Monday, 30 October 2017

Time out to reflect

This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au

Scritchy, who is the boss dog of the fluffy collective has a not-so-secret super power - she can predict storms hours in advance of their arrival. The form that advance warning usually takes is that she hides under the bed. And she is mostly accurate too!
Scritchy storm detective was discovered under the bed again earlier in the week
Scritchy may be upset by the occasional storm, but all the wildlife that shares the farm generally love any rainfall. During the storm, I spotted a frog swimming around in a small pool of water on top of one of the water tanks.
A Southern Brown Tree Frog takes a swim in a pool of water on top of a water tank during a recent storm (plus a bonus worm)
The over night storm earlier in the week dropped about half an inch (12mm) of rain over the farm. Then for the next few days, the clouds were low and thick. On Tuesday, the solar panels failed to generate enough electricity to fully charge the batteries. They generated about 4.1kWh, which is less than one hour of peak sunlight for the entire day. Not a bad effort for a late spring day!
The clouds were thick and low over the farm for much of the week
Readers with very good eyesight (eagle eyed) may note in the photo above, one of the local magpies is attacking a huge wedge tail eagle. They can be seen as two dots in the centre of the photo. For those without good eyesight (not eagle eyed), I zoomed in on the above photo and you can see the magpie attack:
A brave magpie attacks a much larger wedge tail eagle over the valley
The family of magpies that lives on the farm are quite amazing. Last week I was meant to be supervising the chickens whilst they free roamed around the orchard. The words "meant to be supervising", describe my recalcitrance because what I was actually doing was not supervising the chickens at all. I was mucking around with a water pump on the other side of the farm. Whilst I was doing that work, a magpie attracted my attention by shooting past me at high speed. I thought to myself that that was a strange thing for the bird to do.

I pondered the big questions in life, like 'why did that bird attract my attention?' The other residents birds on the farm, started calling to each other. I dropped what I was doing and ran over to the chickens as fast as I could, only to see a fox scampering off into the surrounding forest with a chicken in its maw. Without slowing I veered in a new direction chasing the fox with the chicken into the forest. The fox had Cloey the Australorp chicken. Cloey has been enjoying life here for about five years. Unfortunately for the fox, Cloey is a large bird and was possibly quite a heavy haul, because I rapidly gained on the fox. As I ran, I noted that the magpies were swooping the fox and generally harassing it.

I almost caught up to the fox, and it was at that point the game was up for Mr or Ms foxy, who unceremoniously dropped Cloey and then sped away. Cloey was not in a good way, and by the time that I got her back to the chicken enclosure she was dead.

After that experience I now supervise the chickens properly. The fox still appears, but the magpies give me plenty of early warning. The alarm call that the magpies provide is quite distinctive and I listen closely for that call, whilst usually reading a book. And the birds also tell me exactly where the fox is because they swoop it.

The fox appeared again last night. It might ignore the swooping magpies, but it sure took me seriously as I chased it off the farm yelling at the top of my lungs.

Then a very strange thing occurred. The magpie which had been previously swooping the fox, settled in a nearby tree watching the deranged human chasing off the fox. As I returned back to the chickens, the bird squawked once at me. And for no real reason, I replied to the squawk by saying "chook chook". The magpie then said "squawk squawk". That gave me chills, so I thought I'd test the bird and said "chook" and the bird replied "squawk". Magpies are undeniably intelligent birds, no doubts about it and I am lucky to have a family of them living here permanently.

The long deceased Chinese master of strategy may remark that: The enemy of my enemy, is my friend!

Foxes were not the only problem we faced this week. We have now arrived at the time in the season where we have to plant the next seasons crops and maintain the orchard. And yet, we are still in the process of constructing the new strawberry terrace. The editor and I took the last few days at a slower pace whilst we reflected upon the complexities of this situation.
Many self seeded tomato plants have appeared this week which tells us that we are now running a week behind the season
The interesting thing that we have discovered in this brief period of reflection is that:
  • During spring we plant out the summer crops and maintain the orchard;
  • During summer we bring in the firewood for use over the winter;
  • During autumn we bring in and process the summer harvest; and
  • Winter is the time for repairing and constructing infrastructure. It is also the time for maintaining the surrounding forest.
And so it is that in mid to late spring, we find ourselves facing the complicated situation of continuing winter infrastructure activities whilst having done no forest maintenance at all for the year. The grass is growing faster than the marsupials can consume it, the orchard needs maintenance, and the summer crops are ready to be planted outside. It is a predicament!
The twice yearly job of mowing was begun today
The mid to late spring sun shone strongly today (Sunday) as I began the slow process of mowing the farm. Because of the steep gradient of the property, I mow by hand which involves hours and hours of pushing a little red Honda mower. Purpose built ride on mowers with a very low centre of gravity that wont tip over cost more than a small motor car, so I simply get a lot of walking exercise instead. There are some serious downsides to living on a property that is on an incline! One can but dream of flat land, but until then, I must walk!

