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Spring Sings

Spring is one of my favourite times of the year.  All those beautiful flowers blooming, baby everythings everywhere you look (finally got some GORGEOUS broods of cygnets at the local lake – I just want to squeeze them!), blue skies and glorious sunshine (well, some of the time anyway…so far we’ve had a pretty cold and wet Spring).  I love how the evenings change – there’s that particular feeling in the air.  The feeling of change and of warmth coming.  The days are longer and the mornings brighter.

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My garden, such as it is, also changes with the coming of Spring.  The majority of my plants are in pots – I just haven’t had the money or energy to create a proper garden yet.  I mostly have weeds.  Lots of weeds.  I’m a bit ashamed of them, to be honest.  My neighbour’s gardens are all pristine, well-manicured and tidy.  Mine is the feral one.  I try not to look at it.  My back has been playing up such a lot lately that I daren’t do any weeding or any activity that requires much bending in the garden.  So, weeds it is.

This weekend I was surprised to find this glorious bloom in my courtyard.  An Apostle’s Iris.  So pretty!  I got this plant about 18 months ago at a Quiz Night and had no idea what it was.  I figured it was probably an iris of some kinds, but I wasn’t sure.  I have neglected it totally and haven’t even repotted it into a decent sized pot.  Then, yesterday morning, this beautiful flower appeared.  The plant also has a baby that has taken root in another pot, so I’ll have two plants soon.  Yay!

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My pelargoniums are always cooperative and do very well, even with my slack gardening efforts.  I have had this one for a few years and the flowers are just gorgeous.  So bright and cheerful, and long-lasting.  I’ve taken lots of cuttings over the years and so the original plant is now growing in lots of different pots and other people’s gardens!

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I often go for a little walk during my lunch break and the bushland nearby has lots of pretty natives (and a few non-native interlopers) blooming.  I love the bright and cheery wattle – I don’t suffer from hay fever like so many other people – and the colour is always so lovely against the greens and browns of the bush.

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I believe this lovely purple climber is called “Happy Wanderer”.  It’s from the pea family, so it creates its own food by bringing nitrogen to the soil.  It’s so pretty.

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This bright pink beauty is a type of wild geranium.  It grows pretty prolifically and is common around coastal areas as it is very hardy and doesn’t mind a bit of salt air.

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And then we have good old freesias.  I LOVE the smell of them.  I pick lots and lots in Spring time and have them in the library.  Their scent is so gorgeous and fresh.  They are not a native, and in some states are considered a pest.  So I can pick as many as I like 🙂  I even had them in my wedding bouquet, a million years ago.  They make me happy.

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The best thing about Spring, besides the flowers and baby critters, is the promise of Summer.  THAT is my favourite season.  The heat, the sunshine, the balmy nights (that everyone else complains about but I love because it’s warm, warm, warm) and the blue skies.  But, Spring is a pretty close second.  It’s Mother Nature’s party time, her extended prom night, her chance to show off a bit.

Do you have a favourite season?  Does spring bring you joy or does it spell runny-nosed-sneezy-wheezy hay fever hell for you?

Either way, hope you’ve got some spring in your step today (or some Autumn Attitude for our Northern Hemisphere pals!) 🙂

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Quote for the Day : Bees

“… the world is really one big bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places: don’t be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don’t be an idiot… If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts a bee’s temper… Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved…”

— Sue Monk Kidd : The Secret Life of Bees

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Winter-Spring Beauty

Despite my ever-neglectful approach to gardening, I am lucky to have a garden full of colour at the  moment.  My succulents and other hardy plants are blooming and sprouting all over the place – I love the little buds and new growth.  It’s always amazing to me that such beautiful things can develop from my sad efforts at green-thumbery.

Everything needs re-potting and moving – you can see in some of the photos how the poor little buggers are reaching desperately for the sun and light – but, as I myself am moving very soon, they will have to wait a bit longer.  Hopefully everything will survive the move and the new surroundings.  I don’t know what kind of sun/light situation I will have at the new place, whether my garden will be in shadow or full sun for most of the day – this remains to be determined (ie I didn’t actually think about it at the time of purchase).

