Monday, August 20, 2012

Jocelyn's fantastic Cacti and Succulent Collection

Today, Ian McMaugh and I visited Jocelyn, in Darkes Forest. She has a stunning collection of cacti and succulents, and a very cute kitty called Pol. It was a beautiful spring day, perfect for a drive in the country. We both bought about a dozen plants and stopped on the way home for a tops bacon and egg roll.

Friday, August 17, 2012

18th August, Sydney Botanical Gardens

 Today a friend and I went to the Botanical Gardens. It was a great time to see a lot of Aloes in flower in the Cacti and Succulent section of the garden. The other FANTASTIC  thing was that all of the flying foxes have been driven out. Im looking forward to the recovery of a lot of trees that have suffered from the Flying Fox occupation

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bromeliad Society Show

 Today Don and I went to The Bromeliad Society of NSW Autumn Show. Its always really crowded with fellow enthusiasts trying to pick up a bargain. On one side of the room are the floral arrangements and prizewinning plants. On the other side of the room are all of the bromeliads and Tillandsias for sale. They really should think about re arranging the layout because you spend a lot of time politely elbowing people out of the way so you can get your mitts on your dream plant!

I bought some Tillandsias to hang in the skylight of my bathroom, plus a beautiful Neoregelia pendula hybrid. I like the idea of buying plants for my balcony that don't weigh much. The ones I bought today are all epiphytic and don't require potting.
However, I did pick up a flyer for The Cacti and Succulent Society Autumn Show which is on next Saturday. Im sure to be tempted to buy something!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hoya Australis

Last weekend at the Sydney Botanical Gardens , I spotted this Hoya australis in flower. From the family ASCLEPIADACEAE, it is found in dry rainforest in sub coastal ranges, coastal bluffs and littoral rainforest from near Cooktown in Northeast Queensland to near Grafton in Northeast NSW. Collected by Banks and Solander at Endeavour River

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Crassula perforata

This succulent is flowering profusely at the moment. I was trying to look up some info on its origins, and lots of sites described the flowers as "unremarkable"! Its originally from South Africa and seems to thrive on neglect. I have grown from one little cutting that I got from a friend a couple of years ago.

Autumn 2012

Its been about 2 years since my last post on Blogspot. Of course there are a lot more plants on my Balcony. Ive tried to avoid getting too many more heavy plants and I've been experimenting with tying Bromeliads onto my brush fence. They aren't heavy and most don't need soil.  The top photo is a climbing frangipani, which has really taken off. Unfortunately its deciduous

Friday, April 6, 2012

Im coming back to blogger

Today is April 7th, 2012. I have had a blog on Tumblr which has been languishing . I just had a look at this blog and decided that it looked pretty good, so Im coming back to blogger. So to all of my millions of followers - lookout!

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm moving to 23rd February, 2010

Hi there,
Im moving to Please follow me here as I wont be doing any more posts on blogspot.
Thanks for your continued support,
robble at zip

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Warrigal Greens

Lately I have been walking around the cliffs between Coogee and Clovelly . I noticed a common ground cover that  I couldn’t identify at first. It’s Tetragonia tetragoniodes, common name Warrigal Greens. It grows in moist areas close to the coast and estuaries. warrigal The leaves of this plant are edible and were eaten by Aboriginals and early settlers. It needs to be boiled before eating to reduce the oxalate, which is poisonous.

“ The leaves are edible although bitter unless cooked. Captain Cook served them boiled daily to his crew and Joseph Banks thought they “eat as well, or very nearly as well, as Spinach”. Nowadays they are mainly enjoyed by native rats and other herbivores “– from Field Guide to The Native Plants of Sydney by Les Robinson

Joseph Banks                                                                                 Joseph Banks – Botanist and Explorer

What a fall from grace this vegetable has had! It sustained the early settlers and is now mostly enjoyed by rats.

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On my bookshelf…………………..

IMG_0001 I’ve recently started studying  Horticulture Certificate 4 by correspondence. This has led me to search through a lot of gardening books on my shelves. I found this gem of a book. It was given to me by a work colleague and I’d forgotten how great the illustrations are.


