Wednesday, 25 January 2012

At the end of October

I returned to find a lovely surprise disc of photos from another semi diy wedding where I provided bouquets and buttonholes etc and main arrangements and supplied loose flowers for little bottles and jars. The bride wanted lots of seed heads and structural flowers in the mix for the wedding on 30th October.

Back in July

Finally pictures from my favourite home made feeling wild wedding on the edge of the Black Mountains

The bride wanted poppies in her bouquet but it had been raining the night before so I told her they might not last, though I was fairly sure they'd see her down the aisle. In fact she mailed me from honeymoon to say she had taken her bouquet with her and three more of the poppies had come out since it had been in water at their holiday villa. I was impressed!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Back home

I return home to find the skies are not so blue and the air laden with neither scent nor birdsong, the food is less exotic and the cottage rather chilly ......but the cold is invigorating after tropical humidity, the dogs are thrilled I'm back, the moon is the right way up again and the rabbits must be very fed up as Les and Rob have nearly finished rabbit fencing, the new packing shed is going up.... it's not all bad!

The trip was amazing, visiting islands where tourists just can't get to, hearing the dawn chorus in the rainforest before watching red birds of paradise displaying, amazing tropical vegetation, snorkelling over perfect coral gardens, smiling people, superb food and the greatest variety of fruit imaginable. I think my favourite was a large spiky green fruit called something like zirzak that tasted like a cross between a lemon and an apple with the texture of an over ripe mango. (But smelly durian fruit just do not do it for me).

The Asian area director of Flora and Fauna International, Tony Whitten was leading the Wallace fact finding trip for Seatrek (the company who do wonderful trips round Indonesia), and it was fantastic to have him at my elbow showing me different trees and flowers including extraordinary plants that rely on symbiosis with ants to grow and survive. I return fired up to find more about tropical plants though I'm afraid orchids still don't thrill me as much as perhaps they ought. We saw the oldest clove tree in the world on Ternate (and were told a fantastic clove story by writer Simon Worrall who was fact-finding for a future spice islands tour), sadly in its last throes but the next oldest is on the slope below and still thriving, and we got a lesson in nutmeg harvesting on Tidore. Tony's daughter Ruth is a brilliant photographer and will be posting here photos soon for us all to share so I didn't get my little camera out as much as I probably should have done as Ruth's are superb. But here's a little glimpse into January in the southern hemisphere.

Ombak Puthi base for a couple of weeks

sunsets were spectacular

with my new friends (I'm somewhere in the middle!)
yet another orchid

I love the packaging

my favourite fruit

shells and coral fragments from the beach which had to be returned to sea as I didn't realise I shouldn't have collected them

 a flower arrangement in the Sultan of Tidore's palace
 Ofo, the oldest clove tree in the world
 nutmeg flowers

a lesson in harvesting nutmeg

 jackfruit tree and cassava in her pack

ants needed

Monday, 2 January 2012


The sun is shining, the sky is blue, portents of a great year to come I hope. HEARTFELT HAPPY NEW YEAR.

We had coffee outside this morning, the winter blossom is shining, the new grass that I sowed post landscaping in early December is already germinating and growing, and things are looking wintry but positive. There are all sorts of exciting things afoot here in spring, but in two days time I am off to explore the Spice islands for a few weeks, expecting to spy all sorts of exciting exotic flora and fauna.  While I am away Anna is kindly dealing with all office stuff and Dianne calling in to the gardens so it will be winter business as usual here, and I hope to return with new energy and enthusiasm for what I hope will be a wonderful year. For all of us!

I am very glad 2010 is over as my wonderful friends and family, my flowers and my amazing customers all helped me through a pretty rough personal journey last year. All a bit like a terrible old joke where a man goes into a pub looking miserable and the barman tries to cheer him up but the man says he's miserable because his dog has died. Cue cheery chat and the barman thinks he's winning then the man says '... and my wife has left me', cue more attempts at cheery chat, then 'and my mother has died' at which point the attempts at cheery chat are becoming exhausted, before a final 'and my only brother hasn't spoken to me since the funeral...'.   Well yes, all that and not a joke (only I had a husband, not a wife) but I'm sure 2012 is going to be a really positive year. Fortunately I am blessed with a huge innate store of optimism, and I am looking forward to all sorts of exciting developments in flower world, and this spring my darling daughter and her wonderful partner are getting married here, so that's certainly a highlight to get going with.
Happy New Year!