Sunday, 25 October 2015

A busy week

We usually lead a very quiet social life, but for some reason this week has been quite hectic - out to dinner three times and dinner guests here pm another night!

On Friday night we had dinner at a trendy restaurant  in the City Heart - not our choice and definitely not food to Bill's liking - very fiddly, fussy servings on strange platters, with sauces drizzled round the food to garnish the plate.  I would like to have taken a photo but it was also  very dark.  The company was lots of fun so we enjoyed the evening - and we were not paying so no complaints.

I had a scaled down version of this photo, but I seem to have lost it.    This a piece of art which the council has erected in the  median strip in the City Heart.  There are several other similar pieces apparently at the other end of the street - causing considerable controversy.  I think they are quite fun. but the colours will fade within a few years with our tropical sun.  The Council has spent millions of dollars on a beautification project with very mixed results.  I think the little bits I have seen are very boring, but I almost never go in there anyway.  Many of the shops have closed  in the last two years while all of this has been happening, some because of the recession, but others because nobody could  get to them with road closures.
The next controversial act of the
Council has been to announce the City Library will  move into a refitted building in the City Heart next year as well.  Currently it is part of a precinct housing the Council administration building, an art gallery, the senior citizens Hall and t he Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre. All of these are surrounded by a park, with relatively easy access to parking.
The move was announced as a done deal with no prior public consultation which has not helped. I think there are exciting possibilities, but parking is a big issue and I am not sure the money will be available  for all the features which are supposed to go into it.  Time will tell.
Now it is time to co out into the garden to plant out some seedlings I bought yesterday.


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Crazy dog

 I finally managed to get a (slightly blurry) photo of Jock carrying his precious rabbit around.  He is now seven and was given this toy when he was only a  few months old.  he just adores it and carries it out to greet any visitors.  He also gives it a very hard shaking whenever he is annoyed with a passing noisy truck!  We are all amazed it has lasted all this time.  he has quite a few soft toys and he loves them all - he has never tried to pull them apart, which all our previous dogs would certainly have don within a few days.  Rabbit has needed some significant repairs over the years but just from normal wear and tear.
 My ardisia has been flowering magnificently this year.  I will need to prune it heavily shortly so there are no seeds on it.  Jock loves to eat them and some of the gardening books say they are poisonous so we will take no chances. At least the seeds on this variety are a boring black so I don't feel so bad.  I would be very cross about missing the glorious red berries on the common ardisia.
 The ruellia has gone on flowering for simply ages also, I think the plants are telling us something about the dry times we are continuing to experience.
Ditto the Whitfieldia, though this lovely shrub has bursts all through the year. The flowers last well in a vase also so that is an even greater plus.
The wind is still blowing and we have had no rain so I need to do some hand watering to keep my shrubs going.  I had just been watering the pot plants when I realised some of my garden beds were none too happy.  I am cutting back a lot of rubbish so I can get at the parts I want to mulch.  Thank goodness the hot weather has not really started here yet - has been much hotter down south - should be the other way round! Cheers till next time

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

It has been far too long!

I really have no excuse for being absent for so long, though I was having technical problems with my computer software for a while. Then I just seemed to keep running out of time as I am pretty slow at loading anything using my Magic software - and of course I need that to see!
So much has happened I am not sure where to begin.  We have been to Brisbane for me to be fitted with another artificial eye - looking just as good as the first one.  The socket apparently takes several months to settle down and this one is marginally larger than the previous one.  Thank goodness I won't need another one for at least three years, but I will need to go back annually for the eye to be cleaned and polished - that is a great excuse to take a holiday.
We had a lovely ten day break, visiting family and friends.  I did not even do any shopping, apart from grocery shopping, but we had lots if luscious morning and afternoon teas and lunches and dinners out - I must have done much more walking than I thought as the scales said I had only gained one kilo after all of that!
We visited my sister at Buderim after a few days in Brisbane.  While there we finally got to visit the beautiful Maroochy Botanic Gardens.  These gardens have been carved out of natural woodland and are just so peaceful.

 As you can see, the paths wind through thick scrub
 There are some brilliant sculptures placed within the area
This was one of my favourites.  I could have stayed for hours but of course there was not time, and the weather was quite showery, so we headed for cover.  Actually, we were extremely lucky with the weather all the time we were away.  South East Qld had been having some fairly unpleasant weather, but we did not get caught with rain or high wind whenever we wanted to go out at all - quite amazing.
Just before we went to Brisbane, the Garden Friends had an excursion to Rowallan Park, an environmental reserve which was gifted to the local Scouting Association about 60 years ago.
 It is a beautiful area with a lot of history attached to it and is only a twenty minute drive north of Mackay, so is very easily accessed by lots of community groups.
 This lovely gum tree stands just near where we had our lunch.
This is the drive in, with many sites available for camping - our boys spent lots of happy weekends there when they were scouts and now our grandchildren are following on.
My poor garden has been sadly neglected, but  despite this, the shrubs have flowered.
 The birds just love this Calliandra, which has finished flowering now, but I couldn't resist showing you the photos of it in its glory.
 My swamp orchids had to be tied up as the wind was blowing them over.  They looked wonderful.  Apparently there used to be acres of them in flower in swamps neare Caloundra on the sunshine Coast sixty years ago - though sadly not in the places we visited as I had never seen them till they were planted in our botanic gardens.
 I finally persuaded Bill that this Happy Plant had to go - I wanted it gone after the tree fell over about six years ago - it was only about a metre high then!  Look what happened, obviously the soil or something must have been what it wanted!
This is the after photo - actually that was taken about three weeks ago and I should take another one as there are about ten shoots growing out of the stump!  I will definitely be pruning it severely in future to make sure it stays a reasonable size.
Bill purchase some tree loppers after we saw them demonstrated on Gardening Australia and they are the best thing ever!  Now I can get the garden back into shape without having to wait for Bill's strength to chop back the shrubs.  Everything has got so overgrown in the last couple of years, we really need to cut back to waist height, then fertilise and add compost and start again - provided we get some rain to water the plants.  That is not looking very promising as a very strong el nino event is forecast for this summer.  Hopefully we will get a few storms.
I had better sign off before I bore you too much.