RED

When I took a photo of my WordPress media library the other week, I realised that at some time I must have been going to upload a post about Red (flowers and birds) and never finished it?   Or maybe I did and now can’t find it  🙂

 I don’t have the time or the inclination to spend hours double-checking the names in my flower encyclopaedias at the moment so I quickly typed the common names that I remember on the images below.   If I’ve got a caption wrong, please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments section.

If you’ve seen these images before, I hope you’ll enjoy them again.

 

I read an article once on how red engages the viewer more than any other colour when included in a photo and to this end, I’ll include a street photo I made in Melbourne’s main pedestrian-only shopping precinct as well.

It wasn’t until I reviewed the image on the large 27″ computer monitor that it struck me……….do people wear the same colour when they go shopping with a friend or family member?   Or is it just coincidence that the people in front of the Hopetoun Tearooms window disply are wearing matching outfits?

……and in a random shot of Melbourne’s main pedestrian-only shopping street, the colour red makes a significant impact on the overall composition.

I think it was a DPS (Digital Photography School) where I read an article on the power of red in an image.

Enjoy………

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A BALCONY GARDEN UPDATE

Not much happening in the garden because I haven’t been to the nearby Plant nursery to buy Spring seedlings or some new potting soil (as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago).

I have emptied 6 pots, washed them with soapy water, rinsed them thoroughly and sun-dried them.

I very rarely plan ahead, but take life one day at a time and try to live in Mindful Awareness of what’s happening right now…..in this very moment, but occasionally, Life or Health gets in the way of the rare plan I do make.

This is what’s happened to my seedling shopping expedition.

I’ve been meaning to re-pot my Blueberry ‘Nellie Kelly‘ (Vaccinium x corymbusm x ashei x darrowi), but keep forgetting to buy a larger pot on my expeditions to the Plant Nursery in the last couple of months.

Note to self: write ‘new blueberry pot’ on the shopping list right now………tick, done.

Actually the same applies to my Peace Lily indoors.  I’m sure it’s pot-bound too – see left.  I have never seen any plant grow so quickly and with such vigor.  It has 2 full flowers at the moment and another new one starting to unfurl.   I had to re-pot it 2 weeks after buying it and it needs another larger pot right now.  Actually, it needed to be re-potted 6-7 weeks ago but continues to flourish despite the small pot.

A close friend who was here for lunch the other week said I must send waves of TLC to my garden constantly all day, as she was amazed at how well my plants grew.

One thing I did do at the end of its fruiting season was to prune the Blueberry bush back by 1/3 (as my gardening book advised).

Today, the volume of flowers on the bush is amazing (see below).   Last year I got a small handful of fruit every day for about 3 weeks if I remember correctly.  This year looks like a ‘bumper crop’ if the number of flowers are anything to go by.

I tested the soil PH a couple of weeks ago and found the soil really acidic, initially too acidic I thought. But upon reading up on Blueberries discovered they like acidic soil, so maybe that’s perfect.

Unfortunately, my Broccoli Bambino, which I was growing for the first time and a bit of an experiment, has bolted and gone to flower.   I took a photo just now, through the lounge room window.  Maybe I should have watered it more instead of relying on the rain to moisten its roots.

Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

The Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) has grown about 5″ in the last 2 weeks, (despite the rain and cold mornings).

The weather forecast for this week looks to be superb, despite some rain.   It really IS starting to warm up with a forecast of 19C (about 65F) today and 21C (70F) tomorrow…… (and then dropping back to some cooler days for the rest of the week).

The Cabbage, which was supposed to be a 2nd Broccoli Bambino, is still ‘powering ahead’.   I mentioned this plant label error to the Manager in the plant nursery a few weeks ago and he was most surprised.

