Monday, April 30, 2012

This One (Was) Ready

It looks like the persimmons are ripening up:

And before anyone else mentions it, yes, I posted the same thing last year! Although it is interesting that the fruit has ripened and the leaves have turned red earlier this year than last.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Now You See It...

This morning a friend found that a branch had fallen from an acacia in her front yard during the night, blocking her driveway. She spent an hour attacking the smaller branches so that she could at least walk past it, but her car was still trapped.
This afternoon, a guy with a chainsaw and I visited to help. Just over ten minutes later:
All gone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Do Something

Another quilting project that has been hanging around for some time while I wondered how to quilt it. This afternoon I decided that rather than try anything fancy in this section, I'd follow the printed design on the busy fabric. 
I don't know what blogger is doing to this photo. The original is rectangular, and this one appears to have been squished sideways to make it square.

Only completed one corner, but at least that means that the next time I get to the machine I'll know exactly what I'm going to do. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Aphid Mummies

There's been a surge in aphid numbers in my garden lately, but here's some evidence that predators are active too:
These swollen-up aphids have had an egg laid in them by a predatory wasp, Aphidius rosae. The wasp was introduced to Australia as a biological control agent for the rose aphid in the 1990s. Its larvae eat the aphids from the inside, then pupate inside the "aphid mummy" - the swollen empty shell of the aphid. When they are ready, they leave by cutting a round hole in the abdomen. No holes yet, so the larvae must still be inside.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Plant Hunting

It was a cool and misty morning as I set off to get to the Friends of the Botanic Gardens Autumn Plant Sale before all the good stuff was sold!
By the time I arrived the sun had banished the mist, and streams of people were leaving the sale with trolleys, boxes and bags full of plants. Fortunately there were still a few plants left, and I bought myself three new vireyas.

Afterwards this was a nice spot to sit and enjoy the peace of the gardens.
I was fascinated to see the pink tree, as I've never seen it in flower here before. The label says it is a Chorisia insignis, (although that is supposed to have white flowers, and the Chorisia speciosa have pink ones). It's probably not a particularly noticeable tree until it flowers unless the trunk is swollen and covered in spines, which this one's isn't yet.

The tree is originally from Brazil and Argentina, but the first one I ever saw was in Amritsar in November 2007:

And then I saw another in Lodhi Gardens in Delhi just a few days later:
So it was nice to see one right here in Melbourne.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


The new RMIT building in Swanston St is nearing completion:
I like those triangles, and the way that at the time I took this photo (just before noon) they were shading the windows.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


If this happens when I'm only half-way home, winter must on its way. The lovely warm days we've been having can't last, but I'm enjoying them while they do.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunny Faces

This tray of various gazania tubestock at Plantmark today made me smile.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


While watering the seedlings today I noticed that something had been munching on the manna gums (Eucalyptus viminalis). It didn't take long to find the culprit:
Caterpillar of some species of Geometridae (there are only about 1,300 named species to pick from).

I removed it from the seedlings, and put it in my only remaining eucalyptus tree, the yellow gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon). I don't know if it can eat yellow gum, but that's all that's on the menu for it!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I Went Shopping

It was a beautiful day, so I went for a walk to the shops. Well, one shop in particular (10.9km round trip). Along the way I admired gardens, found streets I'd never walked along before, and even discovered businesses, such as a beekeeping supplier.
The haul? 3m wool/poly wadding, 5 spools of variegated quilting thread, 3.1m fabric, 7 fat quarters (lots of greens for a particular project), 1 remnant bit. Total bill: $21.70, thanks to a combination of a gift voucher I've been saving up since Christmas, and the GJ's 25%-off sale! And because I walked both ways, there is no transport cost to add.

Hope you had a wonderful Saturday, too.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Australasian Quilt Convention

It's AQC time again, and today was a perfect Melbourne autumn day for it. I had planned my day before I arrived, but the first workshop I wanted to do booked out before I arrived. No worries, I bought a kit and will have a go at home. Pictures sometime later, maybe!

I did do a Pfaff workshop which was lots of fun, trying out some of the Ambition 1.5's fancy stitches on a piece of fake suede, and then sewing it into this cute little case.
The machine was fun to use, especially as I'm not used to computerised sewing. The instructor did her best to get us all to buy one (special deal for the duration of the show) but I'm not in the market for a new machine at the moment. It was fun to play with, but I really don't need 190-odd stitches. I haven't mastered the touch-screen on my new phone yet, so I don't need one on my sewing machine too.

Of course, the main point of the day was to see the quilts, and they really did not disappoint! So much amazing work to see; and so good that it can almost be more intimidating than inspiring. But I hope I've taken away some ideas that I can use.

Best of all, I survived the day without injury this time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Persian Day

A friend had some special-offer tickets to see A Separation, the Iranian film which won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year, and I was happy to accompany her today. It is a beautiful and fascinating film, but quite emotionally demanding.

After the film I visited Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond at the State Library.
Not a picture from the exhibition. Of course, photos of the actual exhibits are not allowed, but I could have photographed the outside of the building, if I had had something other than two sets of flat batteries with my camera. I will go back to look at this exhibition in more detail later; I didn't have enough time before it closed. The library is open until 9pm, but the exhibition closes at 5pm.

The photo is actually from a leaflet I collected. The library wants to raise $100,000 to buy two Persian manuscripts, which makes you start to wonder just how much the books in the exhibition are worth in total.

For dinner I perhaps should have looked for a Persian restaurant to round off the day, but instead I had Korean bibimbap, which was very yummy, and Indian barfi. A multicultural day!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sweet Surprise

This little fellow was a lovely surprise at work this morning:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dragon's Eye

Hooray! I've finished assignment marking (for now). In between showers today I found that this daylily had opened:
Dragon's Eye daylily. Last year it didn't start flowering until June, but by then it was a bit late, and only one or two of the buds managed to open in the cold. This year it is starting earlier (although today nearly feels like June), so I hope a few more of the buds will open.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Someone's at the Door

Magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) looking for a snack at Ocean Grove today.

Also in the garden at Ocean Grove, a female blue-spotted hawker dragonfly (Adversaeschna brevistyla).
Where are the blue spots, you ask? On the male.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Time Flies

It feels like ages since I last touched my sewing machine. Today instead of marking assignments, I fired up the machine for a little free-motion quilting:
It may nearly 20 days since I touched the machine, but apparently it is 20 months since I touched this project!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bunny Chase

I don't think they will ever catch each other.
Collins St, 6:40pm. Window of the Lindt shop. Chocolate, anyone?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Angry Bees

My bees haven't had their hive opened since January, and they weren't very happy about it today:
It probably didn't help that we removed four full frames of honey. This hive is normally relatively placid, but not today! I won't be venturing out in into the back yard again for a while.

In other, non-related news, I've added code to this blog to stop my photos being pinned on Pinterest. I can't test it, as I don't have an account there, but please let me know if you notice anything not working. Pinterest users aren't supposed to pin items without asking permission of the owner. No-one has asked me for permission, so I was surprised how many of my photos I found pinned. No more, thanks!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Today I attended a working bee at the TreeProject's nursery, thinning out and transplanting some of their seedlings:
Clockwise from top right: Too many seedlings in each tube in the green box; potting mix for new tubes; tub of Seasol for soaking the seedlings in during the transplant process; finished tubes with one seedling per tube.

Soon I will have to do some thinning and/or transplanting at home as well. I won't wait until the seedlings are this big, though.