AND THE ANSWER IS….

….Callistemon  (probably C.viminalis) 

This is the photo of an emerging flower I cropped …

.

…and this is the flower fully open.

Elephant’s Child was so close with her guess! And I know Carol is going to do an acrobatic trick and kick herself in the pants!

These photos were taken in my friend’s garden in Spain.

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The Man has been out of town for a week. He asked me to put the covers on the Mustang last Sunday when it had cooled down from its drive home from the Marina. “Yes, dear.” He didn’t actually say I was not to drive it….

But he’s home again. Damn!

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I think someone must have been feeding a butcherbird as one came and sat on the deck rail when we were having lunch and made it quite clear he expected  a hand-out! I don’t want to encourage him as the cats’ ancient instincts would kick-in  in a second.And I don’t like feeding wildlife, as I’ve said before.* When Sporran came out to ask for her own hand-out, the bird skraarked and flew to a tree. They eye-balled each other from a safe distance for a while then the cat wandered off to have a snooze and the bird, with no free meal forthcoming, also left. But it was lovely to see and hear him.(Or maybe her; they look the same.)

The Man often brings me gifts  when he returns from his work trips. Yesterday, it was a dead butterfly. Be honest now, guys, how many of you would give your ladylove  such a precious gift? I identified it  from a web picture this morning.It is, or was, a Tailed Emperor,Polyura sempronius.

Front…

...and back.

Well…this is a pathetic little offering, isn’t it? It’s actually taken several hours to write this, ducking in and writing a few lines, ducking out again to deal with other things, in and out like a fiddler’s elbow.

Perhaps I should leave you with a tasty morsel…some of you will have seen this, but it might be new to others. Guess what Dinah wants to try next!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd6C1vIyQ3w

*Edited to add a few facts. Feeding wild critters. I know it’s a buzz to have a bird sit on your hand and accept food or to feed cute animals like possums or kangaroos, or have deer so tame the fawns will graze on your lawn. But we shouldn’t do it.

It encourages (in some cases) dependency, fearlessness and often illness from being fed inappropriate foods. And it can lead to spread of disease. Case in point? People  here often feed honey to birds. It is not a natural food for them and can lead to a range of problems.And putting out honey attracts honey bees.If the honey is infected with a bee larval disease this is then transported back to the hive, where it wipes out larval-stage bees. Harmless to adult bees and animals, including human, it’s devastating to apiarists.

But my greatest irritation is the taming of wild creatures. This is not domestication, which takes place over generations of selective breeding, it’s just plain damn’ silly. The animals become bold enough to stick around for their hand-outs and you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to see how quickly bigger animals come for their “hand-outs” of easy meat.

By all means, put out fresh water for birds, but make sure the dish is cleaned regularly and please, don’t put it where predators can have easy access.

Plant  the sort of garden that includes natural food species, provide clean water (hook your garden hose into a tree, pour yourself a cool beverage and sit back and enjoy the variety of entertainment.) An occasional scattering of appropriate seed or a chopped-up apple core or melon rind wont hurt. But remember the key word should be occasional.

 

 

I’VE GOT APHIDS!

Well, not on my person, you understand. At least, not now that I’ve washed them off. But the little blighters (polite term) have been sucking the sap out of  several plants. And the ants (no polite term for these bastards!) are husbanding them. I tried the soapy water trick and got nowhere ( mind you, the leaves were nice and clean!) so this morning I said some “magic words” and drenched  said bastards with white oil. Just hope Mr. Murphy’s  famous law doesn’t apply!

Anyway, what with messing about in the garden and one thing and another…I didn’t get around to posting the mystery  picture result.

It’s that strip of dots on the edge of my windscreen; something to do with the lamination process, I think.

Not mystery pictures this time, just a couple of gratuitous flower photos…

A hoya. No, I have no idea of its name. But I’m rather chuffed at having flowers as something usually chews through the buds before I even get to see what colour it will be. Now I know. Want to see more? Enter hoya in Google Images.

I’ve mentioned stinkhorns before. A bumper crop came up recently after the heavy rain. Mercifully, the sun came out and burned them before things got too smelly.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phallaceae   Lacy and not unattractive to look at. But perhaps not what you really want below the dining room window! The first time I saw one (not the variety above) I thought something had decapitated one of my roosters!

I spent ages the other day, scrambling through the garden, trying to get a good photo of what I thought was either a phaesant coucal or a juvenile female koel.

Yes, a quite lovely shot of carallia and terminalia leaves! Ooh!look! there’s a koel up there! Many people go bonkers at the koels’ calling all night. Personally, I’d far rather hear the koel than the little yapster that goes off his (very tiny) brain when the telephone rings!

And since I’ve also mentioned the coucal, here’s Chapman’s recording of one. http://www.graemechapman.com.au/cgi-bin/viewphotos.php?c=78

(credit:Chapman.)

I think it’s time for some lunch…