I've written about visiting them for lunch before on the blog, but this time we were house guests for the weekend, along with another family, the Bs and their 3 children. That brought the total number of kids to 9, and adults to 6. But while we adults were outnumbered, we had a relatively quiet time without kids in sight - they literally disappeared outside to play and only returned hours later muddy and happy to eat before disappearing again.
We did the usual things you do in the country in Winter. There was a bonfire lunch in one of the paddocks.
We ate and drank every 2 hours it seemed, Alice is pretty good at turning out gourmet fare. All of my children managed to fall in the creek and get soggy feet and muddy legs at various points.... The kids visited the litter of new puppies and collected eggs from the chooks, did some go karting up the bumpy driveway, and rode around in the back of the Ute over bumpy farm roads.
Farm dog with Ute
The modern part in the back of the house with Pierre Frey covered window seats
The Billiard Room is also interesting, full of taxidermy and old books
My 6 year old said to the other boys "Lets get out of this room - it's really creepy"
and photos of various members of the Royal Family who stayed at the house in years past when they had come out to the colonies on tours.
The Duke of Windsor, circa 1920 when he was still Prince of Wales, unattached to Wallis, and highly eligible
I thought it might be interesting for my overseas readers to have a little glimpse into an Australian style working farm. This farm house is definitely on the larger side I hasten to add, but it's a little glimpse into lives lived in the past, and country hospitality, working life and style today.
Hughes Park Cottage
and for weddings, should you be thinking along those lines, this is a link to all the information on them
Hughes Park Weddings
I'm pretty sure after having 10 houseguests for the weekend, Alice is still trying to catch up this week, so thank you Al, we absolutely loved staying with you.
I was meaning to do a post on Autumn in my garden... but then things got away from me and the photos languished. Having spent most of this past weekend in the garden, I thought I'd take photos of it in its current, skeletal and dormant Winter state... and record it for posterity before Spring hits in just a few short weeks.
So rewinding to Autumn, here is the back corner of the garden in the late afternoon sun, the Manchurian pears were starting to colour up and the perennial grasses were in their full glory waving gently in the wind before being cut back for Winter.
I love the textural contrast between the pencil pines and the grasses
The back veranda with Wisteria starting to get going across the wires on the posts, and another Perennial grass with Westringia balls beside it.
This was a few weeks later as the Forest Pansy in the back corner started to clothe itself in bright buttery yellow.
It's full of buds now, and about to burst into tiny pink flowers - this was it last Spring.
Early Summer last year
My roses along the Petanque court in Autumn, above, which I'd transplanted from the front garden. These are mainly David Austin's Heritage. Mixed in are bearded irises and ratty looking lambs ears (caterpillars galore)
One of the project we've had done in the garden was fixing up the last of the front garden projects. When we finished the extension there was a small section of garden that was uncultivated (above) outside the children's Playroom windows. It had a Crabapple that we'd planted around 5 years ago, but aside from that I ignored it - it also had the Plant (as I call it), which contains the air conditioning units, the boiler, the hot water storage, the water softener, and the watering system control pad. None of it attractive, and it was all full of weeds.
Finally we finished it off by paving with bluestone around the crabapple. This is sloped away from the house, and is keeping our cellar dryer (we have an original cellar, so it doesn't have a modern damp proof coursing, and when this area was unpaved and sloping toward the house, the water was draining down into the cellar keeping it fairly damp).
In the front garden I've done a big tidy up/ cut back over the past few months, and planted more things too.
In the side garden it's all bare of the pear tree leaves, and the structure from the box hedges, virbunum topiary balls, and the olive trees keeps it looking neat
Back to the back garden the structure plantings are really the only thing of interest at the moment. The hedges grew well last Summer, and they now prevent the garden from looking too bare when everything else is cut back.
I particularly like the planting up against the back veranda - the box balls, star jasmine ground cover and cycads contrast nicely to each other.
And lastly, here is the Echium Giant that I grew from seed a couple of years ago. It's living up to its name and starting to put out its white flower head. I've planted a few more of these in the garden (all still babies), and can't wait to see it in all its glory (the flower head grows about 2 metres high).
In preparation for the upcoming Summer, I've finally got around to ordering the sun lounges for around the pool. I ended up, after an exhaustive search for something contemporary, but that also suited the Victorian front of our house, settling on two of these:
Costa chaise from Restoration Hardware
Now I just have to wait the 3 months until they finally arrive down here after the lengthy shipping process. But as it's still pretty cold, there won't be any Pool action for at least a few months.
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