I think this year is going to be rather spectacular for my cactus. It’s had a rough spell, what with being dropped, overwatered and infested with gnats, but now it appears to be very happy indeed. No drooping or pinched-looked leaves, and what looks like a bumper crop of flowers coming. You can see last year’s photos of the open flowers too. I admit the dominant colour in these photos is green, but I think the important colour is pink so will sneak this post into the end of Jude’s month of pink.
Here in Sydney, we are facing days of heavy rain. Summer never really happened, due to the rain (thanks La Niña). Now it’s autumn, and the rain seems to have increased. We shall all soon float away! Sitting on my sofa today, in the early evening, I realised that this small pot of cyclamen on my windowsill provided the only colour in a grey, grey world.
(ps: WordPress, if you are eavesdropping on people’s posts – I HATE this block editor and the associated interface that you are now forcing me to use!!!)
On a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney a couple of weeks ago, I came across a very large planting of Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans)*. The large flower spikes are at about eye level — and the bees absolutely loved them. I was very glad these were non-aggressive bees!
The photo below is a crop of the one above, to zero in on the bee. That “pollen basket” (thanks to Jude for introducing me to that term) is so blue that it looks like an enamelled jewel adorning the bee’s leg.
*Don’t be too impressed by my plant knowledge — being a botanic garden, everything has a label. 🙂
As mentioned last week, here is the Unknown Succulent with its flowers. At first I thought the drooping ends were just more weird growth, but after a while I realised there was something inside.
The droop disappeared and the things at the end of the stalk formed a sort of umbrella of downward-pointing flowers.
Quite pretty, actually!
Posted for #FloralFriday
The apartment I moved into a year ago came with an assortment of succulents in the balcony’s garden beds. I have never liked succulents. After a year of living with them, I still don’t like them — weird shapes, weird textures — but I have come to grudgingly admire their “take no prisoners” approach to self-propagation. These things just won’t be contained.
Two of my inherited plants flowered over the recent winter. One, conveniently, had a plastic plant label so I know what to call it here, but next week’s plant is merely “unknown”. Today we have Echeveria – Blade Runner.
The flowers look a lot better when seen from the front. I had to lean over the garden bed and hold the camera so it faced me, with the viewscreen swivelled so I could see what I was framing. They look huge in these shots, but were really about the size of a small grape. (Don’t you love my checked flannel shirt?)
The flowers were extremely appealing to the bird below. It’s a Noisy Miner (they’re called “noisy” for a reason!), and would visit numerous times each day. (It also liked the “unknown” succulent’s flowers that you’ll see next week.) Unfortunately, it never stayed very long and this was the only shot I was able to take.
Posted for #FloralFriday
I have no idea how a bee would actually see the flowers on my balcony, so apologies to any bees reading this. These images are really a result of me playing around with Photoshop this afternoon. If you’re curious, after editing and cropping the photo, on a new layer I added a radial gradient (white to transparent), set the blend mode to ‘hard mix’ and then erased the area around the centre so the original photo on the layer below came through. Highly stylised and probably not bee-like at all, other than being taken with my camera 1-2cm from the flower.
I chose pansies and daisies for this post because the bees do seem to prefer these flowers.
And here’s a non-stylised bee, having a good old rummage in a camellia. Look at the size of that eye!
These photos are square, which can only mean one thing: it’s another month of Becky’s Squares! For July, the theme is Perspective.
Nadia from ‘A Photo a Week Challenge’ is asking us “to share a photo or two of a change you’ve experienced during the covid19 crisis”. I’ve actually been extraordinarily fortunate: no job loss or salary reduction, and the work I used to do in the office I now do at home. I’m not especially sociable at the best of times, so the absence of other people is no hardship at all.
I took this photo at 9.20am today — ordinarily, I’d be in the office by then, not exactly ecstatic at the prospect of another week of work surrounded by noisy (sometimes irritating) colleagues, just starting on my cup of coffee. But on sunny mornings while working at home, I cheekily postpone the start of the work day and enjoy my coffee outside. 🙂
A plant with many names! To me it will always be Christmas Cactus, because when I was growing up in Canada we had a number of them in the house, and that’s when they bloomed. Here in Australia, though, mine is blooming right now; here, they’re known as xygocactus or Schlumbergera.
This particular plant has a sad history. It was quite small when I bought it years ago, with only a couple of flowers. There were other, bigger plants with more flowers, but I loved the colour of these flowers. It was doing well, getting bigger, more flowers each year — and then I dropped it. Eek! One-third of the plant broke off. Then I overwatered what was left, and the branches started wilting and falling off; another one-third gone. The wet soil was also infested with gnats. And it had terrible light indoors, a choice of blasting direct sun or dim curtained gloom.
The poor thing was not a happy plant!
So I hauled it out of the pot, removed as much soil as possible, repotted it into a larger pot with a more gravelly soil to increase drainage, and used the old cider/sugar/dishsoap traps to kill the gnats. And it began to improve, hurrah! What it liked best, though, was the move to an apartment with a balcony where it gets bright but not direct light.
Now it’s a very happy plant, as you can see in these photos.
It doesn’t normally get any direct sunlight, but I moved it so these photos wouldn’t be dull and flat.
If you can’t believe this plant was ever in the dire straits described above, have a look at it from 2018. Still bravely flowering, but just look at those pinched, wilted, wrinkled branches.