……and the 2 Kale ‘Tuscano Nero’ (Brassica oleracea sp.) are also doing well and having their outer leaves cut regularly for meals.  Actually, they are growing in the pots I normally use for Tomatoes.   So I have to either eat the whole lot and free up the pots OR buy some more large pots for Tomato seedlings OR don’t grow Tomatoes this year.

I’m awaiting the arrival of the Cabbage Moths as I type.

For those of you with small balcony gardens, but plenty of sun or good light, baby spinach and kale are really easy to grow if you want a few leaves for a veggie serving or the occasional omelette.

The thing to remember is that a couple of plants will do for a single person and last about 3 months for picking if you don’t cut too much.   Baby Spinach grows particularly well so any cut leaves are replaced with new ones in the ‘blink of an eye’. Saves going to the shops or supermarket.

Whenever I buy a bunch of leafy greens, unless I make spinach soup (for example), half the bunch goes yellow before I have a chance to eat it all.    Much better to grow some plants yourself and cut just a few leaves fresh when you want them.

I’ve used about 2/3 of my 2 Parsley plants (English Curly & Italian Flatleaf), so bought some parsley last week so as not to keep cutting my plants to give them a chance to re-grow.

My Tarragon (right hand side of the image below), which died off after cutting back earlier this year, is starting to regrow I noticed this morning.   Just when I shot the image below a few minutes ago, I had 2 male Superb Fairy-wrens in full breeding plumage visiting, so hopefully I’ll get some more little chicks in the near future.

…..and my 3 Mint bushes.   Well, you know what’s been happening to them.

I notice the House Sparrows have been struggling with large pieces of dry dead Parsley stalks and keep dropping them, so I got out the ax and chopping block and cut some ‘kindling’  to line their nests.   I’ve left it in a pile at the end of the Mint trough.

None has been taken so far, so maybe I cut it too small for nest making, OR they can’t read that its free 😀

Enjoy!

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

Some of you non-bird photographers probably think it’s quite easy to photograph birds on my balcony.

After all, I am using a 150-500mm lens mostly……and the birds are about 5-15 feet away (the closer shots are made with the Sony a6000 and it’s 55-210mm ‘kit’ lens).

I can assure you it’s not.

Some days, I seem to manage ok, other days its near on impossible as the birds face the wrong way, or walk on the pot rim behind the plant.   There’s a definite skill to getting the one focal point through the plant foliage and onto the bird’s eye OR moving the camera slightly to stop it autofocusing on the dusty rain droplets on the glass windows.

A sharply focused eye is what usually makes for a good bird photo.  The eye is where the viewer’s eye goes straight to (even if the rest of the bird is ‘soft’ in focus).

2 days ago, the Japanese Maple only had faint knobs where the leaf buds were starting to show.

Example below:

Today, the leaf buds are starting to open.

The Canon & 150-500mm lens was too long so I went back to get the Sony a6000 out of its soft pouch and went out to the balcony fence to get the following shot.

I spent some time trying to get the buds in focus on the main tree but the autofocus kept weaving in and out on various small branches.

Then I noticed some small branches which were easier for the autofocus to catch.   This branch was in front of the stairwell/lift wall where the corrugated surface bounces the hot sun onto my balcony garden.


…..and while too far away for this lens, I saw a New Holland Honeyeater sitting on the other Japanese Maple in front of the building’s entrance.   I knew if I went back indoors to change cameras it would have flown away before I could get the shot.  It was lovely to catch sight of a different species of bird now I’m more housebound with this ‘dodgey’ hip and knee etc.

Here are some images (again 😀 ) of the New Holland Honeyeater taken in 2017 just to remind you of what it looks like.

Apart from a crow (or House Raven ?)  landing on my balcony fence for a few seconds last week, I haven’t seen much in the way of the 6-7 bird species that frequent this area this year so far.   I certainly hear the caw-caw of the crows more since the construction workers have been here.

When I went out yesterday I noticed an awful lot of rubbish on the construction site – perhaps the crows/ravens are coming for a rummage around the rubbish?