autumn · blessings · enchanting · gardening · lemon · Mount Warning · photography

Blissful, Enchanting April ~ Part 2.

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“Suddenly to be transported to that place where the air was so still that it held its breath, where the light was so golden that the most ordinary things were transfigured – to be transported into that delicate warmth, that caressing fragrance…..” ~ The Enchanted April, Elizabeth Von Arnim (1922).

Mount Warning in all its glory.
Mount Warning in all its glory.

The month of April really has been the most enchanting month, with the sun’s rays losing the harshness of summer, yet the cooler winter air has not yet arrived. More and more flowers are breaking out in bloom as each new day arrives, the breeze is the gentlest I have felt it in a long time and the birds flittering around the garden are just happy to be alive.

I’m happy to be alive; I wouldn’t want to miss out on a single day spent in the garden at this most beautiful  time of year.

Prince of Orange.
Prince of Orange.

“Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.” ~ Lindley Karstens.

A favorite in the garden, my Tibouchina tree.
A favorite in the garden, my Tibouchina tree.

The bees are buzzing, the butterflies are fluttering, and oh how I love to get my hands in the soil. I can feel  a trip to my local garden centre is imminent, and I’ll probably arrive home with way more plants than I intended, but that okay, there’s always room for just one more beauty in the garden.

No shortage of lemons.
No shortage of lemons.

During the last couple of weeks I have made two Lemon Meringue Pies, which is Ben’s favourite, as my lemon tree branches are overloaded, almost to breaking point, with huge, juicy lemons.

If there’s one thing I enjoy as much as gardening, it would have to be picking freshly grown fruit and vegetables straight from the garden and bringing them indoors to devour with my family.

Crazy clouds on a fine day.
Crazy clouds on a fine day.

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment.  My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams.  The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” ~ Abram L. Urban.

Blooming Dahlias.
Blooming Dahlias.

Tomorrow, when the month of May is here, I expect the weather will begin to cool down somewhat and by June we will all be wearing warm jumpers again for perhaps two or three months. These photos belong to April though, and needed to be shared before we bid April goodbye again for another eleven months.

This has been the most Enchanting April I can remember, ever. Did I say that about last April? Perhaps. But that’s okay. I will probably go into raptures over my garden and the wonders of nature all over again next April as well.

A lone Kookaburra.
A lone Kookaburra.

“….April came along softly like a blessing, and if it were a fine April it was so beautiful that it was impossible not to feel different, not to feel stirred and touched.” ~ The Enchanted April.

Three for dinner.
Three for dinner.

I’ve spent so much time in the garden lately that I have hardly found any time to read at all. I have come across more books written by Elizabeth Von Arnim though, including “Elizabeth and her German Garden” and “The Solitary Summer”. Being the keen gardener that she was, it is little wonder that Elizabeth was able to describe the beauty of the gardens at San Salvatore in “The Enchanted April” so poetically.

Mind your manners now....
Mind your manners now….

“It pleases me to take amateur photographs of my garden, and it pleases my garden to make my photographs look professional.” ~ Robert Brault.

Butcher Bird.
Butcher Bird.

All of my regular feathered friends continue to visit me for their breakfast and dinner each day. Their little in-built timers tell them all to arrive at around 7 am each morning, then again at around 4:30 pm. The Kookaburras dominate, the Magpies seem to rank second in the chain and my sweet little Butcher Birds are left to clean up the dregsy remains. (We don’t let the Kookaburras and Magpies know it, but I usually take out a little something extra for the Butcher Birds after the others have left.)

Drooping seed pods.
Drooping seed pods.

My hours spent in my garden will always be blissful. It doesn’t matter at all whether I am watering the garden, feeding the birds, digging out weeds or planting new flowers, my garden transports me to another world, a blissful world, an enchanting world…..

…..an Enchanted April.

Smiling Gazanias.
Smiling Gazanias.

