It’s official.

Overnight, Melbourne, Australia, had the worst air quality in the world.

Apparently, the state’s chief health officer said that when the temperature is cooler overnight, the particulate matter can settle very low to the ground.

The sky is greyish instead of bright blue today.   If you’re planning to come to our state on holiday (or any other state with bushfires and poor air quality), don’t forget to bring some kind of face mask just in case.   Better to be safe than sorry.   I might suggest if you have Asthma or any other breathing problem, stay away OR come to our capital, Melbourne, (and Canberra) a bit later.

Melbourne normally has excellent air quality, but Australia, in general, has the highest incidence of Asthma (per capita of course) in the world in normal years.   There is much research on this, so I won’t give my opinion which is quite strong on the subject (as I have MCS and multiple food and chemical sensitivities as well as actual allergies which can make breathing a little difficult at times).

It may be only 32C (90F) in my suburb today, but as usual, I’m indoors with the air-conditioning switched on and taking it easy.   I have no idea where the air comes from (that flows through the air-con system).   I just hope its OK.

Just heard the news and apparently, some outdoor workers in Melbourne have ‘downed tools’.   It’s too unhealthy to work.   I feel desperately sorry for those, who work outdoors, who have to keep working.

In the meantime, the House Sparrows are making good use of my bowls of water I’ve ser out and finally, after some hesitation, a couple jumped into the large plastic saucer and had a splash (as well as drink) this afternoon.   I find it interesting to observe some birds seem to be uncertain about the big saucer of water.   Unfortunately today, all my ice cube trays in the freezer are full of fruit juice, so I can’t drop iceblocks in the water bowls  like I usually do on a hot day.

Maybe I’ll empty the fruit blocks into a bag and fill the trays up with fresh water to freeze overnight (for tomorrow).   There’s a cool change and some rain due for the days after that.

I noticed recently that when standing on the rim of this large plastic saucer some Sparrows were having trouble bending down to reach the water surface for a drink,

so I’ve obtained some pebbles to put in the centre of the saucer to create a lower perch for those that just want to quench their thirst, not jump in for a splash and ‘swim’.

One young avian lady stood on the edge of the metal water bowl for some time looking rather pensive and probably resenting the blast of hot air that comes from my air-conditioning outlet at the other end of my balcony, but at least there is shade behind the potted plants if she wants to seek shelter.

PERUVIAN SAGE (Salvia discolor)

From the Archives – 2011 & 2012

PERUVIAN SAGE (Salvia discolor) is a herbaceous perennial growing in a very localized area in Peru—it is equally rare in horticulture and in its native habitat.

When I came across a few images in my archives this morning, I could smell the fragrance in my memory.

SALVIA DISCOLOR (Andean sage) – 19th April, 2011

There are several plants on a corner of the walking paths at the south end of the Ornamental Lake in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and the perfume, noticeable from about 15-20 feet away, is intoxicating.  The scent is soft, sweet and so beautiful that I urge any of you home gardeners out there to buy a plant if you have the right growing conditions.   It’s not as strong and overwhelming as, say, Jasmine, Gardenia, some of the Lillies or Jonquils and Hyacinths which give me a migraine.

Its colour is such a dark purple it almost looks black in some of my images.

You won’t be disappointed if you think of adding this to your Salvia collection.   Like many herbs, it can get a little ungainly, so after flowering, it’s worth pruning it back hard to keep the bush in a good shape for the following year.

When I lived 5 minutes walk from the RBG,  I always made it a point of walking down that path and inhaling its heady perfume and made many attempts to photograph it.  One needs to kneel down and get fairly low and crawl around trying to catch its delicate branches waving in the gentle breeze.

SALVIA DISCOLOR (Andean sage) – 28th November, 2012

It usually took a while to find a branch and flowers which you could isolate from the rest of the bush and get a good blur in the background.