Thursday, February 28, 2013

Last of Summer

Enjoying the last bit of summer sunshine on the lawns of the State Library.

The banners between the pillars refer to the centenary of the wonderful domed reading room. More info here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Last Three

The remaining three species of Treeproject seeds have begun to emerge yesterday and today.

Not quite in focus, I'm sorry, this is the only one of the messmates (Eucalyptus obliqua) to appear so far:
Sown on 9th February.

Wirilda (Acacia provincialis retinoides) with rain drops:
Sown on 4th February.

And lastly, dogwood (Cassinia aculeata):
Sown on 3rd February.

 As soon as one plant comes up in a box, I relax a bit as I know more will follow. But until one does, I wonder if the seed was no good, or if I've done something wrong in planting or caring for them. So now I have examples of all seven different species, I'm happy. I have had to cover the boxes with bird-netting, though, as I have already lost some seedlings to bird attacks. I hope more will come up in the affected tubes.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Free Book

Delivered this morning, a book I won in a giveaway at the Garden Drum website:
It's signed by Stephen, and is described as a "gardener’s reference with detailed descriptions of the more than 2000 hard-to-get yet highly desirable plants available from Stephen Ryan’s rare plant nursery", Dicksonia Rare Plants.

It's always nice when the postie has something other than bills for me.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Skip Flower Update

The actual flowers are appearing in the large flower bracts of the Aechmea fasciata rescued from a skip in January.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fourth Up

Four of the seven different species of seeds have now started showing themselves.
Hedge Wattle, Acacia paradoxa, sown on 4th February. I've never grown these before. They appear to have their second set of leaves ready to open as soon as the seed leaves reach the surface.

Friday, February 22, 2013


In-progress shot of eleven more quilt-as-you-go blocks to send to Jan Mac:
This is part of a bid to tidy my sewing room up so I can move the furniture around. I keep finding bits and pieces. Half these have polyester wadding in them; I have never purchased polyester wadding so I have no idea where it came from. It must have been donated by someone the last time we made a bunch of these blocks, so I'm glad it is finally being used. I'm also still using strips from the magic basket. Admittedly it is not as full now as it was in that picture, but I'm amazed how long those strips have kept going. I've got more than 50 blocks assembled so far, without having to deliberately add to the basket. I do throw off-cuts into it when they are too small to put away, and I have occasionally been given fabric that I have added to the basket rather than adding it to my stash.

I'll finish these blocks tomorrow and then see what else I can find.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Two More

Two more species have begun to emerge.

Woolly teatree Leptospermum lanigerum sown 9th February.

Drooping sheoak Allocasuarina verticillata (stricta) sown 3rd February

Monday, February 18, 2013

First Up

The first of the seedlings has emerged:
It's a blackwood, Acacia melanoxylon, sown only 9 days ago.

It won't be alone for long, because here is another blackwood pushing boulders (tiny grains of sand) out of its way as it thrusts skyward:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

What Did This?

Hole in my garden, about 2cm across, with a small pile of dirt that has been dug out. Probably not a coincidence that it is beside the weeping hose, as the soil here would be easier to dig. I've been using the weeping hose to water the garden once a week or so.

Insect? Arachnid? Crustacean? I don't know, but I wasn't going to stick my finger into the hole!

Added later:
Found the answer in March. See this post.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Scatterday - T

Cinzia picked a slightly more commonly-used letter this time:

Our categories are:
# Tasty
# Tiny
# Terrifying
# Threads

What is more tasty than tomatoes straight from the garden?

Several of the plants I'm growing for the TreeProject this year have tiny seeds, but only the Woolly Teatree (Leptospermum lanigerum) starts with T. These seeds are about 2mm long.

This lecture theatre was the most terrifying thing I had to face in the last year.

My collection of variegated quilting threads.

To see what everyone else found for this challenge, visit Cinzia's blog. She has set up a linky this time, which you will find in her right-hand margin. As long as everyone adds their Scatterday post to the linky, it will be much easier to visit them all.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Lacebark Kurrajong or Pink Flame Tree (Brachychiton discolor) looking fantastic in a near-by front yard. This year it is covered in flowers, with almost no leaves. First blogged two years ago when I didn't know what it was. (Thanks again, Dee.) I've since found another one in a neighbouring suburb which this year has kept its leaves and has just a few flowers on the top branches.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Skip Flower

Remember the monster bromeliad (Aechmea fasciata) rescued from a skip last month?

It was a bit cramped in its pot, so several pieces have been divided and re-potted. Now the main plant has three new flowers forming:
And a couple of the divisions are doing the same. It seems to be happy to have been saved from the tip!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Indigo Spires

I think my front garden looks best in February. Lots of plants are blooming, and many of them are attractive to my bees:
Bee gathering nectar from salvia "Indigo Spires".