I often describe the grass in the paddock using the technical term "herbage". This is a fancy name that refers to the fact that there simply are a lot of different plant species growing in among the grass. Outside of winter, the herbage is usually full of flowering plants:
The herbage is full of many different species of plants including a huge variety of wildflowers
Close up some of the flowers look like orchids, and the native dichondra kidney bean plant is a good example:
Dichondra flowers look like tiny orchids to me
Anyway, we have undertaken an epic amount of infrastructure work over the past six months, but the time for infrastructure works is rapidly finishing for this year. The strawberry terrace will be the final job this year on that huge and ever expanding list of future projects! On a positive note, it is looking pretty good so far and the strawberries are growing strongly:
The strawberry enclosure sits on a terrace above the raspberry and blackberry enclosure
On Saturday by sheer chance we passed a plant nursery which we'd never noticed before. The reason for not noticing the nursery was that they previously only supplied the wholesale and landscaping market. They had a very good selection of Japanese maples and they were quite affordable and so we purchased two maples: one red; and the other orange.

It is a bit late in the season to be planting new trees. But another reason I don't like planting trees at this time of the year is because the garden beds are full of insects, and some of those insects (e.g. the bees), don't much appreciate having humans stomping around disturbing their activities. Anyway, the plants were a bargain and so I risked the wrath of the bees and planted them into the garden bed.
There are about ten Japanese maples in this garden bed now. A red and another orange variety were planted this week
That garden bed which is devoted to the Japanese maples looks like a proper wildflower meadow:
The Japanese maple garden bed looks like a proper wildflower meadow
The weather has been almost perfect for the fruit trees. The cherries are getting larger:
Cherries are getting larger
The almonds are producing more tree this year than nuts, but well, most fruit trees are biennial which means that is what they do (one year fruit and the next year wood). Of course, this means that next year there may be a bumper crop of almonds!
Almonds are also getting larger
It looks as though this year may be an exceptional year for the apricots. At least I hope so:
Apricots are prolific this year
The new bee hive looks like they have become well established and that's despite the cool and cloudy week. But for some reason one of the wombats keeps marking the area around the bee hive as its territory. Note the many scats in the photo below:
The new bee colony is doing well, but the wombat leaves calling cards marking out the hive as part of its territory
There is a small army of reptiles that live in the rocks that line the garden beds. We call them Skinks and they are like a gecko and can sometimes be quite large. They consume a huge quantity of insects, so they're alright!
The huge number of Skinks consume a lot of insects in the garden beds
On a warm and sunny day the farm smells of flowers. Enjoy this glimpse into spring:
Pears and apples are producing a great display
Horse chestnuts have a very complex and tall flower
Bees are everywhere and this Echium is a good source of pollen
Californian poppies are as beautiful as they are tough
Ixia bulbs produce beautiful flowers
This tri-coloured Sage is not a flower but it looks great
It is Rhododendron season and they get bigger every year!
A close up of one of the garden beds
The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 5’C (41’F). So far this year there has been 738.4mm (29.1 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 715.2mm (28.2 inches).

Monday, 23 October 2017

Australia Town

This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au

On Friday, the last mass produced Australian made vehicle rolled off a production line in Adelaide, South Australia. Three years ago the Federal government announced the death blow to the vehicle manufacturing industry in Australia. At that time there were three manufacturers in Australia (Toyota, Ford, and General Motors Holden), all foreign owned. Some folks have argued that withdrawing subsidies for the industry was a coup de grâce (a mercy kill)? I on the other hand wonder what the people who were employed on Friday are now doing on this Monday morning (lattes anyone, a delightful way to start the day)? And I can't ignore the ugly reality for the many businesses who previously supplied those vehicle manufacturers and their employees.