If you missed Part 1 of my April gardening photos, you will find them at “Three Hours of Gardening Bliss ~ Part 1”.

inspiration · Mount Warning · photography · spiritual

Psychology of Colours ~ Naturally Blue!

blue 1

In the year 2000 I started up a machine embroidery business in our local shopping centre, inheriting the brightly coloured shelving and cupboards from the previous business that had been there. Whilst I could cope quite happily with the bright yellows and the vivid reds in the shelving, that royal blue colour simply had to go! How could I arrive at work each day to be greeted by that colour? It would be downright depressing!

If you look carefull, you may just see a tiny lighthouse, way off in the distance.
If you look carefully, you may just see a tiny lighthouse, away in the distance.

What seemed to me to be a rather odd reaction, (from myself!) could have had some psychological bearing on it. My new shop was to be a fun and uplifting colourful business, and that deep blue colour was way too conservative for my liking!

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise for you to read the following passage about dark blue ~

“Dark blue is the colour of conservatism and responsibility. Although it appears to be cool, calm and collected, it is the colour of the non-emotional worrier with repressed feelings, the pessimist and the hypocrite. Dark blue can be compassionate but has trouble showing it as its emotions run deep. Dark blue is a serious masculine colour representing knowledge, power, and integrity, and is used quite often in the corporate world.”

So that’s why the dark blue colour wouldn’t work for me in my new store, my new feminine shop, where I expected to (and did have!) great enjoyment in choosing embroidery thread colours to match with articles of colourful clothing, to be added into logos on caps and shirts, and my favourite part of the business, choosing colours for adding designs and monograms to bath towels.

The colours of nature.
The colours of nature.

Blue is a colour associated with peace and tranquility and its presence creates a calming atmosphere. Think about the last time you sat beside the vivid blue ocean or a blue river, doesn’t the whole atmosphere of the blue waters make you feel calm? I know it has that effect on me. And when Mount Warning appears to have a tinge of blue haze, overpowering the green trees, there’s nothing quite so calming.

During an early mist morning, the colour blue overpowers all the other colours of the valley.
During an early mist morning, the colour blue overpowers all the other colours of the valley.

The colour blue suggests devotion, loyalty, trust and honesty, encourages self-expression and is also regarded as a spiritual colour.

Did you realise that blue is the most universally liked colour out of the whole colour spectrum? Perhaps the reason for this is that blue is regarded as a non threatening colour which promotes calmness.

The blue sky likes to overpower the white fluffy clouds sometimes.
The blue sky likes to overpower the white fluffy clouds sometimes.

People who favour the colour blue are slow to trust others, preferring to get to know a person before they trust completely. They also wish to be trusted themselves, and beneath their outwardly confident persona may lie a person lacking in confidence.

Blue loving people are usually genuine and sincere, prefer to enjoy the company of a close set of friends, are sensitive and caring towards the needs of others but also need their “alone” time, to reflect and contemplate their lives. Blue is a colour associated with meditation.

Four Galahs with not a care in the world when the sky is so blue!
Four Galahs with not a care in the world when the sky is so blue!

Blue people tend to be guided by their heart, can be sensitive, emotional and sentimental and cry easily over sad movies. On the other hand, they enjoy order in their lives, cannot work amid chaos and can also be stubborn and set in their ways.

They have a thirst for knowledge and wisdom, are friendly and approachable people and have an ultimate need for inner peace and harmony in their lives.

Butcher Bird on Blue.
A happy Butcher Bird, singing out loud to the blue autumn skies.

I wonder if any of you, who would name blue as your favourite colour, can identify with any of these characteristics? Although I wouldn’t claim blue as my favourite colour, when I see the colour blue in nature, a bright blue sky on a sunshiny day, the gradual changes of the colour blue as it reaches down into the depths of the ocean or even blue flowers, I can feel quite overwhelmed and emotional by the majesty of nature.

All of my children are blue-eyed, and I think it really goes without saying that when I look into the varying shades of blue in their eyes, I can simply melt like butter!

