|With our little cherubs - Hermione, Xavier, Aria and Althea on Christmas Eve|
And a very happy New Year to each and every one of you. As New Year's Eve revelry goes, ours was quite tame in keeping with our age. We spent it with family and friends at my sister Vicky's where we ate to excess, played games and watched the fireworks on TV. As I said, quite tame!
We're all on holiday mode, spending as much time as we can with the children and introducing them to new experiences. We went cherry picking last week at the Red Hill Cherry Farm. We all enjoyed the day - the weather was perfect, the cherries large and sweet and plentiful and the staff were particularly friendly and helpful. We collected as much as we wanted in the buckets provided, then paid for them and left to go to lunch. After a leisurely lunch we took the one hour drive home, with the little ones fast asleep in their seats.
|Auntie Lucy showing Aria and Althea how to pick the cherries without breaking|
|And here they are with their harvest!|
|At lunch at the Meerkats Cafe, placing their stickers onto the corresponding animals|
|Nothing like an ice cream on a hot day|
We might be on holidays from classes but ikebana is never far away. On our way back from Red Hill there are many pine trees - Pinus Radiata'. I found one that had been trimmed back from the road, thus creating interesting shapes. I brought some home and proceeded to arrange it. Pine is usually hard to arrange because of the way the branches grow from the trunk. They tend to droop downwards, so that when the stem is placed in a container it is tipped at an awkward angle with the pine needles facing downwards. The needles must always be facing up. It took some doing but I managed to place them correctly.
|The stem is placed on the container horizontaly, using wire onto a horizontal fixture.|
I keep the container filled to the brim with water so that the pine stem stays wet.
I used white agapanthus and pink hydrangeas.
|This is a single stem of pine. I used with it blue hydrangeas|
You would be aware by now that my garden is very important to me. I started gardening to feed my need for ikebana materials but it has grown from there, as has my knowledge and love of plants. I'm far from an authority in gardening but I often surprise myself at the things I have learnt.
It has been predicted that tomorrow will be a scorcher of a day with temperatures reaching the low forties. I spent quite some time this afternoon preparing my garden to survive the extreme heat. I watered thoroughly, thanks to our rainwater tanks that are brimming after the rains we had. I cut away all the roses, as they will become crisp in the heat. At this time of year my hydrangeas are in full bloom but they are sensitive plants, so I go to some lengths to protect them. Whenever the temperature reaches past 35 degrees, after watering them well, I cover them will old sheets. This works a treat. During the day, I spray water over the sheets to keep them cool and hydrated.
|This is how one of my hydrangeas looks at the moment. Mind you, I've cut at least|
a dozen flowers from it already
|Here she is under cover.|