GOLDEN RAT TAIL CACTUS (Cleistocactus winter)

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.

 

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BLUE DAISY, BLUE MARGUERITE, KINGFISHER DAISY (Felicia)

This blue daisy has to be one of my favourite blue flowers.

It has several Common Names – Blue Daisy, Blue Marguerite, Kingfisher Daisy (Felicia amelloides), but also comes in white, mauve or lilac.  It has masses of pure blue flowers from Summer to Winter and the patch in the image (above & below) is from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.

Originally from South Africa, its dazzling display makes it popular for bedding and containers, including hanging baskets.  This is another flower that I’d have in my garden if I had an in-ground one (instead of plastic pots on an apartment balcony).

I say plastic, because most of my ceramic pots got stolen off my balcony fence when I lived near the Royal Botanic Gardens on the south-east side of Melbourne, so now, I just stick to plastic pots (wherever I live).  What hurt the most is that I had just planted them out with Spring seedlings and fresh potting soil which cost a fair bit of money all up.

Felicias are generally treated as short-lived perennials and form substantial bushy plants with a maximum height or spread of 30-50cm (12-20 inches), so I presume the one in the RBG is more than one plant as you can see how far it’s spread in the image above.  The plentiful tiny leaves are grey or mid-green in colour, those of Felicia amen ‘Variegate’ have bright creamy white edges.