Tuesday, October 30, 2018


The pigface is flowering:
Some magenta, some yellow.
The bees love them both.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Geographically Confused

A couple of years ago I found a plant labelled "Brazilian Lily - blue flowers" at a op shop. I had no idea what a Brazilian lily was, but I like blue flowers, so I bought it.

The internet has also never heard of a Brazilian lily with blue flowers.

The plant was popped in the garden, then almost forgotten about. A pelargonium planted nearby grew and overshadowed it. But a few weeks ago the pelargonium was pruned, and a bit of light got to the forgotten plant. Now it is doing this:
It is a Portugese squill! Not from Brazil, but from the western Mediterranean region.

Its scientific name is Scilla peruviana, implying it is from Peru, which has lead some people to call it a Peruvian lily. Apparently it is also called a Cuban lily and various other names indicating parts of the world it does not come from.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Peony Update

I haven't mentioned my peonies since the last one started to grow in the middle of September. But here's how they are going today.

Firstly, the herbaceous Coral Charm:
 Last year this one delighted me with one beautiful bloom, but this year there are nine buds!

Further along the bed are the other two:
Closest to the camera is the tree peony, Vesuvian. Although it is meant to be a tree peony, so far it has not sprouted from the previous year's woody stem; it sends up new shoots from the ground each year. So it isn't getting any larger, but at least it is still alive. It seems to have only one very small bud, so might not flower this year.

Behind that is the peony rescued from a house about to be demolished in Coburg.  I didn't know what sort of peony it was, but it seems to be another tree one. It behaves like the Vesuvian, anyway. And it looks like this year I will finally discover what colour flowers it has:
I'm excited about that!


At a sit and sew day yesterday I got 4 more charity quilts basted. It would have been 5 but I ran out of pins. At least I got the batting and backing ready for that 5th one. Once these are quilted I think there are only another 3 tops to do, but the numbers seem to grow when I'm not looking, so I could be wrong.

When I came home I jumped straight into quilting the first one, and today I finished it:
I quilted an all-over swirl design in the blocks, then an elongated swirl in the border as well.

You can see the texture in this shot of the back as the quilt was blowing in the breeze:
It would be nice it they all went that quickly.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Pins Out

The pins I put in this quilt last month are now all out:
I took this photo fairly late this evening, which is giving it a bluer look than it has in real life. Looking at the front there are a couple of places I could add some more quilting. But when I look at the back nothing stands out as being under-done:
So maybe that's enough.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Staying Home

For many years I've been meeting once a month with a group of quilters in the Melbourne CBD. I wasn't sure exactly when I started going - the earliest photo of myself I could find in their online albums is from March 2007:
But searching through some old emails, I discovered that my first meeting was actually in July 2005.  13 years ago!

I haven't attended every month since - sometimes I was working, and sometimes I was away. But in recent years, even since moving here, I have made the trip into the city every month. And then today I didn't.

It felt a bit strange to not get up early and rush to get to the train on time. But I thought if I wasn't going in to town I better do something constructive with my time:
I didn't finish quilting this, but I got about 90% of it done before I stopped to take the dogs out for a walk.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Bunch of Stuff

I have fallen behind with blogging, and can't remember half the days I've missed. So here are some random photos taken since my last post, to bring me roughly up to date:

Ron's orchid started opening:

A load of dirt was dropped on the "lawn":
A few days later it was spread over the lawn to even out the surface, but I don't have any photos of that.

Blossom on a pear tree:

And a quince:
I adore the quince flowers.

I started quilting my Amanda Herring "Friendship Quilt", then had a bobbin problem:
 Then with the help of some internet advice, fixed it and could continue:

The first rose of the year:
Rugosa rose looking a bit strange because it was raining that day.

Visited an amazing display put on by the local Orchid Society:

Had two friends come to lunch one day and didn't take any photos. But it was lovely to see them!

Planted out the rest of my garden "bed":
Had to re-do the "pillow" section as well as the soil in it was completely hydrophobic so the plants were not growing.

Saw my brother for the third time in 37 years. And didn't take any photos.

This is the end of the tulips in the layered pot:
They have given us a lovely display over six weeks since the first one opened on 12th September.

And now the sweetpeas have started:

Monday, October 15, 2018

Apple Blossom

While we were away the apple trees started flowering:
Pretty pink buds that open up to white flowers.

But look at this one:
This is the blossom of a Redlove apple. The fruit has red flesh, and it appears that the flowers and leaves also have some of the red colouring.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Stay At Home Retreat

This weekend was my quilt guild's annual "stay at home" retreat. I had trouble deciding what to take with me to work on, as the main thing I need to do is my Christmas challenge piece for this group, and that has to remain secret.