I’ve noticed a few early tulips coming up in my neighbour’s garden – every year they have a beautiful display of bulbs and annuals.  Maybe down the track I will try those too, when I am settled and feel I have properly put down roots of my own.  Not sure how long that will take and whether I will feel right at home straight away.  I really do hope so. I’m going to try.  I need a place to call my own and to be proud of and want to welcome people into.

I hope to grow some vegetables and herbs, as well as purely decorative plants.  It’s so nice to cook with produce you have grown yourself and makes everything taste that little bit better.  I have lots of plans – let’s see how many come to fruition!  You know I will document both my successes and failures 🙂

Enjoy today, wherever you are, and try and see some beauty in it, if you can x

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A Visitor at Last!

Quite some time ago I got a couple of bird baths to hang in my garden.  I have a lot of birdlife in my neighbourhood and, with the Summers being so hot, I wanted them to have access to water.  I thought I would have lots of happy birdies availing themselves of the amenities I provided.  But no.  Not a one.  I figured maybe they just chose to turn up when I was out or at work or whatever.  As the months went by I came to the conclusion the local bird population was snubbing my water station and frequenting some other location for their hydration needs.

I didn’t take the bird baths away, but I did forget to refill them regularly (possibly the reason the birds chose to stay away).  Wally, my garden Wattlebird (cranky guardian of my grevilleas) sits near them every day and watches me eat my breakfast through the window (I mean he watches through the window…I’m not eating my breakfast through a window – that would be strange).  I’ve never seen him partake of any water though – even on the hottest days.  He is a quite large bird though, so perhaps doesn’t feel safe perching on the swinging bird bath.  He’s also quite territorial so it’s possible he has been warning all the other birds away.

My little Willy Wagtail, whose melodic song means Spring is only a few short weeks away, also likes to hang out NEAR the bird baths but I haven’t seen him actually perch on them or take a drink.  I think they’re just mocking me now – my water isn’t up to their standards apparently.

But, hallelujah!  This morning as I ate my very late breakfast ( I slept in – it was glorious, but now I have wasting-the-day guilts) I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a bird DRINKING OUT OF THE BIRD BATH!!!  A bird I had never seen before in my garden, was happily having a long drink out of my bird bath, swinging away in the breeze and enjoying a spot of sunshine (it’s been raining heavily all morning – hence the bird bath actually having water in it!).  I managed to get a couple of sneaky photos of him before he noticed me, peering out of the window and doing a silent happy dance.

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I think he is a Grey Butcherbird. I have seen them before, mostly down by the foreshore, but never in my garden before.  I was so happy to see him!  But then a bit sad because I will be moving soon and will have to start the whole wooing-birds-into-my-garden process all over again.  I don’t really even HAVE a garden in my new place (if I ever actually get to settlement) so will have to put in lots of natives to attract the local bird population.  A garden with no birdies is so sad!

I didn’t know a lot about Butcherbirds, so did a bit of research.  I found that they have a lovely, warbling song, a bit like a magpie (listen HERE) and that they can be quite aggressive during nesting season.  I also read that they “..prey on small animals, including birds, lizards and insects, as well as some fruits and seeds. Uneaten food may be stored in the fork or a branch or impaled. Grey Butcherbirds sit on an open perch searching for prey which, once sighted, they pounce on. Most mobile prey is caught on the ground, though small birds and insects may be caught in flight. Feeding normally takes place alone, in pairs or in small family groups…” (Thanks, Birdlife Australia)

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He’s a handsome fellow and I’m glad he stopped by.  I’m hoping he feels safe enough to come again and maybe bring a friend.  Maybe sing a song or two (now that I know what I’m listening for!).

Thank YOU for dropping by, too.  My blog is a little lack-lustre these days due to being in the midst of packing boxes and house-buying dramas and just being in a general state of disarray.  Please bear with me while I muddle through my messy life.

