KANGAROO PAW (Anigozanthos species)

Looking through my various flower folders this morning, I came across the Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos species and hybrids) and didn’t remember sharing any of these images before.   Maybe I’ve just forgotten but here are a selection for the new(er) followers.

Kangaroo Paw is one of Australia’s iconic flowers with the flowers being highly distinctive and their finger-like projections and cover of fine velvet hairs giving the flowers their colour.

They’re an immensely popular garden plant across Australia (and around the world).

It’s the floral emblem of the state of Western Australia and there are 12 species, with the 12th being particularly striking because of its black and green flowers.

In the wild, the colours range from red and green through various shades of reds and yellows through to the black & green of Macropidia fuliginosa.

The images below were made with various cameras and lenses and differing light conditions and locations.    I prefer the varieties with fewer blooms and to photograph them as they are just opening (as lots of flowers on a plant can look a little ‘busy’ for photography purposes).

Enjoy………………..

 

 

SNAKE VINE, CLIMBING GUINEA FLOWER, GOLDEN GUINEA VINE (Hibbertia scandent)

When I was down the coastal seaside town of Altona recently, I notice this yellow flower in many residential gardens.   Took me a while to identify it (and please let me know in the comments section if the name is incorrect of course).

I find I’m getting better and better at Googling flower names as the years go by.   Sometimes I find the name straight away.   Other times it can take half an hour, but all said and done, Mr Google is most helpful.

Most the leaves and flowers in residential gardens had little round holes and I couldn’t quite work out whether it was a plague of a certain pest or maybe, even, heavy rain?

Can rain (or hail) leave such marks/holes?

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.

CALIFORNIA POPPY (Eschscholzia)

I don’t often put links to other websites on my nature blog, but if you’re a flower lover, you just have to swap over to Anne McKinnell ‘s blog to see her latest post.

My own Californian Poppy images look rather ordinary in comparison (below).

CALIFORNIA POPPY (Eschscholzia)

 

 

SHINING MEADOW RUE (Thalictrum lucidum)

Have been so busy this last week, I almost forgot about my Nature Blog, but today, while looking for some photos for a friend, I came across an image of Shining Meadow Rue (Thalictrum lucidum) made in the Royal Botanic Gardens back on the 18th June, 2012.

……..and just to remind you of what The Herb Garden in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne looks like in Summer or Spring, here’s a few images made over a number of years (below).

The circular brick edged garden falls into shadow around 4.30pm, so best to visit either in the morning or early afternoon.

(Hint: its pretty bare in Winter, so don’t bother visiting at that time).

From memory, the Shining Meadow Rue was growing just inside the entrance of The Herb Garden, one of my all-time favourite places to sit on a hot summer’s day (when I lived on the south-east side of Melbourne).

Melbourne’s long hot summer is finally over and we’ve got some more pleasant weather in which to enjoy the great outdoors this week.  I was going to say it’s hot today, but let’s call it pleasantly……… very warm, instead  🙂

WATER BUTTONS, BUTTONWEED (Cotula coronophifolia)

Water Buttons are a native of South Africa, but naturalised in all Australian states and New Zealand.

These hairless, low-growing, perennial herbs flower in Winter and Spring and grow on a range of soils from sandy loam to clay, but are restricted to wet soils that are periodically flooded according to Mr Google.

They generally exist in moderately saline, waterlogged soils and may form large mats over shallow water,  but the images in this post were made in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Not sure that the patch of plants was in water-logged soil in the RBG, but they were flowering profusely all the same.

I could have chosen to photograph just one flower, but then you wouldn’t get a sense of how gorgeous they are en masse.  Their button-like flowers tend to turn throughout the day and follow the sunlight as you can see in my images.

I’ve seen them in the soggy field around the pond in the nearby Newells Paddock Conservation and Nature Reserve about 2 miles from my current home.

I tried to get down low to photograph them in Newells Paddock when I first visited this amazing restored area a couple of years ago, but I wobbled too much as I was trying not to get wet socks through a hole in my old walking shoes.  The ground was covered in low-lying water under the succulents and grass floor beneath my feet, so the images below just really give you a sense of the surroundings in that paddock (field).  Hope to get back there soon to photograph more of the bird life.  You can get a sense of the bird life here

Or, you can keep following my nature blog waiting for me to photograph them.  Not sure I can get around all the ponds and fields as the water is hidden underfoot for the most part, and I don’t have any gumboots (rubber boots).  I tend to stick to gravel or asphalt paths for walking these days as I’m a bit accident-prone (as you will know if you’ve followed my blog for a long time 😀 )

It’s been raining solidly for a couple of hours this morning and is blissfully cool, so I definitely won’t have to water my balcony garden this evening.

I glanced at the coming week’s weather forecast on the internet this morning, (as I do every morning), and it looks like cooler weather next week.

Dare I hope for a walk outdoors soon?

Is the stretch of heat waves Melbourne’s endured through January, finally finished?

Will there be enough rain to put the bushfires out?

VERBENA or SHRUB VERBENA (Lantana)

I, finally, have to be honest.

The reason I haven’t shared many flower images from my archives recently is that I can’t decide which ones to post.

