Sunday, 30 September 2012

Around my garden

There is nothing very creative in the textile field happening here at present.  I am having too much fun getting back into my garden after nearly two years of almost total neglect - other than watering!  It is wonderful  to be able to dig and kneel again.
 I hope these enlarge when you click on them so you can see the white fluffy flowers in the middle of the yellow ones.  The yellow shrub is so old fashioned you can't buy it in the shops any more, such a shame.  I know it as prawn plant or bellaparone, but when I googled it I saw it as shrimp plant or Justicea brandegeeana, but still saying you can't buy it!  It make the most wonderful splash of colour all through winter, in fact most of the year, especially now we have sun in our back garden again.  The white fluffy flowers were supposed to be pink, they are a lily pilly hybrid, and I planted the shrub there before I knew the shrimp plants were going to take over!
 This Brunsfelsia has a lovely perfume.  It is also called yesterday, today and tomorrow as the flowers come out a deep blue, fading to mauve after one day, then to white the following day.
 I have had this donkey's tail for about forty years, I have almost lost it on quite a few occasions, but now I seem to have found a place where it is happy.
 My graptophyllum is flowering really well, despite the lack of fertiliser (the leaves are quite yellow), or maybe it is the swan song before it dies!
 Once again our Schotia tree is full of very noisy rainbow lorikeets and lots of other birds.  They are very hard to photograph though.
 I really don't know why this Whitfeldia has managed to look so healthy.  It is a pot of cuttings I grew to give to a friend a year ago, then we both got sick and nothing ever happened.  Look at the flowers, much better than the parent plant in the outside garden.  I brought this pot out of the greenhouse to take the photo, obviously I shall have to move the other plant somewhere else!  First up, we need to start again with some of the garden beds which have set like concrete with tree roots. 
To finish up, here is Jock concentrating very hard and willing Bill to give him a macadamia nut which he absolutely adores!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Gardens update

This morning several members of the Botanic Gardens committee did a walk around the Summerlands sector of the Gardens so we could update that section of the Friends handbook.  I took lots of photos, but I need some time to find the comparison photos from a couple of years ago to show you how much everything has grown.
I have some photos to show you which I took while I was waiting for the other members to arrive.

 All these photos should enlarge with clicking.  This is a tree waratah, native to North Queensland, absolutely gorgeous.
 I know I have shown you the swamp orchid in previous years, they are looking even better this year.  I have planted out some small ones, hopefully next year I can show you some from my own garden.
 This tecomanthe goes by the nickname of Roaring Meg, I have no idea why, but it is beautiful.
 This wall is representing the layers of coal and the other types of soil in which it is found.  The Bowen coal basin is situated west of Mackay with dozens of coal mines, providing much of Mackay's employment and wealth.  This section is planted with plants which grow in that area.
I love this Melaleuca linariifolia or snow in the summer, which so far is resisting the myrtle rust which is infecting many other melaleucas in the Gardens. 
Now I need to do some watering.  We have suddenly got quite hot days with drying northerly winds blowing and we have had no rain for nearly two months.  Everything is holding up well so far, but the tank is nearly empty so a good storm would be lovely.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Cape Hillsborough

Yesterday the Friends of the Gardens had a day out, visiting Cape Hillsborough, a nature reserve about an hour's drive north of Mackay.

 The weather for the day was just perfect - a pleasant breeze blowing, but not a gale!  I set up the lunch things while the others (about 30) were ferried to another valley where the local ranger, who just happens to be our vice-president, pointed out lots of interesting features about the ecosystem.  By the way, I think ferrying in the sense I have used it, must be an Australian colloquism - I simply meant car pooling as  there was only enough room for five vehicles over there.  One of our American Friends thought we were going on water - she had not visited the area before.
 I took a couple of photos of the beach to show you.  When the tide goes out you can walk from the mainland across to the little island.  I tried to take a photo of the sand to show you all the iron pyrites, but it does not show up.  Our boys used to be very excited when they were little, they were sure they were going to be rich with all the gold on the sand!  Sadly it was only fool's gold.  I am not sure where it comes from, but this is the only beach where I have ever seen it, the whole beach glistens with the specks.
 This friendly kookaburra came very close.  He was sitting in the tree just above the BBQ and was obviously hoping someone would leave it unguarded.  Usually there are quite a few wallabies about, but they had deserted the area yesterday so I can't show you any photos of them.
Foolishly I packed my camera in an accessible place as there were some really good photo opportunities on the way home.  As we were in our Landcruiser, we came home by a back route over a very rough road, but very scenic.  We shall just have to go back again another day.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The postman has visited again

This lovely felt heart came in the post yesterday.  Jackie from Dogdaisychains gave it to me - I had sent her some tweed a while ago which I bought in Scotland and have never used.  The heart has been made into a brooch, but when I look at it I think I may thread a chain through it and wear it as a pendant sometimes.

 Jackie makes really beautiful felt pieces so do go to her blog to check it out.
 I have not been entirely idle, I have made a few of these organza flowers, some are brooches and some are hair pins.  I saw them on Linda Vincent's blog and she kindly sent me the link to a tutorial for them.  They are fun to make so I am hoping they will sell in the shop at the Gardens.

 Spring is definitely arriving in my garden.  I love these bedding begonias.  They keep on making a lovely show and can be neglected shamefully!
 I am fascinated by this little walking iris flower.  A friend sent me an offshoot in the mail last year, a tiny shoot, which has grown into the plant below.  Apparently it drops its flowering shoot to the soil and forms another plant.  I shall have to move it to a better spot as I need to rejuvenate this bed soon.  I think the plant originates in Brazil.
Double click on any of the photos to see more detail.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A visit to Brisbane

On Tuesday we had a quick trip to Brisbane, flying down in the morning and back again at night, a long but fruitful day.  Bill had a medical appointment in the afternoon and was very happy with the results.  Because we had plenty of time before the appointment we took the opportunity to visit the Queensland Art Gallery to see the incredible exhibition from the Prado in Madrid.  Photos were not allowed but I have scanned these two from the brochures
 I was completely blown away by the exhibition and was sorry we had such a short time to look at 100 paintings.  I loved the paintings which had lots of textiles in them, they almost looked as if the fabric was glued to the picture instead of being painted on!
 This is only the top half of this painting, double click on it to see more detail - superb.  I could have spent the whole day there, but only had a bit over an hour - much better than not seeing it at all.

This is a photo of the old observatory which is a landmark in Brisbane.  It was built by the convicts to crush grain, and initially was powered by either wind or a treadmill, commencing in 1828.  There was rarely enough wind, so the unfortunate convicts operated the treadmill to crush the grain.  In1861 it was converted to an observatory and signal station.  You could see right out into Moreton Bay and the observer would signal when a ship was entering the Brisbane River.  It hasn't been used since the late 19th century, but is heritage listed and maintained by the Brisbane City Council.

I had intended to wander around the city and take a few more photos, but we were both tired and footsore so just went back to the airport and read while we waited for our plane!