Sunday, September 30, 2018


Japanese maple flowers:
I didn't notice the flowers last year. Or maybe there weren't any?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Third Layer

Fortunately those cockatoo garden inspectors didn't touch this lot of tulips:
Perhaps it is a bit too close to the house for them.

So far the first layer of tulips (light pink and white) and the second layer (burgundy with white edges) have opened, and now the bottom layer buds are appearing. There's one visible on the far left of the photo.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Melton and Macedon

We had a beautiful sunny day for a Horticultural Society bus trip to Melton Botanic Gardens and Mount Macedon.

Morning tea on arrival at Melton:

I have been to the gardens before, but I can't find it on my blog. Somehow must not have blogged about it.

The gardens are new, with the first eucalypts planted in only 2011. There are sections dedicated to plants from various parts of the world with similar dry climates, and an amazing collection of unusual eucalypts. See a map of the gardens here. The volunteers behind the garden have done a fantastic job so far, and have plans for more development in the future.

This is part of the garden devoted to plants from Western Australia and South Australia:
I was very taken with the grevillea in the centre of the photo. Below is another one by itself:
Isn't that an amazing plant? It is Grevillea magnifica. It comes from the south of W.A., and likes sandy soil. So that means it probably wouldn't survive in our clay. Too bad!

The gardens are full of colour:
Intense blue flowers on Lechenaultia biloba.

Intense gold of Banksia ashbyi:

Information board about the dryland eucalyptus arboretum:

 The biggest gum flower I've ever seen, with my hand for scale:
I'm not sure what species it is. The label I photographed was for Eucalyptus pyriformis, but pictures of that I've found don't match this one.

Another amazing flower:
This one is Eucalyptus rhodantha, or rose mallee. These flowers are also very large, about 7cm across. You can see an unopened bud below the open flowers (it's the pointy thing pointing down).

Last picture before we move on:
Fascinating gumnuts on Eucalyptus kingsmillii.

There is lots more to look at at the Gardens. Well worth a visit if you can get there. The nursery wasn't open today, which was unfortunate. But all the plants we have purchased there in the past are doing really well in our garden.

Our next stop was lunch at the top of Mount Macedon. I haven't been here since about 1982 - not long before everything was burnt in the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983.

Even the Memorial Cross is new since my previous visit - it was re-built by the Grollo brothers in the 1990s.

Young people:
This lookout is about 980 metres up, so is it worth risking your life to be a couple of metres higher than that? Is the view any different? Anyway, one of those lumps on the far horizon is our local mountain, Mt Bunninyong.

We left the mountain and went on to the town of Mount Macedon, best known, according to Wikipedia, for its "collection of 19th-century gardens and associated extravagant large homes". Here we visited the garden of Tieve Tara, which I have not been to before.

This bridge is covered in wisteria, which should be beautiful in a few weeks when it is out:

It is quite early in the season, so a lot of the deciduous plants are still bare. But there are touches of colour here and there, like this rhododendron:

And these yellow flowers on a tree (Corylopsis sinensis, fragrant winter hazel, according to Google):
Nothing was labelled in the garden, which was frustrating at times. Even the plants for sale had no labels.

A faint green tinge on the trees, and a bit of blossom:

The leaves and flowers on this rhododendron are very large. This time with a ruler for scale!
Another case where a label might have been nice.

The gardens are open in spring and autumn. It would be nice to see it in both seasons, to compare and contrast.

The last stop on the tour was a quick visit to two nurseries in town. On one side of the road, Stephen Ryan's Dicksonia Rare Plants, where he had a peony already in flower in the garden:

And across the road at the Mount Macedon Nursery I admired these garden sculptures by Jason Shaw's Freestyle Art of Sunbury:

But they wouldn't have fitted in the bus. (And were probably also quite expensive.)

Congratulations if you made it to the end of all that!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Sulphur-Crested Visitors

This morning a flock of about 25 sulphur-crested cockatoos dropped by to inspect the garden.

They were unimpressed that I still haven't planted anything in the main part of my "garden bed":

After some discussion they decided that the melianthus needed some pruning:

And that I should have been dead-heading the daffodils:
Unfortunately they chose some not-dead heads to demonstrate their preferred technique.

At that point I thought I should go out and introduce myself, but as soon as I said, "Hello Cockies", they all took off to inspect someone else's garden. How rude!