I have too many photos………still……..after deleting thousands a couple of years ago.

THIS IMAGE LOOKS A LITTLE SOFT IN FOCUS (TO ME).

I look in each of my old iPhoto flower folders, all named and identified with their common and botanical names at the top, and then, at the images and think……that’s not very good.  Or, that’s not in focus.  Or even, that’s too dark and needs the contrast or shadows reduced (or something).

The 2 images below had such a dark background, they almost looked black.  I lightened the backgrounds this morning.

I’m my own worst critic.

In recent times, on reviewing many of those early archival images, they ALL seem terribly dark.  Must have been something to do with the lounge room where I had my desk and computer, which, while lovely and cool in the summer, fell in to deep shade for all but 2-3 hours in the middle of the day.

I must have altered the exposure on the computer images to fit what seemed right in the dim night-light when I did the reviewing.

I lived 2 streets away from the Royal Botanic Gardens up to May 2015 and that dark living space must have influenced my photo editing to some degree.  I’ve mainly done a little cropping or ‘tweaking’ the exposure, contrast, sharpness and colour saturation (until I set up a Custom Picture Style in-camera).

In Winter, the room was even darker.

NOTE: I do even less editing these days.  I usually just press the AutoCorrect button in the El Capitan photo editing section of my Mac Pro – Exposure AutoCorrect, Sharpness AutoCorrect and the Autocorrect button for Definition.  Sometimes I reduce the colour saturation a wee bit as my Custom Picture Style on my 2 DSLRs can make colours too bright depending on the light of the day and season.

Melbourne (and the rest of Australia probably) has very bright harsh sunlight in the warmer months.  Something to do with the hole in the Ozone layer over the country I suspect.

I never get up early enough to catch the soft early morning light.

I’ve tried a few of the different Picture Styles on the Sony a6000 e.g. Autumn Leaves, but don’t like their over-saturated colours much.

I LEFT THE BACKGROUND DARK FOR THESE WHITE LANTANA FLOWERS.

On the other hand, maybe I discovered very early on in my flower photography that most flower blooms had better definition if a little under-exposed with a dark background.

Either way, I now live in a light, bright space with floor-to-ceiling windows and a relatively large, hot, sunny west-facing balcony.

I can now get a better sense of exposure on my large computer screen.

But, dare I say…….. I’m always hot these days  😀  (after living in what my friends used to call ‘freezing’ cold).

LEMON BALL, GOLDEN BALL, YELLOW TOWER CACTUS (Parodia leninghausii).

Following on from the previous post featuring Cacti, I finally decided to purchase a Cacti & Succulents Plant and Identification Guide book during the week, so I can finally put some more names on my Cacti and Succulent images.  I’m one of those old-fashioned people who find it easier and more enjoyable to look at a book, not the internet (for plants and flowers).

Having re-homed about 600 fiction and many non-fiction books over the last 4-5 years and moving to smaller apartments (twice), I really don’t want any more books, but I figured one more new book wouldn’t destroy the equilibrium of my down-sized furniture and decor 😀

I’ve already got 2 Australian Plant Encyclopaedias on my bookshelf, but they are more general, in both plant and tree species. I also have a wonderful Field Guide to Weeds in Australia I bought at a sale about 25 years ago and didn’t use at all for the first 20 years it lay on my bookshelf.

It can be tedious and very time-consuming trying to identify Cacti (and Succulents), which, on the surface, without flowers (in particular), can look very similar.  Especially as I don’t have the time or eyesight to spend copious amounts of time on the computer any more.

Earlier this year, I went to Melbourne’s largest bookstore to spend some time in their Gardening section.  I was surprised to find that of the 50-60 books on Gardening (in general), most were about planting/growing/landscaping or filled with rather ‘arty’ flower images that showed insufficient detail of the whole plant.  In hindsight, I wish that I’d spent more time photographing the Cacti and Arid section plants in the Royal Botanic Gardens in full detail when I lived so close to the area.

I wish I’d photographed (every plant) in every season too.

But of course, I started out in mid 2010 being an amateur photographer, not a Botanist or Gardener.  My primary hobby is still outdoor Photography even though chronic health symptoms keep me mostly indoors these days.

Back in 2012,13 and 2014 I had a 100mm f2.8 macro lens, so was more interested in experimenting in bokeh or DOF (Depth of Focus).  I still love a narrow depth of field or interesting bokeh on browsing other nature lover’s photography websites to this day.

I wanted to capture the small details of the flowers or spines/stems and for the most part, never realised that Common and Botanical names would become important to me.

Some plants in the Royal Botanic Garden’s main site – they have 3 – had name labels next to the them which I photographed at the time of shooting the flowers and plants.

But between computer crashes, reducing my photo library volume and changing from Windows to a Mac, somehow, some of those plant identification label images seem to have disappeared 🙂

I think I was a little over zealous in my image volume reduction task, but no point ‘crying over spilt milk’ now.

Anyway, my book has been despatched from Booktopia’s warehouse in New South Wales and should arrive in the coming week, so we’ll have a few more plant images between the Birds, Flowers and anything else Nature related that I’ve shared recently on my blog.