QUOTE OF THE WEEK

When I go into the garden, I forget everything.  It’s uncomplicated in my world of gardening.  It’s trial and error, really.   If something doesn’t work, it comes out, and you start all over again.

Emilia Fox

The plant nursery label said Broccoli, but methinks this is some kind of Cabbage. I could be wrong. I’ve never grown Broccoli or Cabbage before, but I REALLY REALLY think this is a Cabbage.

 

1976 – Vicki holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Well, the Cabbage was finally pulled out yesterday.   It had grown like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and of course, I really didn’t want to eat it, having seen the real Leaning Tower of Pisa in 1976.

I know what it takes to hold up a vast structure and the Leaning Cabbage plant was REALLY leaning over and threatening to topple over.

I now have an empty large pot, so what shall I plant next.   Mmmmmmm……….maybe some Broccoli ?????   😀

PS. I’m very pleased to say I didn’t take the photo on the left, but that’s me in the blue t/shirt and flared jeans.

A CHANGE IS AS GOOD AS A HOLIDAY

I figure its time for a change of subject matter as the sky is flawless with not a cloud in sight and I’m stuck at home listening to the construction crew across the road belting out nail gun ‘bullets’ at lightning-fast speed.   The sound is getting a wee bit tedious and boring today, but far too sunny to close the sliding door out to the balcony.

I’ve had a constant stream of House Sparrows dropping in for a drink at my birdbath on such a warm afternoon, but none staying long enough for a real photoshoot.

Well…….maybe one or two……many of the avian visitors are slim and quite small so I can’t help but wonder if they’re this Spring’s House Sparrow offspring.  The stripe behind the eye denotes a female, but as far as I can see all the young sparrows have this stripe.   Makes me wonder at what stage House Sparrows reach puberty and turn into little boy sparrows with their rust-coloured caps.

 

Time to raid the archives for some uplifting images of times past…..back to 2013…… down at Brighton Beach with its iconic colourful bathing boxes (in both Summer & Winter excursions).   You don’t need me to point out which of the following was made in Summer and which images were made in Winter.

Enjoy the excursion, whatever the weather.

BALCONY BABIES

I must have missed it yesterday.

I must have missed it last night (as I quenched my garden’s thirst).

But this morning, the minute I opened the roller blinds I saw it.

Or should I say them.

Tomato variety #2

2 new babies.

One, perhaps 24 hours old, and the other………………..born in the last few hours before dawn (?)

Tomato #2 is the proud parent, (and I am the proud Grandmother), of 2 new babies 😀

 

……….and finally, new leaves on my Sweet Basil plants (there are 6 Basil seedlings – 2 at the base of each Tomato bush to act as Companions).

I couldn’t have been happier this morning.  My Spring garden for 2019 is finally beginning to ‘flesh out’.   I’ve got a few empty pots at the moment.   I pulled out the Italian Parsley which had gone to seed and the Asian lettuces and Rocket, both of which had bolted’  and turned yellow, out yesterday afternoon.

It’s going to be fine (and even hot) over the next 4 days, so time to clean the windows for bird photography purposes and decide on what to fill the empty pots with.

Eliza’s suggestion of some fertilizer must have done the trick for the Basil seedlings.

NOTE: If anyone has any suggestions for my veggie gardening efforts, please don’t hesitate to voice them in the comments section.   All constructive suggestions and/or criticism is welcome.   Apart from my short-term memory problem (when I tend to forget what I’ve read the previous day), all vegetable garden efforts are usually experiments on this hot west-facing balcony.

Once the really hot weather arrives, I have the air-conditioning on indoors and the outlet spews out hot air over the north end of the balcony, so usually much re-arranging has to be done.

Herbs?  Well, I used to have a large Herb Garden about 35 years ago, but that wasn’t a hot west-facing garden, so I am having to concentrate on more of the Herbs that will grow in hot sun nowadays.   The Meditteranean Herbs.

I wish I lived in the country, but then I suppose I’d have the larger pests crawling under fences and grazing on the grapevines and orchard as my brother has.

THE WIND

The breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.
Kahlil Gibran

I love watching the wind rustling the leaves in the treetops, but the last couple of weeks, the gusts have been downright ferocious (as I mentioned in a previous post) and left many of my new Spring seedlings completely bent over like little old ladies planting rice paddies with a permanent stoop.

After another 2 day absence from home this past week, most plants have been revived with a good watering which encourages them to stand up straight again the next morning.   My Tuscan Kale had to be tied up between 3 bamboo stakes as it was just too tired to stand up on its own after yesterday’s wild wind.

Some other tiny seedlings like the Asian lettuce varieties are beyond recovery and will need to be replaced next time I go to the local Bunnings Plant Nursery.

My 3 tomato varieties are looking very ‘ordinary‘ and nothing like the lush thick foliage I had on my Tomato ‘Patio’ in the Spring/Summer of 2017.   I know they’re a different variety, but somehow, I really thought they’d have more foliage.

