VIOLA (or Heartsease)

Yesterday was one of those gorgeous Spring days filled with sunshine and the chirping of birdsong.   Perfect day to be outdoors gardening.

I planned on potting up my new Spring seedling purchases, but didn’t quite finish the task.

A second round of plant shopping at the local Hardware/Plant Nursery Warehouse on Tuesday meant I ran out of plastic pots yesterday and I couldn’t decide on what size container to re-pot my pot-bound Blueberry “Nellie Kelly” anyway.

The trouble is that the next size up from the current Blueberry pot is really quite large and when filled with soil may end up being too heavy to lift.

I have to lift, or turn, my potted plants every couple of days as they tend to grow towards the west (where the sun travels after rising over my apartment building).  To get even foliage growth on each vegetable, herb or flower, turning the pots regularly is mandatory.  And once the hot summer arrives and the air-conditioning outlet on the balcony spews out hot air, I have to move the pots mostly up to the southern (or left-hand side as I look out my windows) of the balcony.

I shall have to go back to the Plant Nursery – a third time in a fortnight 😀

Bunnings Hardware Warehouse plant nursery
Plenty of herb and veggie seedlings to choose from.

Methinks I’m a plant shopaholic.

Put me in a large Plant store and I’m like a mischevous child in a lolly shop (candy store).

I often feel tempted to look around the plant aisles in case I’m caught in the act of over-indulging.  I always get a shock at the receipt $$$ after the cashier has rung up the items in my shopping basket.

So many colours and plant varieties at the store forced me, (yes, forced me 🙂 , well that’s my take on the matter), to splurge out on a couple of flowering plants to break up the  mass of greenery in my balcony garden.

It won’t be until the mid/end of Summer, that my herbs have any flowers.

Violas are undoubtedly one the most delightful of all flowers to grow with their delicately marked, almost hand-painted-looking dainty flowers.  They are a picture for months on end.

You can find them in just about every colour of the rainbow with many featuring multicoloured blooms.  Violas have slightly smaller flowers than Pansies (which I also viewed enthusiastically at the Plant Nursery).

I used some of the new Tomato/Herb potting soil which is probably a wee bit too akaline, but never mind, if they grow they grow, if they keel over with the new potting soil – they keel over.

I potted up this plant in an old low terracotta pot which was the only spare one left and would do nicely to sit on my desk.

(after breaking all my beautiful ornate expensive pottery containers some years ago when I lived on the south-east side of Melbourne, I stick to cheap plastic pots these days.   This low terracotta pot is the only ‘breakable’ one left).

My lounge room gets plenty of light from the floor-to-ceiling windows across the whole width of the room.

(I have grown vegatables and herbs indoors, but some don’t like the reverse cycle heater/air-conditioner on the wall).

At least I got the Peace Lily (indoors) repotted up to a larger pot 😀

Supposed to rain today, so I’ll be indoors ‘pretending’ to do the ironing and household chores 🙂

P.S. I almost forgot, not in the photo above, but I bought another large Mint bush.   Can’t have the little Fairy-wrens running out of their favourite grazing ‘salad’.

So that makes 3 lush Mint bushes in round, or higher, pots and the rather pitiful remnants of the original mint plant in the low trough which the Superb Fairy-wrens and House Sparrows use as a smorgasbord for morning and afternoon tea.

The Mint in the low trough keeps sprouting new leaves and the Wrens and Sparrows keep snacking on the new young leaves leaving a rather untidy stunted mess.

Here’s a re-run of some of the images you’ve seen before (below).   The bush in the low trough looks rather unsightly, but since my young avian friends enjoy their picnic on the bush(es), I can’t bear to toss it out in favour of a large, more robust bush.

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WATTLE (Acacia)

Commonly known as WATTLE, Acacia is the largest genus of vascular plants in Australia. Australia’s national floral emblem is Acacia pycnantha, the Golden Wattle.

Wattle Day is celebrated on the 1st of September each year.

I never knew Acacia flowers also come in pink, (Sunshine Wattle – Acacia terminalis), until I moved to this western suburb of Melbourne and found a bush next to the Maribyrnong River walking trail, near my current home.

…….and when I lived next to the Yarra River on the north-east side of Melbourne in Abbotsford, the river was lined with Wattle Plants and made for a beatiful walk at this time of the year.   I don’t know what all the different varieties are called, just that if I get too close, I start sneezing.   These bushes are not an allergy-sufferers best friend.

THE MAGNOLIAS ARE IN BLOOM

Coming home in a taxi yesterday, I noticed a number of residential gardens with massive Magnolia trees in Bloom.

There are literally hundreds of stunning flowers on the trees at the moment.

While I  can’t find my favourite shot of them in my archives, I did find this image showing the buds, from 3rd March, 2011……… of a different variety.

Made with my old, (now traded in), Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens.

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I finally remembered that shot I wanted was around mid 2015 when I lived on the north-eastern side of Melbourne, so it actually was easy to find after all.   My short-term memory always has a ‘hiccup’ before it goes to the right part of my memory bank  😀

Here ’tis……from the 26th August, 2015. …..made with my Sony a6000 & 18-200mm lens.

…….and the close-up…..

If I go to the local Plant Nursery during the next week or so to buy seedlings and potting soil, I will try to walk home past the magnificent tree and get a ‘newer’ image.

There’s a cacophony of House Sparrows outside my lounge window at the moment.   Don’t know what they’re twittering about, but it’s obviously some sort of argument, not the usual sweet sound.

I’ve had so many Sparrows on my bare-limbed Japanese Maple in the last couple of days that I couldn’t resist trying to get a shot of some of them this morning from where I’m sitting at my desk.

It’s not always easy to Autofocus when the lounge windows have dirty rain droplets on them.  I have to keep moving the camera slightly to one side to stop it autofocusing on the dusty windows and focus  on the actual bird(s).

Finally managed one shot (below).

You can see the Maple buds on the branches and you’ll also notice that this area is still in shade, with the sunlight shining on the other side of the road (which gives the image the bright light in the background).

In the latter part of the day, the other side of the road falls into shade (with my balcony in sunlight in the golden hour) 🙂