Saturday, October 31, 2020

Last of October

We went for a longer walk than normal with the dogs, taking a route we haven't followed for quite a while. Jack proved his worth as an echidna hunter again, alerting us to this one which was digging into an embankment in search of its food, ants.

I wonder how echidnas manage bites like the one I got on Wednesday? Does the ant venom not affect them? Or do they avoid the worst biting ants?

Also spotted on the walk was this blue flower, growing in a weedy roadside:

It is apparently common flax, Linum usitatissimum, the source of linen and linseed. I put my photos on iNaturalist as it was a new plant to me, where it was identified by a Russian guy who is the top identifier of common flax world wide. But mine is the only observation of common flax anywhere in Australia. How can that be? According to VicFlora, common flax is present and naturalised in every state of Australia: Flax distribution. It is a mystery!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

White Flowers

When I did my round-up of everything flowering this month, I mentioned that the wisterias were flowering, but that the flowers looked very similar. Now there is an obvious difference. Some are white, and some are light purple:

It looks like the white wisteria flowers a bit later than the purple one. Most of the flowers open at the moment are white, while most of them two weeks ago were the light purple.
That maybe means a longer flowering period overall, so that's not a bad thing.


Below the wisteria the snowball bushes (Viburnum opulus sterile) are now in full snowball mode:

Wednesday, October 28, 2020


 An unexpected sight early this morning:

It is a bird we haven't seen here before, an Australian king parrot.

Later in the day we visited a self-guided, pop-up wildflower walk in the Woowookarung Regional Park:

There were explanatory signs beside the various flowering plants, except for this one which I had never seen before:

I was able to find out through iNaturalist later that it is Comesperma ericinum, a plant with a few different common names, including heath milkwort, and pink matchheads.


As I was photographing the flower, a medium-sized ant gave me a very painful bite on the ankle. I didn't take the opportunity to do an iNaturalist observation of it, I was only interested in getting it off me! (Three days later my ankle is still swollen, red, and sore.)

Three new and interesting encounters with the natural world!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Round Six

Note to self: Always type something before you put any photos in, or else you can't put anything before the first photo.

After it sitting untouched for about 18 months, I am making some tentative moves on the next round of Rajah Revisited, as seen above.

Part of my difficulty was choosing colours for this sixth round. I wasn't feeling inspired. However, when I saw the West Australian Quilters' display, Kerry Moore's quilt showed me that repeating the colours I used in the fourth round was the way to go.

I wish I had made notes to myself, or taken some photos, because I don't remember how I worked out the colour progression when I made round 4. All I have is the photo in this post, and of course the top so far:


I tried laying out fabrics, taking a photo then removing the colour:

But I don't think that helped. 

I've removed fabrics, added fabrics, and rearranged them. But I'm still shuffling them around.

Those I can still move above, and those that I've already assembled below:

I can only hope that once I have them all assembled and attached, the overall effect will be what I want.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Tiny Orchids

Not the orchids in my shade house, but tiny native orchids. They are popping up all over the place at the moment.

This first one is very hard to see:

So here's a larger photo of what the flower looks like close-up:

It is an Eastern Bronzehood orchid, Caladenia transitoria. The flower is only about 20mm across, and the stem is about 100mm tall. The species was first described in 1998, which is rather amazing. They are easy to miss, in other words! I don't know if they have been flowering here every year, but this is the first time I've ever seen them. But unless you were looking for them, you might never see them. On a walk around our block today we found about 10 of them flowering.

This next one is Musky Caps, Caladenia moschata:

It is larger and taller, and with white flowers it is a bit easier to see. But you still have to look closely to notice them. We found a smaller number of these in flower on our block, and again, this is the first time we have seen them here.

The last one I stumbled across while looking for the others. It is purple, although of course the camera shows it as more blue than in real life:

This is a Waxlip orchid, Glossodia major, or possibly going to be moved to Caladenia major. I have also never seen one of these here before. Although before we started attending the field naturalists club, I hadn't seen one at all. I didn't even know they existed.

While searching for orchids in flower I found lots of buds. I have no idea if they will be different species, or more of the same ones. Whatever they turn out to be, it is such a thrill to find these tiny native flowers growing right under our feet!

Thursday, October 22, 2020


This is my Coral Charm herbaceous peony about a week ago. I think there are 25 or 26 buds, so it will be an amazing display. I will have to put some in the fridge again this year, to enjoy later.


Today both my tree peonies opened their first flowers.

One of these is Vesuvian, and the other is an unknown variety rescued from a garden about to be bulldozed in Melbourne. Apart from blogger not wanting to let me enlarge one of these photos, they look pretty much the same. They are both very dark red, and hard to photograph well.

