Spring is such a wonderful time of the year, particularly for gardeners. This is my first Spring at the Convent and it is wonderful to see both the old plantings and the new spring into life, particularly my misgivings and the forebodings of the damage that the vicious Winter frosts could inflict on my new garden.
Last weekend was the first Convent Spring Retreat. My friends are always welcome but by setting aside special dates each season, it makes it easier for them to co-ordinate and plan when we can all get together. It was a wonderful extended weekend supplemented by Verve and Moet and also co-ordinated with the wonderful Kandos Hootenanny. The Convent is now much more comfortable being painted and with carpets in bedrooms, curtains and polished floors, as well as some furnished rooms, however guests are still mainly on air beds. Unfortunately the Convent plumbing was a tad overwhelmed with supporting more than one or two residents, although the roses are flourishing with the unpleasant results.
The garden is springing to life and I’m seeing the results of my planting as well as now more heavily planting out, particularly with the impending Kandos Gardens Fair, which has the Convent as one of the gardens on display (although positioned as “in progress”).
Remember a recent post when I said we had been gathering wild asparagus? Much to my delight, yesterday I noticed three spears coming up from the scavenged “crowns”. As they were old crowns, the spears are thick and generous. I’m now hoping for a bumper crop. Amazing when I think of how woody and dead they looked a few weeks ago. I think the pony poop is beginning to work wonders.
I’ll now show some of the flourishing garden residents as they are now beginning to make an impact and make the garden such an interesting place to visit each day.
Spring has sprung here in Kandos and last weekend was perfect weather (although we definitely need rain).
The Convent gardens are coming back to life. I’m happy to see a number of the plants I though had died off over Winter with the frosts, springing back. Remembering that this is my first Spring in the garden, it’s lovely to watch the young trees I’ve planted blossom and come into leaf for the first time. The trees and plants are all still quite small and dwarfed by the building but I’m sure will fill out over the next few years and fit in well.
This weekend was busy with my friends G and L visiting. G and I attended Cheesemaking workshops at Mudgee, as described in my last post. We also did a bit of gardening. The ponies next door seem to have been moved on and we took advantage of utilising some of the prolific horse poo in the garden. The dogs are enjoying this addition much more than they should! Whilst in the paddock, we noticed another local taking advantage of the wonderful sunshine.
Another adventure was harvesting asparagus growing wild on the roadside. Whilst it was very hard work to dig up the crowns, I now have a number in the side bed and am hoping for a harvest in future.
Life is a little chaotic at present as I shuffle between Sydney where the house is going on the market in the next week, and Kandos where there is still lots of work being done. I’m hopeful life will settle down a little once the house is actually on the market and even moreso when permanently residing at the Convent (which I’m sure will be the case).
Just a quick trip and back in a day to have a peek and do some watering. I couldn’t go inside as the floors are mid-polishing but could look through a few doors.
It’s hard to imagine that it was only just over a year ago that I made my first trip with my friend L to see the Convent. At the time I didn’t even know where Kandos was. Whilst I fell in love with the Convent and location, it was also very shabby and unloved – peeling paint, drab and worn floor covers and obviously unlived in for some time, with piles of crunchy dried slaters along the skirting boards.
Whilst I could see the potential and realised that much of the work was only cosmetic and within my reach (although I had originally been seeking a fully renovated property – albeit not a Convent!), I had no idea just how well the old girl would respond. She has risen to the occasion every time and looks wonderful after each tradesman works their magic. She has also revealed her own surprises with the cellar, lovely old fittings and parquetry chapel floor as well as some of the finds such as the old church sign, processional cross and wonderful original large decorative hinges.
I can’t wait now to start putting in furnishings and decorating the place with personal touches, especially since camping there with minimal personal effects since November. A mini move will take place in the next few weeks and each car trip will contain more items.
As for the garden, Spring is already in the air. Some bulbs are fading but others are still coming into their own. The Freesias under the Catoneaster are just starting to flower after having come up and had buds on them for so long. The first ones are large and bright yellow, which look lovely with the Grape Hyacinths and Snowdrops.
The old Prunus that looked so tortured (and the neighbours regularly suggested could come out with the other plants), has responded well to a trim, feed and mulch and is flowering dramatically.
The Anenomes are working hard in the central front bed as the first flowers. I’m not sure what will come up here after my “seed throw” but I’m sure I will get some Cornflowers and I’ve also added a few Delphiniums. Blue and white are great colours for this location.
The Manchurian Pears are getting their first leaves and many of the plants that were dormant during Winter and were hit heavily with the frosts, are now beginning to show signs of new growth, although I think there may be just a few casualties we will not see again.
The veggie beds are doing well – the Berry bed is shooting to life and for the first time I can see new growth on the canes. Along with the disastrous beans which were planted at the wrong time and were annihilated by the frosts, I apparently planted peas that were purely ornamental, which have now become compost fodder after waiting months for action. The long- awaited Brussels Sprouts, unless I am sadly mistaken, have gone straight to seed. I’m sure they’re supposed to have sprouts and not look like Broccoli – sorry L. I know you had great expectations but this is all very new to me. However the Broad Beans ( of which I have many planted) are now bearing well and I have taken a pile back to Sydney to make a Risotto.
Much of the white external sections have now been painted or at least been undercoated and have brightened the place up. The original front urns host Gazanias that go well with the paintwork and have filled out well. The back of the Convent, whilst still showing slight signs of the old dark stains, is now so much cleaner with the paintwork really glowing. I may need a new banner for the Blog!
Anyway, I’m hoping this last two weeks is the longest I will be away from the Convent for some time. It will be wonderful to be moving in to the renovated home, making it permanent part of my life and being there for Spring to see everything come to life.