Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Orchid Repotting

A few of my orchids needed repotting. Some had outgrown their pots. Some were in plastic pots that weren't draining properly. And some were bits off other plants that didn't actually have pots at all yet. Today I spent some of my Christmas money on some new pots and a big bag of orchid mix, then got to work.

 These terracotta pots with holes in the sides are sold as orchid pots:

So it will be interesting to see if the orchids are happy in them.

I didn't only use new pots. This pair of pots were picked up from the hard rubbish collection nearly seven years ago:

They have had various things in them since, but now they are orchid homes. They shouldn't get waterlogged like the plastic pots these two orchids lived in before. I've put some bits of tiles under pots as well to lift them up off the shelves and help improve drainage.

Here they all are when I had finished for the day:

There are still a few in plastic, so there might be more repotting to come if today's are happier in their terracotta.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Easter Already

 This came home with the shopping today:

Easter buns. I guess that means Christmas is well and truly over! But look at the date on that package:

They definitely won't last until Easter if they should be eaten before the end of this year. Of course, if people didn't buy Easter buns in December, the supermarkets wouldn't sell them, so I can't really complain.

When I showed the potholders I made last week I mentioned that I had cut more strips than I needed. Today I made myself a potholder with the extras, adding in some colours to match our kitchen:

That's probably the last project I will complete this year. It has been a year of not achieving much at all.

Monday, December 28, 2020


We had my family's Christmas get-together in the back yard of my sister's home. This year my brother joined us as well, so it was a chance to get a photo of parents and siblings all together. The previous time we could do this was nearly five years ago, and it is not likely that there will be many more opportunities.

Not sure exactly what was going on when this photo was taken, but we obviously weren't quite ready for it!

Here are Mum and Dad with some representatives of the next two generations.

In contrast to last year when the day was warm and sunny, today's top was only 15 degrees, with a cool (cold) breeze blowing. Not ideal for sitting outside, but with Mum in a wheelchair now there really wasn't the option to do otherwise.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Flowers

 Christmas lilies opening right on time:

What do my northern hemisphere friends call this summer-flowering lily, Lilium longiflorum? Maybe trumpet lily?

A different Christmas flower:

 A welded metal one, delivered by tractor this morning.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020


Way back near the beginning of the year, a Melbourne friend was doing some garden renovation, and offered me some bluestones she didn't need any more.

Travelling to and from Melbourne has been off the cards for a lot of the time since, but today was finally the day to go and get the bluestones, tour the garden, and enjoy a lovely lunch with her, her husband, and another Melbourne friend I hadn't seen for most of the year.

Bluestones loaded into the back of the ute, along with mail we collected from the postoffice on the way.

As well as the stones, I came home with plant gifts from each of my friends.

An epidendrum orchid above, and an Austromyrtus dulcis below:

Also known as a midgen berry. It is a pretty shrub with attractive flowers, which are apparently followed by delicious berries. It will be interesting to see if it bears any berries in our climate, and if they are as sweet as "dulcis" would imply.

And here's how the stones were moved around at this end of the journey:

Hooray for the tractor!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Last Minute Sewing

 Some time ago I came by this tool set:

I believe it was originally a give-away with an English patchwork magazine, but without the magazine I didn't know exactly how it was meant to work. In searching for clues online, I found this page: 

Log cabin hexi potholders

which doesn't use the tool, but helped me work out what you are meant to do with it.

These potholders went together quickly. I had cut strips for another round (Round 5 on the tool), but that would have made the potholders too big, I think. 

For the insides I went looking for Insul-Bright insulated batting as recommended on the link above, but could only get Insul-Fleece. I don't know if it is much the same or quite different. When I got it home and out of the packaging, I discovered that because it is a polyester product, they recommend using cotton batting on either side of it when making potholders. At that rate I think I could have skipped the Insul-Fleece and just used the two layers of cotton! Anyway, these potholders have cotton batting, then Insul-Fleece, then cotton batting inside, so they should offer plenty of protection from heat.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Garden in December

Here's what is flowering around the garden in December. And a warning to Jenni, if you are reading this: At the bottom there is a picture of a good creature to have in the garden. It is not a snake, but it does have scales. I was happy to see it, but you might not be! Don't scroll past the sweetpeas.

Mock orange, Philadelphus:


Red hot pokers:



The echiums have just about finished:





These everlastings:

Leptospermum "Rudolph", a hybrid tea tree:

and kangaroo paws:

These flowers surprised me, because I thought this shrub was a leucodendron:

But once it flowers it obviously isn't. It is Mimetes cucullatus, another member of the protea family.


Lots of gladdies are flowering, in every colour of the rainbow. And pink:

Remember the dahlia that was getting chomped?

It will be time to remove the milk bottle soon, as the leaves are nearly up to the top.

Christmas lilies:

Treasure flowers:

A different kangaroo paw, with an amazingly prolific rose in the background:

Onion: I'm reliably informed that this is actually garlic:




Parrot's beak (Lotus berthelotii) in a hanging planter:

And a bit of bonus wildlife:

This blotched bluetongue lizard was enjoying some sunshine on our driveway early this morning. Bluetongues are great to have in the garden, as they eat slugs and snails. This one let us take a few photos, but when the camera got closer than it liked, it turned around and darted back into the garden undergrowth.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Directionally Challenged

 What's wrong with this picture?

As I was quilting a block yesterday afternoon, I just happened to notice that the swirls went the opposite way to an adjacent block. That was a bit annoying, but today when I looked at what I have done so far, I discovered that exactly half of them go one way and half the opposite. And not in any nice regular pattern that might look intentional. Oh well, I don't suppose it matters, and perhaps no-one else would ever notice anyway. But I really thought I was doing them all the same!


Completely unrelated, but cute:  

Today when I was doing some watering I discovered these little eyes looking at me.

It is a Ewing's tree frog, sheltering in a bromeliad.

Saturday, December 12, 2020


On our evening dog walk, a wildflower growing half way up an embankment caught my eye:

My camera refused to focus when I zoomed in on the flower, but I didn't feel comfortable getting closer to it. Someone else was willing to do the necessary rock-climbing to get a close-up:
The close-ups were uploaded to iNaturalist, where the flower was identified as a Spotted Hyacinth Orchid, Dipodium pardalinum. It is quite amazing to me see an orchid growing out of what appears to be just rock!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Christmas Tree

I haven't been feeling much Christmas spirit yet this year. There's been a lack of communication among my family, so we haven't managed to make a decision about where or when or how we will get together. But this sweet package of origami stars from a friend arrived in the mail yesterday:

That spurred me on to setting up the Christmas tree:

This juxtaposition of the "2020 dumpster fire" ornament and "Tawawachan", the mascot of the Kyoto tower, amuses me:

The mascot looks like its reaction to 2020 is about the same as mine!

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


 Eager participants at our bonus field trip to the Clarkesdale Bird Sanctuary, rugged up for a wintry day:

Last time we visited we saw very few birds but they were everywhere this time. I didn't get a lot of photos of birds, but had a great time anyway.


Yellow robin, in the gloom of a rather cold and grey summer afternoon:

This little grey fantail posed beautifully for me, then took to the air just as I clicked:

I was luckier with this superb fairywren:

There were also lots of wildflowers out. This banksia doesn't count as it was planted rather than being native to the area, but isn't it gorgeous?

It is so nice to be able to have get-togethers like this again! We're squeezing in one more next Tuesday as well.