“Well we're living here in Allentown
And they're closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they're killing time
Filling out forms
Standing in line”

I have previously worked in the manufacturing industries. In fact as a young bloke I once spent a few happy months employed on a production line which made computer floppy disks. I quite enjoyed the work on the production line and felt as if I were part of a larger team producing quality stuff. However, when the standard computer floppy disk changed from 5.25 inch to the smaller 3.5 inch disks, the company shut down the production line rather than re-tooling. The unspoken aspect of the situation was that the imported product was far cheaper than the locally manufactured product.

As an accountant, a long time ago, I worked for a footwear manufacturer. The business used to manufacture leather shoes and boots. After a while, the same (hard to argue against) claim that it was cheaper to import footwear rather than manufacture it locally, reared its head. That business was also wound up. This time, as an accountant, I managed to see some of the machines which were used by people to make shoes being sold off to overseas businesses. It was very thoughtful of those overseas businesses to recall that the population down here still needed to wear shoes. The factory which had previously produced noise, commotion and footwear, became eerily quiet.

Yesterday, I had to contact the technical support phone number for one of the largest companies in Australia. It is a big company and makes a tidy profit, and it was nice that the helpful employees in what I'm guessing was the Philippines were able to cheerfully assist me with my query.

"But the restlessness was handed down
And it's getting very hard to stay"

The main problem with competing against skilled and unskilled labour in other countries is that you can't. Over my working life, tariffs protecting local manufacturing have been removed. The result of that policy is that local manufacturing has to a large extent, been reduced in size and scale, whilst consumer stuff gets cheaper.

It is worth mentioning that unemployment in this country is relatively low, but youth unemployment and under employment has been rising of late. And as far as I understand the employment statistics, you can be employed for one hour per week and not be considered unemployed (this statistic has an international origin too).

"Well we're waiting here in Allentown
For the Pennsylvania we never found
For the promises our teachers gave
If we worked hard
If we behaved"

Economic policy down here appears to be reasonably simple. The policy makers appear to me to be pushing policies that maintain or increase certain asset prices (houses, stocks and bonds) whilst at the same time maintaining or lowering prices for consumer stuff. Of course there is a risk for the policy makers that if too many people become unemployed, or under employed, then asset prices (houses, stocks and bonds) won't be maintained and that in turn will lead to people not being able to afford even the cheap consumer stuff. No single person or group is to blame for this desire, because everyone appears to enjoy cheap stuff. And there is a certain appeal to the concept of unearned wealth that is the result of rising asset prices.

"So the graduations hang on the wall
But they never really helped us at all
No they never taught us what was real
Iron and coal
And chromium steel
And we're waiting here in Allentown"

That is all a bit dark isn't it? The thing is, my experience taught me that during the last recession, I still went out drinking with my mates on weekend evenings whilst listening to angsty music that suited those dark times. As an interesting side note, the alcohol of choice for my friends and I at that time was a very dodgy $2 bottle of port, which we had to mix with cola so as to make it even remotely palatable. Some memories from that time are far stronger than others (possible due to the port, known fondly as 'two buck chuck') and I vividly recall a time when I was unable to afford a pair of socks for a couple of months. But then, at that time I also met the editor who had a poo brown 1960's era Valiant station wagon that would only go forward (and didn't appear to be going into reverse anytime soon!) Along with the editor came a fat brown dog who loved nothing more than running around the front bench seat of that behemoth of a car. So, even in dark times, people live, love and laugh and generally just get on with their lives. For some folks those times can hit pretty hard, but mostly people lose access to the plentiful supply of cheap consumer stuff. And from what I've noticed, some of that stuff is total rubbish.

