Mother’s Love

Today (Sunday 13th May) is celebrated as Mother’s Day in Australia.

It seems appropriate to share this photo of a rose that Gloria picked from our garden, three blooms on one stem.

It’s called Mother’s Love.

Mothers Love


Whatever Will Bee will Bee

In almost 60 years I had only ever been stung by a bee twice.

The first time was when I was in High School. I was watching a basketball game being played on an outside court. I was sitting on the concrete surface beside the court and rolled my knee onto a bee. Why it was there I wouldn’t know – but I definitely found out quickly that it WAS there.

The second time, also in my teens, I was walking along a grassy path at the beach and stepped onto a clover patch and an unlucky bee. This time the whole back of the bee ripped off and I could see it pumping its poison into my toe.

Apart from the initial pain, I don’t recall any other adverse reaction from either sting.

Fast forward more than four decades to 2018 and within a matter of a month I have been stung twice. The first time I was picking zucchinis from one of our plants. At first I though I’d been jabbed on the arm by one of the prickles on the stalk of a zucchini leaf, but the pain intensified. Later the arm started swelling and turned red. I started to suspect the sting was due to something more.

On the weekend I was stung again, this time on my finger and clearly by a bee, I saw the remains of it.

We were working in the garden and Gloria handed me some weeds to put in our green-waste bin. The bee was within those weeds and didn’t waste time showing its displeasure.

It was initially painful. Now my finger has swollen quite a bit. It’s uncomfortable but no longer hurts, and will probably take a day or two to return to normal. The reaction is the same as what happened to my arm, so that was most likely caused by a bee as well.

Despite all of that I know it could have been worse.


Spring Garden

Classic Look Irises and Princess de Monaco roses.


Peace Rose and Flanders Poppy


Red Pierre Rose (top right) Fiona’s Wish rose (bottom left) and Classic Look Iris (centre)

The Long Weekend

I have a long weekend coming up – three days away from work, but nothing special planned.

As long as the weather remains fine we’ll probably spend a lot of time in the garden. That’s what we’ve done for the last two or three weekends.

Spring weather has finally made gardening pleasant again. Any work done makes a noticeable difference (for example, the lawn LOOKS mowed) and we again have an abundance of flowers,  transforming the garden into a place we want to be.

We also know that it won’t last, so we need to make the most of it while we can. As soon as the summer heat arrives, tender plants will be sun-scorched, roses petals will dry out almost as soon as the blooms open, and we’ll never seem to be able to get enough water to the plants before it evaporates.

For a few weeks now we’ve been harvesting a good handful of asparagus every day. Sadly that crop seems to be coming to an end. It’s the only edible we’ve been able to make use of for quite a while. I forgot to plant out the winter veg in time, and I need to be sure that we’ve seen the last of the overnight frosts before I can transplant my tomato plants from pots into the garden. I’ve found that tomato plants are extremely susceptible to cold temperatures whether there’s frost or not.

I have taken the chance with zucchini, squash and pumpkins. While they are also very frost tender, potential damage can be minimised, with only a leaf or two damaged, if given a little protection when the potential of frost is forecast. Also, only half of my seedlings have been planted into garden beds with half being held back in pots, under cover, as insurance.

Last week Gloria netted the strawberry patch to protect anticipated fruit from the destructive blackbirds. It seems like she did it just in time, with the first berries showing the a hint of developing ripeness this morning.

Fly Like a Magpie

A few days ago I wrote about Sparky, the half blind, non-flying magpie that visits our garden. Since then he’s discovered the ability to fly short distances and has been able to find his way up to low branches. He has also become a little more timid and doesn’t come so close to Gloria or myself.

swoopSadly, one thing that hasn’t changed is the bullying. More able bodied magpies still conduct occasional attacks on him.

One of those attacks was launched after I arrived home from work yesterday afternoon. Through the window I saw that three of them had him pinned to the ground, so I rushed outside and ran at them clapping my hands, to drive them away.

However, I suddenly found myself taking flight, but only momentarily. I soon crashed to the ground ripping the skin from my palms and grazing my knees.

It seems I’d slipped on the wet grass and ended up a few metres away on the garden after “bouncing” off the concrete path. Gloria says I just missed the concrete bird bath as I rolled several times across the ground.

At first I thought I must have hit my head because my glasses were knocked off but I couldn’t find any damage to my head or the glasses, but my hands were in a bad way. This morning the lower part of both palms are pitted, looking as if I have several burst blisters on each hand and my left wrist is painful.

I wonder whether Sparky appreciates what I suffered for him.


A magpie has adopted my wife.
Whenever she is in the garden the bird follows her around, picking at any bug or worm it finds and waiting for Gloria to unearth a curly-grub or two (beetle larvae). Our garden has an abundance of those grubs and it’s satisfying to put them to good use feeding the bird instead of having the grubs feeding from our plant roots.

The magpie is very trusting and doesn’t hesitate to come within easy reach. We first saw it two evenings ago, curled up on the ground near the side fence. Assuming it was injured, Gloria went to check whether it was alright, but as she approached it hopped away. Then yesterday, it joined her while she was weeding one of the veggie beds.

A magpie similar to "sparky"

A magpie similar to “sparky”

Having a close view showed that its left eye was badly injured and for some reason it was unable to fly. The injury to its eye was possibly explained a little later when two healthy magpies swooped down and attacked it. These attacks were repeated a few times during the day until the aggressive birds were chased away.

Gloria has given her bird the name “Sparky” and was concerned that it may not survive the night. Our neighbour’s cat Leroy is a regular visitor and I have no doubt what would happen should the two of them meet. But Sparky made it through the night and joined Gloria in the garden again this morning. We’re not sure where it found shelter, but hope wherever it was it will continue to provide safety from cats and the frosts.