Saturday, 4 July 2015

Talking about mandarins

Today I want to quickly talk about my mandarin tree. This year it's done better than ever before, loaded with little fruits that are lovely and juicy! I've had the tree for five years now and I'd almost given up on it. I'd actually decided that it wasn't worth the space it takes up in the glasshouse and considered dumping it, but during the spring and summer I decided to give it one more go. Instead of tossing it I cosseted it, giving it plenty of water and even remembering citrus food. I kept its pot weeded and its stems free of scale. And now I've been rewarded! 

This variety is called Clementine. The fruit aren't as big as the ones in the shops but they are juicy, and sweet with a bit of tartness. Easy to peel, and seedless since there aren't any other citrus nearby to fertilise them. In winter I often eat lunch in the glasshouse if the sun is shining, and a lovely fresh mandarin is the perfect end to it! In fact I've never felt better than I do this winter and the fresh vitamin C must have something to do with it.

It also looks pretty in my glasshouse (and is getting too heavy to shift!) so I'm calling it a keeper! Do you have any winter stars in your garden?

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Snapshots from June

 Well, June passed by in a blur! I've spent a lot of time indoors and it's been kind of nice to have a break from the garden. Of course on sunny days I still like to go out and see what's changed, but it's almost nothing at this time of year so I haven't felt too guilty about my little break. I have started a new crochet project and I'm loving every minute of it, from choosing the colours to designing the squares to planning the finished project. These pastel squares were my first colour swatches.

My workmate gave me macarons as thanks for helping her with a project. I enjoyed them for afternoon tea one day... after instagramming them first like any good blogger would!

 A basket of colourful possibilities. And part of my winter book stack which had to be returned to the library. We Were Liars was very good and I also liked Shine.

 I made some little ikebana arrangements. This one has azalea branches and a sprig of camellia. And here are some little crochet circles, purple and green, like pansies and cyclamen leaves.

 Mr Lui approved of my swatch! He sleeps on the couch which gets the late afternoon sun. The low light shining through the tree branches casts interesting shadows on the wall, especially when the bird feeder is full and there are fluttering shapes darting everywhere.

I'll end this post with a sunset pic, they have been especially beautiful lately. We've also had some cold nights, frosty mornings and wet mornings. Despite that, winter hasn't been so bad... I'd actually go so far as to say I've been enjoying it!

Monday, 15 June 2015

June flowers

It's June, the first month of winter and generally the least floriferous month in my garden. We've had a few frosts by now which have knocked back the more tender plants, and while some things like roses are still producing buds, they are unlikely to open now... more likely just wither, brown or rot. There is promise in the swelling buds on camellias and hellebores, and I'm seeing the green leaves of bulbs peeking through. But mostly this month I'm reliant on foliage and berries, as well as the odd hardy bloom here and there.

My best performing plants for early winter are my early camellia, wintersweet, roses (hips are colouring up now), geraniums (still flowering strongly in sheltered areas), cyclamen (indoor only), snowberry, pansies and primroses, lavender, and there is still a bit of coloured foliage on shrubs like azaleas and blueberries. In the next couple of months I'll have more flowers with hellebores, daphne, mid season camellias and early bulbs.

What are your favourite garden performers for early winter?

Above, clockwise from top left: pretty indoor cyclamen, blueberry leaf, snowberries, wintersweet, primroses, rosebud, azalea bud, calendula, camellia Elfin Rose, succulents, pansy, more succulents. Centre: a fragrant bunch of wintersweet and coloured foliage, with the last two rosebuds included (better than leaving them out to be frosted!)

I'm joining in with Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens. As it is summer in the northern hemisphere there are bound to be lots of inspiring posts to look at, why don't you pop over and have a look. 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Styling the Seasons - June 2015

 Welcome to my Styling the Seasons post for June! Usually for these posts I style one of the surfaces in my home that I use for that purpose... the mantelpiece, the hall table, the kitchen shelves, etc. This month I didn't feel like anything needed changing, so I set up a little photo shoot just for today. I've pulled together some items that represent June to me... let me show you.

 The front hallway is the perfect place for a photo shoot in winter. The low sun shines through the frosted glass in the front door at just the right angle to illuminate things nicely. I love how it looks lighting up this maidenhair fern. I bought this gold spotted cushion recently and love it's metallic accents! It's also nice to recline against, very important for hibernation this time of year.

 There are plenty of buds and flowers on my various cyclamen plants. This one is unscented, but I love its pale pink flowers and marbled leaves. 

 This is my latest crochet project which I'll share more about in a later post. With long dark evenings, I like to have a project to work on while sitting on the couch watching Game of Thrones. Actually, winter evenings are some of the best of all... when its cold and dark you don't have to try as much to justify all the things you should be doing but aren't!

 Snuggling up with a book and a coffee is another winter favourite... although to be honest I do this all throughout the year.

