Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Photos in Gordon's back yard

I shared proper tea with Gordon on his back deck, this morning. He is a bit of a connoisseur of the Camellia sinensis drink.
Then I took a few pictures.

They are visible on this Facebook album - which is open to the public - no need to join anything.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Lunch with Lee and Robyn and Gordon

Here are some true species Christmas Lilies (Lilium longiflorum) which have been in flower for about 10 days, but they warrant posting now.

Lilium longiflorum
Photos from Christmas Lunch with Lee and Robyn and Gordon.
It is a Facebook album but is open to the public. You do not have to join up to see these images.

Robertson Gothic
with with apologies to Grant Wood

Friday, December 20, 2013

Rare Orchids at East Lynne - the very southern edge of Shoalhaven Shire

Yesterday, Alan Stephenson and I travelled to East Lynne, to check some Corunastylis vernalis which are known to exist near East Lynne. We found a small number of these plants still in flower. A number of pollinated plants were also seen, but not photographed.

They are fairly hard to see, (even if you know where they are said to be) as they are small, dark purplish-red flowers on stems a mere 150mm high (they grow taller once pollinated).

Corunastylis vernalis flowers
stem of flowering plant
and a young plant coming up.
Both show typical red base to the stem.
Corunastylis vernalis
 These plants are now thoroughly documented, courtesy of the Federal EPBC  listing and the associated detailed National Recovery Plan prepared by NSW NPWS.

After recording these plants, we drove up the track a bit further, and I found a single specimen of a Beard Orchid, which Alan identified as Calochilus gracillimus, the Slender Beard Orchid. It is also known as the "Late Beard Orchid" because of its delayed flowering season, compared to others in this genus.

Calochilus gracillimus
I cannot resist showing this lovely
Dipodium variegatum
If you are feeling peckish, after looking for these Orchids, you can take Tim, The Yowie Man's culinary advice and call in to the East Lynne Store (roadhouse, and cafe) just up the highway a little way, and have a coffee and one of their own genuine, home-baked pies which both Tim and I recommend.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rainy Carols, Foggy day to follow.

The Tourist Road Oval Christmas Carols and Picnic was held yesterday, despite a light drizzle.

The Wukka Plukkas, a local Ukelele group
Margaret Whatman and Lucy Palmer
the driving forces behind the Tourist Road Oval carols.
This morning I read the rain guage, and recorded 9 mm overnight. Then it rained some more during the morning. Then a heavy fog rolled in.

Green foliage glows in low light

The new growth on the Bunya Pine
always fascinates me

Friday, December 13, 2013

Recent photos

Here  are some recent photos - from today, Friday 13, and several preceding days.

Lulu resting at Gordon's place
She had been doing
"Figure of 8" runs around his back yard.

My first photo of the "Little Wheels"
which I have had to purchase to replace the beloved 4WD
which has a terminal sickness in its motor.
This one runs well.
Hard for an old half-cripple like me to get in and out of.

Hyacinth Orchid which I showed to Cathryn and
her fellow botanical artist friends..
Dipodium roseum

He holding a single flower
Dipodium roseum

A full stem flower
Dipodium roseum
The local Helicias are ripening
These plants are right on their southern distribution
here in Robertson.
I am always intrigued as to whether they fruit colour
is related to the Bowerbirds
as potential dispersers of seed.

They have a low fertility rate, it seems.

Friday, December 06, 2013

A hot, mothy night in Robbo, (last night)

It is cold and windy tonight and no moths are around.

By contrast, last night was "one of those nights" when one could not move for the moths around the front porch light.

Also a Dobsonfly which I have only previously seen close to the Wingecarribee Swamp, and last New Year's Eve when one flew into a Party at Dan Beville's place.

Have a quick look at these photos of insects and moths from last night.
Few names as yet, but I hope to track down some names for the more distinctive ones over the next week or so, I shall add any names I can track down,

Feel free to email me with name suggestions.
peonyden (at) gmail (dot) com.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Not often I can show Alan Stephenson a new Orchid species (for him).

It is not often I can show Alan Stephenson a new species of Orchid (for him).
So, please allow me some indulgence.
Alan photographing his first
Thelymitra circumsepta
Sorry about the background. It was Alan's back-pack.

Thelymitra circumsepta (in this region)
has a pinkish post anther lobe.
Photos from Victoria and Tasmania
do not show that colour.
I wrote a full report about this species back in 2010 when I first found and identified this plant, locally.
That was in Kangaloon, but the time was very similar. It is obviously a late blooming species of Sun Orchid.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Martine Rolff donates her golden tresses for Cancer Connect

Martine Rolff, a local woman, a great singer, and the friendly assistant (the one with the previously famously long hair) at the Robertson Village Pharmacy has taken the plunge and donated her hair to be used for wigs for people being treated for Cancer.

"I am cutting off my famous locks
and donating it all
to make wigs for those suffering from cancer.

The money raised will go to the
Southern Highlands branch of CAN ASSIST."

Martine is a renowned jazz singer, and she bravely entertained us with a few songs from Hoagey Carmichael, and other jazz legends. 

And I suspect, in the process, she was preparing herself
to have the necessary courage,
to agree to Carole, from Cafe Pirouette
to be the person to cut her hair for her.

Carole making the cut,
with Martine's hand ensuring it is not too short.
The fateful cut
As it happened>
What looks like a Pom-Pom
appeared on Martine's head.
But we ought not have worried.

