Macro Monday

A photo and a poem about grass. Somehow it got a bit dark but it’s no metaphor.

En Garde
If I drive my finger onto your thorns,
would I fall asleep,
supine forevermore?
Or would I draw bonded blood in awe?
Nurse my pain in living thrall, paying my
dues to your magnificence.

Possibly the spectacular Lomandra longifolia, but I’m only guessing.

Kind Regards
Tracy.

The Chicks Are Down

Or at least one of them is. There are four. The magpie parents are very busy.

This week Anne has chosen the theme of Wildlife Close to Home for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. Here is my contribution.

Let’s start with a couple of images of said magpie chick and his dad.

I am never one to let a snappy title get in the way of more wildlife photos. Here are another couple of bird shots from our local wetland.

And returning home, it’s the birthday girl – the wiley Ama. She threw up this morning, probably because of all that grassy hail she ate yesterday or perhaps to make room for birthday ice cream.

I hope you are all well, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve been getting a drenching in sunny Canberra (Australia), although not as much as a little further northwest where it is an absolute catastrophe.

Take care of yourselves and our world.

Kind Regards.
Tracy Rail.

Six On Saturday – 5/11/2022

Gardening on the verge.

It’s still Saturday somewhere, right? I’m a little uncomfortable about chucking in an entry because the Six On Saturday gardening contributors are very friendly and chatty, and of course, I am too, but my blogging program is giving me all sorts of problems and hence my communications are sparse, which doesn’t seem fair. Apologies in advance. But I have a few shots of my current fancy which is my verge garden, and it was Saturday here just a few short hours ago, so here goes.

My bluebells (Wahlenbergia communis) have gone nuts this year. They are in their element here with other woodland and grassland plants. It helps that it has rained. A lot. There is a lot of yellow in the verge at this time of the year so the bluebells tone everything down.

I’ve been learning a lot about what is a local plant over the last year. For example, from my perspective (and it will be different for you depending on where you live), plants can be native to Australia, native to the broader region surrounding Canberra, local to Canberra and/or local to my part of Canberra. When I first bought these native leek lilies (Bulbine semibarbata), I wasn’t au fait with all these intricacies. These lilies are not native to Canberra but grow in the broader region. Still, they are doing okay. The flower is tiny and not in focus. I was in a hurry and was too distracted by the lovely hoary sunrays (native to my part of Canberra and elsewhere) behind them. The latter must be the cheeriest flower of all time.

As you can see, the other bulbine lilies have bigger flowers. I don’t know whether these are Bulbine bulbosa or Bulbine glauca. I have both and I swear I was going to remember which was which but now I can’t. The bulbosa likes moist conditions while the glauca is a bigger, tougher beast and can cope with dry woodland.

The clustered everlastings (Chrysocephalum semipapposum) have just started to flower. They look a bit spindly because this is their first year.

The verge is meant to be a miniature grassy woodland so grass is a big feature, or it will be when the grasses grow. For some reason, I got distracted again and bought a number of different grasses. I don’t know whether they will all mesh together but I will soon find out. Here is some wallaby grass (Rhytidosperma sp.). You never know what you might end up with when you buy a non-specified species, but I am really happy with these cuties. They are only about 30cm tall. I really like them.

It seems that I am one photo short on the verge so I will finish off with a photo of this beautiful nepenthes which lives in a pot on our laundry window. It is as big as it looks. It prefers dusty, cobwebbed windows. You wouldn’t clean your window if you had to move this plant, although looking at them up close now, I can see the window needs a good scrub.

Jim Stephens from Garden Ruminations is the new host of Six On Saturday, a weekly challenge of all (six) things gardening. Pop along to Jim’s blog to see what’s in bloom at his house and in the gardens of the other participants.

Anyway, I had better go to bed now as I am exhausted from working on a mystery project. Hint, hint, it is plant related.

Talk soon if I can get the comments and the likes working (that’s blog speak for the information of you, non-bloggers).

Take care, everyone, and happy gardening.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

You’re Gruesome

Kind of busy, kind of wet here, ladies and gentlemen. A couple of weeks ago I visited one of Canberra’s wetlands, which is pretty much everywhere here these days. I’d been told that there were plenty of brown snakes in that area and to watch my step, a bit hard to do when there are so many other things to look at. Anyway, I went into one of the bird hides and all of sudden there was this almighty racket outside. I raced outside expecting to see a snake snacking on a nest of baby birds.

But I neither saw or heard anything unusual. How strange. So I went back into the bird hide and all hell broke loose. There were swallows squawking and flying up to my face. It was then that I realised that I was the snake.

They gave me the evil eye.


And plotted their next move under cover of darkness.


Great gobs agape.


Until I slithered silently away.

Gruesome. Not a creature stirred on this wet and windy Halloween night.

This is also my contribution to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Flights of Fantasy.

Take care, everyone.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

House Guest

Welcome to my somewhat infrequent Friday song/tune day, ladies and gentlemen, where I pick a piece of music that reflects my mood or the times, to share with you.