Perhaps they’re meant to have light foliage?  I’ve never grown these varieties before.

TOMATO #1 (left) Tomato Truss Sweet & TOMATO #2 (right) Tomato Sauce Maker

The Sweet Basil planted to be ‘companions’ have barely grown at all! (as you can see in the base of the Tomato plants above.

What is wrong with those Basil plants I wonder?  Not enough sun?  Too much wind?

I found 3 tiny tomatoes last week with 3 more miniature gems on the ‘Sweet Truss’ Tomato yesterday.

Tomato Plant #2 – Tomato Sauce Maker – has plenty of flowers, but no fruit yet (below).

Tomato Plant #3 – Tomato Genuwine – has only a hint of flowers (below).

The Beetroot plants have picked up in the last 2 days and are growing very well indeed.   I could use the leaves in salads already, but since I’m growing them this year for Beets, I’ll allow the leaves to stay in case they’re needed to keep the plant growing.

The Japanese Maple in front of my balcony has flowers!

I’ve never seen Maple flowers before and certainly not in the last 3 years since I moved to this western suburb.

………and the Superb Fairy-wrens have been absent, except for the bright blue feathered male below.

Even he was reluctant to show his face yesterday, as though he is embarrassed about leaving his ‘lady-loves’ stuck at home nest-sitting and bored out of their avian minds.

 

 

WISTERIA FLORIBUNDA WHITE (Wisteria floribunda ‘Alba’) ??????

There may be too many new half-finished apartment buildings in the streets surrounding my home, but I can’t help but be grateful for the landscaping that usually surrounds each one.

It’s reassuring to know councils and developers keep the aethetics in mind, as well as the ‘concrete’.

The Wisteria near my local supermarket is an absolute delight at the moment and luckily I had a camera with me last Tuesday morning.

Not sure whether this white variety is the Japanese variety or not, but we’ll pretend it is.

 

Wisteria floribunda White (Wisteria floribunda ‘Alba’) features long racemes of beautiful sweetly scented pure white blooms on vines that twine in a clockwise direction.

NOTE: Please don’t hesitate to correct me in the comments section if I have identified any flower or tree incorrectly.   My memory sometimes goes completely blank and I scratch around in its depths in the hope of pulling out even the most common flower names at times.

ROUNDED NOON FLOWERS or PIGFACE (Disphyma crassifolium subspecies. clavellatum)

Browsing through my archives last night, I came across the images I took at Newells Paddock Nature and Conservation Reserve, located about 4 kms (2.3 miles) along the river path, around this time in 2017.

Photo below was actually made on 26th March 2017 and is a great view of this remarkable area.

Photo taken in summer of NEWELLS PADDOCK NATURE RESERVE main pond. Melbourne city in the far upper right background.

You can read a little more of the history behind this wetlands and conservation area here.

ROUNDED NOON-FLOWER (Disphyma crassifolium ssp clavellatum)

It’s Rounded Noon Flower season now as I noticed a tiny patch at the opposite end of my apartment building last Wednesday (left).

In the meantime, here’s a few images made in 2017 to remind long-time followers of the stunning display of Pigface (or Rounded Noon Flowers) below.  These fowers have various names so you might know them by a different one.

I’m hoping to go back again this year to photograph more of the bird life, but since it’s a bit far from the bus stop, it might have to be a taxi journey there and back, as I can’t walk as far as I used to pre hip osteoarthritis.    I’d rather use my limited walking range to walk around the wetlands and reserve, than waste it on walking from the bus stop through ordinary residential areas to actually get there.

I did walk home along the river path back when I first moved to this western suburb of Melbourne to live in 2016, so I know by the walking trail signposts exactly how far it is.

Not far for normal healthy fit people to walk, but nowadays, too far for me.

In the meantime, here’s a sample of that stunning splash of colour on the ground at Newells Paddock.

ROUNDED NOON-FLOWER (Disphyma crassifolium ssp clavellatum)
ROUNDED NOON-FLOWER (Disphyma crassifolium ssp clavellatum)
ROUNDED NOON-FLOWER (Disphyma crassifolium ssp clavellatum)

This area is also where I was so engrossed with the camera up to my eye, I didn’t notice a White-faced Heron walk up to about 10 feet away from where I was standing.

HOUSE SPARROWS (Passer domesticus)……….and the weather

The wind has been more than a little gusty in my area over the last 5-6 days.    In fact, the Spring winds have been downright ferocious and threatened to blow my garden away.

Check out the background in the image below.  Can you see the Japanese Maple branches and foliage are near horizontal?  At one stage, the Maple’s branches seemed to bend over in half and almost touched the ground.   I had grave fears for the tree’s well-being, but it seemed to bend and sway with the elasticity that most young saplings have.

I’ve stood at the lounge window each morning in hope of seeing more Spring shoots on my Herbs and Veggies, but they have made little headway in the last week (for this time of the year) and slowed right down in their growth.

