Thursday, September 30, 2021

WOOFA Report

 September has not been a very productive month for me. I did finish my Greenhouse wall hanging:

After that I intended to sandwich and quilt two of my tops: Scrappy Mountain Majesties,

and Plaid-ish.

I got as far as finding backing fabric, and piecing batting for one of them, but then I stalled. So for October, my WOOFA (Working On Or Finishing A ...) project will be these two quilt tops. (Not that I can believe we are up to October already).

Linked to Cheryll's WOOFA post. I'm sure everyone else achieved more than I did this month! Check it out here.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Garden Tasks

One of my hellebores has produced a large crop of seedlings. I've popped a few in pots, and if they grow well I can pass them on to other gardeners:

This afternoon I spent a lovely hour or so trimming the crepe myrtles:

There are five of them here, although one is in shadow so hard to see in this photo. They are just about to burst into leaf, so I trimmed out crossing branches, and branches growing into the centres instead of out. It is something I used to do to the crepe myrtles in my old garden every year, but that I haven't done to these ones before.

Thursday, September 23, 2021


We frequently find furry caterpillars with red heads and legs around our block, on a few different plants, but have never been able to get anyone to identify what species they might be. So this is an attempt to find out:

Several caterpillars are now living in captivity in this box. If they successful pupate, we will find out what they turn into.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Orchid Hunting

Today the plan was to attend a gathering of 10 people (maximum allowed under current restrictions) to hunt for orchids at Dereel and in Enfield State Park, both of which are in Golden Plains Shire. But from midnight last night Ballarat went back into lockdown for a week, meaning that half of the people who were planning to attend were not able to. Fortunately the person leading the hunt lives in Golden Plains Shire, so the hunt went ahead, and as residents of Moorabool Shire we were able to take part.

Covid-safe orchid hunting:

Orchids we saw included:

Dwarf greenhood (Pterostylis nana):

Small gnat orchid (Cyrtostylis reniformis):

Waxlip orchid (Glossodia major):

I think this is a Pink lady fingers (Caldenia carnea), although that hasn't been confirmed by anyone:

Mayfly orchid (Acianthus caudatus):

I took many many photos, in the hope that some were in focus. These tiny flowers are not easy to photograph as the slightest breeze moves them. And I don't have a camera like these ones:

If you enlarge this photo you might just be able to see the orchids they are photographing. From memory they are bronze bird orchids, (Chiloglottis ×pescottiana).

I ended the day with photos of 10 different orchid species, and 20 other species of plants, insects and fungi that were mostly new to me. It was a successful day out for those of us who were lucky enough to be able to attend.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Garden in September

Lots of plants in the garden are waking up for spring. Here's what I found flowering today.

Spring stars:


The pink flowering quince was absolutely buzzing with bees:

But the red one which is also flowering seemed to have no bees in it at all.

In the orchard most of the plums have just about finished blossoming now. The nectarine is looking fabulous:

This peach is pretty:

And this almond is still going:

I think I can see some blueberries in the future:



Leaving the productive part of the garden, here are some hellebores turning lovely colours as they age:

The bergenia is covered in new flower spikes:

Several aloes are sending up flower spikes in the succulent garden:

All the leucadendrons are still flowering. This one is Leucadendron salignum "Jack Harre", a fairly recent addition to the garden:


My protea "Limelight" has a couple more flowers open:

Most of the red hot pokers (Kniphofia) are between flower flushes at the moment, but this one is still going:

Digger's speedwell, Veronica perfoliata, is planted in a few spots around the garden, and is just starting to flower again after a winter break:

I might skip a few because otherwise these posts get too long! Imagine some lavender and rosemary here, plus some yellow and some white daisies. Then there's some spring bulbs:

Imagine some snowflakes and grape hyacinths as well.

Some insect life:

Australian Painted Lady in the thrypomene above, and an unknown caterpillar in the forsythia below.

And an unidentified fly in a daisy:

Borage in front, euphorbias behind:

Behind here there are normally some abutilons, which I have noted before are always flowering. Only they aren't flowering at the moment because someone has "pruned" them back to the ground. Hopefully they will re-grow. There are also a small number of camellia flowers, but they are just about finished. The viburnum tinus further behind here is still covered in flowers.

