My Design Weekends

outdoors this autumn

Deirdre Brennan - Wednesday, April 02, 2014
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Autumn ... the last chance to enjoy entertaining in the garden.

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Outdoor style ... masses of candles or twinkling fairy lights.

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Crisp evenings .... throw rugs, cashmere wraps and campfires.

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david jones sydney ... spring flowers spring fashion

Deirdre Brennan - Thursday, September 06, 2012

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What a spectacular entrance to this annual event at David Jones, Sydney. I love the reference to the spring fashion direction with their theme 'fleuressence'.

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Having said that ... I am not sure that I can embrace the whole fleuro fashion statement ... maybe a scarf.

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However ... the idea of bringing fleuro into the home as summer approaches is a fun concept.  It need only be a vibrant cushion, vase, platter, towels or flowers !!

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Each year, the ground floor of David Jones is transformed into a floral fantasy for the start of Spring. I have such fond memories of the trip into the city with the express purpose of viewing the 'David Jones Spring Flowers' and can't recall ever being disappointed.

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weekend woollens in the highlands

Deirdre Brennan - Sunday, July 22, 2012

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Another wet and cold weekend in the highlands.  Whatever has happened to our sunny winter days and crystal blue skies.  My memories of winter are those of finding a sunny spot in the garden to sit with a tray ... pot of tea, a slice of boiled fruit cake and papers to read ... absolute bliss.  Not this year !!  I watch from the window as the first sign of bulbs appear under the trees and yearn for Spring.  Even our sasanqua camellias have rebelled with very few blossoms on show.  I am looking for a lot more colour with the Japonica's.  

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Instead we are cosying up inside with woolly blankets, throw rugs and open fires.

I do love the old fashioned check blankets and seek them out in antique shops.  I found some gorgeous ones at out local antique emporium that had come from Scotland ... such interesting colours and so homely.  More than anything I love a blanket stitch edge.  Even more homespun !! 

Cath Kidston does wonderful things with vintage blankets ... she makes cushions with them and even covers wing back chairs with one or a number of check blankets in patchwork .  They look fabulous.

Maybe our cold wet winter will inspire some of these creative activities ... in the meantime I will just bring out that scarf that I started to knit last year but didn't finish. No doubt Monday morning will bring the sun !!

 

autumn starts slowly in the southern highlands

Deirdre Brennan - Monday, April 30, 2012

 

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I am going to drip feed photos of our autumn as it seems to be much slower to progress this year. While there are pockets of wonderful autumn colour that seems in its peak.....other areas are barely starting.  Our maples....the showcase of our garden....have barely started to turn.  Luckily we already have so much other autumn colour to admire....particularly our beautiful smoke bush. 

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It seems such a shame to have inclement weather at this time of year because you really do want to be out in the garden admiring it all.  I love finding a sunny spot to set up morning tea....the glow of the sun shining through the yellow and red leaves.....it reminds me of stained glass windows.

The house always looks amazing when you can pick branches of colourful autumn leaves to put in jugs.  Colourful rosehips look equally as good.

With the nip in the air....although already some days are quite cold!!!.....work in the garden seems such a joy.  Any excuse to be out with all the autumn leaves....even if it means hours of endless raking.  It is exhilarating and fabulous exercise I tell myself year after year.

I am never alone out there though.....the families of kookaburras perched close by.....are always on the lookout for worms as you work your way through the leaves raking....raking.  They are never afraid of you....and I find them quite a comfort.

On a less strenuous note, autumn heralds the arrival of our beautiful sasanqua camellias ..... the bushes so old they are enormous. I have bowls of them all through the house ......they don't last long but that doesn't worry me a bit .....there is an endless supply down in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

a touch of autumn in the highlands

Deirdre Brennan - Sunday, April 01, 2012

 

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I am not sure if it is psychological or not but as soon as those clocks get put back ..... the days seem to close in all too quickly and autumn is here !!! In fact autumn on a cool day in the highlands can seem awfully wintery.  The leaves have turned and already falling....the memory of all that raking comes flooding back. 

We do have a good while yet to admire the colour on most of our trees.  I am not sure where the falling leaves are actually coming from except the Silver Birch which is always the first....and the messiest due to its huge height.  I seem to remember our garden being at its most colourful by Mothers Day. We often have lunch outdoors so that we can enjoy the garden and fruits of our labour before the chillier days arrive.  

