Sunday, 27 November 2011

Beach Break - Day Two

We were much luckier with the weather on day two of my visit to Noosa to catch up with my friends Jo and Semi. I decided to head back to Brisbane before lunch, but Jo and I managed to sneak in another trip to the beach opposite her home at Sunshine Beach and headed in the opposite direction (south).

Jo's dog Zulu (left)  made some new friends.

A cuttlefish shell left on the tide line.

Among the flotsam and jetsam on the tide line, I found two Christmas beetles that had been blown off course, so I took them back with me and released them into the reserve adjoining the beach.

Living jewelry

Beach Break - Day One

About six weeks ago, my friends Jo and Semi moved from Sydney to Sunshine Beach, just south of Noosa Heads. Thursday was my first chance to head up for a visit. Despite it having been our driest November on record, as fate would have it, the heavens opened not long after I set out. The conditions were so bad that several cars pulled over to the side of the road rather than risk continuing on, but I followed a big, well-lit truck through the worst of it. Fortunately, the rain had eased off by the time I arrived, so much so that after being shown over their new home and discussing their renovation plans, Jo and I decided to risk a beach walk to Noosa.

A bare tree decorated with thongs and sandals marked the start of our beach walk.

It was misty but still very beautiful.

Clambering over the big headland marked about one-third of the way and the start of the National Park.

The patterns created by sand beads around the entrance to crabs' burrows could have been hung on a gallery wall.

The perfect finale to our 3 hour walk - Margaritas at Noosa's Sheraton.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

A Surprise Visitor

Yesterday when I set out on my usual early morning stroll--in my dressing gown with coffee in hand--to see what was happening in the garden, the very first thing I noticed was a dark shape floating in the pool. On closer inspection I saw it was a blue-tongue lizard. It was looking a little inflated, so I had no doubt that it was dead and was very sad about that. They are beautiful creatures, very slow and gentle, and a great asset in the garden as they eat snails, caterpillars and the like, but also sadly very vulnerable to attacks by domestic pets, including my two terrors.

I fished him out with the pool skimmer and to my surprise he was still alive and seemed to have deflated - perhaps that is something they do to keep afloat.  I just left him where he was in the net near the front door and checked on him from time to time during the day. At one stage he wriggled a little further under the net.

There wasn't much change for about 8 hours. By then it seemed likely he would pull through, but I was a bit conflicted over what to do with him. I thought of carrying him down to the front garden, which is safe from the dogs, because if he just wandered off from where he was, he would be perilously close to their turf. This is the last glimpse I had of him.

When I came back to check after hanging out the washing, he was gone. Farewell, little lizard. Bella and Onslow are away at present before I head off for a mini break. I hope your paths never cross.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Out and about in Brissy

Just as the mauve flowers of the jacarandas have slowly given way to new foliage, the poinciana trees have become ablaze with scarlet flowers. My own is a bit slow off the mark, but I don't take that personally--my frangipanis seem to be a little late too. But rather than wait on it, I couldn't resist snapping one to share with you, from the dozens I passed on a short Sunday drive.

On Saturday I was also out and about and called into Meads Daylily Nursery, where I have bought, not only all my daylilies, but also the beautiful epiphyllum that I posted on Bloom Day. There were two other colours out in flower.

A pale pink

and this lovely cream one, which had gold buds and spent flowers.

Somehow I managed to resist both, although I did get a tiny slip of one I had years ago and had lost. I just missed the flowers, but hopefully can enjoy my own in just a couple of years.

I spent a long time wandering and looking at the daylilies for a dark mauve or purple, and I finally settled on 'Russian Ragtime'. None were in flower, but I am sure it is one I fancied last year, and my new addition is in bud, so all will soon be revealed.

Back home, apart from 'Royal Rego' and 'Wedding Band', many of my daylilies have finished their first flush of flowers.

This daylily is 'Donna Mead'. It's my favorite of the dark reds.

'Mr Lucky' has just finished flowering.

'Passion for Life' another favourite

'Velvet Rose', a great performer. 

Some of the others are looking a little bit tired, and the blooms being produced are definitely smaller than a fortnight ago. It has been hot and very dry, in fact our driest November on record, but storms have been predicted for this afternoon, and rain is expected to last till the weekend, so I'm sure with a good soaking and a light feed they will bounce back as good as new in a couple of weeks.

It doesn't matter what the conditions are like, there is always a bromeliad bound to bring a smile to this gardener's face. This flower snuck up on me; I hadn't noticed my favourite sun-lover was in bud.

I gave away the last spare pup of this I had, but I think I will keep any progeny all to myself this year. The grey mauve of the leaves is always interesting, and it contrasts beautifully with the autumn tones of some of the daylilies and the deep pinks of the cosmos and 'Wendy's Wish' salvia, so I will try to find a few more places in the garden for it.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Heavenly crinums

My childhood vision of heaven was of rolling green fields and streams. Looking back now, the only thing I would add to complete the picture is a fringing of crinums in bloom to the banks of those celestial streams. The tranquil scenes below were taken near Dorrigo in northern New South Wales.

Closer to home, the crinum have been flowering along the edges of Bulimba Creek, and I have varied my usual dog-walking route to take in the scene.

They are also featuring in public plantings, like this one in front of St Stephen's chapel in the City and throughout Southbank Parklands. They are incredibly versatile and hardy, not only thriving alongside streams and in swampland--hence the popular name of Swamp Lily--but also along the seashore.

My wonderful friend Jo took this photo of a crinum with deep pink buds when we were living in Tonga. There is also a very lovely Queen Emma crinum that I haven't spotted locally that seems to have the same lovely pink or burgundy tone reflected in the foliage. 

At Fafa Island in Tonga with golden leaves

A row of crinums in one of the beautiful beach-side cemeteries in Tonga--a very tranquil final resting place.

Vale Johnny Joe, died 6 November 2011, aged 30.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Sculpture by the Sea

From the first to the third week of November every year, the stunningly beautiful coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama Beach in Sydney is transformed into a 2 km sculpture park. The exhibition features over 100 sculptures from artists around the world and now travels, with exhibitions at both Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia and Aarhus in Denmark. This year marked Sculpture by the Sea's 15th anniversary, and, although I couldn't make the trip this time, I was lucky enough to visit the year before last.

The scenery is superb and many of the sculptures are large scale, quirky, or colourful, but my favourites had an organic feel to them and seemed perfectly suited to their temporary environment.


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