Here is Martine carrying the cut hair
She will donate it to be prepared as a Wig
for someone being treated for Cancer.
Her husband Gerry is looking on.
Congratulations to Martine.
I am sure she will still accept donations in any of the tins around Robertson which bear her name, for passing on to the Cancer Connections people. Or you can make an on line donation at her "MY CAUSE" page.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just Joey - one of my favourite roses

This rose "Just Joey" is one of my favourites, yet, it breaks all the rules I like to set for roses I choose to grow.
Soft colour? No.
Sweet perfume? Not particularly fragrant.
Certainly not an "old rose" perfume which is my preference. It is classed as a "Hybrid Tea Rose", after all.

So why do I like it? I find that hard to explain, but I do like it and I have two plants growing beside my front entrance-way,

Just Joey as a tight bud

Just Joey opening

Just Joey fully mature flower
starting to fade slightly.
Less of the bright apricot,
and more pink coming through.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Blue-banded Bee loves Penstemon "Sour Grapes"

Yesterday, a Blue-banded Bee was noisily buzzing around the Penstemon "Sour Grapes" near my front verandah. These Bees are native to Australia, and Asian countries.
The blue colour of the bee is not obvious.
It varies between males and females, apparently.

There is a faint blue colour on the"white bands"
But it is not obvious in these photos.
It is more obvious in this photo courtesy of Peter Chew's
Brisbane Insects and Spiders website

It is well reported that these Bees have an affinity for blue or purple flowers. 
That certainly holds true for this individual Bee.

The other thing of interest to me was that Bee's flight.

It is described as a "dart-and-hover flight pattern",

This Bee would land on the floral tube of the Penstemon,
and then climb inside the flower.
Then it would back out, and quickly fly to another flower.

This Bee is a noisy flier
and the tone changes as it varies its flight pattern.
It is reported to be a non-aggressive Bee.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Callicoma - Black Wattle in flower in Southern Highlands

This plant is not native to Robertson, but it is native to the creek-lines close by.
It lives on the creeks of the sandstone plateaux immediately below Robertson. Think Belmore Falls, and Carrington Falls. However, it is easily grown on our rich red basalt soil.
Ball-shaped flowers heavy with pollen grains
I have several trees of this species which I grew from seedlings collected along the local creek lines, where, after floods, seedlings can be collected (with a clear conscience) from mats of moss and root matters which have been lifted from the rock bed of the creeks. With no contact with soil, these seedlings are destined to die. From such predicaments, I can easily justify collecting seedlings to transplant into my garden.

This I confess to having done, in an experiment. And it has worked.
The flowers come from tightly bunched inflorescences.
I have two such trees, probably about 10 years old now. Both are doing really well, but strangely, one flowers earlier than the other and one is more open in structure than the other.

the specific name comes from the serrated edges of the leaf.
This plant is known by the name of Black Wattle, but it is not a Wattle in any sense.
It gave its name to Black Wattle Bay, in Sydney, because of the early settlers finding it convenient as a building material "Wattle and daub". That is because it forms many thing narrow stems which can easily be bound together, and coated with mud, to form a reasonably secure form of housing.

The flower bear a superficial resemblance to "Wattles" (Acacias), but it is not at all closely related to those plants. It is in a genus of its own, within the Cunoniaceae (the same family as Coachwoods and NSW Christmas Bush).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

#climateaction rally in Bowral 17 November 2013

Michael - from Robertson
was one of the GetUp people behind the rally in Bowral
See the full set of photos at

The Bowral participation in the national series of rallies in support of #climateaction

Me with my friend Angela
Tony and Anna - also from Robertson

GetUp rally #climateaction in Bowral streets

In Corbett Gardens, Bowral

Michael with his Buddhist-themed umbrella

Anthony Ackroyd speaking at the rally

Gordon rode all the way from Robertson
to spread these two messages for #climatection rally

Just in case you missed Gordon's point.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A week of strange weather in Robbo

This week started with the promise of rain, but little of nothing arrived.

Then we got a lot of drizzle, and on Monday night it arrived.
Heavy rain, then lashing rain, then hail, and thunder.
Poor little Lulu was very distressed and asked for "protection" so I picked her up on the bed. Strange how that works for kids and dogs. Maybe they are really just the same creatures, in different body shapes.

Then on Tuesday I saw that there was still a "drift" of the fine hail we had had about midnight.
A pleasant surprise to find this hail
still hanging on, in the early afternoon
on Tuesday,
Given that I got 60mm of heavy rain overnight, I was surprised that the hail had not melted in the rain.

My driveway coating washed down the hill, towards the peonies.

Peony "Sarah Bernhardt"
Peony "Bowl of Beauty"
Road base washed down the hill, towards my house.
It makes walking along my path to the front door a little less secure.

I went out to Carrington Falls to check the flow in the Upper Kangaroo River. It was flowing reasonably, but anything but in flood. But it had been nearly dry the weekend before.

Compare how it looked after heavy rain
in late June 2013

Stick Daisy Bush
Olearia elliptica subsp elliptica

Petrophile pedunculata"Conesticks"

Lambertia formosaMountain Devil looking very bright in the sun

Leptospermum morrisonii

Locals might note this proposed road closure
up to 45 minutes at a time.
The pedestrian access is surely a joke.
 I managed to collect a Leech out at Carrington Falls (I was hardly off the pathway - except perhaps to take  a couple of plant photos beside the path). Anyway, I found this leech crawling across my floor later in the afternoon.
Leech pretending to be a beached whale.
It had certainly had a good feed on my leg.
For grammatical pedants among you, is there a proper word for how Leeches progress across the ground - other then "leeching"?

Tonight, there was a lovely gentle sunset.
Sunset 13 November 2013
A nice way to conclude the cycle of weather we have experience this week.