Saturday, February 28, 2015

Photo a Day 55 - The Banksia

At the moment there is very little flowering in my garden so for "Floral Friday Fotos" and "Today's Flowers, I have gone back into the archives to find some new shots for you.  

I was very honoured this week to be invited to be the Guest Friend on "Today's Flowers" so pop over there for some more gorgeous flower shots.

Banksias are members of the Proteaceae family are a very recognisable Australian native flower, coming in a range of shapes, colours and sizes, but all with the familiar cone shaped  flower. They range from low growing prostrate forms to 30 metre trees and are found in a wide variety of landscapes.

There are over 170 varieties of banksia, many of them bred for the home gardener. The vast majority grow in sandy or gravelly soils, but here in South Australia we have one indigenous variety - Banksia marginata - that thrives on our heavier clay soils. Like most gardeners I try to grow the varieties that are not indigenous to our area with mixed success.

This beautiful banksia was planted here nearly 40 years ago and is thriving. It is a hybrid variety B. ericifolia "Giant Candles" and I have never been able to find it again in the garden centres.

This one whose name I  cannot remember is a low growing very gnarled and ancient looking shrub. The flowers are very large and stay on the bush for many years as you can see in the background.
Hopefully someone might recognise the variety.

This Banksia is unusual in that the flowers grow downward and grow within the very dense shrub so they are quite difficult to see properly. The bush is only just over a metre high and very compact. This is one of several whose names I cannot remember and am unable to find in books and online.

Another two I cannot remember.

I do apologise for not knowing the names. Over the years we have planted many Banksias and have lost so many that I have forgotten which ones survived and which didn't. I really should label the things I plant, but............................  good intentions!

Liz Needle  -  linking with   "Floral Friday Photos"  and "Today's Flowers".

Photo a Day 54 - Good Fences

I have been busy this week - so much so that I have not touched my blog for the whole week. There goes my resolve to do a Photo a Day. Still, I figure that some days I have blogged more than once, so perhaps that makes up for my slackness this week.

My fences this week for "Good Fences" come from a grazing property in the north of South Australia. North Bundaleer was one of the earliest South Australian pastoral properties dating back to 1841.  The current homestead was built between 1898 and 1901 and at that time the property encompassed approximately 60 000 acres.

Sadly over the years the property was cut up and the beautiful house fell into disrepair and by 1971 had been abandoned. It was purchased in 1998 by the current owners who painstakingly and lovingly restored it to its former glory. It now operates as a Luxury Accommodation and Function Centre.

The fences are part of the huge old shearing shed - now used for the occasional wedding and function.

And the old stone shearing shed

Liz Needle  -  linking with Tex's "Good Fences".

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Photo a Day 53 - Critters

Oops, I missed Saturday, but better late......  as they say.  Last year we were lucky enough to be visiting Monarto Zoo - a free range zoo in South Australia - when an announcement came through the bus speakers that a baby rhino had been born a couple of hours earlier and was now able to be viewed. How exciting - particularly so because my two grand daughters were with us to share the wonder.
What big feet that baby has - a lot of growing to do here.


Liz Needle  -  linking with "Saturday's Critters"  and  "Camera Critters".

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Photo a Day 52 - Sepia Saturday

I have posted this one before, bit some time ago and it tickles my fancy every time I I look at it. It was taken in 1952, when I as a budding photographer went on a holiday to kangaroo Island - a great little holiday spot off the coast of south Australia.

 KI as it is affectionately known by locals is a hidden gem, largely untouched by the tourist horde, but still known and treasured by many as the spot to visit if you want a relaxed, informative holiday with great beaches, fabulous wildlife, excellent walking trails,  special gourmet food experiences and stunning scenery.

Am I on their payroll?  No, it is just a wonderful place to visit and I have featured it a number of times on my blog.

Anyhow, when we were touring in 1952, the bus broke down and this obnoxious little learner photographer snapped this scene with her trusty Box Brownie(which I still have). Talk about too many cooks and that broth!!


Being not only an obnoxious 12 year old, but also vain (as only a pre-adolescent can be), I always thought I looked pretty gorgeous in this shot taken by one of the boys, son of the owners at the seaside hotel at which we stayed on KI.  (Bernie was his name - my first foray into unrequited love).The poor dupe is my younger brother.

But I digress - pleasantly because at the grand old age of 75, I look back at those memories with fondness.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Sepia Saturday".

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sky Watch Friday

Finally we are getting some stunning sunsets. This weather - hot and dry - seems to bring out the colour in the skies.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Sky watch Friday".

Photo a Day 51 - Flowers

For "Floral Friday Fotos" and "Today's Flowers this week I am featuring some of my favourites from my garden

Fuchsias come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are approximately 100 species of deciduous or evergreen trees and shrubs and more than 8 000 cultivars. A very popular garden shrub. 

 We suffer here from a lack of water and very high summer temperatures, so over the years only the hardiest varieties have survived in my garden. While I admire and indeed have tried to grow the luscious double varieties, now I concentrate on the hardier single varieties and the occasional semidouble and in fact have grown to prefer them to their showier cousins.

This last one is quite different, being a large evergreen shrub with tiny flowers. It is very frost tender and regularly burns in the winter, only to shoot back in Spring and Summer. It is Fuchsia arborescens.

Visit "Floral Friday Fotos" and "Today's Flowers"  for more horticultural delight.

Liz Needle

Photo a Day 50 - That is a Good Fence!

"Good Fences"  crept up on me this week and I was stuck for a while. But, I was browsing through my photos and I came across this one taken in Bali  when we were there on holiday.

