Yesterday, I realised I should have been putting numbers on my Photo -a-Day-Keeps-the-Doctor-Away series.   While it doesn’t start at the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, the series of sharing one photo from my archives does start roughly at the beginning of the Australian Stage 3 restrictions whereby we all have to stay at home, so this is actually the 14th day I have posted an image since (roughly) we have had to stay indoors.

As I’m sourcing these images from the start of when I took up photography as a hobby in 2010, it also means going back before the major computer crash in Easter 2019 when I lost all my photo folders (with names on them).

So trying to remember names of flowers is quite a chore (if it’s not a common flower I’ve known all my life).   I have a short-term memory problem and only remember snippets of the past – whether it be my childhood, overseas travels in my 20s OR subject names from my photography archives.

Bird names are easier as I’ve focused more on bird photography in recent years and made multiple images of the same bird.

Today’s post is what I think is one of the Echeveria variety of succulents.   If anyone knows the exact name please let me know in the comments section.  The image is a favourite as the pink & grey gravel on the ground in the succulent area of the Royal Botanic Gardens tones in with the plant colour.

I like the backgrounds that ‘work’ with my subject.  The centre of the main plant is composed using the ‘rule of thirds’ i.e. the centre of the plant is at the lower right intersecting line.  Today, after so much practice, I probably would have made a different composition (which showed one whole plant, not part of a plant).

From the archives

27th January 2011

Echeveria ??

Canon EOS 500D (2009 model)

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens

ISO 250



(Note: there will be some longer posts from my archives, but had to finish some offline tasks first.  Yesterday, I did 3 weeks worth of ironing…….boring!   I also put all the lounge furniture back in its place after rejuvenating/restoring my old TV table…..actually, a fun project, except I didn’t have the clear paint sealer to finish it, so put the table back with just the sanding/staining done.  I’ll finish that when I can get to the local hardware store – maybe next year  😀 ).

PERUVIAN TORCH CACTUS (Trichocereus peruvianus)

I received the Cacti & Succulent book I’d ordered in the mail the other day and I’m labouring my way through the photos trying to match some of my unidentified cacti images (made in Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens) with the book.

I was very disappointed to find that there are no Common Names mentioned.

How extraordinary I thought to myself.

Both my Australian Plant Encyclopaedias  and Weeds in Australia book list the Common Name first (with the Genus, species and family second).

All I can say is that at least it might give me some clues to narrow down my cacti identification without labouring through multiple websites.

In the meantime, my photos of the Peruvian Torch Cactus (Trichocereus peruvianus) were already identified from a name plaque at the base of the plant in the RBG.  Not only are the flowers stunning on this fast-growing columnar prickly cactus, but the flower buds are equally interesting.

I’ll leave you to look up more about this plant if you’re interested, as this blog is about Nature Photography, not Gardening or Botany per se.

Melbourne’s RBG (Royal Botanic Gardens) were only 5 minutes walk away from where I used to live and work on the south-east side of Melbourne’s main river for the benefit of those new to my nature blog.  So when I had to take ‘early retirement’ due to ill-health in 2010 and bought a camera and took up Photography as a hobby, it was initially my main source of photo subjects.  But I already knew the RBG intimately BC (Before Camera), as I walked in and around its many paths for something like 25 years.  When you live in a small apartment, who can complain about having no garden or backyard of your own, when a 38 hectare site with some 55,000 plant is on your ‘doorstep’.

LACE CACTUS (Mammillaria elongata)

I’m not a fan of Cacti……..or…….Succulents.

Well, maybe I do like some of their flowers.  I’ve also had the experience of leaning too close to a Prickly pear and been pierced on both arms and stomach with dozens of hair-like prickles…….twice…..even through thick jeans.  Spending ages removing the prickles would make you think I’d learned my lesson not to lean too close, but it took 2 lessons to learn that.

I prefer soft dainty flowers (in general).

But ‘When in Rome’……..or Guilfoyle’s Volcano or the Arid Garden in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, one may as well take photos of them…..especially as they stand still and don’t wave around in the wind 🙂

LACE CACTUS (Mammillaria elongata)

These 2 plant areas are located in the south-east corner and close to where I used to live, so when I took up Photography, I walked past them every Garden excursion and got lots of practice with my, then, 100mm f2.8 Macro lens.  I traded this lens back in 2015 as I didn’t use it much and wanted to buy the lightweight Sony a6000 (which was way above my gear budget at that time).  I’ve also taken lots of images with my 18-200mm lens (which eventually died after 80,000+ images in 2015).

Needless to say, I seem to have an inordinate amount of Cacti images, many of them in unlabeled folders.  One of these days I must look them all up via Google images and put names on the folders instead of just……..CACTI.

The Lace Cactus (Mammillaria elongate) is one of the few which is identified.


GOLDEN RAT TAIL CACTUS (Cleistocactus winteri)

This particular plant image hails from the slopes of a water catchment in the Royal Botanic Gardens called Guilfoyles Volcano

The sloping ground leading right up to the water catchment is covered in either cacti, succulents or low-water plants and well worth a look if you’re visiting Melbourne.  (Or just a local and hadn’t realised this wonderful section of garden existed).  When living on that south-east corner of the RBG, I used to pass it regularly and while not a fan of cacti, the waist-high beds, as you walk up the spiral path, make for wonderful photo opportunities.

I seem to remember this was one of the 1st areas I took my new DSLR and Macro lens in early 2011.

Today, with a flawless blue sky, I’m inclined to go to the plant nursery (via taxi again) to choose some herbs for my planned new indoor mini Herb Garden.  Being Winter, my spinach and other leafy crops seem to be at a standstill in their growth and the cruel winds over the last few days have almost split my large Rosemary bush in half (again).  I’ll have to give it a new twine and bamboo ‘corset’ to hold it together again.  I only took it off this past Summer.

It has been very cold and windy lately.  Great news for skiing up in the Alpine Regions of the State, but most unpleasant if you don’t have a warm car to go out in (down in the lower elevations).  The thing is that Melbourne, with its generally temperate climate, is not used to extreme cold.