Yes, today it is raining, raining, raining; but when I took these photos, a couple of days ago, the weather was dee-vine, my dears.

Dogs lolling on the grass, except Miss Scruffy, who is staying on the terrace, so as to keep her delicate paws from getting damp. You could see her if you had a magnifying glass handy. 

Extra dogs courtesy of my parents, who have left them in my tender care whilst they swan off on hols. Dog 1, Spike, has taken up training while he is with us. He is going to piddle for the Olympics. Every darn thing in the garden and on the freshly oiled deck is marked by small puddles. Dog 2, Milly, watches him with disdain. She thinks he’s over-reacting; you can see it in her eye.

The thorny monster is in bloom! Oh Albertine, you old heartbreaker, you may be an unruly devil, but how can I stay mad at you?

A little grey flycatcher has built a nest in a vine under our eaves. There were two babies in the nest, who, in the few days since I took this photo, have grown up and flown away. Wow. Talk about abbreviated childhood. 

I went a little mad out on the hill next to the drive and planted bright red bottlebrush and purple alogyne together. Good Lord, what was I thinking? But actually, I rather the like the result. It has a lot of energy. It probably helps that I don’t have to look at it all the damn time, only when I drive past, so it doesn’t grate on me. It may be hard to take on a hot, sunny day, however.

Colour can be tricky in the garden, and even more so in hot weather. In the tropics and sub-tropics, the light seems softer and bright colours look great; they give a real zing to a garden. Here in Melbourne, a hot, sunny day has a very harsh light and the sun reflects off bright colours horribly, making you squint. On such a day, cool, white flowers with lots of deep greens around them is soothing to the eye and to the spirit.

Because the area around the terrace receives the most direct sun, I have planted mostly white flowering plants around it, for that very reason. Some blue flowers add interest, as do the yellow roses that lead up to the deck. But an all-white garden would be quite boring, n’est pas? (Typing that, I feel like Inspector Closeau; “Do you have a REUM?”) Further out in the garden, such as on this hill near the drive, a little bit of gaudiness keeps it interesting.