LARGE WILD IRIS, FAIRY IRIS (Dietes grandiflora)

LARGE WILD IRIS or FAIRY IRIS – ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, MELBOURNE (this image was made with a Canon 100mm macro lens at aperture f3.5 for anyone interested).

The Wild Iris or Fairy Iris (Dietes Grandiflora) is grown in Australia in public parks, gardens, alongside office blocks and even roadsides in residential areas, (just as it is in its native South Africa).

My brother even has one growing in the corner of his horse paddock up in country Victoria (below).

They seem to almost take over whole garden plots, but their ability to withstand both drought and frost makes them a worthy addition to any garden requiring low maintenance.

While they’re considered an ‘environmental weed’ in parts of Australia (Western Australia, Queensland and Lord Howe Island), in my urban area, they spread so quickly, I’m almost tempted to call them a weed down (south) in Melbourne also.

But they do grow in dappled shade as well as full sun, so who can blame anyone for planting them to create a lovely display in Summer, when they flower in profusion.

(note: I had a couple of great photos of their mass planting at the nearby tiny park on the main road, but can’t find them and for the umpteenth time, I wish I had time to file all my photos in the current El Capital software Photo library.  

My old Yosemite iPhoto library  has about 600 folders with every image filed via name – flower, bird, park, garden, nature reserve, beach and so on and it’s a dream to find anything to illustrate a post. That library is actually where the images in this post came from).

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WALLFLOWER (Erysimum)

Wallflowers (Erysimum) are some of the prettiest garden flowers around and the images below, made in The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne in October 2013, show some of their lovely colour.

The Gardening Australia website says…

Wallflowers have simple, narrow, green to blue-green leaves, and are mainly evergreen. Flower stems, tall in the larger species, appear mainly over spring and summer, and also in winter in mild climates. The heads carry dense clusters of small 4-petalled blooms that are often richly fragrant. The petals are usually yellow but may also be orange, red, or mauve, and the hybrids extend the colour range further.

WALLFLOWER (Erysimum)

Wallflowers are mostly hardy, but they do best in a climate that offers cool summers and mild winters. They should be planted in a sunny open position in moist well-drained soil. Though they can be quite drought tolerant, they will reward with abundant flowers if they are watered regularly – particularly if it is done in conjunction with regular feeding, trimming, and deadheading.

This flower bed was in the back garden of The Plant Craft Cottage 

The Cottage, built in 1850/51 to house one of the Gardeners, is only open at certain times, but visit the website above and check out the images in the Header as they show the wonderful array of crafts that Craft members make.  It’s well worth a visit if you’re either a local or a tourist.  In fact, not many locals know about it.  I often used to buy small gifts or hand-made Christmas Cards there at the Gift shop (manned by volunteers) and we always had wonderful little chats about the area, history and array of craft classes taught at the Cottage.  I thought about joining, but like all things in my life, didn’t want to get up early for classes.

If you like English cottage garden plants, do visit the  The Royal Botanic Gardens Website to find out more.

Now, of course, I live too far away.  In fact, just this week, I received a Public Transport email advising that my 3 bus routes to that side of the city have been partly discontinued.  If I didn’t catch a taxi direct (which is fairly expensive), I’d have to catch 2 buses (or a tram and bus) to the city, and then…………walk down to the main south-bound tram route leading out of the city.  There is no longer a tram going past my favourite RBG entrance either.  I’ll bet the tiny group of shops and cafes near that entrance are well and truly missing the trade.

It’s not that I can’t get there, so much as, these days, I prefer not to waste half my day on public transport and then a long walk to get anywhere.  So easy when I lived and worked next to The Royal Botanic Gardens for over 25 years, but my life has changed now in retirement and after 2 apartment moves.

I like to think of it as ‘not worse‘, as many chronic pain sufferers might, merely ‘different‘.

It’s all in the Mind you see.

A finger points at the moon, but the moon is not at the tip of the finger. Words point at the truth, but the truth is not in words.

——Huineng

 

 

BIRD OF PARADISE (Strelitzia retinae)

I had walked to and from the local medical centre yesterday.

(is it really 1.25am Tuesday morning and I’m still awake 🙂 ).

It only took me 40 minutes to make the 10 minute journey as I had to keep stopping to photograph the gorgeous flowers along the way.  The Cherry blossoms in the nearby tiny park near the local supermarket were the main objective in walking with a painful hip and knee, but the fresh air was so invigorating and the pain slowly receded as I discovered each new Spring bloom.

Despite feeling a little unwell, I decided to walk home again and this short journey took me an hour.  LOL  😀  How can anyone make such a short walk into such a lengthy journey?

Only a photographer of course, although I must admit when I was standing at the highest point of the river valley below me, looking at the city of Melbourne’s office and apartment towers in the far distance, it really was an interesting landscape.

There were many Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia retinae) in front of an apartment block but most were dead or dying, so it took me a while to find a flower worth photographing.  Then with a busy background I stepped back and forth trying to find a neutral background – in the end, a concrete column.

