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Plants and plans

A friend dropped in at the end of moving day and brought me a couple of zygocactuses that she had divided from her own plants. One is coming into bud and the other has just started flowering, and it’s so gorgeous so I brought it inside. That’s it on the left.

Mum grew zygocactuses but all of hers were the same hot pink and I never knew they came in different colors. This one is soft baby pink and each morning it has more flowers. Don’t you love how small things can make you smile?

I don’t have the wide windowsills of my old house, where the plants thrived in the morning sun, but I have put a low bookshelf under my bedroom window and filled the top with my plants and they cheer me up each morning.

It faces west, though, and I’ll have to find somewhere else for them come summer or they’ll get scorched. But in the meantime, it’s lovely to wake up to flowers and plants.

This new house also has four large planter boxes and I’m going to grow vegies in them. They already have some herbs — amazingly a couple of basil plants are still going strong, despite the cold — and when I bought the house 3 months ago, it had tomatoes growing in one of them. I’m planning to plant broad beans in that one (because you shouldn’t grow tomatoes in the same place twice in a row).

I also have something called perpetual spinach, and a variety of silver beet seedlings. They’re currently sitting in the window and I’ll plant them as soon as I get a moment. I love winter greens.

When spring approaches I’ll be planting more vegies. I’m thinking maybe even potatoes. I grew them a couple of times in the old house and had several wonderful crops of potatoes.

Isn’t it funny how a new situation can spark you up? My old garden was much bigger and was getting a bit out of control (i hear my friends snorting at that understatement) but this one is small and very manageable. Milly isn’t impressed, though — there are no creepers to hide under, and scare critters from and no colonies of little skinks (tiny, sweet lizards) that she used to watch with fascination.

And though I hear magpies singing most mornings — which is a truly joyous sound to wake up to — there don’t seem to be many other birds in this garden. I’m hoping to change that, though, Stay tuned. And if you want to hear the sound Australian magpies make (they’re not the same as magpies from other countries) click here:

Balloon delight

It’s a crispy cold, still morning here, so quiet because it’s  Sunday on a long weekend, and across the morning sky, hot air balloons were drifting. Such a lovely sight and it always fills me with delight.

There were more than these in the photo, but I couldn’t fit them in one photo, and they were drifting low, and the next door house was in the way, so I didn’t try.

I remember last year, when we’d just come out of  Lockdown, and the balloons floated above my house at dawn, it was such a sign of hope — I think I’ll always feel that now, whenever I see balloons. This morning I just stood there smiling.

It felt amazingly peaceful, not just because a lot of people have gone away for the last long weekend before winter and the neighborhood is quiet, but because the balloons were a little to the west, instead of overhead, as they often are, and so Milly-dog hadn’t noticed them, and  hadn’t shattered the peace of the morning with furious barking to repel the gently hissing alien invaders, which is what she usually does.

Actually she’s the reason I mostly notice the dawn balloons. It’s generally too cold to wander out into the back yard, but when she suddenly starts barking I hurry out to see what the fuss is about, and stop her annoying/waking the neighbors.

But this morning while waiting for the kettle to boil for my morning coffee, I went out to admire the Virginia creeper in the pale rosy dawn light, and saw the balloons. A little morning gift.

It’s taken a while for my creeper to get its autumn colors, but it’s finally turning in time for my last experience of it before I move.  This is what it looked like yesterday in the bright morning sun. Of course, it’s all colors as the leaves turn — from this gorgeous scarlet, to pale baby pink (the new leaves), to rich bronze and a thousand shades in between. It’s a visual feast every autumn. I know I’m going to miss it.