Lastly, in my shade house, this orchid is still flowering:

That's it for the garden in September, but there are many plants budding up ready to bloom soon. October could be a big month.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


 Time to pick the first crop of mushrooms:

I should have weighed them, or at least photographed them, before they were chopped up and cooked.


A couple of weeks back I was talking to a friend (by phone) about rule compliance here and in her part of Melbourne. I said that around Ballarat it seemed the people least likely to be wearing a mask were young men in hi-vis gear. So when today a few covid exposure sites emerged around Ballarat, I wasn't surprised that several are construction sites.

The result is that from tonight we will be in a strange situation of being "lockdown adjacent", as Ballarat is entering a 7-day lockdown. We don't live in the city of Ballarat, but it is where just about everything we do is. It is where we do all our shopping, and where I work, so in many ways it will be just like being locked down.

Added later: A neighbour tells me that they had booked a week's holiday at a regional tourist destination, but that the accommodation provider has now cancelled their booking because they "live too close to Ballarat".

Saturday, September 11, 2021


Since I discovered earlier this year that Ararat had a gallery that specialises in textiles, I have wanted to visit it. I'm not sure why I had never known that Ararat Gallery TAMA (Textile Art Museum Australia) existed, but perhaps because it has only had that name since 2018. 

With lockdown lifted, but this morning's case numbers so high I expect it to be reimposed at any moment, we grabbed the opportunity to take a drive and check it out.

"Thread of Life" is a display of Japanese textiles, particularly of boro pieces, but also a small selection of other Japanese items from the gallery's collection.

The exhibition that we enjoyed the most was "Obsessed: Compelled to Make", which included works by 15 artists, each accompanied by a video of the artist at work. I was very glad we decided to visit today, as this exhibition closes on Monday.

One of my favourites was a group of small ceramic creatures by Vipoo Srivilasa:

Accompanying video here:

Another was a life-sized sculpture of a woman and companion animals by Tjunkaya Tapaya:

It reminded me a bit of my dogs climbing all over me when I sit down. The accompanying video is here:

We then took a walk around the town. Outside the RSL is this unusual sculpture, "Ghost of Gallipoli":

My photo doesn't quite capture how horrified he looks in real life.

The Alexandra Gardens were a nice place to walk around, with lots of waterbirds on the lake.

Volcanic-looking mountain, Mt Langi Ghiran, to the east of Ararat:

It was nice to have an outing to somewhere I've never been before. I've driven through Ararat, but I think this is the first time I've ever stopped there.

Thursday, September 9, 2021


Lockdown 6+ or whatever number it is started almost 3 weeks ago. That day I posted about two new projects; a mushroom growing kit, and a wallhanging.

During the lockdown I have worked on the wallhanging, and regularly misted the mushroom kit. Most days we took the dogs for a walk, and on those walks we came across some interesting wildlife.

A swamp wallaby, seen on 4th Sept:

Actually there were two, but I only got a photo of one of them.

A koala, seen on 6th Sept:

I think there might actually be two, because the shapes seem to not be quite right for just one. It could be a mother with a largish baby. But it was a very long way up in the tree, so it was impossible to get a clear view.

A mob of kangaroos, seen on 7th Sept:

They were suprising, as initially I only saw three or four of them. But once they started moving, more and more appeared that had been lying down resting in the long grass. There are 16 of them in this photo.

Yesterday we got the news that this lockdown is finishing at midnight tonight.

I finished the wall hanging this afternoon! I was so excited to have it finished, I forgot to take it outside to get a good daylight photo before it went up on the wall.

It is hanging above the dresser that came from my parents' home last month.

And the mushroom kit?

Tiny mushrooms are appearing. Another success!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Not Finished

Today was meant to be the end of our lockdown, but that isn't happening.

Last Saturday I posted about the first ever open flower on my Vulcan magnolia, but look at it now!

There's still one or maybe two buds to open. The flowers are just gorgeous:

And here's the first tulip of spring:


With our lockdown being extended to who knows when, it doesn't matter that quilting my Greenhouse wall-hanging is taking longer than I thought it would. Progress so far:

About three quarters of the background remains to be quilted. Sorry the photo is so dark. I've tried to lighten it up without bleaching out all the background, and this was about the best I could do. Once it is finished I'll take it outside so I can photograph it in good light.