26 December 2011

Cylindropuntia imbricata

In Adelaide I am collecting cacti. The climate here is a lot drier than Canberra (at least of late) and I have been seeing large opuntia everywhere.

Photo via Luigi FDV on Flickr (great gallery)
Staying with my sister I went for an early morning walk. Wandering past a yard in Rostrevor with a large specimen of this tough customer, I could see an old gentleman watching me from just over his back fence.

I went up to the plant, had a look and shouted out, "Beautiful plant." He eventually wandered over and told me it was over 20 years old. The cladodes (or pads as they are often called on the more common opuntia species, including the prickly pear) root readily where they fall to the ground and there were many offspring at the base of the two metre plus tall specimen.

He was happy for me to grab a few out of the ground and went off to get me a trowel and bag. His wife came out and introduced herself as Roma. I introduced myself as Alf and told her I was staying nearby, visiting my hometown and my mum is...etc.

Suddenly she exclaimed, "Alfie!" and gave me a big hug. Normie and Roma it seems knew me as a very young lad, when they were godparents to one of the best friends of my childhood. We hadn't seen each other since before they first bought this cactus. I remembered their names, but all else was vague.

Wonderful people and the quirkiness of this chance meeting brightened both our days.

Quite a set of coincidences.

25 December 2011

On The Road

My peregrinations have bought me to Adelaide.

Tricky to spell word.

Peregrine like the falcon.

As in wandering, lazing through the sky.



Rather than the falcon, the kestrel would be a more appropriate bird. We saw lots of kestrels seemingly effortlessly, floating, gliding, hovering, chest to the wind, on the drive from Canberra.

It is a good drive. Flat, flat, flat across the Hay Plains. Towns every 150 kilometres or less, at most 200 kilometres.

And there are lots of 5 kilometre markers. Which is a piece of genius. At 165 kilometres to go, 33 units counting down.

Count slowly.

So then to wander the valleys of my childhood. Literally I suppose, but only in homage to some eternal youthhood.

I drive to the top of Addison Avenue and park the car to enter Black Hill Conservation Park. On foot I hang a hard left in the general direction of The Sugar Loaves. Pausing on a zig zag descent leaves me overlooking a valley. There are ants everywhere so I seek the dustiest dust and kick off my thongs. Stamping out a circle free of their patter and nipper. It is a wide trail cut into the side of the hill to make it flat and I can enjoy the shade of a tree.

Time to play flute, but after chanting a little, the moment is sacred. There is natural cause to wash my hands, face, eyes, ears and lips, before playing. It is 36 degrees and the water cools me. I seem to have invented a cleansing ritual as I offer the hollow metal aloft above my head to heaven, seeking a deeper breath.

Music is a prayer.

AUM seems to reverberate through all the earth and tree. My voice is plucking the harmonic of nature from beyond the deep blue of the horizon.

At first, a dragonfly about my head hovers, back and forth. Whirling a little on the hillside the notes come, but I struggle to discover my resonance and relevance here upon the greatest stage of all. Alone with Nature. I want to capture all the space I see before me in my sound. It is loud.

A maelstrom of eidolons emerge from some unlit space. Mean thoughts attack I. 

My mind is as vast as the sky and nobody can tell me otherwise says the heart.

Really, who is in charge here?

Supreme is He, an ever-transcending summit.

Only a fool tries to compete with God's Beauty.

I drink from The Evening Cup of Peace and climb back upward.

Coming soon:

  1. Study of riverstone and cement wall construction in Rostrevor
  2. 150 year old Moreton Bay Fig pictorial (with centrefold)
  3. Consideration of soil erosion management techniques in Fourth Creek (see 1.)
  4. Hollow gumtree photographs (times two) - mighty boles guaranteed or your money back

21 December 2011

Garden - end Phase One

A bee is lazing around my living room as I finish this piece.

The butterfly below stopped by this afternoon.

Other photos from yesterday.

I have finished working on my garden for the year!

And plan to stick just to watering for a while.

Was going to print myself a Most Improved Balcony Certificate.

I am fairly confident this piece of cactus amonst the sempervivums will grow. So prefectly and evenly dried a specimen, crinkled and wizened. It might be a type of opuntia. Who knows? But for this survivor of the plant kingdom, the drought is over.

Scavenged cactus

Euphorbia from Hall Christmas Market $3

Let it grow.

Let it grow.

O butterfly,
Won't you visit the flower of my heart today?
Alight upon these petal lips friend,
Spilling wishes from the cup of spring.


Fontana del Pantheon
design Giacomo della Porta
built Leonardo Sormani
located in front of the Pantheon in Piazza della Rotonda.

16 December 2011

My Wabbit

Her name is Miss Rumple

In The Princess of Wales Conservatory

Named for Augusta, opened by Diana.

Some cacti

Kew Gardens

Sept 2011

Pinus Pinea

Kew Gardens in London

September 2011
Nice bole.

Assuming 1972 is the year of planting, nice size for around 40 years old.

Pinoli or pine nuts come from this tree. Hey Pesto. Birdy nom nom.

London style

October 2011

In their native climate, the Italians call them Umbrella Pines. They are nearly always encouraged to grow a straight trunk and the lower branches are removed.

View from Zolli, Campagna

Outside the Vatican Museum, Rome

Near the Colosseum, Rome

15 December 2011


How to care for your cacti by John Pilbeam

Freaky Thursday Insect Christmas Special Edition

Moths always rest with their wings flat

Butterflies with wings up

Wildflower, kerbside

tree decoration

same moth

tree decoration

new growth

spider on decoration

same butterfly checking out the camera

blue lizard

same spider?

om nom nom nom - hard to photograph as never still, all a caterpillar does is eat, eat, eat to earn its wings

same butterfly, other typical wing rest position


has same leg position as in blue pot photo - think it is same spider