Showing posts from October, 2010

sexy pink lady

I find myself wandering off into the far corner of the garden much more often now... The sexy pink lady has opened up a little and slowly will zig-zag down.  This looks as though it will be a very big flower.  So this flower might have about 7 or eight zig zags.  I just adore this very delicate pink and green combination.

Permaculture and plastics

I noticed for the first time when we went shopping this weekend that more and more shops are now charging for plastic bags.  Target sells compostable plastic bags. I must admit have been a bit lax in the plastic bag department. Some reasons: (excuses, if you like!) 1. We re-use the supermarket bags in our little kitchen garbage bin. 2. I keep forgetting my green bags in the car and only remember when I get to the checkout. 3. I have a very cute little storage bag for used plastic bags in the kitchen. 4.  We never throw them out or re-cycle them, every one of them is re-used. 5.  I actually thought they were all now compostable! So I have decided to be a little more pro-active and in response to the above excuses will take the following steps: 1.  All of the veggie peelings and messy stuff goes into the compost, tins and bottles go into the re-cycling, so really the rubbish can just go straight into the bin and then get thrown into the large wheelie bin.  Maybe we will pick

The wet season vegetable garden

Well, how about that!  Despite all this rain and muggy weather the carrots have come up - wow!  they are forming little feathery bits already!  Now one of  my problems is that I HATE to thin plants out so I am going to wait a while.  I have heard that it is OK just to cut the tops of the excess ones off with a pair of sharp scissors as this disturbs the roots of the remaining plants the least. Pumpkin vines have been showing up everywhere and this one has muscled its way in.   I decided it could stay - part of the permaculture design is to grow up over a trellis in order to make the best use of the available space, and this vine is creeping up over the line of pigeon peas.  I think it must be a jap pumpkin, as that is the more common in this area, and I am sure there were plenty of jap seeds in the compost. I tried sowing some more amaranth seed, and this does look healthier than the last batch.  Funny that the last lot in the dry season was decimated by bugs - and this is really a

part two of orchard swallowtail butterfly

Ok as promised here is part two - some of these photos were taken by my hubby with the old camera.  Thank you my love! Just a few more photos I have to share.. This is when the wings first opened up Here you can see the blue markings just starting to appear  After about three hours it flew off into the garden.  As it settled onto the hibiscus plant you can see the perfectly half rounded shape.  Look how the little dots on the under wings seem to line up with the patterning from the top.  Here you can see the slit in the chrysalis that the butterfly emerged from. Here are the underside of the wings in more detail. Isn't this just the most georgous creature? Ok I am smitten! What a blessing to have witnessed this.

My orchard swallowtail butterfly has emerged!

Getting ready for work this morning I glanced at the chrysalis as I always do expecting to see no change and wow! This butterfly was hanging down from the chrysalis slowly drying out its wings and as I understand it, pumping blood into them to strengthen them after being folded up inside the tiny chrysalis. I was expecting the chrysalis to go clear and give me some warning - gosh I would have loved to see it emerge. Silly me, I woke up at 5.30 and lay in bed for half an hour, not knowing what wonders I could be witnessing.  I had almost given up on anything happening to this one.  It  has taken about 3 weeks.  Look at the very visible veins, its poor little heart must be pumping so fast!  the top side of the wings are quite plain with little white spots and just a little dot of red on each wing close to the body. . Isn't it amazing that this was all folded up inside the tiny chrysalis?  Aren't the colours and patterns totally awesome?  A light dusting of tiny white flecks, an

Propogating by layering

The red gingers are one of the staple plants in my garden, and I got the first one from a friend who had started a new plant using the layering method.    As the new flowers form they already have an upright habit as you see here, right on the tips of the arching branches. Eventually the flower begins to die off and send out little shoots.  I think in nature this is designed to drop down onto the ground and form a new plant.  This one is ready to  be placed into a pot where it will send down roots and start a new red ginger plant for my neighbour.  This flower is already about two months old so the flowers are very long lasting.  Paying it forward...... I bent the branch down and then tied the branch onto the side of the pot so that the base of these new branches are just lying in the soil.  You can also anchor it with a u shaped picket, but I couldnt get one to stay put in the soil - maybe my soil was too loose and wet.  Just helping the plant along to do what it naturally wants to