 One thing that is specific to June is the wintersweet flowers. For most of the year the plant is an insignificant shrubby bush but for a couple of months in winter the leaves drop and the buds open up to tiny, pale but incredibly sweet scented flowers. I make them into posies with azalea leaves and the last of the rosebuds (too cold for them to open properly now),  put them all around the house and breathe in as much as I can. When the flowers have faded I burn scented candles... my favourite this month is Pumpkin Cream.

 My little egg cup lady has a gorgeous camellia hat! It goes well with the embroidered rose on the warm woolly jar cosy.

Another thing I enjoy about winter is forcing bulbs to bloom inside. I have a couple of bowls of hyacinths and these muscari. They are just in a shallow bowl filled with water, held upright with some big stones. Easy and beautiful.

Hope you have enjoyed this post. Looking at my favourite things gathered together here makes me realise winter isn't that bad... I think I can handle another couple of months of this!

Styling the Seasons is a monthly styling challenge hosted by Katy at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts and Lots. Find out more by searching the hashtag #stylingtheseasons on social media.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Snapshots from May

Well, May is long gone and we're already well into June, but I thought I'd still share some of my phone and Instagram snaps from the past month. The leaves have changed colour and fallen to the ground in the garden. Everything is pretty soggy and wet these days, but there are still roses blooming here and there.

 I visited Cuningham House, the Victorian greenhouse at the Botanical Gardens. It was an absolutely glorious autumn afternoon, with a low warm sun casting shadows and mysterious illuminations through the windows.

 The vaulted glass ceiling is held in place with a grid of metal bars. Inside the palms and vines grow massive. There is a lot of greenery, but also bright tropical flowers.

If you go through a door at the back of the hothouse you end up in the flower-filled conservatory. The displays here are changed seasonally and on this day the room was filled with cyclamens, so many that the air was heavily scented.

 I finished a few small projects at home. A cross stitched rose on a jar cozy, and an adorable embroidered bear from a magazine...

 Low winter sun makes for wonderful silhouette photos! Sunsets are fleeting and over in minutes. Sunrises take half the morning...

 My winter hoarding insticts kicked in and I gathered a stash of books. Perfect for sitting in the last of the day's sunshine, cuddled up next to Mr Lui.

As the month drew to a close, I found beauty in the continuing blossoms of the camellia Elfin Rose. We also had a run of frosty mornings (the worst one was -4!) and with that, winter was truly here.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Urban Jungle Bloggers: My Plant Gang

Welcome to my Urban Jungle Bloggers post for May! The theme this month is My Plant Gang. I have quite a collection of pot plants, but I usually spread them throughout the house or group them in little vignettes. I hadn't actually thought of putting them all together in a gang until I got this month's suggestion, and now I have to ask myself why on earth I didn't think of it earlier :)

My plant gang - potted plants grouped together at Camellia Rose
I decided to group them all together on top of my vintage china cabinet. It didn't take too long to arrange, perhaps because all my potted lovelies were so happy to be there enjoying each others' company? I added a few little decorative accents... some crochet stones, candles, twine and scissors. And because the cyclamen aren't all flowering yet, I added some sprigs of lavatera to enhance the one cyclamen bloom that is out.

My plant gang - potted plants grouped together at Camellia Rose

My plant gang - potted plants grouped together at Camellia Rose
I love the contrasting textures... smooth plant leaves, textured plant leaves. Stone and fibre, glass and wax. Wood and thread. But the colour palette keeps it all harmonious.

Tiny potted plant (1 inch pot) and cyclamen bloom - Camellia Rose
I had to put my tiniest plant with the rest of the gang... this little pot is only an inch high! 

The first flower on my gorgeous butterfly cyclamen - it already smells beautiful.

Zebra plant and succulent - Camellia Rose
I love the striped leaves on the zebra plant but the new leaves have a lot of white on them. It has been in this not-very-bright position for a couple of months, I may need to try it in a sunnier spot for a while.

I also love the purple-grey leaves of this succulent.

My plant gang - chain of hearts at Camellia Rose
And my new favourite, chain of hearts, keeping cozy in its crochet jacket!

My plant gang - potted plants grouped together at Camellia Rose
I absolutely love my plant gang together, but there are some empty spaces around the house now. Guess that means I need to go visit the garden centre!

Urban Jungle Bloggers is hosted by Judith at and Igor at Happy Interior Blog. You can find out more and participate yourself at

Friday, 22 May 2015

Styling the Seasons - May 2015

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
Welcome to my Styling the Seasons post for May. It's nearly winter and the fireplace is in use again, so this month I decided to style my mantel. I haven't really done much with it since summer (you can see it here in an earlier post) and it was definitely time for a refresh! 

Every good mantel display needs lights so I started with the & shaped marquee light. I balanced the black with a black metal terrarium and dark twiggy branches in a vase, and added soft natural colours to the rest of the display. At this stage of the year winter is a peaceful and restful time so I didn't want any energetic colours (that will change later in the season no doubt...)

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
I love the pale aqua tea light holder/vase, and the way it echoes the filigree ceramic balls.

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
Some little succulent cuttings are coming along inside the terrarium.