Quite luscious looking! I remember which bush is which, but I would never be able to tell by the flowers. (The first photo is the rescue bush.) Both of them have multiple buds about to pop open.

My other herbaceous peony, "Lady Bird" which was planted last year, will have white flowers, but it is still very small and doesn't have any buds this year. You might think that is enough peonies, but someone succumbed to an online special offer and purchased an extravagant number of herbaceous peonies this year, so in future years there will be many more peonies to enjoy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Remote Visiting

My mother's nursing home have relaxed their visiting restrictions a little bit further, so that now more family members can visit. My sister and one of my nieces went along today, only to discover that grandchildren still aren't allowed (even if they are 27 year old grandchildren).


So my sister sat inside with Mum, while my niece and her assistance dog sat outside. I was in Ballarat anyway, so I joined the "outsiders", and we all spoke by phone and waved through the window.

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Garden in October - Part Three

Continuing the epic tour around the garden this month, with photos that were taken on 15th, but there were just too many to publish on that day.

The next section is a combination of the native bed, and the "Gondwana" bed, which includes Australian natives and some South African plants.

There are several leucodendrons, but this red one is the most spectacular at the moment:

This Acacia glaucoptera has fascinating flowers that appear to grow from the middle of the leaves:

but botanically they aren't actually leaves.

This was a surprise:

Another flower on my Limelight protea! I had no idea it was there. There was a previous flower this year in June/July, so I wasn't expecting any more until next winter.

Cheating a bit, because these are buds rather than open flowers, kangaroo paw:

Staying on the kangaroo theme, this is a kangaroo apple:

A couple of grevilleas, first a shrub version:

and next a ground-cover:

Diggers speedwell:

Last time I posted a picture of this plant, I described it as "a native like billy buttons", because the tag was somewhere hidden underneath. And it still is.

Lastly in the native bed, the two austral stork's bills, Pelargonium australe, are flowering:

These are not just natives, they are indigenous to this area.

Along the driveway we find this daisy which attracts large numbers of insects:

It is nice to have room to grow large plants like this melianthus, which is very attractive to wattlebirds:

On the other hand, there's always space for more small plants, too, like this miniature bearded iris:


Across the front of the house not a lot is flowering right now, as most of the plants there are summer-flowering. But there are several daylilies,

a cistus,

 And this first flower on a full-size bearded iris which opened the morning I took these photos.

If you notice some touches of red in the background, those are red-hot pokers which I don't think I got a separate photo of.

Another plant with room to spread out:

One of our large echium clumps, with the last few tulips.

On the western side of the house, these succulents are covered in flowers:

As is this ceanothus:

I was surprised by this one camellia bloom:

But not surprised by abutilons, which seem to have flowers all year round:

I probably say it every time, but I love the colour of these osteospermum daisies:

Almost at the end, a weigela which is just beginning:

And a foxglove looking like it is growing in the middle of nowhere, but that is because it is the beginning of a new garden bed for annuals:

And that really is the end of the garden tour for this month. However it is not everything that is in flower, as I forgot to photograph one of my African violets, which has just started blooming again.

If you have read this far, thanks for looking at my garden! I hope you enjoyed it, particularly if you are in the northern hemisphere and heading towards winter.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Garden in October - Part Two

There are so many plants in flower this month that I am breaking up my monthly garden post into sections. 

Next on the tour around the garden is the orchard and vege garden.

Chives, with broad beans in the background:

The quince is covered in blooms:

They really are my favourite flowers in the orchard:


Not the usual apple blossom colour. This is a Redlove apple, which has red flesh. The red colour also appears in the flowers and the leaves.



The currants are also flowering, but the flowers are tiny and the wind was blowing too much to get a clear photo of them.

And for something completely different, a carrot flower:


Leaving the orchard and heading along the driveway, there is a patch of columbines which have arrived from somewhere:

They are very pretty.

Next is a rugosa rose:

A patch of Portuguese squill:

The first of the regular roses. This one is Raspberry Tiger:

The flower looks a bit damaged by the weather, but I was surprised to find even one. Some of the other roses have buds, but some haven't progressed that far yet.

On the other side of the driveway is my peony bed. The peonies have big fat buds, so there will be lots of flowers later. For the moment, there is a few flowers left on the bergenia, and the Hypocalymma angustifolium behind it is bursting into flower:

I'll finish this post on the other side of the house in the new shadehouse, where this cymbidium orchid is opening its fourth flower spike:

And the dendrobiums are perfuming the air beautifully:

There's also a white one. Too bad you can't smell them from there!

With this post and the previous one, we are probably about half-way round the garden. I'll save the rest of the photos for another day, I think.