A few little updates around the garden

This year the rainy season seems to have arrived early, or maybe it is just giving us a taste of things to come and we will still have those lovely  hot but not too muggy October and November days of the past. With all this extra rain there is new growth everywhere, and some plants in my garden only take off in the wet season.  These Amazon Lily love the moist climate, but always seem to be gazing down into the earth!  The variegated costus dies right back, and I noticed this time is growing lots of little side branches.      I noticed some little red flowers on my lipstick plant.... This is how the flowers start - like empty lipstick cases -                                                           cool plant don't you think? I tidied up the hanging baskets of orchids and brought them out for a little sunshine - that is supposed to induce flowering.  we will see....  White flowers are appearing on the spath and also this little ground hugging plant 

Sexy Pink Lady Heleconia

Way in the back corner I have a huge heleconia plant and this weekend when I wandered there cutting back dead tree branches I discovered that my sexy pink lady has a bloom!   This is quite a tall untidy plant and so I have it right in the corner where it can hopefully grow high outside of the leaves of the lychee tree, but still shaded by the wooden fence.   This bud is already about one foot long and will slowly unfurl into a flower reaching down for three or four feet!   I am so glad she is happy here in this little corner.  As you can see the leaves get very tattered and untidy looking, and in actual fact the flower is the end of this particular plant, but already it is shooting up new plants around the base. Most of the heleconias are reds and oranges, but the colours on this one are quite unusual - I love the delicate pink colour, and as it slowly unfurls like a ribbon undwinding  I will be carefully watching.  I am going to be wandering over to this little corner quite ofte

Babying the chrysalis

Not wanting to miss the emergence of the butterfly I brought the last chrysalis into work.  I have noticed a lot more catterpillars at home on my patio lime tree, but no chrysalis as such.   This catterpillar originally made its home on a cut branch of kaffir lime tree which I have in a  vase, so it was easy enough to transport. The last ones that hatched seemed a little smaller than this one and once they had hatched the shell was clear.  I imagine it will start to go clear just before the butterfly emerges.  There is distict green colouring on the sides: The other side is similar The underside looks hard and brown - it is hard to imagine a delicate butterfly will emerge from this. I called it bring your baby to work day as I really seem to be babying this one, and so anxious to see the butterfly emerge.

Gingers are flowering and the new area is filling out.

The red gingers are so reliable - they never seem to stop flowering - a bit less in the dry season, but now they are approaching their prime.  You can see my neighbours garden behind this and they have a couple of the same plants, so it makes my garden look bigger since you can't see the distinction.  This is a feature in my garden to make it seem bigger than it actually is! The anthiriums too seem very happy and just keep flowering continually.   The miniature white caladiums look pretty as a border plant.   and I see some new shoots at the base of the beehive ginger - I think I must remove the extra leaves and add compost.  Soon we will have some beehive inforesences, and the best thing is that they last for months. Yes the wet season is on its way!

Just an empty nest!

I came home today - was only away for a couple of hours - to find that the chrysalis was empty.  Isn't that little thread it is hanging on amazing? My neighbour also found an empty chrysalis and saw a black butterfly flying nearby.  You can clearly see the slit where it emerged.... they are both clear, so think the change from hard and brown to clear must be very sudden   . I have one remaining chrysalis and am not going to let it out of my sight. 

Ulysses butterfly

My hubby took this photo while I was at work.  They are normally so flighty and  difficult to capture on film.  Doesnt the iridescent blue of the wings look wonderful against the purple geisha girl flowers? This is what I think is lurking inside the chrysalis on my front verandah. I hope it emerges over the weekend when I can take some photos.  One of my neighbours chrysalis has hatched, and she didnt see it emerge, so everyone is carefully watching with bated breath so we dont miss the next one.