Not enough sun I fear.

No Superb Fairy-wrens in sight and just a few very tiny House Sparrows.   To the casual observer, they are just faded-looking females, but on the ground here, I can see their tiny frames and washed-out looking head feathers denote very young juveniles.   They are almost as small as the adult Superb Fairy-wrens.

The 2 sparrows I photographed last week stayed on the balcony fence for some time, seemingly motionless.   Last night, it was not until I reviewed the 4 photos I’d taken that I realized their tiny claws were hanging onto the frame that holds the blue ceramic birdbath in place (so they didn’t get blown away?).

The bird that stood on the fence bar itself didn’t stay long.

I made 4 very similar photos and can’t tell which is the best out of them, so thought to post all of them.

Today, the wind has finally dropped and I can see by this morning’s weather forecast I have 4 clear, rainless days to do something outdoors.

Perhaps prune the herbs to start encouraging them to flesh out into more robust bushes perhaps?   Doesn’t sound much, but at least it’s better than lying in the hospital hooked up to a heart monitor 24/7.   Those 6 days in the hospital were the most boring I’ve experienced in many years.   I don’t survive too well when I’m out of green surroundings and don’t have a Room With a View.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

I like to encourage people interested in gardening or planting to begin with a simple herb garden. Even if you live in a small apartment, you can have some herb pots.

Anna Getty

 

MY SECOND, (or previous), BALCONY GARDEN – ABBOTSFORD (inner north-east Melbourne suburb) – IT GREW AND GREW AND EVENTUALLY THREATENED TO TAKE OVER MY LOUNGE ROOM. NO DIRECT SUN, BUT AMAZING LIGHT. Nothing like waking up in the morning to the sound of Spotted Turtle-doves cooing and the fragrance of Herbal Essences permeating the air.

 

 

 

 

A SAD SIGHT IN THE BALCONY GARDEN

I’ve only just got up and the morning is nearly gone.   I seem to need more and more sleep these days and I’m all the better for it.   One of the most healthful and rejuvenating remedies for me is Sleep.   Deep restful restorative sleep.  Many people just don’t get enough of it.  Our bodies need sleep to rest, repair and replenish our vital organs.

I stood at the lounge room windows and surveyed the little garden earlier.   I didn’t water the potted plants last night in the hope that today’s forecast rain would suffice.

I could see my newly planted seedlings were starting to make great leaps in their young lives with the veggies promising hope for a good crop this Summer.   They look even better than last weeks images.

The French Beans look absolutely perfect in their growing cycle.

I say a little prayer each morning that the Cabbage Moth Caterpillars and Harlequin bugs don’t put in their annual appearance.

The Lemon Verbena, which I grow for the sheer pleasure of running my fingers through its lemon-scented leaves, has put on a massive growth spurt in the last week alone.   It got eaten by ‘you-know-who’ last Spring so I bought a new seedling this year.

IF the number of flowers on my Blueberry bush means fruit, it will be a sight for sore eyes indeed.

Have I mentioned this fact before?

Only a dozen times you might well reply LOL.

Last years crop gave me a small handful nearly every day for about 3-4 weeks.   (Just repeating this fact for the new followers).

Most of the plants that had wilted in my 6-day absence have bounced back with astonishing growth.

As usual, the Mint, which wilted badly, has put on a growth spurt with the deep watering I gave it on my return to home base, with each stem sprouting fresh young leaves in a matter of days. Note the new leaves in the image below.

I only lost one lettuce from the punnet of 8 young seedlings and it was looking like the ‘runt of the pack’ even before my absence.

Then I spotted it.

The sad sight of a motionless Spotted Turtle-dove (above), one of my favourite bird species, of which several had become quite tame in my previous 3rd-floor apartment on the north-east side of Melbourne (below).

The Spotted Turtle-doves used to wake me at dawn with their gentle cooing.

Sometimes, it seemed as though their sound would be all that louder if the water or seed bowls were empty.

I often had the feeling that they knew who I was and that I was their friend.

They spoke to me regularly with their gentle sounds and growing trust.   I have to admit I miss these lovely birds although I had seen one 2-3 times on my balcony fence on this western side of the city and sometimes in the nearby Frogs Hollow Nature Reserve perimeter (below).

2 SPOTTED TURTLE-DOVES ON THE EAST PERIMETER OF FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE (BEHIND MY APARTMENT BUILDING)

Life just isn’t the same when I don’t have a Room With a View.

I noticed the construction across the road has started it’s 4th floor this morning.   My photos at dusk each night are showing less and less of the sky as each storey unfolds on the construction site.

Oh well, that’s Life.

You win some, you lose some.

Our life on this earth is impermanent.   Nothing stays the same.

So saying, I’d better get on and select the Quote and Image of the Week. 🙂  I’m selecting a ‘gardening’ quote each Wednesday and one of my images to go with it.