"Well I'm living here in Allentown
And it's hard to keep a good man down
But I won't be getting up today"

Mr Poopy likewise appears to be not getting up for work today
Well, Mr Poopy may have been snoozing away the cloudy and humid the days of the past week, but the editor and I have been as busy as beavers. Earlier in the week I had a phone call from a supplier in Melbourne who advised me that the bee colony that I'd ordered earlier this year was ready to pick up early on Saturday morning. Long term readers will note that I have a revulsion for the concept of early mornings, but that Saturday was different as it found me at the suppliers business taking delivery of a new bee colony. It was lucky for the supplier that I had not yet had a coffee because my brain was slow to react to bee-flation. Bee-flation is an economic term that has remarkable similarities to chook-flation and plant-flation. Of course the official inflation statistics are released by the same government department that is currently handling the marriage equality survey, and those official statistics tell me that official inflation is reasonably low (between 1 to 2%). That low inflation does not explain how a colony of bees which used to cost me $160 per hive, now costs $250. Maybe I expect too much...
The author (darth Chris) returns home with the new bee colony in the back of the white Suzuki dirt rat
It was a relief not to have had a vehicle crash on the way back to the farm. Just imagine for a moment what would happen to a very angry colony of bees who were subjected to a vehicle crash and may have possibly escaped during the incident! Surely there is a horror story in there somewhere?

The new bee colony decamped in a southerly direction towards the custom built bee box
The five new frames of bees were placed into their custom built grand designs home
The weather was less than fluffy optimal for transferring a new bee colony into a new home, but I sort of felt that given that the new digs that the bees were going to enjoy were so good, they just had to deal with the cool and humid weather. Fluffy optimal weather conditions for poking around in bee hives are normally hot and sunny, but given that no such weather conditions appeared on the forecast, I simply got on with the job at hand. The new colony appears to be a very strong and active colony and I did my best to ensure that they were as undisturbed as the situation allowed for.
The original bee colony has now survived three winters and has filled three brood boxes with an exceptionally strong colony
Whilst the editor and I were annoying the new bees, we thought that we'd also check into the status of the original bee colony. As a bit of background, that original bee colony has now survived three winters and is full of three brood boxes. I suspect that the bees may begin the slow process of filling the honey super box (the top fourth box) over the next few months and I may be able to harvest some of their winter food stores.

The strawberry terrace was extended another 2m / 7ft this week. It takes about 4 hours to manually excavate and move that volume of soil. After the excavations, the remainder of the afternoon was spent digging holes for the fence posts. Once the holes were dug, we could mix the cement and then set the treated pine posts firmly in the ground.
The author mixes cement which is used to set treated pine posts for the new strawberry enclosure
Observant readers will note that some of the excavated soil is being used to construct yet another terrace above this one. The editor and I feel that this future terrace will be for vines for table or wine grapes.

Back to the present however - the posts were eventually set into the ground.
The posts for the strawberry enclosure were set into the ground in cement
The next day additional heavy duty steel chicken wire fencing was installed and steel supports were added to the enclosure. The chicken wire is former tree cages which are no longer needed and are being recycled. And additional forty strawberry plants were planted into the enclosure.
Steel fencing was added and an additional forty strawberry plants were planted in the new strawberry enclosure
Spring produces all sorts of interesting harvests and this week we harvested a small quantity of very tasty sugar beets (there are many more yet to harvest):
A small quantity of sugar beets were harvested
The asparagus has gone feral and the spears are reaching heights that I have to look upwards at!
The second year asparagus bed is feral
A few commenters mentioned their concerns about the recent seed germination experiment using cardboard egg crates. The cardboard egg crates have produced an enormous amount of moulds and the capsicum seeds have failed to germinate, but far out everything else is going feral.
Zucchini seeds have germinated in the egg crates and the root systems have all pushed through the holes in the bottom of the crates. Most importantly, the soil surrounding the seeds has not been disturbed
Zucchini seedlings were planted outside this week
Many of the early berries such as currants and jostaberries are also going feral!
Currants and Jostaberries are also going feral
It looks as if it will be an excellent apricot harvest this year.
The apricots are producing strongly this year
The almonds have almost doubled in size over the past week too.

Despite the many technical problems that I have endured with internet connections over the past couple of days, I bring you the Fernglade Farm spring flower collection (it is not really a complete collection, but more of a sampler):
Rhododendrons are the biggest show offs - next to the camellias
Some rhododendrons are a bit more subtle like this one
Crab apples produce an enormous quantity of flowers
These may be zinnias or gerbras
Daisies in the foreground and bluebells in the background!
Clumps of Ixia bulbs are just starting to bloom
This quince didn't want to be outdone by the smaller flowering plants
Colourful geraniums always put on a good show and the bees love them. There is an alkanet in the background
I don't recall planting a white echium, but then again I don't recall planting the pink form either!
The temperature outside now at about 9.30pm is 10’C (50’F). So far this year there has been 715.2mm (28.2 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 711.4mm (28.0 inches).