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I have to say I have been a little disappointed by our Virginia Creeper which I planted for its autumn colour.  We have watched it rampantly climb up our north facing wall for two seasons.... looking forward to the turning of the leaves.  Of the two vines, one has turned vibrant red in the space of a week and is now dropping leaves profusely !!! Way too quickly for us to have time to admire it..... the second vine quite lacklustre in the colour stakes.  Just as well we have the Japanese Maples to look forward to.

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Rather than post photos of autumn gardens just yet.... I thought I would get you in the moods for autumn with the thought of snuggly throw rugs, checking your supply of firewood for those cooler autumn evenings, quaint cosy cottages for weekends away and anything in those gorgeous warm earthy tones!!!

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Images: dave coote/pale and interesting

wet weekends and barbour jackets

Deirdre Brennan - Sunday, March 18, 2012

 

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Yes another wet weekend in the Southern Highlands.....in fact most places are wet.  I was reminded just how beautiful the gardens at Milton Park Country House Hotel are when I went on a long walk.....in the rain......all very atmospheric. The trees are some of the oldest of their species in Australia.....beech and avenues of oak. 

The view to the east is absolutely spectacular....they are actually higher than Mt Gibralter....hence the misty conditions!! 

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Having dealt with the Hunter wellington boots I am now moving on to the Barbour jacket.  Thank you Annabel for the reminder about the Liberty lined Barbours.  Have struggled to find an image of these and the one shown below is not a particularly good example of the prints that are available or the jacket style.

Everybody in the Southern Highlands should own one of these jackets...essential for our climate here.  This year the entire east coast of Australia should treat themselves.

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French Style in Bowral combines Home, Garden and Chrismas !!

Deirdre Brennan - Saturday, December 03, 2011

Courtesy Suzie Anderson,Hopewood Country House

Last weekend I was thrilled to vist another of Suzie Andersons Open Days at Hopewood Country House in Bowral.  She displays her French and Country homewares, soft furnishings and ....gorgeous Chrismas decorations in stunning room displays with such style and exquisite attention to detail.

It was divine to browse endlessly, trying to absorb it all and then enjoy afternoon tea in the glass fronted Pavillion overlooking the garden.... chatting about which pieces I would pop back in to purchase.

I was thrilled to see on her website that she will continue to open on a Thursday until 15 December!!! More chance to shop, particularly for those Christmas presents and the decorations I just can't resist...and it probably won't be nearly as busy.

 

 

 

 

Gardening Essentials

Deirdre Brennan - Monday, September 12, 2011

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With my recent flurry of activity in the garden ie weeding, watering, spraying and watching out for (on an almost hourly basis) buds on my newly planted white iceberg shrub roses, I have suffered the irritation of constantly having to return to the house, take off muddy gloves and boots for something – whether it be a tissue drink of water or to scribble something earthshatteringly important down on paper lest it be gone forever.

 

This prompted me after quite some time being irritated, to sit down and compile the definitive list of all things needed at ones fingertips for a session in the garden.  These may not be everyones essentials but they are mine!

  • gardening gloves
  • both mobile and handsfree house phone ( I am sure most people garden to escape such devices however I do run a business and yes, still feel guilty about gardening when I know I should be doing work - real work!)
  • insect repellant
  • sunscreen
  • hat
  • pen and paper – to make a note of jobs you see to be done,  purchases - fertilizer/spray/ new sprinkler/just the right plant to fill a gap
  • my trusty little blue transistor radio – especially to listen to the ABC gardening show on Saturday morning
  • sunglasses
  • tissues

I keep these in a basket in the mud room so that  I can grab it and go whenever the mood takes me.  I have also learnt to keep together in the shed my most used tools such as rake, fork, small pointy ended shovel, small digger and small clippers.

The only thing missing is the timely arrival of someone caring with a tray of tea and adora cream biscuits!!  Someone who will admire all your hard work, the fruits of your labour and listen with interest to your future grand plans.  My mother filled this slot beautifully and I miss her a lot when I am in the garden.  When home my beautiful daughter will take over this role lovingly and it is such a treat.


 

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