I wasn't very happy to find this:
I had noticed the almost-open red tulip early this morning when I was letting the chooks out, and made a mental note to photograph it later when the light improved. I wasn't expecting that it would look like this before I got the chance.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Birds and Flowers

Spotted while out walking today, a pair of crimson rosellas paying a lot of attention to a hollow:
The hollow is bigger than it appears, as the parent bird disappeared into it completely. I presume they have young in there, but I couldn't see any other little heads sticking up. We will have to keep an eye on it over the next little while.

Further along the road I noticed a tiny bird on a fence. Zooming in with the new camera I could see it had a lighter patch over its eye:
Then it turned around just as I was lining up another shot:
When I got the photo onto the computer I was glad of the back view, as it allowed me to identify the bird as a spotted pardalote, Pardalotus punctatus. They are very tiny (8 to 10cms long) and it is almost impossible to get close enough to see them clearly with the naked eye.

Bonus side view when it turned again:

Wild flowers growing on our block. First some greenhood orchids:
Nodding greenhood, Pterostylis nutans.

Hardenbergia in flower:
The new camera handles purple a little better than the old one did.

Another test for the camera:
A clump of spring stars in the garden. In real life they are more purple than this.

A nice find in the greenhouse:
Heaps of buds on a dendrobium orchid!

And lastly, an update on the layered tulip pot:
The second layer are starting to open, only a week after the first ones. They are darker red with white edges, and a pointy shape. I'm not sure what the ghostly pink splodge above the flowers is. I think I must have had the sun shining on the camera when I took the photo.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Pins In

Finally got my cutting table cleared off so that I could baste this quilt:
It is the Friendship Quilt designed by Amanda Herring.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

White Stuff

Woke up to this this morning:


I think this is the thickest we have had,
But of course it all melted once the sun came up.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Garden Happiness

First tulip to open of the ones planted out in the ground:

I was surprised to notice this cyclamen had flowers:
It was in flower when I was given it in May last year, but when it had no flowers in either autumn or winter this year I thought it was just not going to flower. I was wrong!

And finally, the third peony:
Hooray! It is actually sending up two sprouts like this, but I couldn't get them both in focus at once.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Spring is Springing

Peach blossom in the orchard:

More daffodils in the front "lawn":

And now there are four tulips open in the layered pot:
They have streaks of darker pink that weren't obvious when the first one opened (in my last post).

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Spring Project

Yesterday I received a surprise gift of a new camera. It is much snazzier than my old one, with nearly double the megapixels, 5 times as much zoom, and all sorts of fancy features. So I took pictures of the dogs, and progress pictures of a garden project I was working on, and then discovered that none of those pictures really existed because I hadn't put a memory card into the camera yet. D'oh!

So, here's that garden project half-way through:
These concrete planters came from a house a few doors up from my house in Coburg. They were hand made, many years earlier, by the man who had lived there. When he was no longer around his children had a sale as they cleared out the house, and I snapped them up.

They have been empty for a while and I thought it was time to set them up near the front entrance and plant something in them.
Here they are after I finished today. The terracotta elephant and some of the other bits and pieces you can see are still to be moved away. And I now realise I didn't take any photos of the actual plantings. The rear pots each have a purple cordyline and a couple of pink-flowering Myoporum parvifolium. For the front ones, I found a couple of large echeverias we had that needed re-potting. They might be a pair, although one is nearly twice the size. Hopefully the other will catch up now it has more space. Around them I planted a small pieces of Sedum spathulifolium "Silver Blob". I hope they will all be happy and make the front entrance look good as they fill out the planters.

Speaking of planters filling out, look at this:
A tulip!
It looks as if all the first group of buds are this light pink. They should be followed by two flushes of different colours as the later tulips open. That's the theory, anyway!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Touch of Pink

Since my Coral Charm herbaceous peony appeared above ground a month ago, I've been anxiously checking the two tree peonies every time I walk past, looking for signs of life.

Today I wasn't actually looking, but as I walked past I thought I caught a tiny touch of pink out of the corner of my eye:
Tiny new leaves about to pop out of the split bud at the top. Hooray! It's alive! This is my rescue peony, so I have no idea what sort of flowers it has yet.  It did grow a bud last year, but it never developed into a flower. Maybe this year?

The remaining tree peony, Vesuvian, will be getting an even closer look every time I walk past it now. Is it alive?