Friday, August 29, 2014

Plum Blossom

Both my plum trees have a blossom or two open today.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sweet Pea Buds

Today the friend who gave me sweet pea seeds from her garden asked if I had any flowers yet, and I said there weren't even buds yet.
But I checked when I got home, and I was wrong! Actually there are lots of buds, but I don't think there will be any flowers before spring.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


This is what the townhouses over my back fence look like now:
I'm so glad I won't have to live with this building.

This afternoon a couple of the builders were yelling obscenities at each other, which rather spoiled my plans to enjoy a quiet cuppa in the back yard.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Deep Purple Hyacinths

The "black" hyacinth flowers I posted a couple of weeks back
have started to pop open
and they are not the colour they appear on the screen! This is my usual camera problem with purple. Try to imagine the flowers in the photo above in this deep purple colour:
because that's what they look like. Wonderful! And on top of them looking gorgeous, the warmer weather over the last couple of days seems to have brought out their fragrance so they are perfuming the whole yard.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Undressed and Over 100

A trip to central Victoria to see two very different gallery exhibits.

First, a stop to change drivers and check out some trees. A lot of the small trees in the paddock across the highway started life in my backyard:
This is the land where we planted TreeProject trees I grew in 2011 and 2012.

Next stop, Bendigo Gallery for the V&A exhibit, Undressed: 350 Years of Fashion in Underwear. No photos allowed, unfortunately. It is not a big exhibition, but I had a good look around before large numbers of people began to arrive at about midday. Get there in the morning if you are going!

Stone work on a building in View St, Bendigo:
I wouldn't mind something like that on the thermal mass wall in our new house.

After lunch something completely different, Bendigo Trailers and Hardware (dud website, but amazing in real life), which doesn't sound like a demolition yard, but most of it is:
Boxes of unused tiles from around the world in one small part of the yard out the back.

Home via Castlemaine, where the gallery has a small exhibition of very moving portraits by Peter Wegner of 10 centenarians. Each work includs a few words about the subject's thoughts on turning 100, which were fascinating to read. Worth seeing if you are in the area before the end of August.

Found a nice door-handle in one Castlemaine business, and loved these hexagon tiles on the doorstep of another building:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Checking the Hives

A warm sunny day gave us the opportunity to check on the bee hives.

The first hive has two supers without a queen excluder, and the queen has been busy laying lots of new babies throughout the hive:
There is very little stored honey, as the bees have been feeding thousands of larvae. This photo shows a little stored honey around the top edge (the pale yellow cells), lots of capped brood (the darker yellow cells), and some larvae almost ready to be capped (the whitish cells towards the bottom). The dark cells in the centre are where baby bees have already emerged, and most of them have a new small larva developing in the bottom of the cell. There are lots of bees on the frame, caring for the larvae.

It wasn't warm enough today to pull the whole hive apart, but I suspect there could be some queen cells somewhere in this hive, and these bees are getting ready to swarm in spring. Today we added an empty third super above a queen excluder, to give them some honey storage space. Will that stop them swarming?

The second hive is very different. This one has a queen-excluder between the first and second super, which means the queen can only lay eggs in the bottom half of the hive. Contrast this frame from above the excluder with that from the first hive:
This one is full of honey. There are few bees on it because there isn't much for them to do once the honey cell is full and capped. The whole top super was pretty full of stored honey. We removed four full frames and replaced them with empty ones, and also added a third super with eight empty frames. So this hive now has lots of available storage space for honey. Will they want to swarm, or will they be happy filling up the hive again?

What happens to these two hives over the next few weeks will be interesting, and could influence how we set the bees up for future winters.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Spent some time today transplanting river bottlebrush (Callistemon sieberi) seedlings. They germinated over winter and are still quite tiny:
Too tiny to go and be planted with the other trees last month!

I filled up all the empty tubes where other species had failed to germinate. If they survive and grow well in spring, they can go and join the others.