Cobwebs in the Garden

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Cream lace dominated the Chapel veranda

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Fluidity in Zauberball Tropical Fish glowed in the privet hedge.

Last weekend we had our CWA Kandos Gardens Fair, with the Convent gardens being open to the public. Of course, we couldn’t let the weekend go by without including some of our knitting. We used the occasion to display some of our lacework around the garden to catch the eye of visiting garden enthusiasts.

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Birds on Bikes made a great display with this shawl

Some of our most recent work is still on its way back from the Sydney Royal Agricultural Show but we had enough to decorate the grounds. Our cream lace shawls, which are our best Show pieces hung outside the Chapel verandah, Kerry Blue was inside the Grotto, a vibrant Fluidity in Zauberball Tropical Fish peeped through a gap in the privet hedge, our Doodlers hang proudly from the side verandah, the sculpture birds held up a glorious maroon lace triangular shawl and the angel looked suitably draped.

A great week for the Convent garden and we think our shawls added a little to the colour and texture of the garden.

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Doodlers displaying themselves on a verandah

 

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Looking demure and snug

 

 

Costa at the Convent

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Costa chowing down on some Zucchini Slice

One of the special moments at the CWA Kandos Gardens Fair was a visit from Costa Georgiadis, in fact, two) from ABC’s Gardening Australia. We knew the Gardens Fair would be a very special event with him as a guest but his impact on visitors far surpassed expectations. As did the man himself. What a gracious, enthusiastic, engaging and energetic person!

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Costa having a chat with Gemma in The Cloisters

Costa had asked to visit the local schools as part of his visit which was a wonderful experience for the school children and hopefully will leave a permanent mark on the area. For the weekend, he tirelessly visited gardens, engaged with visitors and made himself available constantly.

We were fortunate to have Costa visit us for lunch on Saturday where we gave him a short break from the many people who had built up both for a feed and to see Costa at the Convent. He made sure he spoke to all the volunteers and has a great skill for remembering names. He seemed to love the Convent and it’s surrounds (although I think he was equally gracious with all garden owners and guests) and on Sunday unexpectedly brought his Dad back for lunch and a quieter sit in The Cloisters on a day that was a little slower paced.

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Costa and his Dad tackling the terrain

Watching him with his Dad was a little bittersweet given my own Dad passed away last year and I had such hopes of he and Mum spending time with me at the Convent. It was great that he took his Dad on a guided tour of the garden but I had moments of concern with the wheelchair in the spongy grass!

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Instagramming in the Chapel

 

 

 

 

During their visit, a wonderful ukulele group sang and played in the Chapel – Costa raced in and took a video which he later placed on Instagram which was a thrill.

All in all, a great weekend and we’re still buzzing from it. Costa certainly made a difference and we’d have him back any day.

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Costa photographing the Convent!

 

CWA Kandos Gardens Fair 2016

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Marquees out the back gave a festive feel

Last weekend we held our CWA Kandos Gardens Fair. A big event for our small town as it attracts many visitors, books out accommodation and showcases the area. This is the second time the Convent has participated, the first being just before I moved here permanently and in the early days of making over the garden. And what a weekend it was!

The Convent Cafe was well attended throughout both days

The Convent Cafe was well attended throughout both days

This time I was reasonably well prepared – the gardens were a little more established and in pretty good shape and we decided to offer morning/afternoon teas and lunches in the Convent Cafe, complete with a blackboard menu (which also meant heaps of food preparation).

I have no idea yet of final numbers but the Convent seemed to be on everyone’s list as a “must see” venue, including a tour through the Chapel. We also attracted a few stall holders who set up their marquees, and local musicians and even belly dancers, the Kandos Belles! So there was no shortage of distractions.

Food was in endless demand and we must have served 150 – 200 meals plus tea, coffee, slices and scones. Many thanks to my wonderful and competent neighbours who chipped in to serve so many people. Sausages rolls all disappeared within an hour, the zucchini slice didn’t last much longer and Saturday night I was up til all hours making more sandwiches and adapting to a change of plans preparing ingredients for Ploughman’s Lunches.

The Mexican Sages were amongst the stars of the Garden Fair

The Mexican Sages were amongst the stars of the Garden Fair

We had a free cold drinks station with iced water, iced Mint and Lemon Verbena tea and Elderflower Champagne tastings. The Lemon Verbena tea and Elderflower Champagne were huge hits with visitors.