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It was published in 1953. I’ve found a few old newspaper clippings between the pages. “Gardening Without Tears, by Reg Edwards” and a recipe for prawn cocktails. I particularly love the 1950’s colour in the plates.

Friday, February 12, 2010

St Andrews Cross Spiders

The rain is still bucketing down here in Sydney. For me (and many others) its a welcome change. All of my pots are soaked and I have been moving some of cacti and succulents undercover to stop them from rotting out. Ive noticed some new insect arrivals: St Andrews Cross Spidersspider 009 They are so called because of the silky cross at the centre of their web. This is called a stabilimentum. At first thought to stabilise the web, it is currently thought to either help capture prey or avoid predators.

EDIT: Today, 17th February, I was standing on the balcony, brushing my teeth and a wattle bird landed on a nearby branch and ate the above spider, right in front of me. C’est la vie!

st andrews cross spiders, homes 025This one is either a baby or hasn’t had time to spin the  cross yet. These spiders are common in Eastern Australia and are found from rainforest margins to open forest and heathland. And…. they aren’t poisonous!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rain – and little yellow mushrooms……….

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We’ve been having lots and lots of rain lately. I moved my pots out to catch it. I think theres no substitute for rainwater. I have also been indulging in my somewhat obsessive habit of collecting rainwater. As I cant have a rainwater tank, I now have lots of containers of rainwater, which are fast filling up with lots of mosquito larvae. I might have to move my new fishes around a bit!
shrooms 004 I’ve also noticed lots of mushrooms coming up in the pots. I checked, they are common and pretty harmless, although I’m not planning to eat them
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Before………………………………………………………………………………………………………After (1 day)……..

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blue Banded Bees

After a very mixed week, I was thrilled to find these critters buzzing around on my verandahoten, tomatoes, bees 040They are called Blue Banded Bees or Amegilla sp. and are native to Australia. They are, at the moment, all huddled on the tips of Lepiromia articulata which is in my watergarden. Its been pouring with rain for 2 days and they are all soakedoten, tomatoes, bees 051  Another interesting thing that I discovered from, was that they are great tomato pollinators, and are used in greenhouse tomato production. They are very active foragers and each visit about 1200 tomato flowers a day. I don’t have that many tomatoes but have got a few pots going. They are my 2nd round of tomatoes for the summer and are grown from the seeds of my first batch. I’ m loving the little         microcosm that’s developing here on my rooftop deck.

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

White Cloud Mountain Minnows

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I mentioned in an earlier post that I had started a watergarden. Its an old metal washtub with some reeds in it, as well as some Thai mint and a native Australian waterplant called Marsillea.  Every time I look into the water, its full of wrigglers (mosquito larvae)  The best solution to get rid of the wrigglers was to get some fish.


I went to Aqua Pets in Bondi Junction and got 6 Tanichthy albonubes, common name White Cloud Mountain Minnows. They are hardy fish which can survive warm or cool water temperatures. They are extinct in their native habitat of Guandong, China, and were originally discovered by a Boy Scout leader in the 1930’s. They are a member of the Carp family, which is already setting off alarm bells in my head as Carp are a huge pest here in Australia and are decimating native fish populations and causing widespread riverbank erosion, here in Australia.

Like many other plant and animal species, they are great when kept in a confined area, but become a problem when exposed to another environment where  they may dominate and takeover because of their ability to thrive in a variety of situations.

I don’t know whether this species of fish could ever become a problem in the wild, but its always good to be aware of the potential.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Aechmea bromeliifolia albobracteata

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I finally cut the flower head off of this plant as its past its prime. Something came along in the night and had a go at extracting some seeds from it. I love that the plants on my rooftop attract birds and insects and provide some sort of environment for them

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Sedum “Purple Emperor”

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I bought this Sedum at Lambley Nursery last year and it has just started flowering

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It grows 35cm tall and the leaves are purpley bronze. It flowers from late summer to Autumn and requires little water. A great choice for a sunny garden in drought conditions