The Blue Willow.
The Blue Willow.

Another object of my deepest affection when I think about the colour blue is the Willow Pattern design I have loved since my childhood days. Seeing my Willow dinner set in my cupboard gives me a sense of comfort and security. (Wait a minute, security is one of the characteristics associated with the colour blue!) There is a story to the Willow pattern design, which goes like this ~
“Koong-She, a mandarin’s daughter, loved her father’s secretary, Chang. Father, having arranged a marriage with a wealthy suitor, shut her in a terrace house, to be seen close by the temple on the right of the plate. Chang rose to the occasion and rescued the maiden, although hotly pursued by the father across the bridge.

The couple lived happily, almost ever after, in Chang’s little house across the harbour. However, eventually the frustrated suitor found them and burnt the house down while they were sleeping. True love never dies, and Koong-She and Chang arose Phoenix like from the ashes, in the form of two doves.”

There is a poem of the Willow pattern story, which apparently many children learn at school, although I didn’t. Fortunately though, I do have a copy of the poem ~

“Two pigeons flying high, Chinese vessel sailing by, Weeping willow hanging o’er, Bridge with three men if not four, Chinese temple, there it stands, Seems to cover all the land, Apple tree with apples on, A pretty fence to end my song.”

A Brahminy Kit, soaring through the great blue sky.
A Brahminy Kit, soaring through the great blue sky.
Australia · autumn · blessings · gardening · photography

Three Hours of Gardening Bliss ~ Part 1.

A Noisy Miner bird, watching me gardening from the safety of the lemon tree branches.
A Noisy Miner bird, watching me gardening from the safety of the lemon tree branches.

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” ~ May Sarton.

Mother Nature has waved her magic wand over our autumn days here in the Tweed Valley during the past week and today I have spent three hours in the garden, achieving much, yet feeling more energised at the end of the toil than I did before I began.

Miss Tibbs adds even more meaning to my time spent in the garden.
Miss Tibbs adds even more meaning to my time spent in the garden.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero.

I would change the above quote slightly, to read, “If you have a garden to share with a fury friend or two, along with a few feathered friends, you have everything you need. If you also have a library, where you can sit quietly with a book whilst your aches and pains disappear after the gardening, with a hot cup of coffee, you are doubly blessed.”

Another recent regular visitor to the skies above my home, a Brahminy Kite.
Another recent regular visitor to the skies above my home, a Brahminy Kite.

The blue skies were dotted with clouds of a million-and-one shades of white and grey today. A pair of Brahminy Kites flew silently overhead, but I could only get one at a time in a photo. You’ll have to take my word for it, there were definitely two Kites here today.

Massive balls of cotton wool, floating overhead.
Massive balls of cotton wool, floating overhead.

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” ~ Gertrude Jekyll.

There were a few grey clouds among the white balls of fluffy cotton clouds, yet the sun continued to shine all day long.

Look at that intense shade of blue in the sky!
Look at that intense shade of blue in the sky!

Looking up at the expanse of blue sky with the explosions of white clouds can be absolutely breath-taking on a day like today.

Miss Tibbs so enjoys her time in the garden.
Miss Tibbs so enjoys her time in the garden.

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Miss Tibbs and I are totally on the same page when we are in the garden together. I can completely relate to the way she rolls and rolls over the grass, with the sun shining and warm on her silky fur, showing her absolute delight in the garden.

A touch of striking red.
A touch of striking red.

When I crawled under my Tibouchina tree to remove a few weeds (and as my hands were playfully grabbed by Miss Tibbs), I came across this magnificent red flower. Actually, there were more than one of these flowers on the plant. It may be a Bromeliad, but I’m not absolutely sure.

Pink carpet.
Pink carpet.

My Camellia is covered in precious pink flowers this autumn, so delicate and beautiful. Even the fallen petals still look absolutely glorious.

The overseer of all things garden related.
The overseer of all things garden related.