🙂

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Blue Flax Lily

Blue Flax Lily

We are very lucky at my work to be surrounded by native bushland and I often go for a wander in my lunch break to spend some time amongst the trees and wildflowers, birds and lizards (and, most likely, a large population of snakes) that inhabit the blocks around us.  We are also fortunate to have a pretty courtyard garden that has been lovingly brought to life and tended by one of my colleagues.  It has succulents and natives, flowering annuals and larger species such as frangipanis and hippeastrums.

Earlier this year, we had our big international dementia conference, and part of our displays included a gorgeous native sensory garden, which I was lucky enough to work in (a nice way to spend a day at work is in a garden – even if it is inside a convention centre!).  It featured lots of beautiful natives that are particularly fragrant or textured – great for people with dementia to touch, smell and experience safely.

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One of the plants displayed was the Blue Flax Lily – a gorgeous grassy-looking native with AMAZING blue “berries”.  The fruit is a ridiculously bright purple-blue and stands out amongst the more muted, dull browns of the bushland.  We also have a potted example in our courtyard garden (a leftover from the Conference) and I have been out there this morning, taking photos of it, as you do.  I desperately want to try one of the berries – they are absolutely edible and a tasty “bush tucker” treat.  At the moment there are only two or three berries on there and I don’t want to pick them because a.)  that would be a bit mean and b.) knowing me, I won’t like the taste and then they’ll be wasted.

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But, if nothing else, they are so darn pretty to look at.  I look forward to them growing bigger and getting more fruit on them.  Then I won’t have to feel guilty about stealing the berries ha ha, but also because those little flashes of blue are a delight.  Nature is so amazing 🙂

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You can read more about the Blue Flax Lily HERE

Kings Park 2

Kings Park 2

More pics from our visit to Kings Park.  All the yellows and golds  this time.

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I think this is a Vertichordia.  But don’t quote me on that. 

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Banksia.  Fairly sure it is an Ashby’s Banksia…

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A Eucalypt.  Of some kind.  I don’t know *looks sheepish*

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A Yellow Powder Puff Plant.  Ok, I am making that up. 

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Hoorah!  A Wattle.  I know this one *pats herself on the back*  I believe it is a Hedge Wattle. 

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Another Banskia.  A prostrate form.  Not “prostate” like my Mum would say.  It doesn’t have to have uncomfortable proctological examinations at the doctor.

So, there you are.  Just a few of the lovely native plants on display at Kings Park Botanic Gardens.  Beautiful at any time of year but even more stunning in Spring.  Nature is a clever clogs 🙂

Kings Park – Everlastings

Kings Park – Everlastings

It is Wildflower Season here in Western Australia and there are some gorgeous blooms popping up everywhere.  On a recent outing to the Botanic Gardens at Kings Park, with our visitor from the UK, we were treated to carpets of glorious Everlasting flowers in every shade of pink, yellow and orange. They are just beautiful, epitomising Spring and all its joyful, sunshiney goodness.  They are such happy flowers, with their papery petals and luscious hues.  Just look at the colours here – a small sample of the beauties on display:

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Pretty princess pink!

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The bees love them too 🙂

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Like a fiery sunset!

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This one reminds me of Coconut Ice…

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More pinks…

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Love this little bee.  Look at him!  So greedy!  Look at all that pollen he’s collected!  He certainly is the bee’s knees! 🙂

We saw so many beautiful flowers and plants on this chilly, but sunny, Spring day.  More pics to follow in upcoming posts.  I really must get some crafting done but I haven’t been in the mood, plus I have barely been spending any time at home anyway.  I had rent inspection this week, so I had to tidy up and get cleaning – after that I don’t want to make a mess ha ha.  It won’t take long until chaos reigns supreme again though, knowing me.  I am hopeless.  It’s why you love me, right?

Hope your day has been bright and sunshiney 🙂