The backyard beds were chockfull of produce to explore

The backyard beds were chockfull of produce to explore

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day had a great feel of festivities and fun but the Convent also provided a venue for relaxation and respite in The Cloisters out back where we held the Cafe. We were fortunate to have some special guest speakers come along including Fiona Ogilvie, the gardening journalist from The Land who has a wonderful property in Bathurst, Diego Bonetto, a wild food forager and, of course, the wonderful Costa Georgiadis from ABC’s Gardening Australia, who was incredibly engaging and generous with his time.

More posts will follow with photos of the garden and our Cobwebs in the Garden knitting display (of course we’d get knitting in there somewhere!). Such a wonderful weekend and I’m sure all the effort from so many volunteers to put this together has been worth it.

The Convent came up well on the day

The Convent came up well on the day

The Countdown Commences- Kandos Gardens Fair 2016

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Duchess de Brabant, the rose flowering best at present

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Popcorn helping out, instead of his usual digging up vegetables

Less than four weeks to go before a dozen local properties in the Kandos Rylstone region open their gates to garden enthusiasts. The Convent will again participate which means lots of preparations are afoot.

I can’t remember the last time it rained – it’s been so hot and dry. Which is of particular concern for my garden given most of the plants are only a few years old. They’re not yet established and without deep root system, so at the moment there is lots of mulching and watering going on. I know our theme is “Gardening in a harsh environment” but this is a little harsher than necessary!

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The privet now tamed

This week, the new trees were all heavily mulched and roses trimmed, fed and watered. I’m usually a little less structured with my approach, but this time I’ve been noting what roses I have and relabelling them for easy identification. I’ll probably do this as well with some of the more prominent plants to help visitors and any of the garden guides.

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Raised veg beds are all sewn. Hopefully I’ll have some decent new growth.

 

 

Veg beds are also planted out and hopefully will look interesting and productive. Given most of my plants are young, I’m not sure exactly what will be flowering or still out by early April, but there should still be lots to see.

Lots more to do, including cleaning up and painting some outdoor furniture, more feeding and mulching, sweeping, raking, whippersnippering and endless mowing… Hopefully we get some rain before the Garden Fair, but if not, at least we’ll have some good advice on managing in our challenging local garden conditions.

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Grotto roses beginning to climb

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The central garden bed. Hopefully the roses kick in and the white Cosmos come through by the time of the Gardens Fair.

Gearing Up for the Garden Fair

Previously a troublesome little spot in the corner, now a mini herb garden and "nursery" of sorts.

Previously a troublesome little spot in the corner, now a mini herb garden and “nursery” of sorts.

It’s less than two months now before the Kandos CWA Gardens Fair, which will be held on 2 and 3 April. And what an event it’s shaping up to be! Headlining alongside  Costa Georgiadis from ABC’s Gardening Australia is Fiona Ogilvie, gardening journalist, and Diego Bonetto, wild food forager, making it an essential booking for every gardener’s calendar.

We have approximately a dozen venues ranging from “town” ones like mine to working country properties and an artists trail with the gardens of three talented locals just out of town.

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The back wall looking much neater.

My garden was open for the last Kandos Garden Fair held in November 2013 – the year I purchased the property and just before I moved here permanently. So the property was pretty bare – just the beginnings of a garden. I’m hoping people notice the difference this time around as beds have begun to establish themselves and the garden is taking on a semblance of structure.

Over the last two weeks I’ve had some help – pulling in the big guns to clean up the ash brick wall that divides me from the Church. The back wall which fronts (or backs?) the Church carpark had large shrubs and ivy that was completely overgrown and dominating my back yard. The Church kindly agreed to let me clear it up and, with the assistance of some capable and knowledgeable locals, it’s now made a huge impact on my outlook. Whilst a bit bare at the moment, there should be lots of soft green new growth coming through by early April.

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The back wall before the pruning.

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The back wall after a little attention.

For now I’m moving around the garden in sections, finishing off areas, trimming back, feeding and mulching – hoping it all comes up  on the day. The garden is too new for me to be confident about what will be flowering in April and the weather will also have some impact – it’s been kind so far – not too hot and enough rain. But the threat of an early frost is always there!