We were admiring this rather large tiger when we were approached by a zoo keeper who asked isf we would like to feed the tiger - only cost $5. We agreed and were given a long stick with a dead chicken on the end.  You can see my niece feeding the tiger above.  Very exciting if not a little frightening when this huge cat  stretched up to get his reward. The fellow asked if I would like to feed the tiger - I declined , but my cousin agreed. Then Laura (above) fed it again as the fellow kept handing out chickens.  He ten demanded $15 not $5.  he had neglected to tell us that it was $5 a pop!!

The large fellows above were much less frightening and it didn't cost anything to feed them!!

Liz Needle   -   Linking with Tex's "Good Fences".

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Photo a Day 49 - Nesting Herons

Last Spring we were lucky enough to have a pair of white faced herons nesting in the pine trees in our front paddock - probably 40 metres from our front veranda. The nest was probably 10 metres up, well away from foxes, though the little ravens did cause a few problems. Don spent hours watching the nesting pair and calling me when there was any movement.  To our great delight we were there to see the babies emerge and roost on a nearby branch and learn to flap their wings to strengthen them.

We laughed at the antics of the parents trying to get the nestlings to fly. One of the parents would sit next to the baby, then flutter off to another branch, repeating this several times in the hope that the little ones would follow.  I guess they did eventually, but we were not there to see the first flight. 

I love the fuzzy heads on these babies.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Wild Bird Wednesday" and "Outdoor Wednesday".

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Photo a Day 48 - Ruby Tuesday

Looking for a photo for this meme, I came across this one of my youngest grand daughter and thought it might be something a little different from my usual post of cars and flowers.

This cheeky shot is very typical of Erinn. Gorgeous girl.

Liz Needle  -  linking with Ruby Tuesday

Monday, February 16, 2015

Blue Monday

Blue is always an easy colour to find in my garden and of course there is always the blue sky and sea, but I often have trouble finding other blue things for this post. Perhaps I am not keeping my eyes and mind open enough.

However, I guess these little guys qualify. They are quite difficult to get in focus as they are constantly moving - I just close my eyes and snap.

These are Superb Fairy Wrens and are very common in gardens, especially in the Hills where we live. They are very territorial and live in strong family groups.  We have e family of 5 little ones - 4 girls and a boy just starting to get his blue colouring. These are adult males, one living around  the back lawn with his family and the other claiming the front garden as his territory.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Blue Monday".

Photo a Day 47 - Mellow Yellow

More inspiration from my garden for this week's Monday Mellow Yellow.  These poppies spring up everywhere and make a cheerful statement in the spring and  summer garden beds.

I love the look of them with the blue irises.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Monday Mellow Yellows".

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Photo a Day 46 - Weekend Reflections

Having trouble finding reflections at the moment, but here are two taken from the TV while watching the Tour de France last year.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Weekend Reflections".

Photo a Day 45 - Old Sheds

This is my contribution to The Barn Collective meme. For more shots of fascinating barns and sheds, please follow the link at the end of my post.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, the little township of Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills was established in 1842 by German settlers.There were many small holdings there and many small cottages and out buildings were built. Few if any of the original cottages remain, although there are old chimneys and smoke ovens still standing.

Last week I showed you a hop kiln which was built just out of Lobethal in a small settlement called Neudorf. This tiny village is no longer there, but it is possible to find old farm buildings like this one.

As yet I have been unable to find any information about  the Neudorf settlement although the history of Lobethal is well documented. There are so many little places in my part of Australia and elsewhere that were begun by settlers full of hope in this harsh new country, but which were eventually abandoned, defeated by the lack of water, poor soils, distance and the hot dry weather.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "The Barn Collective" and "Rubbish Tuesday".

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Photo a Day 44 - Critters

"Saturday's Critters" this week  is featuring some Australian critters. I hope you enjoy them.

We have frequent visitors from these furry fellows - the Australian Koala. Kenneth, pictured here, was a frequent visitor and used to visit every couple of weeks and stay for a few days, then wander off on his route. Check out more about Koalas on this link.

Koalas are very territorial, live alone and usually have a specific area that is their territory. Commonly thought to eat only a very limited variety of eucalypt trees, this has now been disproven. They prefer about 12 varieties, but will eat other eucalypts if their favourites are not available. They have been know to eat other species of native trees when hungry.

Kenneth spent so much time ine one of our trees, that the poor tree is in danger of dieing. This is very common because Koalas love the young new leaves and will move on to another tree when they have eaten the new growth.

Breeding season is from September until about January and during that time the koalas become more active and noisy, especially at night. In our experience it is the females who move around a lot while the males sit in their trees and make the most horrific growling, grunting noises to attract them.  It seems to work because we get visits from the ladies, often still with the baby from the previous year on board.

Sadly, although we have had mother and baby visit, we haven't seen Kenneth since last August.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Saturday Critters" and "Camera Critters".

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sky Watch Friday

When my daughter took a ride in a balloon we spent a lot of time sky watching.



Liz Needle  -  linking with "Sky Watch Friday".

My Floral Friday

My floral offering for this week  are these flower shots from Bali.

First up, this beautiful Bauhinia blossom. The flowers  sit beautifully amid their bright green foliage, looking like delicate orchids. This is one tree I would love to be able to grow in my garden.

Flowers are very significant in Balinese culture and each morning the locals visit the markets to buy fresh flowers and floral tributes to place in their houses to honour their gods.

Here are flowers for sale. Many people make their own floral tributes, but they can also be bought very cheaply from the market. The woman below is making floral arrangements to sell.

Here are the ready made arrangements. You find them hung outside the houses every day. On this particular day there were flowers everywhere as it was a special festival day.

Of course many households grow their own flowers. here are some I caught on film.

Liz Needle  -  linking with "Floral Friday Fotos"  and  "Today's Flowers".