Total respect to Billy Joel who is the most excellent artist from which the lyrics were ripped for this weeks story. Yes, yes, I was a fan and I saw him live in concert in 1986 or 87.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Words as weapons

This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au

I wasn’t much of a fan of the last recession in Australia during the early 1990’s. The government must have been a fan of that recession though because the Federal treasurer told us that it was: “The recession that we had to have”. I guess we had to have it then. In those naïve days I was forced by redundancy out of my public service reverie into four years of debt collection work. Such work kept a roof over my head and food on the table, whilst some of my friends and associates were among the 10% unemployed.

Collecting debts for a living provides a person with a fascinating insight into the human experience. The tools I used to ply that debt collection trade were: the phone; and the threatening letter. Of course, I was very young at the time, but also a quick study, so I have to admit to a certain terrier-like skill in that area, all of which I learned on the job. I sometimes used to brag to my mates about the people I made cry just by using words, because I knew that the payments would soon be forthcoming.

After a few years I’d heard every excuse under the sun and knew how to counter and respond to people, so as to collect upon the debt. Around that time, the band, Faith No More, had a song titled: We care a lot. I really empathised with the lyrics for that song which remarked that it was “a dirty job, but somebodies gotta do it”, because that is how I felt about the job. On the other hand I could not allow myself to empathise with the people that I was contacting. In fact I managed to compartmentalise my job and my feelings quite well, simply because I had few other options. I treated the task just like the dirty job, that somebody had to do, that it was. And the people that I contacted, well they became clients and were part of the job and not one of my emotional concerns.

All good things come to an end, even recessions, and by the mid to late 1990’s I wanted to work in the area that I had been training for at University (during the evenings after work). I left the world of debt collection and worked in a number of accounting jobs. With each job I progressed up the corporate ladder, one rung at time. Such progression is not a bad idea, because you get to experience the world from the underside, and as such you learn to communicate effectively with people at many different levels. By then, I thought I was pretty good at understanding words and people.

Believing you are good at something may imbue a certain feeling of hubris. Hubris describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride, or dangerous overconfidence. The Ancient Greeks used to believe that the behavior itself, challenges the gods, which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris. That doesn’t sound very nice at all!

Eventually I came unstuck as I took on a job where during the interview process, they mentioned the interesting word “challenge”. I was deep in the clutches of hubris and failed to even note the danger in that word, other than thinking to myself that: Challenge, I can do that before breakfast! Pah!

The challenge folks on the other hand may have been thinking to themselves: Who would be stupid enough to take on this challenge? Here is our (stupid) man! Welcome aboard the good ship challenge, me matey!

Before I knew what hit me, I was up to my eyeballs in this “challenge” business. The mess was beyond epic, and the disarray was perhaps worse than Napoleon’s retreat from Russia during the winter of 1812. To quote a notable US citizen - it was my own personal Vietnam (certainly no offence intended). It was that bad. My hubris was cured at the altar of an extreme situation.

At the time too, the accounting profession decided that an undergraduate degree was not enough for professional recognition, and a person had to complete an additional five subject (or in these enlightened post-five-subject days, it is now six subjects) post graduate. That meant more part time study, but at least it was by correspondence and so there were no night time classes to attend. Thus my week nights were free, at least that is what I thought.

The “challenge” folks who had created the humongous mess had an edge on me though, because they knew their word crafts better than I. Whilst I was busily restoring order out of the chaos, they were simultaneously praising my efforts and exhorting me to do even more work. I in turn being young and naïve, allowed my ego to accept the simultaneous praise and criticism that I was not doing enough to restore order from the chaos. To that end, I worked harder and longer hours, all because of a few words.

After eighteen months of that challenge, I found that the increasing demands were endless and my energy had limits. At that point I quit the job and took on another job with a better pay and normal working hours. And I have been very careful ever since to never put myself into those circumstances.

Words can be weapons and it still gives me pause, every time I hear the now deceased Michael Hutchence of the the band INXS belt out the lyrics:

“Words as weapons
Sharper than knives”

The weather this week has been quite nice. There was a day of heavy rain where an inch of rain watered the orchards and gardens. Other days the sun has shone and it was very pleasant.