A few nights ago Gemma and I sampled the Elderflower Champagne– a nervous moment given I now have 15 litres of it made. But it was a winner. Fresh and bubbly, so I hope to be able to offer sample tastings at my garden. So now back to some more bottling!

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First batch of Elderflower Champagne – I’d call this a success. Another batch is currently in production and a few bottles are ageing in the cellar.

Old Masters on Show in Rylstone

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IMG_3581One of our favourite haunts is Gallery 47 in Louee Street, Rylstone which also is home to Coffee Concrete – the place to go if you want some of the best food and coffee in the area. It’s also run by the wonderful Georgie and Alex who are such great locals. Being across the road from our Convent & Chapel Wool Shop, makes it a regular drop-in spot for us.

Every month the Gallery hosts a new exhibition which we always visit – we usually try to get along to the openings if possible. This month’s exhibition has a twist. Called ‘Fabulous Fakes’, it’s a display of wonderful old masters recreated by the talented David Wallace, another local.

IMG_3582I’ve seen David’s work a few times and was disappointed to miss purchasing ‘Lady with an Ermine’ in the past and this time missed out on Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring”, however managed to pick up my first Renoir, ‘Two Sisters on the Terrace’. Gemma, on the other hand, stuck with the Australian art and scored her first Tom Roberts, ‘Bailed Up’.

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It’s a fun display and sure to amuse cafe-goers for the month. Definitely worth a look, and incredibly good value for a wonderful piece to hang on your wall – and certainly a talking point. I may take another peek later in the month, just in case the Mona Lisa is still there…

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My very first Renoir (and possibly my last)…

Historical Stitching

The locals were hardly surprised to see us sitting and knitting at the opening.

The locals were hardly surprised to see us knitting at the opening.

One of our local historical groups, Rylstone & District Historical Society (who, by the way are also our landlords as they own the Bridge View Inn which houses our shop, Convent and Chapel Wool Shop), are holding a significant display at the Rylstone Memorial Hall this week.

Some of our vintage knitting collectibles on display.

Some of our vintage knitting collectibles on display.

‘Stitches in Time’ focuses on the World War I quilt that was made by local residents as part of the war effort and is now housed in the Canberra War Memorial. Gemma and I were asked to participate by holding sock knitting demonstrations throughout the exhibition which lasts for a week.

Tonight was the opening night and attracted a great crowd which seemed well-engaged. We’ll see how the week goes but look forward to meeting and chatting with visitors. Our little area has been set up using our period cane chairs and some vintage crafting tools including my Edwardian swift, tortoise shell needles and vintage military war period knitting books that were offered to us, not to mention Gemma’s lovely crochet accessories. We have lots of sitting and knitting over the next week. I wonder how many socks we’ll get through!?!

Our little corner display, sans the knitters doing the sock knitting demonstrations.

Our little corner display, sans the knitters doing the sock knitting demonstrations.

Our Fleeting Brush With Fame

This week we were ever-so-fleetingly touched by the brush of fame. One of the major lifestyle programs, Better Homes and Gardens, did a recipe road trip to our region and filmed a segment at 29 Nine 99, our legendary Yum Cha house that we share premises with at the Bridgeview Inn at Rylstone.

Unfortunately due to family commitments, I couldn’t make it, but Gemma was there in full swing and did the shop proud by displaying our blankets and knitted goodies on the front verandah in the hope we might be included in some filming. There was obvious excitement with the visit and lead-up to showing on tv and we weren’t disappointed. The segment did Na Lan and 29 Nine 99 proud and our building and shop could be glimpsed in the first couple of minutes. Whilst they didn’t film inside our Convent & Chapel Wool Shop, cast and crew visited and bought beanies and mitts for themselves.

All in all, lots of fun and some great exposure for our little town and 29 Nine 99.

Here’s the video of the segment – you can see our old sandstone building and shop around 90 seconds into the clip.

https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/better-homes-gardens/tv-and-video/video/watch/28572028/recipe-road-trip/

Kandos – AKA ‘Pirate Town’

Who would have thought of it – Kandos playing home to pirates!

Two of our intrepid locals, who always put on great events, are utilising International Talk Like a Pirate Day to hold a pirate bash in Kandos with Jon English performing, no less.