It is possible that my brother might pay us a visit tomorrow. I found out today that he has a couple of days work just outside of town. When my son was greeted with this news, I immediately got a lecture about how messy the house was, the implication being that it was mostly my stuff everywhere.


It is very untidy and grimy, ladies and gentlemen. No doubt about it. I must admit that I am a bit of a hoarder. I still have the merit card that I got for folk dancing when I was in the third grade. Those were the days! I suppose if I spent more time cleaning the house and less time pulling out the African love grass at the park, my tiny house might be more presentable. Bloomin’ heck, it could also be more presentable if two watering cans and my weeding tool hadn’t mysteriously found their way into the dining room. One watering can would have sufficed. Anyway, we had a quick clean-up, tossing a stack of those terribly useful yogurt buckets into the recycling bin and moving some electrical cords off the kitchen bench. As you do. Before people come over. But really, half a day is not a lot of notice.

But back to the Friday song. Today I have chosen Beth Hart performing her song, The Ugliest House On The Block. Enjoy.


Oh well, If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, we could go for a walk rather than sit around inside.

Take care, everyone.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Gardening SoS – 8/10/2022

I thought I might do some garden posts since, well, it cheers me up. Today I am making my second ever contribution to Six on Saturday, a weekly gardening get-together hosted by The Propagator. It has been a long time since my first post in May!

My new verge garden is looking a mess at the moment. Attractive features include rubble we dug out of the mud, mud splattered plants, and the bird cage and plastic containers protecting the vanilla lilies (Arthropodium milleflorum) from the marauding cockatoos. I understand that the tuber of the vanilla lily is a traditional bushtucker food. Aha! This got me thinking that perhaps I should go foraging for onion weed (Asphodelus fistulosus) which is another favourite of the cockatoos. They seem to know what is good eating. I discovered that yes, onion weed is edible. But I digress.


More pleasingly, the billy buttons (Craspedia variabilis) and the bulbine lilies (Bulbine glauca) are flowering ever so cheerily despite the spring rain.


Next we have the egg and bacon plant (Eutaxia obovata) and tucked in along side it is Craspedia variabilis once again. The former is a West Australian shrub but doing quite well in sunny (just joking) Canberra on the opposite side of the country. The colours are best described as garish but the insects like them.


I have also included hoary sunray (Leucochrysum albicans) seedlings in the verge plantings. All are recent plantings except for two that I nursed through winter trying not to OVER WATER them! They are water-wise plants and don’t like to be waterlogged. The hoary sunray is a threatened grassland species local to our area. They look spectacular en masse but even a single plant is enough to brighten your day. Aussies, do make sure you get seedlings from a reputable plant nursery. All native plants on public land in Canberra are protected.


Come with me while I nip into the backyard. Our Tumut grevillea (Grevillea wilkinsonii) is flowering. The Eastern spinebills have already been into it despite it being a tad mouldy. Apparently, the flowers smell like mice urine. The geographic distribution of this species is restricted to a few small populations near Tumut in the western foothills of the Snowy Mountains, and unsurprisingly, it too is an endangered species. It is now being cultivated commercially and it does well in Canberra which has a not too dissimilar climate to Tumut. Anyway, I thought it deserved a photo just in case it doesn’t survive this extended wet spell.


Finally, let’s take a brief stroll to the local park. Because it is normally much drier, we don’t often get to see common woodruff (Asperula conferta) spreading in such delightful abandon. A small area of ecological significance has been fenced off and we are excited to see what else might pop up in that area over time.


You have probably guessed that it has been wet, wet, wet here in Canberra, Australia. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yes, we need a song because it is just that sweet little mystery that makes us try, try, try, try. Sing it with me, ladies and gentlemen.


Happy gardening, everyone.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

Lens-Artists – Opposites

I am busy, busy, busy but I want to stay calm, calm, calm, so I have elected busy and calm as my sub-theme for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Opposites.

Inspired by lens artists across the world, I have joined a botanical photography group. How weird (for me) is that? In order to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, I have chosen photos that I have taken for that group to share with you.

Here are some busy little birds – firstly, a busy photo of a silvereye getting a dusting of wattle pollen, and secondly, a speckled warbler in a more serene green. We also have a front and back view as an added contrast.

Sticking with the busy bird theme because it is spring in Australia, here is another busy photo, this time of a New Holland honeyeater. It was quick but I was quicker snapping its photo in this native mistletoe (probably Amyema miquelii, but I am no expert). Mr Magpie is always good for a photo. “Hope you’ve got my best side,” he says. It is a harmonious contrast, don’t you think?

Moving on to all things botanical, a beautiful sheoak (possibly Allocasuarina verticillata) caught and held my attention. The coppery flowers stood out in the fading light. Bucolic, eh? Contrast the woodland veiled in copper with a single stem of this nodding blue lily (Stypandra glauca) set in silver. Pure harmony in opposites.

That’s my lot for this week, ladies and gentlemen.

I’ll leave you with this quote by yours truly, “Stay calm, stay strong and negotiate.” That’s pretty good. Someone must have said that before.

Kind Regards.
Tracy.

PS. They are all my photos. I have to be a grown-up and take my own photos, rather than my True Love’s photos, to the photography group.