2 pears
1½ tablespoons moist coconut flakes

Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line with baking paper, grease the top of the baking paper.
Quarter and core the pears, slice lengthwise into 10mm slices.  Sprinkle the greased and lined tin with the moist coconut flakes and top with pear slices, making sure the base is completely covered.
In a large bowl, mix the sugar, beaten egg, olive oil and vanilla together until smooth.
Stir in the coconut and the sifted flour alternately with the milk. Mix well until blended.
Pour batter over the pear slices and smooth top.  Bake in a moderate oven 160°c for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  Cool slightly and invert onto a wire rack to cool.

A nice moist cake, which can also be gluten and dairy free, simply by  substituting gluten free flour and soy milk.



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Gosford Regional Gallery & Arts Centre

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The Gosford Regional Gallery and Arts Centre is located on the shores of Caroline Bay in East Gosford.  It is part of a complex that also includes the Gosford/Edogawa Commemorative Japanese Garden.
The current exhibitions in the gallery, include a photography and film installation – Life Stock – by Ian Provest; an exhibition from the Australian Watercolour Institute, showcasing a diversity of styles and techniques; and in the foyer an exhibition of paintings – Journey Home – by Hyan Hee Lee.

Visiting the gallery today, we enjoyed morning tea in the cafe and a stroll around the garden, which was a good opportunity to take some photographs.
The above slideshow includes:

  • A view of the Koi pond with the beautiful sculptural shape of a Crepe Myrtle tree in the foreground.
  • The curved stone pathway, lined with freshly opened Autumn Crocus.
  • A traditional Japanese teahouse, set in the beautifully maintained gardens.
  • A section of the raked dry stone garden.
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Returning home from a driving trip down the south coast of New South Wales, we stayed overnight in a very comfortable room, at the Grand Country Lodge Motel in Mittagong.  The motel, more like a grand hotel, is surrounded by superbly landscaped grounds, including this beautiful bronze sculpture and fountain.
We enjoyed a perfect dinner at the nearby Esco Pazzo Italian Restaurant, which features traditional Italian dishes and regional wines.


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Raku-fired Owl

This bronze glazed owl, was made during a workshop at the Central Coast Potters Society at East Gosford.  It was raku-fired during one of the potters annual open days, which usually includes a pit fire and raku firing.  One of my favourite owls, it usually remains safely inside but was photographed in the garden near some ferns and a bird of paradise plant.

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