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fussy Seeds

The last of this year's batch of TreeProject seeds were sown today. To answer earlier questions, I'm one of many volunteers who grow these trees in our backyards. They are going to be used in re-vegetation schemes in country areas of Victoria. In spring they will be ready to plant out, and will go to the land-holders who buy them for a small price from TreeProject. You can read all about how the scheme works on the TreeProject website.

Woolly Teatree (Leptospermum lanigerum) seeds are very tiny:
They are about 2mm long.

A pinch or so of seeds in each pot:

Then a sprinkle of smoke powder:
The smoke powder helps germination of species which come from bushfire-prone areas.

Then gravel mulch on top:
Normally the next step would be watering-in, but this species needs capillary watering, so the pots are sitting in tubs of water. I don't know if they need to be in water just until they germinate, or longer. I'll have to find out.

So now there are 672 potential trees and shrubs in my back yard; 96 each of 7 different species. Which will germinate first?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dear Jane

The Australian Quilters Association are holding an exhibition in Box Hill this weekend, featuring about 60 Dear Jane quilts. It's at Box Hill Town Hall, open 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. Entry $7, refreshments and stall-holders there as well as the quilts. If you go on Saturday, try and co-ordinate with the Chinese dragon who will be performing in the Box Hill shopping area to celebrate Chinese New Year. But you might not want to drive there as they are expecting huge crowds, and roads will be closed for the new year festivities.

All sorts of people were at the exhibition today, including these two young guys:
 It is fascinating to see many people's interpretation of the same design, although there wasn't as much variation as I've seen on the internet. None had dark backgrounds, for example. But there were lots of different techniques and variation in the layout and quilting. I'm not showing close-ups or full quilts because there were signs everywhere asking that photos not be published. Consider this a photo of the Town Hall disco ball!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sowing Seeds

TreeProject growing under way:
Four boxes of seeds sown this morning after hot-water treatment overnight. Two are Acacia paradoxa, Hedge Wattle which I haven't grown before, and two are Acacia provincialis retinoides, Wirilda which I grew last year but which were then labelled as just Acacia retinoides.

They join four boxes sown yesterday, two of Allocasuarina verticillata (stricta), Drooping Sheoak, and two of Cassinia aculeata, Dogwood, neither of which I have grown before. Six more boxes to sow later in the week.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Lily II Finished

In time for the warm weather forecast to return this week, my second Lily dress is finished:
Tessuti Lily Linen Dress
I left the hem tucks off because I used narrower fabric, which meant the whole dress is narrower at the hem. Compare this with my original version here.

Instead of hem tucks, I put them on the shoulders
and matching ones on the pockets.

I'm ready for some more hot weather.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Scatterday - Q

Cinzia has really challenged us this time!
with the categories:
# a plant
# night-time
# something healthy
# and for something quilty: something quick

A plant:
Quince flower (Cydonia oblonga) from last September. At the moment the fruits are growing, but it will be a while before they are ready to make marvellous quince jelly.


Queen Victoria Market after everyone has gone home. I took this photo in May 2010, I haven't been into the city at night recently. If you aren't familiar with the market, you can see a daytime shot I took here.

Something Healthy:
This one is a bit of a stretch. First of all you will have to imagine that this is not a gin bottle, but a gin and tonic. Then you will have to imagine the quinine in the tonic water. As this is an empty bottle (I keep it just because it is beautiful) there wasn't any point in buying the tonic water. Tonic water originally contained a lot of quinine to act as a malaria preventative (see, it was healthy!). The gin was added to make the bitter tonic water palatable.

Something Quick:

Fasturn set. I bought this a long time ago. It was very expensive at the time, but it makes turning tubes of fabric through so quick I've never regretted buying it. I turned that brown tube through in about 2 seconds (the tube became hanging tabs to finish the wallhanging I showed in our W scatterday post). I think when I bought this set, the couple selling them may have still been making them in their own garage or somthing. The instruction book looks as if it was duplicated with a Gestetner stencil machine after being written on a typewriter. Old technology!

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else came up with for this challenging letter. There are links to the participating blogs at Cinzia's,

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lily Two

I think everyone who has made the Tessuti Lily dress has made it more than once, so now it's my turn. I actually bought this fabric to make the Lily first, but it wasn't wide enough, so I made the green version instead. For this one I am making a few alterations, including cutting it narrower so it will fit on the fabric.

Today I cut it out and got most of it assembled. I haven't done the pocket yet, as that is one of the things I'm altering and I haven't made the final decision on it yet. But here's an in-progress shot of the neckline.
Instead of using the tear-away Vilene stabiliser recommended in the pattern, I used Formband bias tape which was much easier. I had trouble tearing away the tear-away on my first Lily; some just had to stay in it for posterity. The Formband tape was Lara from Thornberry's idea. Looking at her post again, I can see that her fabric looks very similar to mine. But mine is a cotton/linen blend which came from a different retailer. I was looking for something like a cinnamon colour, but as I was buying it the assistant described it as terracotta. It is a bit more orange than I was aiming for, but I like the colour anyway.