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

Blissful, Enchanting April ~ Part 2.


“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…..

… 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”.

gardening · gratitude · herbs · lemon · mangoes · pecan nuts · summer

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Abundance.


This past week has been a rather hectic one for me, with an abundance of work, mostly paper work, taking up most of my waking hours each day.

As a result I have missed out on posting anything here for quite a few days. I’ve even missed the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for last week!

Now, where in the rules does it say a photo can’t be posted a couple of days late?… No where?… That’s what I thought!

So here I am with my photo, which represents last week’s theme ~ “abundance”.

This photo was taken last year, when our garden produced a massive abundance of extremely tasty food; tomatoes, lemons, limes, mangoes, pecan nuts, chillies, and a number of my favourite herbs, including rosemary, basil, sage, parsley and thyme.

This time last year, the planets must have aligned perfectly, giving us a bumper crop of absolutely everything we grow! The right amount of rain and just enough sunshine, with the right amount of heat beating down upon the earth.

This summer, however, Mother Nature has not been quite so kind to us. Luckily, I have my photos from last year, showing my garden in all of its lush glory with an abundance of edibles, with which to reminisce, until the perfect weather conditions return again.

And the perfect weather conditions will return. Mother Nature is kind that way. 🙂

cooking · desserts · lemon · pies · recipe

Lemon Meringue Pie

Don’t you just love a dessert recipe which is not only easy to prepare, but it looks as though you slaved away in the kitchen all day to prepare?

My Lemon Meringue Pie recipe is not only one of the simplest recipes ever, it is also eye catching and the taste is, well, simply divine!

The meringue will be more light and fluffy if you remember to take the eggs out of the refrigerator an hour or two before baking, bringing them to room temperature. You will know if the egg whites are beaten enough by tipping the bowl (carefully!) upside-down. If the egg white sticks to the bowl, you know they are ready!

Served hot or cold, this desert is a firm favourite.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Pastry – 2 cups plain flour

Lemon Meringue Pie

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon icing sugar

185g butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 to 2 tablespoons icy cold water

Sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into a basin. Chop butter roughly and rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the lemon juice and sufficient water to mix the pastry to a firm dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll out the pastry on a floured board to fit a 23cm pie or flan plate. Trim the edges, prick the base and sides of the pastry with a fork and “blind bake” in a moderately hot oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow the pastry base to cool.

Lemon Filling – 4 tablespoons plain flour

4 tablespoons cornflour

Grated  rind of 1 lemon

¾ cup lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1 ¼ cups water

90g butter

4 egg yolks

Combine the sifted flours, lemon rind, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan, add the water and blend together until smooth. Stir over a low heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring,  for a further two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and lightly beaten egg yolks. Keep stirring until the butter has melted. Allow to cool. Place the filling in the pastry base.

Meringue – 4 egg whites

2 tablespoons of water

pinch of salt

¾ cup caster sugar

Combine the egg white, water and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the sugar is dissolved and the egg white mixture is shiny.

Top the pie with the meringue mixture, spreading the meringue to the edges of the pastry to seal. Bake in a moderate oven (190 degrees) for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned.