TO EDIT (or not to Edit)

To Edit (or not to Edit your photos)?

Interesting question.   I don’t have the eyesight to do much editing now I’m back to wearing thick glasses.   I wore contact lenses for 40 years with the last few years being bi-focal contact lenses. (don’t ask me how bi-focal contact lenses work – they just do – surprisingly).

 

I don’t like over-saturated colour or over-edited images, but as I can’t really get perfect images outdoors, or even indoors, now, most of my photos need a tiny bit of ‘tweaking’.

  1. BEFORE……..

2. ………AFTER

I don’t have the time, or the interest, in photo editing.

Most of my early images are a bit dark – probably from living in an old dark un-renovated 1960s apartment for many years.   I probably didn’t lighten my poorly exposed images enough.

  1.  BEFORE……..
Pacific Black Duck

2.  ………AFTER (and on reviewing this image this morning,  I decided it was too light, but can’t seem to edit this very old photo and darken the shadows a bit more again).

Pacific Black Duck

It’s only now that I live in a modern apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows with superb light that I can see how dark my old images are.     I used to be able to ‘fix’ my old images after I updated computers or software, but for some reason, since I got the new iMac in May this year when my old laptop crashed, I can’t seem to revert my old images back to the original to fix some over-editing errors.   (of course, all you professional, or serious amateur photographers are going to say I should have shot in ‘raw’, or ‘raw’ and ‘jpeg’, NOT just ‘jpeg’).

  1. BEFORE……
Australian Pelican

2.   ……….AFTER

Australian Pelican

(And if you can’t see the difference in the 2 Australian Pelican images you’ve got worse eyesight than me  😀  ).

I used to shoot hundreds and hundreds of images in the one afternoon back in the early years of my photography hobby – 2010 to 2015 – and I found shooting in RAW took up too much room on my memory card and secondly, I wasn’t interested in photo editing anyway.

So I just shot in jpeg as they were quicker to review.

Since I love photography (more than gardening 🙂 ), I do actually used my Apple Mac’s photo-editing software.   I don’t proclaim to be a great photographer, but if you’re new to photography and would like to improve your images a wee bit without learning Lightroom, Photoshop and all the zillion other photo editing software packages out there these days, check out your computer’s in-house software.

……..and if you DO have an Apple Mac (for example), just go to the main editing screen and press the AUTO exposure button and the AUTO definition button and you’ll find just those 2 corrections in your basic Apple photo software, might be all you need to improve your images to your satifaction. (Note: I find the AUTO ‘ sharpening’ button can make your images too sharp, but you can always move the sharpening slider manually).

If you think the AUTO button is making your image too light, you can always go to the ‘slider’ under the AUTO button and slide the exposure back a wee bit manually.

In the tree/path image below, I thought the end of the visible path looked a bit crooked so I straightened the image a tiny bit.   Just a fraction.   Just enough to please my overall vision of a balanced image.   The AUTO definition button also made the tree look to be in better focus.   (Of course, you can also use the AUTO sharpening button, but I quite like the ‘definition‘ auto button better than the ‘sharpen‘ auto button).

  1.   BEFORE…….

2.     …………AFTER

That is, apart from learning to hold the camera perfectly still  😀  (or learning how to use a tripod, monopod, fence, tree or some other object to help you reduce camera movement).

I sometimes crop off a 1/4″, (or more as in the image below), or even a couple of sides.   I sometimes touch up or erase some rubbish in the water (with a duck swimming in a pond).  I sometimes erase a leaf, or tiny cloud in the sky, if I don’t like it.

  1.   BEFORE……..

2.    …………AFTER (I really just wanted to show the beetroot starting to grow, so the rest of the image was superfluous).

Like a painter, or other artist (which I was for a while), I half-close my eyes and stand back from the 27″ screen and if anything stands out too much I might even erase anything that distracts what I want to say with my image.

Admittedly, most of the images on my Nature blog are merely to illustrate a story, not win a photo competition.

But no amount of editing will improve a really bad photo, OR where you chopped a bird’s head off (as you couldn’t see because the sun was in your eyes, below).

In the image(s) below, I was concentrating so hard on getting the duck’s eye in focus, I didn’t realise until I got home and downloaded the day’s shooting, that I’d chopped the bird’s feet off the bottom.

…..and another one of ‘missing feet’

Since I’ve been photographing the Fairy-wrens on my balcony, with my elbows on my desk to steady the heavy long 150-500mm lens, I just aim to catch the little b$%#! within the frame.   Forget composition.   Forget light.  Mostly, I just have to pick the camera up and catch the wren before it flies away.   Even changing the camera setting to continuous shooting doesn’t help catch those fast little wrens.

I have deleted dozens/hundreds of shots like the one below.  Sometimes, the photo is completely empty of bird-life because I had the shutter speed too slow, or I was too slow in holding the camera still.

Don’t aim for perfection.   Aim for an image you like.   You don’t always have to have your subject in sharp focus either.   Sometimes soft focus is kind of nice too.

If after lots of practice, practice & more practice, reading tutorials or books and studying the work of great Photographers, you still can’t take a photo you like, move on.

You can probably play football or bake a cake better than take a photo.

We all have something we’re good at.

I wish I’d taken up photography as a hobby 45 years ago, but then, I guess I wouldn’t have had the spare time or patience I have today.

I’m a great lover of uplifting (or inspirational) quotes and I read these ones by Steve Jobs  & Anna Quindlen recently……

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma,
which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions
drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
Everything else is secondary.

~ Steve Jobs ~

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing,
is giving up on being perfect
and beginning the work of becoming yourself.

~ Anna Quindlen ~

 

I still like Black & White photography the best…… 😀

This shot may not have the sharpest focus, but I love the balance of black, white and grey. I love the light feathers against the dark background AND the dark feathers against the light background.  I like the DOF (Depth of Focus).

 

A BALCONY GARDEN UPDATE

#1 HEIRLOOM TOMATO PLANT IS CLOSE TO HARVEST

My Balcony Garden looked almost like a jungle yesterday, so what with the day bursting with sunshine and brilliant blue sky, I got straight down to work after lunch and pruned, groomed, re-potted and…….scrubbed the seepage stains off the large concrete tiles – well, most of them, (and dare I say I ended up so stiff that I could barely get out of bed this morning 😀 ).

The baby spinach has ‘bolted’ (just like the rocket did the first week after it was planted in early September).   See the upper half of the image below.

I transferred the Perennial Basil to a larger pot which I’d been meaning to do for a couple of months but hadn’t a large plastic pot free back then.   (I’ve got so many potted plants this year, I really don’t want to waste money on more plastic pots, so I just waited for natural attrition, if that’s the right word).  Herbs don’t usually like being moved once they’ve got established, but I’ve found in the past, that as long as you don’t disturb the roots too much and keep the water up, they survive and thrive upon transplanting……well, they do for me.

I’ve got several empty pots at the moment as plants have keeled over and died in the heat and wild weather.  Many of my herbs are not looking too good at the moment, but with the weekend and early next week almost back to winter temperatures and rain forecast, some plant growth should get a boost.   Did I say cold and rain (for the first week of Summer here in Melbourne)? 

Heirloom Tomato #2 (below) has got so many green tomatoes, I feared the branch would break, so did a lot of re-staking and re-tying to my bamboo canes yesterday also.  One of the other branches has more new flowers so that heirloom tomato variety is definitely a ‘winner’.

I wish they’d ripen though.   I’m getting impatient and I usually have all the patience in the world.    Perhaps I’m impatient as the 3 new Tomato plants are all new Heirloom varieties and I can’t wait to taste them.

Heirloom Tomato #3 has yet to fruit, but this plant has lots of flowers as I mentioned in the last garden update (below) so ‘fruit babies’ are due very soon.

Even my Rosemary bush is looking a bit ‘ordinary’ and rather glum (well, glum was more a description of how I was feeling).   I might have got a bit over-zealous with the watering of this hardy Mediterranian Herb which should stay on the drier side.

For the first time in many years, I haven’t got any Harlequin Bugs or Cabbage Moth Caterpillars in the new burst of new Spring growth.   Amazing……. or Worrying…….. I don’t know how to interpret their absence.  The original post on caterpillers says it all (in the past).

Maybe, even they, are giving my garden a ‘wide berth‘ and snacking elsewhere (out of the wind).

But the funniest sight was the House Sparrows and male Superb Fairy-wren standing on the balcony fence looking here, there and everywhere, for the Parsley long trough I usually have attached to the balcony fence railing.   (sorry I haven’t a photo of the birds as I didn’t get the camera out of its soft pouch in time).

In the end, late yesterday afternoon, they flew down to the English Parsley seedlings I’d planted in other pots and had a nibble.

I hadn’t hidden the Parsley trough.   I’d merely put it on the balcony floor (above) in preparation for buying and planting a new Italian ‘flat-leaf’ parsley to fill in space previously occupied by one (in the other half of the English Parsley trough).

The Italian Parsley had gone to seed some weeks ago.

I pruned the Lemon Verbena back to half as it was nearly dying in the hot sun.   I’ve now moved it up the north (or right-hand side) of the balcony which gets less hot sun in the afternoons and it is starting to throw out new shoots.

It’s probably the weird and wild weather we’ve been having in Melbourne (and across the whole eastern side of the country) that’s changed so much of the growing habits of this small balcony garden.

I plucked off all the yellow and dying leaves of the other 2 Mint plants and given them more water and they’ve sprung back to the prime of health (below).

At least I have a nice handful of French Beans ready and waiting for dinner over the weekend.   It seems like only a week ago I had one bean about 1″ long.   Now they’re growing thick and fast and I’m pleased to say my first trial, with growing green beans on my hot west-facing balcony, seems to be a complete success.

ONE OF THE SMALL POTTED MINTS, THE TARRAGON AND THE VIOLETS (WHICH I’D PRUNED BACK AS IT NEARLY DIED), COME INDOORS FOR THEIR WEEKLY RESPITE FROM THE WIND.

I keep turning, moving & swapping plants around with 2-3 small pots coming indoors for a break from the sun & wind regularly, but moving the pots around yesterday revealed more of the sawdust blown over the road from the construction site in last week’s storm.

DESPITE SWEEPING THE BALCONY LAST WEEK, THERE’S STILL A LOT OF SAWDUST UNDER THE POTTED PLANTS AS I DISCOVERED WHEN I MOVED THEM AROUND YESTERDAY.

It’s all very well to grow plants on one’s balcony, but being a rented apartment does mean I have to keep it clean & tidy as per my lease agreement (just in case you wondered why I make so much effort to tidy up so often).

I hadn’t scrubbed the tile floor for some time and it was getting to be quite stained from both watering and watering with diluted seaweed fertilizer in the watering can.

*********

Just spotted a new couple of House Sparrows on the fence.   They’re so small, I assume they’re this Spring’s hatchlings.  I managed to catch one with the telephoto lens, but the light was behind it, so not necessarily as good a photo as those made on the southern end of the fence.

Almost all avian visitors in the last couple of days have been very small, so I assume they’re ‘newbies’ to my apartment balcony.   Once they explore a bit more and get used to the birdbath, I’m sure I’ll get some better photos.

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……and I also spotted 3-4 of the tiniest Fairy-wrens I’ve ever seen on the fence 20 minutes ago – both male and female – but they flew down into the thick foliage of the Japanese Maple.   I watched their shadows move around the tree for a while, but couldn’t get any photos.

Sorry about that – they were so cute and obviously recently hatched.

THE LOCAL POND

THE TREE AREA IN THE BACKGROUND IS FROGS HOLLOW NATURE RESERVE – ABOUT 100 FEET FROM MY ‘BACK GATE’

Last Sunday, I ventured out for a walk to the local pond in the hope of seeing some birdlife to photograph.   This would have marked one of the few walks I’d done since I’d had a fall down at Jawbone Conservation Reserve on the 10th January this year, broke my $1000+ telephoto lens (and my left wrist – only minor).    I suggest new followers read the story via the link I have given above to get the background (as well as seeing one of my favourite nature reserves on the coast).

Last Sunday, I had to walk very slowly and stop every 15 feet for a ‘breather’, but my hip (and lower back)  pain was minimal so I was feeling quite optimistic.  By the time I reached the pond (about 7-8 minutes brisk walk for a normal healthy fit person), I have to admit I was feeling light-headed and exhausted.  A heart attack and 2 stays in hospital in the last 6 weeks had made me overly cautious recently, let alone the severe osteoarthritis in my R hip (a wear & tear problem, not an ‘old age’ problem).

mainly WILD OAT (Avena fatua L.)

But what dismayed and worried me the most was the obvious overly dry conditions on the ground, lack of birdlife and minimal bird calls in the area.

Gosh, it is only the end of Spring (I thought to myself).    The whole area between my apartment building and the river is usally ringing with the sound of bird calls.

It was only 20C (about 70F) degrees on Sunday.

The ground under my feet in the low-lying field was rock hard and dry as a bone.

I saw lots of Australian Magpies on the way to the pond and saw flashes of Bell Miners in the treetops on the way home but not much more.

A RATHER POOR PHOTO OF A BELL MINOR STRAIGHT OVER MY HEAD.

…..and here’s a couple of photos of a Bell Minor made on a different day last year to show you what they actually look like…..

When I arrived at the pond it was heavily shrouded in thick water rushes, some 7-8 feet high (as usual).

There is a particular spot where the rushes have a gap near the pond bank where I took these photos last year.

WHITE-FACED HERON in the local pond  – 2018
WHITE-FACED HERON & 2 PACIFIC BLACK DUCKS – 2018

The pond look lifeless last Sunday and I scanned the nearby tall reeds which were waving in the wind.

Then I spotted it.

A Great Egret, but oh so heavily shrouded in water reeds gently waving in the breeze.

 

I switched my long telephoto lens to a single focal point (out of 9)and tried to get it through the water reeds.   Every time I lined up a shot, another waving reed would spoil the composition.   Part of the reason I delayed uploading this post was because of my poor bird photography, but as every amateur bird photographer knows, some days you get lucky and other days not so lucky.

I cropped one shot after I downloaded it so you could get a better view.   I also increased the midtones in editing in an attempt to minimise the over-exposed white feathers (below), but this was the best I could do.

I had seen a Great Egret down at Newells Paddock Nature Reserve (downriver about 3 kms. ) and Jawbone Conservation Reserve (on the coast), but seeing one near home was a delightful surprise.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

Later I walked around the pond a bit further and caught a shot of the head.

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

I apologise for the lousy shots, but some days, one just has to accept the conditions are less-than-perfect.

Besides, as an excuse, I have spent the last 9-10 months indoors, taking photos of House Sparrows and Superb Fairy-wrens with my elbows resting on my desk to act as a ‘tripod’ and had lost the knack of hand-holding a heavy telephoto lens.

I walked around to the southern side of a slightly smaller pond where I’d taken bird shots in previous years.

Not a bird in sight.

I crossed over the rocky causeway and scanned the large expanse of water which looks a bit like a lake (but isn’t).

The old photo above right to give you more of an idea of this area.   I live on the edge of a massive stretch of parkland, river, ponds and nature reserve up and down the Maribyrnong River, one of the major rivers leading down to Port Phillip Bay (on which Melbourne was settled in 1835).

No birds to be seen on the ‘lake’ last Sunday though.

My home location was actually explored by the first white settlers in 1803, so it’s a relatively ‘young’ area of parkland and residential estates (or urban areas).

But here’s a few shots of what I photographed in previous years in this area to make this post worth reading 😀

I may as well go home, I thought last Sunday.   It was getting a bit hot anyway, as there is little real shade in the area, just a few newish young trees for the most.

I walked over to the river and stood still for a while watching a small tourist boat chugging lazily upriver.

Even the golf course on the other side of the river looked dry and lifeless.

I crossed over to the low-lying field next to the canal and spotted a few Purple Swamphens pecking at the dry grass.   I couldn’t get any really decent shots so it seemed.  I wobbled a bit too much with the heavy lens and even heavier breathing.    I’ll have to ‘increase’ the arm & shoulder exercises to built some more muscle I thought to myself.

Spotted Turtle-dove standing on a fence post (below).

Then up close to the Grevillea which was in flower….time to go home…….no point wasting energy on one of my first walks in months.

NOTE: THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED TO INCLUDE A SHORT WALK BACK TO THE POND ON TUESDAY AROUND MIDDAY, WHEN I HOPED TO SEE THE GREAT EGRET AGAIN.  NO LUCK I’M AFRAID, ALTHOUGH I DID SEE A WHITE-FACED HERON FLYING OVERHEAD (but too far away for a photo).

The good thing was that my painful hip which had precluded outdoor nature walks in the last 8-9 months held up ok, so another short walk will be attempted at a later date.

I DO miss my Bird Photography and Nature Reserve walks these days.   I pretend I don’t, but you can’t just delete 7-8 years of nature photography ‘off the map’ and adjust to being more housebound without a tinge of sadness.

WHITE-PACED HERON over at the pond near PIPEMAKER’S PARK (about 10 minutes walk upriver).

YESTERDAY WAS NOT A GOOD DAY……

Yesterday was not a good day in my state of Victoria.   Some overseas folk may have heard of our catastrophic bushfires in the states to the north in recent weeks i.e. New South Wales and Queensland.   With hundreds of homes lost, this was not a good start to our Bushfire Season and it wasn’t even Summer.

Well, yesterday, my state of Victoria was issued with a Code RED alert i.e. Catastrophic Fire Danger AND a warning for Thunderstorm Asthma.

You may remember on the same day, the 21st November 2016, we had the same Asthma conditions with 9 deaths and thousands of people hospitalised in and around Melbourne, even people who’d never had Asthma before experienced difficulties breathing.   Our Ambulances and Hospital emergency departments couldn’t keep up with the influx of sufferers.

I’ve read these types of Asthma storms have happened in other parts of the world too.

I lay in bed for some time yesterday listening to the gale-force winds whistling through my apartment building like a Banshee. ( A banshee is a female spirit in Irish mythology who heralds the death of a family member, usually by wailing, shrieking, or keening).  

I usually describe this weird loud whistling sound as like being in an Arctic Storm.

Sometimes my plastic watering can or a few empty plastic pots rattle around the balcony too.

Eventually, I got out of bed and went out to raise the block-out blinds to watch the wild winds tossing my herb and leafy green veggies (vegetables) around like goose down.

It was even a worse sight than a couple of weeks ago, but nothing could be done except stay inside with windows and doors tightly closed.   I don’t get Asthma, but having been hospitalised with a few severe food allergy attacks in the past, and I now have MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) so I wasn’t about to take any chances.

To be honest, I really thought the severe weather might have demolished my Balcony Garden.   The lettuces are looking a bit sad, but they’ll probably recover with more watering.

I fully expected to see my still-green tomatoes laying on the ground, but only #2 tomato plant had a crooked bamboo stake (which I corrected later in the day).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forecast temperature of 38 C (about 100F) had climbed to 41.5C (about 107F) in my suburb close to 1.50pm and an eerie pale pinkish glow settled through the cloud cover in the sky.   This would have been bushfire smoke from the fires in central Victoria to the west of my home location.

I was rather startled to see a fine layer of sawdust covering my balcony tiles, fence rail and the larger-leafed veggies, no doubt blown across the road from the construction site.

As I said, nothing to do but wait (for the cool change which came across the state sometime after 2.00pm).  I heard a bit of thunder but only saw the faintest drops of rain hit the balcony tile floor.

I hope some country folk, especially the farmers, received some rain from that cool front.  On the TV news last night I noticed many shoppers and office works in the city centre had face masks on as a precaution, although there had been a warning for Asthma sufferers to stay indoors.

It would have made nightmare conditions for the firefighters battling the many grass and bush fires.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)
Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

I couldn’t help but think of the poor wildlife, especially the slower moving Koalas as they would have climbed down from their Eucalypt tree homes and tried to scramble across the ground to escape.   Kangaroos and Wallabies would have at least had a chance to escape with their enormous hop/jumping motion across the landscape.

 

GREY KANGAROOS.  Check out the little joey (baby) in its Mother’s pouch on the left – MELBOURNE ZOO’S open air Kangaroo, Wallaby and Emu enclosure.    I don’t have any close-up shots of Kangaroos in the wild, only distant shots on my brother’s farm, hence using Zoo shots for this post.

I went outdoors several times to re-fill the birdbath as the House Sparrows were obviously in distress.  I didn’t see any other birds.

When it’s hot, some bird species will also resort to gular fluttering. The bird will open its mouth and “flutter” its neck muscles, promoting heat loss (think of it as the avian version of panting).

THIS IMAGE IS OF A HOUSE SPARROW GASPING FOR BREATH ON A PARTICULARLY HOT DAY LAST SUMMER.

If you think about a dog panting, their tongue isn’t only allowing evaporation but is losing a lot of body fluid.  Birds are much more efficient about water and water loss

Even so, birds still need to replenish fluids on a hot day.

Sometimes the Sparrows just stand in the shade of a potted plant or a shady spot on the balcony tiles.

 

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Unfortunately, my freezer was full and I’d taken the ice-cube trays out to make more room, so couldn’t put some ice blocks into the birdbath (which is what I usually do on a hot day).

I’d also forgotten about these climatic conditions from last summer and making some sort of shelter over the birdbath.   I’ll put it back on my ‘to do’ list.

Late yesterday afternoon when the wind had dropped and it was a bit cooler I went out to shake the sawdust off all the leaves and sweep up the piles of sawdust which had in some areas blown into a small pile in the corners of the balcony.

This morning the faint cool breeze is coming in through the open sliding door and the wild conditions have finally settled.

The potted herbs and vegetables could probably do with another watering, but I’ll leave that chore to the usual routine of a thorough watering at dusk tonight.

In general, unless your potted plants are in tiny pots, its best to water them in the early evening so the water can soak into the roots overnight whilst the temperatures are cooler.   It’s best not to water in the middle of the day as it can burn the plant roots and cause even more damage than not watering.

My Balcony Garden is west-facing and in shade all morning up to about 2.00pm, so occasionally I will water the smaller pots which will have dried up more (than the larger ones) first thing in the morning as well as dusk on a hot day.

ON-THE-SPOT-NEWS……

I just noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye. (for the newer followers, this is why I have my desk in front of the floor-to-ceiling lounge windows – so I can observe the bird life as well as watch my garden growing).

I turned and grabbed the long telephoto lens beside me, took off the lens cap and tried to get a shot as it quickly moved from potted plant to potted plant.

I don’t think I’ve seen a female for about 5-6 weeks and assumed they were all nest-sitting.

Sorry, it’s only a back view, but it flew off very quickly.

BTW I dropped the birdbath and broke part of the edge after I cleaned it out late yesterday.   I glued it back with superglue, but I think I might get a couple more birdbaths for the coming Summer.   I also need to work out some way to get a Shade roof over the birdbaths so the blue ceramic isn’t so hot for tiny Bird claws.

Strange how it’s only the Sparrows that use the birdbath, never the Fairy-wrens.

Since its lovely and cool today, I think a trip to the local Bunnings Hardware and Plant Nursery Store might be in order.

See You!

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

 

 

Not a single drop of water passes over the same rock twice, and the murmur of water rushing over a rock is constantly changing. Sameness is but an illusion of the human ears, eyes, mind. Water that has once flowed along a riverbed can never retrace its course. Human life is no different. It is only our mundane eyes and minds that we see yesterday as being the same as today.

Enlightened eyes and minds should recognize that each moment has a form different from that of any other moment

Shundo Aoyama, Zen Seeds

 

WELL……….ONE MORE POST ON THE VEGGIE PATCH

I do have some images to share from my walk down to the local pond last Sunday (including a Great Egret), but first of all, we’ll have just one more post on the veggie patch.

I mentioned the first Blueberry of the Season the other day and I have a couple more.

1. Centre of the screen below is my very first French Bean.   I know, I know it looks like a stalk, but its a green bean and just 1″ long.   Had to move back and forth a bit to get a dark background so it would show up in the centre of the image.   I’ve never tried to grow beans before, but apparently, once the first few have grown large enough to pick, they come ‘thick & fast’ after that. So it’s got about 4 more inches to grow……..

2. Beetroot.   When I planted the punnet of seedlings I must have inadvertently planted 3 tiny seedlings together so they may not grow to full size while squashed in the one spot.  The growers plant 6 seedlings, one for each pocket of the punnet, so that’s what I planted in the trough.   Obviously they growers stuck 3 seedlings in the one pocket.  You can see 2 baby beets squashed together below.   I’ve grown beetroot for the tiny leaves to use in salads before, but never let them continue to grow beets, so let’s see how they go.

After all, my zucchini experiment last Spring was looking brilliant until they suddenly went yellow and died. (images on the left and on the right).

So we can’t automatically assume the beetroot will all grow to harvest size.

 

3. Well, not tomatoes yet, but #3 Tomato – Genuwine – a cross between Costoluto Genovese and Brandy Wine has got so many flowers on the plant in the last couple of days, I expect some tomatoes any minute 😀  (below)   This heirloom variety said harvest 9-12 weeks after planting so it may sprout fruit on the early side as #1 and #2 did.

4.   The Perennial Basil seedling was planted in too small a pot as I didn’t have any more large pots left and it was looking rather ‘ordinary’ to say the least.

A bit more water and some fertilizer have given it a tremendous boost and it’s looking very happy indeed.   I’ve now got a large pot free and I’m wondering if it’s too late to transfer it to the larger container this close to Summer?

While I’ve got Sweet Basil – an annual – growing under the Tomatoes to act as a Companion plant, I’ve got used to the long-lasting Perennial Basil (below) to cook with.   The old plant was looking very straggly and half-even by the Cabbage Moth Caterpillers, so I tossed it in the bin and started a fresh young seedling (below) this Spring.

5. A new flower on the Curry plant and plenty more tiny buds on the way (below)

…….and not a first, but an update on #2 Tomato.   One tomato out of the bunch has now reached what I consider a reasonable size, so to save the birds getting it, as soon as the first large tomato is half-ripe, I’ll be picking it to bring inside to ripen on a window ledge.

Of course, vine-ripened fruit are best, but with my regular avian visitors, I won’t be leaving any ripe tomatoes on the bushes for their dinner.   I proved in 2017 that the front of my lounge room is well and truly warm enough to finish ripening tomatoes. (photo on the right of the 2017 crop).

I was awake at 5.30am this morning and couldn’t sleep, so decided to just get up and check the garden.   Of course, the male Superb Fairy-wren was doing his usual Balcony Garden survey, walking up and down the rows of herbs and veggies just like he’s seen me doing, so I stayed indoors and watched him.

I didn’t have any cameras out of their ‘sleeping’ soft pouches, so by the time I got one out and took the lens cap off, I only managed to catch one quick shot before he flew away (below).

My bird shots weren’t exciting from Sunday’s walk so I’m tempted to go back again today and see if the Great Egret is still near the pond, but in a better location for photography?

Hmmmmmmm.

SOMEONE ELSE IS LOOKING FOR BLUEBERRIES…..

I mentioned the other day that I had one ripe blueberry on the bush so far this season.   I think I also mentioned the birds were landing on the bush looking too – mainly House Sparrows.

This morning, after fumbling around getting the little Sony ‘mirrorless’ out of it’s soft ‘storage’ pouch, I managed to catch a male Superb Fairy-wren landing on the soil underneath the Blueberry bush looking up to see if it could spot a ripe blueberry.

Yes, definitely time to protect the bush from the birds.Note: this was the only shot in reasonably good focus out of about 7-8.   Gosh, those fairy-wrens move fast.   I had several shots that were just a blur of blue and one shot with no bird at all in the image.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK(END)

 Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature  –  the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. 

Rachel Carson

15th December, 2015 – DAWN FROM THE 3RD FLOOR BALCONY OF MY PREVIOUS APARTMENT – Abbotsford, Victoria, AUSTRALIA.

Being more housebound these days,  I decided to start uploading an image from my archives every Wednesday with a ‘Gardening’ quote.

Well, last night, while scrolling through my archives,  I came across this photo from when I actually used to get up at dawn and photograph the sight unfolding as the new day begins and decided to have a weekend quote this week as well.

Enjoy……