We had to take a break from constructing the strawberry terrace and enclosure as other projects demanded our attention this week. Over the past few months we've been simplifying and correcting some of the problems with the various water systems. One such problem was corrected this week. About two years ago, we installed a 4,000L (1,060 gallon) water tank to collect water from one of the firewood sheds. The water tank was installed too high so the drains on the shed did not flow with enough fall (that is the fancy word used to describe the effect of gravity on water (and other stuff)). The drains on the firewood shed did not flow properly which caused them to block up with leaves very easily.
This 4,000L water tank was too high for the attached drain
The water tank had to be emptied before we could move it. When full, the water tank weighs over 4,000kg (8,800 pounds). It's heavy and it is a relatively small water tank! We were unable to save the water other than directing it slowly into one of the garden beds (which has appreciated the solid drink of water).

The tank was then moved aside and the area excavated and dropped in height by at least 150mm (6 inches).

Rock crusher dust (which is a quarry waste product and is fine, like sand) was then laid over the excavated area as a bed for the water tank. The water tank was moved into its new position and the drains reconnected. We then refilled the tank from the main house water tanks.
The lowered water tank was reconnected to the drains and refilled with water
The editor came up with a great idea too. We'd spotted an old netball / basketball hoop at the local tip shop. We must have paid at least a dollar for this sturdy chunk of steel. The steel hoop was attached to the shed and is now being used to store the huge pile (3 at this stage) of steel star pickets (this is the Australian term for temporary steel posts).
Star pickets are now stored in a steel basketball hoop attached to the wood shed
After the recent success of adding an accumulator pressure tank to one of the garden water pumps, I added pressure accumulator tanks to the other two garden water pumps. Pressure tanks are a very simple device. They store an amount of water at high pressures so that when a tap is opened anywhere in the system, the water is delivered from the accumulator tank first before the water pump activates. This stops the water pump turning on and off all of the time and thus extends the life of the water pump by a huge factor.
The author adds two accumulator pressure tanks to the garden watering system
Interestingly, the cheaper blue (closer to the edge of the photo) pressure tank works far better than the more expensive smaller black (near the center of the photo) and I am at a complete loss as to the why of that situation.

The two olive trees in the courtyard were given a mighty good pruning. They are some of the oldest fruit trees on the farm and they were purchased at a clearing sale and I reckon they already had about five or six years growth on them.
The two olive trees in the courtyard were given a mighty good pruning
I haven't mentioned the potatoes on the potato terrace for a while, so I thought that readers would be interested in an update to see how they are growing in their new spot. They were moved to their new terrace only earlier this year.
The potatoes on the potato terrace are doing well in the warm spring conditions
A huge storm rolled through the mountain range on Wednesday night and the frogs and worms all sought shelter under the verandahs. An inch of rain fell and I spotted this Southern brown tree frog grimly hanging onto one of the windows. It is a bit indelicate taking a photo of the undersides of a tree frog, but the frog was in a public space...
A Southern Brown Tree Frog avoids the worst of the storm by clinging to a window under the verandah
 Speaking of wildlife, a new bird has arrived on the farm. Meet our new Eastern Spinebill:
An Eastern Spinebill enjoys the nectar from the pineapple sage
Living on the side of a mountain ridge, you get to see an eagles eye view of what is going on around the area. A local farm which appears to undertake ocassional farming experiments, has possibly (but I am not sure) used some sort of herbicide on one paddock and I'm curious to see how their farming practices work out as the season progresses. The paddock is on the left hand side of the photo below. Interestingly, a paddock that was burned off two years ago is on the right hand side of the photo, and the comparison between the two is quite stark.
A tale of three different paddocks
All good things come to an end, even this week's blog! As is usual, the following photos are of some of the spring flowers growing around the farm:
Bluebells are exceptionally hardy tubers
How good does this apple look poking out from a wormwood?
The chives are just about to flower (ch ch ch chive talkin!).
Tri-coloured sage. Nuff said!
A very complex succulent flower
How did this lone tulip survive the loving ministrations of the rodents?
Rhododendrons are complete show offs and very hardy plants
All of the other plants acknowledge that they're not worthy of the beautiful camellia's
The leucodendrons put on a good show
African daisies enjoy this climate
The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 16’C (61’F). So far this year there has been 711.4mm (28.0 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 683.6mm (26.9 inches).