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Bristly branch

I’m stretching spiky to include bristly for this photo of a dead branch lying across a tree branch. It looks a bit like a caterpillar or a snake making its way over the tree, I think.

March’s square theme is Spiky Squares (spiky, jagged, pointy, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and/or barbed)

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“I bite!”

It’s tempting to poke one, despite the warning!

The Royal Botanic Gardens has a free display called “Plants with Bite” in the Calyx building. If you’re in Sydney while it’s on, it’s well worth a visit. These plants are not what most people would call attractive, but they’re certainly impressive. There’s even a feeding time session, which I wasn’t aware of, and although it seems aimed at children I think it would be fascinating.

Pity the poor fly caught in this trap.

Once inside this Hanging Pitcher Plant, you’d never escape.

Spooky and menacing with the mist.

Part of the exhibit, capturing a section of the enormous planted wall. The wall is “fully interchangeable” and changes periodically.

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The garden in summer

morning glories

My favourite photo of the garden: morning glories bathed in early light.

Back to my parents’ garden for this post, a look at the garden in its summer finery.

Eat your veggies

In my family, the beans below have been known as “mystery beans from Russia” for years. My parents were introduced to the beans by the people from whom my grandparents bought this house. All that was known about the beans is that the seeds came with immigrants to Canada from Russia. A bit of Googling reveals them probably to be Yellow Romano beans. Regardless of their name, they are very tasty!

You can’t cook without herbs! Though in these photos below, the herbs look nothing like you’d find in a supermarket packet.


Dill

Dill

My parents also grow plums and pears. If I remember right (Mum, feel free to correct me here) they harvested more than 500 of each this year. (The evil squirrels took a few hundred for themselves.) I know, you’re thinking “what on earth do they do with all that fruit??” Mum preserves some, but most of the fruit is turned into wine by Dad.

Flowers galore!

These are the show stoppers, in my opinion.





Hanging baskets on the site of the old apple tree.

Hanging baskets on the site of the old apple tree.

Birds and critters

There are also cardinals and blue jays, both of which come to the patio for peanuts, but they never stay still long enough for me to capture them as anything other than a blur moving out of frame.

Cute, but Public Enemy Number 1

Cute, but Public Enemy Number 1


Also cute,  but Public Enemy Number 2

Also cute, but Public Enemy Number 2

This Monarch butterfly regards the garden as his (her?) own territory, and patrols each day in early evening. This is a terrible photo (extreme of my zoom), but I’ve applied some filters and softening for an arty look to hide the grainy lack of focus.

Monarch butterfly on zinnia.

Monarch butterfly on zinnia.

Relaxing

Could anything be more pleasant than dining on the patio with the garden as a backdrop? Food made by Mum, wine made by Dad.

Note the tomatoes in the dishes, straight from the garden.

Note the tomatoes in the dishes, straight from the garden.


Tropical Prawn Cocktails and sparkling wine

Tropical Prawn Cocktails and sparkling wine


My parents' garden

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Unusual Plants: Hairy Balls Milkweed

I leave it to you to guess where the names come from.

I leave it to you to guess where the name comes from.

The wonderfully named Hairy Balls Milkweed puzzled me for quite a while. I’ve seen it growing in a few front gardens in Sydney, but it was a few years before I found out what the plant is. About six feet tall, its gangly stalks festooned with curious prickly growths, it is certainly an attention-getter! It’s also known as Balloon plant, Goose plant, Giant swan milkweed, Family jewels, Oscar and Cotton-bush — but whatever the name, butterflies love it.

The plant has unexpectedly delicate flowers.

The plant has unexpectedly delicate flowers.

When the balls burst, the fluffy white seeds are revealed.

When the balls burst, the fluffy white seeds are revealed.

For September, Jude is looking for Unusual Plants.


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