“What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it.” ~ Charles Dudley Warner, My Summer in a Garden, 1871.

My only complaint about gardening is the aches and pains I feel in my body when I return indoors. If the discomfort is there whilst I’m gardening, it wasn’t noticed today, although I have become familiar with a few previously unknown muscles tonight! But it isn’t really a bad complaint. Gardening wouldn’t be gardening without the excercise.

Another fury helper.
Another fury helper.

My beautiful Tess came down to the garden with me today too. She’s ten now and she hurt her front paw a couple of years ago, which has left her walking with a limp. Tess doesn’t venture too far from the house nowadays, but she did enjoy her time in the sun today.

Did I hear something?

Always alert, always the Protector of Family and Home, Tess doesn’t rest for too long, but a word of reassurance had her enjoying her place in the sun again before long.

Is there any Chai tea left for Miss Tibbs to share?
Is there any Chai tea left for Miss Tibbs to share?

As I headed back towards the house, Miss Tibbs sat on my garden seat, next to my empty mug. Was she telling me it was time for another coffee break?

My little friend, the Butcher Bird.

“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.” ~ Mirabel Osler.

I don’t know if I smile when I am spending time in the garden. I’m not conscious of physically smiling, but I’m always aware of smiling on the inside!

“In the garden I tend to drop my thoughts here and there.  To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep and the hopes I breathe.  I know they are there to eavesdrop for the angels.” ~ Dodinsky.

I have more photos to share of my time in the garden today and will add those here next time, but for now I will end today with a photo of the beautiful moon I saw tonight, smiling down at the front door of my home. 🙂

Do you see the face of the man in the moon?  :)
Do you see the face of the man in the moon? 🙂
birthdays · blessings · music · photography · son

Benjamin

NYC
NYC

Twenty-eight years ago today, April 22nd, I became a mother for the first time.

The events of the day are embedded in my brain, they always will be, but isn’t it the same for every woman? How could she ever forget a single detail of the day when she exchanges her life of singular, to include another little human who is totally dependent upon her?

From the very first moment when I laid eyes upon my first-born baby, my son, Ben, was the moment that I became instantly besotted by my pink, perfect, new-born little person.

Brooklyn Bridge.
Brooklyn Bridge.

And today, as Ben turned twenty-eight years of age, and I looked into those pale blue eyes of his, I realised as I have done so many times during those twenty-eight years that he still holds my heart in the palm of his hand. He always has, he always will.

On Ben’s birthday last year we didn’t have the opportunity to hug him tight as we wished him a happy birthday as he was in the U.S.A., spending the day doing one of the things he loves the most, listening to music at the three day annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Statue of Liberty.
Statue of Liberty.

Ben spent five weeks in the U.S.A. and even though he had previously travelled to Japan, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, I think it would be safe to say that his trip to America was the trip of a lifetime. Ben loved the States, especially New York City, where he and his mates spent eight days and nights exploring the sites.

Ben arrived home telling us all that New York City is his favourite city in the world so far, so for his birthday, I thought I would begin to share just couple of photos that he has given me of his trip. I told him that I’m sure my friends overseas, who read my blog, would like to see the U.S.A. through the eyes of an Australian and I’m thrilled to bits that he is allowing me to share them with you!

The Wall Street Bull has a lot in common with Ben, his star sign being Taurus the Bull!
The Wall Street Bull has a lot in common with Ben, his star sign being Taurus the Bull!

I have a few of Ben’s photos to progressively show you all. Maybe even my American friends might see an area or two of their country that they haven’t explored themselves yet! There’s certainly an awful lot of Australia that I haven’t seen yet, in fact it’s surprising how travellers will often see more of a country than the locals do, as their intention is to travel and see as much as they can fit into the duration of their holiday.

Ben, photo taken January 19th this year at his grandmother's birthday party.
Ben, photo taken January 19th this year at his grandmother’s birthday party.

Happy birthday my beautiful boy. ❤