In the end I took three things to do, and got them all done.

1. Binding and label added to the charity quilt with polar fleece backing that I quilted a week ago:

2. Backing made for my "Easy Street" quilt:
That's three lengths of fabric sewn together to make backing for this nearly 2.5m square quilt. Easy Street was the Bonnie Hunter mystery in 2012. Mine was last seen here in July 2016, when I was adding borders. Now I have the top, the batting, and the back ready. How long until I get it basted, I wonder?

3. Appliquéing the last three-and-a-half of these things:
That's the fourth side done for this round of Rajah Revisited. It has been a long time coming. I made the first side in March, finished the second side in June, and have taken another four months to get to this point. Here's how it all looks so far on the design board at home:
The top and bottom borders aren't attached yet, because see those bare corners? They are now meant to get something like this added:
I'm considering my options.

I was told beforehand that you should take far more than you can achieve to the retreat. I failed in that respect, but I'm glad that I did finish what I took with me!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Happy Dogs

Collected from the boarding kennel on our way home.

A quick look around the garden to see what's happened in our absence. The tulip pot's final flush of flowers:

Flowers on the lilac:

Redbud flowers:

Then it was time for some serious sitting quietly with dogs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Canberra to Albury

First stop today was the National Museum of Australia to see the museum itself, which is new since my last visit to Canberra, and the exhibition "Rome: City+Empire", which features objects on tour from the British Museum.

Many attractions in Canberra are free to enter, but you have to pay for parking. eg the Arboretum, the Botanic Gardens, and the Museum. Each attraction has signs up saying that the parking proceeds are invested in the attraction. At the museum this morning, the parking machine took all my money, said it was printing a ticket, and then nothing happened. Someone else tried it after me and the same thing happened, so it wasn't something I'd done wrong. We took note of the machine number, and went into the museum to report it. But they were not a lot of help - they don't run the parking machines, it is another company. The guy at the desk looked up a phone number for me to ring and tell them what had happened so I wouldn't be fined. I duly did, but after I had given the lady the machine number and my rego, she told me that I had to ring their faults number to report it. She couldn't put me through. I had had enough of being messed around by then and we just went and bought another ticket from a different machine. To me, if the car park is for your attraction, you should have some idea how to solve issues with it, not just fob people off with, "We don't run the carpark". Rant over!

The Rome exhibition is very good. Objects range from giant marble statuary:

To tiny objects like this copper and enamel brooch found in England, and made between 100-200 CE:

And this beautiful silver wine cup found in France:
It looks like it could be from the 1920s, but was actually made in 220-270CE.

We had a quick look through some other parts of the museum. It would take more time than we had to see everything, but our general impression was that it seemed rather "NSW-centric" rather than "National" in its focus. Melbourne, I kid you not, is represented by some mud and muddy water from the Yarra River. If you want to talk about water, how about an analysis of Melbourne's lovely drinking water compared with the disgusting water of other cities. Like Sydney. Or Canberra, for that matter! We've been missing our Lal Lal rainwater on this trip.

Phar Lap's heart is here:
Or maybe it's a fake. See the linked Wikipedia article for details. Sorry about the reflection of my hand.

Display in the foyer of an FJ Holden (one owner, who purchased in it 1955 and drove it until 1980) with a Propert "Trailaway" caravan from 1956 (no owner, it was a promotional unit).

Farewell, Canberra!

Back on the road, our next stop was the Dog on the Tuckerbox again. Compare these two photos:
It is interesting to see what has changed and what hasn't in the intervening years. The top photo was some time in the early 70s.

Next stop - Holbrook, where there is a submarine in a park:
 a submarine museum,

and a picnic shelter that resembles parliament house:
 If you would like to know why the town is obsessed with submarines despite being 430km from the nearest port, you can check out the Wikipedia article I linked to.

Finally, our destination for the day, Albury. We are staying in a "self-rated 4-star" motel, which anyone else might rate a star or two less, but which is quiet, comfortable enough, and close to the Albury Botanic Gardens.

It was a beautiful evening for a walk around the gardens.

A friendly-looking dinosaur (and baby behind) at the entrance to the children's section of the gardens - unfortunately closed on Wednesdays.

The gardens were opened in 1877, and have some beautiful big trees, including bunya pines, a massive kauri, and this ginkgo included for Jenni:

They also have an app you can use to report sightings of wildlife in the gardens, which could be fun if you were a local:

Our holiday is drawing to a close. This time tomorrow we will be back home.