I must confess to having a soft spot for Jon English, going back to the old Jesus Christ Superstar days at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney. I remember getting my Mum to take me to performances and waiting out the back of the theatre which wasn’t the best layout – the cast had to wait in the back alleyway between changes and going back on stage, so us fans had the opportunity to speak to them and get autographs. I also went to Jon English’s first solo concert at the Manly SIlver Screen and bought his album. So, YES! I was a fan and part of my is pretty excited by Mary and Sue’s choice of entertainment.

Anyway, September 19 will be a Big Kandos Day with the inaugural Kandos Pirate Festival followed up by the night Buccaneer’s Bash. I can see some pirate knitting in our future. Hoping some friends and family can make their way here for what looks to be a truly memorable experience. Aarghh, or we’ll keel haul you, me hearties!

The Convent and the Artists

Geometries: Kandos in a perfect setting

Geometries: Kandos in a perfect setting

Cementa_15 has kicked off with a vengeance and the Convent is playing her part as both a venue for artworks and a haven for some of the artists to rest up at night.

The first day, as anticipated, was relatively quiet but we expect crowds to build over the four days, peaking on Saturday.

The eerie and sad image of extinct birds vanishing before our eyes.

The eerie and sad image of extinct birds vanishing before our eyes in Indicatus.

I’m pleased with the exhibits at my place – all different but work in well with the building and grounds. Geometries: Kandos by Beata Geyer & James Culkin has had its share of publicity already, hitting the front page of what’s known locally as the ‘Mud Guard’. It is a site responsive sculpture described “The temporal disjunction between the modular construction of monochromatic planes and multidimensional forms, on the one hand, and the architecture and landscape, on the other, creates an exciting and speculative juxtaposition”. Another description is giant funky pick-up-sticks, which look great in the sprawling front yard with the Convent in the background.

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Indicatus well situated in the Chapel is one of the hits of Cementa.

Another work attracting much media attention is Indicatus, 2014 by Kim V. Goldsmith. In this installation “Goldsmith plays with different elements of our relationship with birds, and their place in our environment, using technology to do so. Taking, often sentimental, notions of birds as identifiable decorative symbols of nature, they are deconstructed using sound, the burning of a series of charcoal drawings created specifically for the purpose, and smell”. The work was specifically created to complement the Chapel and is hauntingly beautiful.

The boxing tent looks ethereal against the backdrop of the Coomber Mountains at the rear of the Convent.

The boxing tent looks ethereal against the backdrop of the Coomber Mountains at the rear of the Convent.

Alexander Jackson-Wyattt & Paulina Semkowicz’s Standard Boxing Tent No.1 was intended to be installed in the nearby paddock, however harsh Kandos winds put a stop to that idea. It’s now housed in my backyard but still suffering at times from the weather (although the cold snap has diminished and the days are kinder). “Kandos has not seen a boxing tent since 1971. From then, the empty field you have passed every day has stood there waiting for nothing to happen. Til finally the boxing troupe comes to town. From the nervous crowd, your hand goes up. You are pulled into the ring and what comes next is not the end but only the beginning”. It’s an appropriate location for the tent given the boxing boys practice five nights a week in the buildings attached to the Church directly behind my home.

Bit hard to photograph this but viewers get a beautifully reflected vision from inside the Grotto.

Bit hard to photograph this but viewers get a beautifully reflected vision from inside the Grotto.

Lastly, the Grotto gets some attention with Dan Kojta’s Infinityscope. “Peering into the infinity scope’s deep velvety depths, viewers are encouraged to reflect on their spiritual state: and interior mirror returns their immediate past back to them as a future event”.

I’m looking forward to seeing more. One of the few other exhibits I’ve seen is the mural being created at the Museum by Djon Mundine which is amazingly spectacular and epic in size and cultural context. This will be a great ongoing contribution for Kandos, well past Cementa_15.

In case any readers think I’m art literate, the descriptions have all been taken from the Cementa_15 catalogue and I can’t take credit for them.

I’ll post more of some of the other works as I make my way around.

Djon Mundine's mural will be a greatly valued legacy for Kandos.

Djon Mundine’s mural will be a greatly valued legacy for Kandos.