My Favourite Window

April 15, 2015

Birthdays Come and Go

Snow! And we haven't even had a frost here in Ashley yet. The snow in the photo is covering Sugar Loaf hill on the Port Hills around Christchurch - 14th April. It had melted away by early afternoon. 

Until now Autumn has been mellow here. After a long, dry and windy summer, the weather softened to cool, foggy mornings and warm, calm days. 

Last year Autumn was a miserable aberration so I've been pleased to see the Indian Summer character of Autumn return here. 

This butterfly stonecrop flowered handsomely in amongst the foliage of an old fashioned rose - making a pleasing visual pairing not of my design. I don't know which variety of Sedum spectabile this is because it came in a garden bouquet for Elwin's funeral, but it is a good deep pink.

Yesterday was Elwin's birthday and in our school holiday meanderings, Kitty and I remembered him with quiet asides. Later Bryony joined us for a night at the pictures and we imagined he would have enjoyed this family time together.

Another autumn birthday in our famly is Bryony's on 
13th March. She turned 21 last month.
We spent her special day together eating brunch and morning tea - in that order - at The Colombo, which is a classy city shopping mall grown up out of the earthquakes. We ate our brunch off a billiard table and over-indulged on macaroons.

Later we were drawn by the beautiful weather, to the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, where Bryony photographed this monarch butterfly feeding on elecampane...

and we loosely recreated a photo from her infancy in the rose garden. 

The following day - after attending to small, Great Gatsby, details -

It was party time.

As mother-in-charge I was nervous about holding a 21st birthday party at home - but Bryony loves making events happen here - and I needn't have worried. There were no gate-crashers, no unruly or messy behaviour, and nearly all the guests made a lot of effort with their costumes. Bryony's friends who so often make their own music, set up a sound system and I enjoyed the novelty of seeing our period-styled living room heaving like a night club. 

What was a problem of sorts was an empty water tank. Discovered the night before, and due to an unidentified leak, there was no way to fill the tank to a usable level, before the 50 or so guests arrived. So water was carted to washing points and particularly the toilet, and all the guests were given toilet-use instructions as they arrived, which they followed, bless them. 
The leak is fixed now, but I have no doubt there will be other challenges to face as Autumn turns to Winter, here in Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden.

Butterfly stonecrop, ice plant - Hylotelephium spectabile var (formerly Sedum spectabile)
Elecampane, horse-heal, elf dock, marchalan - Inula helenium
Red rose - Rosa 'Lavaglut'