Mystery plant identified

You may recall in my recent post entitled Spring or Autumn, I had purchased a plant which I thought was an orchid at a local garage sale. Having scoured the gardening books, I could not identify it. However, with the help of some of plant loving friends, we have a definitive name. It is Haemanthus albiflos – or as the name suggests, blood lily, the albiflos denotes the colour – in this case white. A few friends of mine went to that trouble to taking the photos to the Secretary of the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria who declared it, the white variety, was quite rare and generally expensive! It would develop a yellow centre and produce red berries – apparently it drew quite a crowd! Here are the latest photos as it sits on our back deck.

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The horticultural notes also told us it was of South African origin and needed well drained soil and kept well watered in summer, allowing a rest period. That explains why it flowered when I left it under a large tree and forgot about it! Will survive to a minimum of 10-15 degrees. Considering we get down to zero Celsius here on the Mount, I will have to keep it sheltered.

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Compared to this early photo, it is blooming quite well as our begin temperatures begin to drop. Quite an unusual specimen.

Spring or Autumn?

It’s a beautiful day on the Mount. The season is turning and we are approaching the delight which is autumn up here. However, I have this potted plant which I haven’t been able to identify. I have scoured the Plant Encyclopaedia, maybe just looking in the wrong place. It seems like a spring plant not an autumnal one.

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It can’t be a crocus as it doesn’t die back. I thought it was an orchid when I bought it pot-bound at a garage sale in early summer. I repotted it and forgot about it. Now it has this lovely creamy white flower.

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Maybe my little white cat knows what it is!

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Any suggestions welcome.

Happy Valentine’s Day from a secret friend

We have a tall, dark, 6 foot stranger living in our garden. We thought we heard him a few weeks ago. We thought we saw him a few days ago. Then today, here he was staring straight at us. He kept looking at us as we stood in shock. He had never been so close before. We were a little frightened at his stillness. He was hungry and thirsty; he was big and strong. He looked straight at us today, on Valentine’s day. He even left a few deposits!

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Due to the recent bush fires in our area, kangaroos are coming closer and closer to houses seeking a little fresh grass. Colin came out to look; Whitey cat was too use smelling the flowers to notice.

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See you later big guy, but please don’t surprise me behind the camelias!

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Christmas (aka Catmas) is coming!

I love catching up with Bailey Boat cat, so I thought I’d share his Christmas antics with you!

Bailey Boat Cat

I’ve spend today wrapping (well helping to wrap) lots of presents. Most of them have to be sent internationally so I made sure the humans got down to business today. It’s left me feeling very festive and remembering how lucky we were to have a pawesome Christmas last year!

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I loved my role as Santa Paws last year!

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I can’t wait to get a tree this year but there’s a debate among the humans whether to have a real one or one with the twinkles at the end of its pines… I would like a real one that twinkles too… Paws crossed!

How are your Christmas preparations going?

Bisous Bailey

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Sydney’s Inner West

A 7:30am flight and in less than 100 minutes, I am in Sydney with Daughter Number Two for the weekend. Luckily, I packed my pink umbrella as the heavens unleashed a torrent as the plane taxied in. A short drive and we find ourselves in Sydney’s Inner West, only five kilometres from the busy city heart. Today’s humid, wet and slippery conditions did not dampen this precincts eclectic mix of fashion, novelty craft stores, tree lined streets, turn of the century cottages and alternative cafes and restaurants.

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Now here’s a question for you. Do you like buttons? If you are like us we are intrigued by their shapes, colours and applications. You would love this establishment!

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Dusty, Little Dog Number Three sat quietly out of the rain. Well actually here he is at his owners’ photographic, dark room and studio. This is their second studio and was once the Department of Civil Engineering building. It’s a great space for their photographic workshops and studio.

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Returning to Newtown in the evening, we ate dinner at a nifty Japanese restaurant where we ordered our meals on an I-pad!

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Hopefully the rain will ease tomorrow – good night – see you in the morning.

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The House of Rock

Out little blue chook house has finally opened for business. It has take us a little longer than anticipated to lodge the girls (and a couple of boys!) in the new structure. Constantly looking for improvements, Colin decided to put in a ramp to connect the old enclosure to the new blue house.

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Then there was the matter of enticing the chickens up the ramp! A little bit of hands on coaxing was needed. The Plymouth Rock youngsters were the first to find their way in and establish their places. The old Isa browns had to be helped up into the loft but once there were as happy as “chickens in a loft”.
On the other hand, the older Plymouth Rock girls are the most reticent and sceptical of the lot. Colin needed to show them where to perch after finding a nice two metre branch to wedge in place in the house. For the last three nights he had to bring them into the blue house and position them on the perch. On a positive note they are placid and do not peck the little chooks.

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Meanwhile, there was still the problem of how to protect the old wooden floor of the house. We eventually decided to lay a rubberised matting to offer some barrier between the wood and the inevitable droppings. Sarge, our old cat always needs to inspect for quality assurance!

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After some research, I decided to make my own special blend of litter. I mixed equal parts of straw, dried leaf litter and sterilised wood shavings and spread it evenly on the floor. The images speak for themselves.

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Now, after enclosing their run in heavy duty rabbit fencing – we have had a number of fox attacks recently – we can finally breath a sigh of relief that they are all safe, warm and happy. The little blue chicken house has been dubbed the House of Rock – Plymouth Rock, that is.

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Enjoy your chickens, they are wonderfully independent and entertaining pets.

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Maxi Wombat and Sargie Cat

The mountainside and the bush always seem to reveal a surprise. Recently while exploring the bottom section of our block we came across a huge, dug out hole.

20121022-220048.jpg This brings me to the second reason why we live here on the side of the mountain – the wildlife. Yes, if you haven’t guessed it this is a wombat hole. His home or burrow. Wombat holes can up to 3 metres deep and run along for up to 100 metres! They are nocturnal animals so a photo is difficult to come by (but we are trying). Our very brave cat, Sarge, who often accompanies me when I am gardening or clearing up, decided to explore this new discovery.

20121022-220544.jpgHere he is deciding – should I go in or not?

20121022-220747.jpg Yep, just coming out – not much happening down there. Better get out fast just in case!

20121022-220908.jpg We have seen and Wombat wandering around the streets at night and have dubbed him Maxi because of his stumpy, chubby size. Recently I commented on four reasons why we live here, the fauna comes next after the flora. Apart from wombats and the odd echidna digging up my stone walled pathways, cockatoos often come to perch on our deck. These two sulphur crested ones shared a cuddle!

20121022-221357.jpg king parrots are also frequent visitors. Maybe I’ll be lucky soon and snap Maxi for you!

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