Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Flowers and birds

This is a quick visit today.

 Click on the photos to enlarge them.  I showed this walking iris last year, when it was smaller.  It propagates from the flowers at the end of the fronds, which droop down to the ground as the flower fades.
 the flowers are really lovely, but unfortunately only last a day.  The plant is in a part of the garden which I don't necessarily see each day so I have to remember to visit each morning.  A couple of the fronds are hanging over the edge of the garden in mid-air so I am waiting curiously to see if a new plant develops even if the frond is not touching the soil.
 I stupidly forgot to take my camera with me yesterday when Jock and I went for a walk in the Gardens, so this was taken on my phone - I only had my dark glasses as well and I can't see the phone properly through those because of my macular degeneration.  Somehow I managed to get  some sort of a photo of all the birds - and our leafless trees in the background.  here in the tropics, the trees often lose all their leaves in early spring, then very quickly sprout a new crop.

Do pop over to Penny's blog to have a look.  She has a giveaway on offer for one of her cute dolls she has made.  You still have a week or so to leave a comment.

Now I had better go and do some watering.  Unfortunately spring seems to have passed us by - we have gone straight into a hot, windy spell and we have had no useful rain since mid May.  Everything is parched.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

More gardening photos

I've been walking in the Gardens again and have a few more photos to show - not as many as I would like because my photography was not up to scratch with a lot of the photos - I am finding it harder to see well enough to focus properly - and my memory has gone walkabout!  I had completely forgotten about the compensatory button on my camera so some of my photos looked very washed out because of our extremely bright sunlight.  Never mind, I shall go back again and practise.

 This photo of the actephila is not very good, and the butterfly in the centre (you need to click to enlarge) is showing a washed out brown instead of blue! However I couldn't resist putting it up, there were hundreds of blue tiger butterflies flying around the tree and feeding on the nectar.  When we had our boat and used to go out to the islands about 20 km offshore, at this time of the year we would often run through even bigger swarms of them out on the ocean, either flying to the islands or from the islands.
 I have shown you these swamp orchids in past years, they are stunning.  I have some plants in my garden at home but although they look very healthy I can't make them grow large and flower - but I will keep trying.
 I certainly won't be trying to grow this striking heleconia in my garden - it is nearly 3 metres tall!
 I had a Petrea creeper many years ago, they used to be very fashionable when we were first married, but you rarely see them these days.  Ours did not like its position so we replanted with something else.
 I thought I had dug out all my hippeastrums to give away as they were in too much shade to flower.  Once we lost our tree a couple of years ago, these poked their heads up and are really putting on a show.
 I finally remembered about the compensation feature on my camera when I took this photo.  I have been watching carefully to see when the flowers come out (you can see the buds if you enlarge the photo) when today out popped these beautiful new leaves with the gorgeous deep pink colour - all this while being smothered by the belleparone which should be cut back, but haven't been!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

At last a little stitching

This blog has been bereft of any stitching for quite a long time as I haven't done any.  At last I have made an effort and have a  few pieces to show.

 I started with this very ugly piece of cotton fabric which I have had for some considerable time - I can't imagine why I hadn't thrown it out it looks so awful.
 Then I transformed it to this
 and then into these!  I am happy with the result now.
 This is painted vleisoflex on stretchy velvet - quite a favourite way of changing fabric for me.
 It ended up looking like this - again I am happy,  The bookmark with the green stitching will have a tassel added as it will be a birthday present for my next door neighbour, a widow, who turns 90 on Thursday.  She is amazing, she lives on her own, does all her own housework, and if we don't catch her, will even climb a ladder to clean out her gutters!! 
We have had some pretty hot days during the last week and the pots have suddenly burst into bloom.
 my Columnea, which is over 40 years old and looking as good as ever
and the Nodding violet is going gangbusters.  now I had better go and fertilize some of the other plants

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Threatened Species Day

As yesterday was Threatened Species Day in Australia, the Friends hosted a special guided walk in our Botanic Gardens.  It was also election day for Federal Parliament, so there were a few other threatened species as well - but we won't go into that!

 The day was magnificent so I couldn't resist taking this photos as I listened!
 Maya is explaining the significance of the Tree Omphalea, the inspiration for the Bungy Jumping Caterpillar book
 These are the flowers of the Omphalea, which never open more than this and so far nobody knows quite how they are fertilized.  We are selling these plants so hopefully there will be a lot growing around Mackay soon.
 Dale is explaining that these Black Ironbox Eucalypts are very slow growing and their habitat is being destroyed.
 These Bismarkia palms are grown all over the world as horticultural species, but are endangered in their native Madascar
 This crinum lily is not endangered, but I love the flowers, especially the closeup

 Neither is this Fern leafed Grevillea - but again lovely flowers.
 This wattle is very aptly named Pretty Wattle.  By this stage I had given up trying to take photos of the endangered plants as they had no flowers and do not necessarily look very interesting.
 This Wallum bottlebrush is the most gorgeous red
 I love these Coastal Caper shrubs, they flower so profusely
Then of course we saw these two pelicans preening on the water pump in the lagoon!  Double click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Some talented artists

Last Friday night we launched the Botanica calendar at the Botanic Gardens.  A group of artists formed a Botanical Art Interest Group several years ago, meeting once a month to paint flowers or leaves they see around our Gardens.  They are nearly all self taught, and have really progressed in skill over the years.  As part of the celebrations for our tenth birthday, the committee produced a calendar from their paintings, collected over the last four years.

 We had to choose 13 images for the cover and the pages for each month, then selected a black & white pencil sketch for the envelope.
The paintings almost selected themselves, as they had to be portrait not landscape, and we also wanted where possible to have the painting on the month when it flowers.  That was the easy part.  I didn't realise how much discussion there would be to write a description of each plant in only a few lines!
Maya was describing the process to the assembled audience here.  If you double click you should be able to see each of the proofed pages.  We are thrilled with the result.

When you double click you will see that this is actually a python stuck - it had swallowed a rat and could not get back out of the shed at our son's house!  Dougal (after taking the photo) prised up the paver, then loosened a couple of screws and the python quickly retreated inside the shed again.  Dougal will be a little more careful entering and working in the shed in future.  Pythons are not dangerous and it has done a good job catching rats!    They were a bit more concerned  when on the same day Hamish almost trod on a black snake when walking home from school across a grassy area - now they are poisonous!  Life in country areas can be exciting.