Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Summer solstice (delayed) and Lucy's cake

Good things happen at the height of summer (well at the Summer Solstice at least). In Robertson, it usually means we turn off our heaters (in my case, I did that last week).

That is good for Global Warming. In these Post-Copenhagen Days of Apocalypse, it means I was (until I turned the heater off last week) killing the Planet faster than it will otherwise die (of natural causes - by converting itself to a "Red Giant"). Don't fret, experts predict we have some 5 billion years (give or take a bit).

You can see that I am "Over" Copenhagen. As I am concerned, we have a hypocritical, or schizophrenic Government, but I'll leave you to make up your own mind about those options.


To get over this fit of despondency, I decided to go down to Kangaloon to check for summer-flowering Ground Orchids (the Solstice was yesterday, of course). It took me a while to find any, but once I did, of course, I started to see lots of them. That is the usual story with Orchids - "get your eye in". Once you do that - train your eye to look for what it is you are actually looking for. Do that, and then you see them almost everywhere.

The first species I went looking for is the Little Tongue Orchid (Cryptostylis leptochila). There were some which had finished already, which surprised me. But then I found lots just opening up.

One open flower, and many buds developing.
Side on view
Full view of the flower - low angle shot
Click to enlarge image, to appreciate the details of the flower.
The reverse of the leaf of Cryptostylis leptochila.
It is typical of this species in that it is a burgundy colour on the back
A few metres down the road I found my first Hyacinth Orchids (of the year) (Dipodium roseum). (DJW Edit - actually Dipodium punctatum) Oddly enough, the very first one I found had finished flowering (as with the Cryptostylis). Do these co-incidences mean that the early flowers had been dried up prematurely by a sudden burst of hot weather? Or else, had I just missed the true start of the season? (I had not "looked" for about 10 days.)
Anyway, here are some more of the Hyacinth Orchid flowers.

Click on the image to enlarge it to see the fine details of the labellum.
There is a rain drop on the labellum.
It has a hairy "brush" of pink fibres.
Four stems growing side by side.
Here is a cluster of Hyacinth Orchids growing right beside the road.
Having ascertained that the summer Orchids were starting to flower, I kept on driving down the road, to catch up with my friend Lucy. I had not seen her for several months, as she had been away from home at various times I had dropped by. Today she was at home.

I got there just as a huge thunderstorm broke out.
The power went down.

It did provide a brief photo opportunity. This stunning silvery-barked Scribbly Gum in her front yard was highlighted against the "lowering sky".We chatted and after a while the power came back on, and Lucy announced that she proposed to make a Tea Cake.
Goodness me, no wonder I like the lady!
Happy memories.
Tea Cakes take me back to my childhood.
Another friend of Lucy's turned up, with her baby, joining Lucy's 3 kids and another friend and me. We all sat down to enjoy the Tea Cake, which was still warm, and coated in fresh runny cream. Yum!

Needless to say, I managed to overlooked Lucy's small contribution to Global Warming, as I enjoyed my share of the warm Tea Cake.


mick said...

That all sounds like the perfect antidote to all the doom and gloom being put around at present. Perfect flowers! I love the Hyacinth Orchids especially - possibly because they are one of the few species I have seen and ID'd :-) Great photo of the storm - - and then to finish all with a fresh baked cake! AND topped with cream!! How lucky can one person get!!!

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick
You picked up on my theme and my spirit perfectly well.
Its been a lousy few weeks, but time and Nature heal all.

Tyto Tony said...

Agree with Mick. Storm pic could be enhanced with cropping and sharpening, possibly even monotoning (IMHO). Are the several little dots in sky birds? Or does camera need blow out?

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony
Tree photo was difficult - not quite enough light on the trunk and branches to give the full effect.
To be honest, I had not studied the image closely enough when I posted it. The little dots are either traces of rain on the front of the lens (it had been raining), or possibly dust on the CCD. Definitely not birds. So, it probably does need a blow out, as you suggest.
Trouble with having interchangeable lenses is that it means I always change lenses out in the open (in the bush). You will notice I was using Macro and flash on the Orchids. I then changed to the Sigma 18-200 for the Tree shot.
The one lens I absolutely cannot live without is the old Macro and Teleconverter setup I have.
If I could afford it, I would like to have another camera with a really good zoom lens. Then, maybe I would not have to change lenses and get dust inside.
Happy Christmas (in 5 minutes).

Gaye from the Hunter said...

Hi Denis,

Fabulous pictures of an extraordinary orchid, the Tongue Orchid. I will be absolutely rapt the day I find one of these. Meanwhile, I'll keep looking.


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Gaye.
It is a dark Orchid which does not stand out. Look for a 3 or 4 inch upright leaf, growing amongst leaf litter in Eucalypt forest. The leaf looks for all the world like a dead Gum Leaf fallen to the ground, but standing directly upright.
The back of the leaf is reddish brown. The front is dull green.
Tongue Orchids are common in this area.
I believe it likes higher country, north from Sydney, but I have seen them at sea level near Nowra.
Check out this distribution map.
In Sydney, the Bonnet Orchid is much more common.
Cannot speak for your area, unfortunately.
Now is the season.
Frequently grows close to bases of large gum trees (light mist forms drips which run down the trunks).
Best of luck.