Stelitzia flowers are at their best when just opened and looking very fresh and colourful – the one above was just starting to brown off and wilt.

BIRD OF PARADISE (Strelitzia reginae)

Strelitzias are evergreen herbaceous perennials that can become quite large and the most commonly grown one is Strelitzia reginae and to be honest, this is the only variety I’ve ever seen.  I think its one of those plants/flowers you love, or you hate.  All I know is that it has flowers that look like the head of a bird with a bright orange “cocky’s crest” of feather-like petals at the top and to photograph them successfully, you’ve got to catch them just after the bud opens and before it starts to wilt and brown off.

The other tip is to try and isolate one or two blooms from the end of the 3 foot stems, not the whole mature plant, otherwise your photo gets too busy with multiple blooms.  They appear year-round in most gardens according to my plant encyclopaedia, but I never found this in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne where the photo in this post was made.  I often walked past the same intersection of paths, waiting for just the right day (of the season), to photograph them.

Apparently, this plant has a giant cousin,Strelitzia nicolai which has foliage more like a banana palm and up to 15 feet tall!  The flowers are very large also.  I don’t remember ever seeing one, but that doesn’t mean to say our Botanic Gardens doesn’t have one among its 55,000 plants/trees.

THERE’S A CATERPILLAR IN MY GARDEN……….

 

There’s a caterpillar in my garden

and I don’t know what to do.

Should I find a toxic pesticide

or hit it with my shoe?

*

When I saw it on the baby leaf,

I tried hard to grab & ‘quash it.

But the pesky little bugger (note: I don’t normally swear online, only in my garden)

dropped down in to a narrow slit.

*

Now I can’t find any sign

but know it’s in there hiding.

Should I stick around, for a while,

or pretend I’m not really minding.

I know the Cabbage Moth Caterpillar

is on my Tuscan Kale

‘Cause there’s holes and nibbled leaves

and the stalk is deathly pale.

*

If I accidentally ate the slimy squashy thing,

I guess I’d really never know.

‘Cause I chew each mouthful many times

as my Mamma taught me so.

*

I stop and ponder a minute more

but realise nothing matters.

Except to get that pesky ‘pillar off

before it gets much fatter.

*

Maybe I’ll just leave it for a while

and photograph another pest that’s easier to see.

The Harlequin bug on my plastic pot

is running wild and free.

I’d use a Herbal pesticide (we pronounce the ‘H’ in Australia, so it’s ‘a’ not ‘an’)

but can’t remember how to make it.

Maybe it’s on my DVD or in my Gardening Book?

Detergent? Garlic? Chilli? Shake it?

*

There’s a caterpillar in my garden,

but maybe now its gone.

Should I go out and have another look,

or forget it ever was?

*

I really can’t bear the thought,

of my one and only plant

of Tuscan Kale (Brassica oleracea sp.)

dis..a..pearing off the planet.

Tuscan Kale (and friends) BC………….Before Caterpillar

The label says it’s SuperFood

which I need as much as he.

Assuming that the ‘pillar

is a boy (and not a she).

*

Decision made, I go back outdoors

into the hot and blazing sun.

Can’t find a thing on any leaf

so the ‘pillar’s  on the run.

*

I come back indoors and shut the roller blind,

pretending I really don’t give a damn.

Fresh herbs for lunch, but definitely not the Kale,

Lunch is only Tomato…..Parsley….. Eggs & Ham.

PS.  Ok, so there was no ham in my omelette, but nothing else rhymed 🙂 🙂 🙂

***************************

It’s now 2 weeks later

and I really needs some hints.

The ‘pillar holes are everywhere

especially Basil, Sage and Mint.

*

The Bok Choi has a different bug

that leaves creepy crawly lines.

I’ve forgotten what that pest is called

just know that pest is mine.

*

Today’s luncheon omelette was made with

eggs, onion, herbs and Kale.

But be assured the Kale was bought

at last week’s Queen Vic. Market sale.

*

My easy grow Snow Pea seedlings

are finally climbing up.

With fine green threads around the frames

that I’ve made from Bamboo ‘stucks’.

(I never said I could spell).

*

My Italian and English Parsley

are among the very hardy Herbs,

that are free from creepy crawly critters

and don’t require rhyming words.

*

I better upload this WordPress post

before it gets too long

And followers go to sleep,

or break out in raucous song.

*

Perhaps I’ll ask Mr Google

what to use on all those pests.

And finally stop this tedious post

and put the matter to rest.

*

PS I almost forget to mention

my second crop of fruit.

Green Capsicum babes are growing

from the end of green-leafed shoots.

PPS  The Broccoli Patio Baby Bunching

is growing soft leafy greens.

It produces small sweet tasting delicate heads,

of veg. I’ve actually never seen.

PPPS.  I forgot to mention the flowering

of the Rosemarinus officinalis plant.

At least that is free from pests –

‘Pillars, bugs, slugs, worms and ants.

THE END (phew!)

 

 

Hope that keeps you amused until the next WordPress Post.