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
I made this little planter by putting clay around a can. It was inspired by many I've seen on Pinterest including the ones by Atelier Stella. There's no way I can get my hands on one of those so I thought I'd make one of my own, and I love how it turned out. Pressing the texture into the bottom was really fun! Then recently I found this chain of hearts plant and knew it would be just perfect for planting inside... it trails beautifully and leaves that look like hearts win me over every time!

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
It wouldn't be May without the sweet fragrance of wintersweet. My tree has just started blooming and for the next few weeks I'll be filling the house with fragrant bunches! It has the most divine smell and makes the transition into winter much easier for me.

Decorating the mantelpiece for May (late autumn) - Camellia Rose
Styling the Seasons is a monthly styling challenge hosted by Katy at Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte at Lotts and Lots. Find out more by searching the hashtag #stylingtheseasons on social media. 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Autumn potager

As we head towards the end of autumn, the days of big basketfuls of produce from my potager are at an end. But that doesn't mean an end to the growing season. Our climate here in Christchurch means that I can still grow plenty of things over winter, as long as they are frost hardy, so I like to plant accordingly. When evenings are dark I can't pop outside after work with my basket like I can in summer, so I usually take a tour at the start of the week and bring in enough for the next few nights. Spring onions, leeks and broccoli can be stored in the fridge, and herbs or leafy greens like silver beet go in vases on the windowsill. I'm even getting the occasional strawberry or raspberry, so if they're still fruiting at the end of May then that's really only about 4-5 months until the first spring berries start up again... not so long really!

My favourite season in the garden is summer, but I also really like the tidiness of the winter potager! I've trimmed the lavender hedges and the rosemary balls, and they'll provide shape and structure until the spring growth hits. I've also created some scalloped garden edging which really tidies everything up and looks great with the black metal arches. The edging was so easy to make and I'll share a tutorial very soon.

In this bed I have silver beet (not pictured), cabbages, broccoli and the last of the chillis. The chillis are doing well, they will last until frosts get them and provide a good spark of colour until then. In the bed behind are leeks and spring onions.

 In the two beds closest to the glasshouse, I planted a green crop of mustard, lupin and some kind of grass. I haven't grown a green crop over winter before so I'll see how it goes. I do intend to put garlic in one of those beds so half of it will be dug up, we'll see if it makes a difference! 

The cherry tree is always the last on my property to shed its leaves and it's doing so quite spectacularly! It's amazing to see how many different leaf colours and patterns come off one tree.

A sunny autumn day in the potager is like heaven. Hope you're having equally good times in your patch, wherever in the world you may be! xx

Monday, 18 May 2015

A walk through the autumn garden

A walk throught the autumn garden at Camellia Rose
 Hello again! I thought I'd take you on a walk through my garden just before it undresses for winter. The seasons are shifting and it's time to say goodbye to endless foliage and bright summer flowers. I have leaves on the lawn and seedheads in the garden, but it's a small price to pay for the fleeting glory of an autumn afternoon.

A walk throught the autumn garden at Camellia Rose
 Even on a cloudy day this tree glows like a beacon. It is probably the last season for this tree actually... I love it a lot, but it is so big and still seems to be growing, blocks the light from our windows, plus it drops seeds everywhere and gets infested with whitefly in late summer. I've got two ornamental prunuses to replace it with so sometime this winter, my big tree's number is up.

A walk throught the autumn garden at Camellia Rose
 This little red and purple gem is Cercis Forest Pansy. It's beautiful through all the seasons, and I'm hoping it will grow bigger (but not too big) to take on more of a focal role.

A walk throught the autumn garden at Camellia Rose
A walk throught the autumn garden at Camellia Rose
 There are still some late summer flowers hanging on, but they will be finished before long. I'll miss them, but I'm looking forward to the time of camellias, hellebores, wintersweet and anemones.

A walk throught the autumn garden at Camellia Rose
 I also enjoy the remnants left behind... seed heads, last leaves, graphic lines of stems and twigs.

A walk throught the autumn garden at Camellia Rose
I love to sit on the deck in the afternoon, sipping a coffee and planning my next garden adventure. Pop back in the next few days and I'll show you how my potager looks now that the mad summer harvest is over!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

May flowers

Welcome to May in my autumn garden. It's late autumn and while there are a few brave souls soldiering on, many of the summer flowers are at last fading. Winter isn't my favourite, but I always embrace the change of season - with the emphasis on change, meaning a new range of blooms for enjoying and picking. New this month is the wintersweet, a seasonal delight and something that always gets me through the first month of winter. My camellia Elfin Rose is still going and looking lovely when backlit by the sun, and I hope the rest of my camellias won't be far behind.

Clockwise from top left: autumn coloured hydrangea, cheerful pansy, possibly the last rosebud for the season, the first wintersweet for the season, Elfin Rose camellia, sweet alyssum, hollyhocks, a late rose, Baujade apples, nerines, astrantia, pink penstemon.

I kind of missed Bloom Day this month (time is flying by lately) but I'm linking up now, I'm number 100 so there are plenty of other gardens to check out if you click the link!


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