Thursday, October 31, 2013


I was very interested in River's blog where she spoke about desserts they had when she was young and it got me thinking about my own youth, way back then.

We, of course, at that time didn't own a refrigerator but only an 'ice chest' with the iceman delivering huge blocks of ice every week, so therefore no icecream kept in the house.

As far as desserts (or sweets as we called them then) it was mainly rice puddings or bread and butter puddings and of course Mum's notoriously delicious pastry which became apple pie, jam turnover or simple jam tarts.  She also made wonderful custard using custard powder and Sunshine full cream milk powder.  I always loved the skin that formed on the top of the that custard.

As for icecream, I can remember when I was about 10 or 11 (1942-43), as a special treat on a Sunday I would take a dessert plate to the corner shop about 4 doors away and buy one scoop of icecream for each person. Occasionally, my brother (if he was home on leave) and his wife would be with us to share a meal so it would be 5 scoops or just 3 scoops if only Mum, Dad and me.  This was then added to tinned fruit which was very special as it was rationed during the war years.

When I was about 13 (1945) Mum and Dad bought a corner shop which of course had a huge 'fridge but icecream too was rationed by then so Mum acquired an icecream maker.  As far as I can remember it was quite large, the outer part made of wood, and you mixed the ingredients and put them in the inner part and then placed crushed ice in the outer compartment, put on the lid and turned the handle quite vigorously and with the churning and the effect of the ice...voila!! delicious icecream.  It was then placed in the shop 'fridge and sold to grateful customers a little at a time.  We too sometimes had some as a special treat.  I borrowed this picture as I am quite sure that this is the type of 'machine' that we was certainly non-electric as I can remember turning that handle:

I wonder if anyone else remembers icecream being made in that way?  Nowadays people use electric machines which would be much easier but I wonder if it's as much fun as it was back then?

P.S.  I still enjoy icecream and as a matter of fact I have a 'drumstick' each night as my treat.  When I dislocated my shoulder over 2 years ago I remember wanting something but wasn't sure what.  My other half went to the local deli and came back with a Peter's drumstick.  I then vowed I would have one every evening until my shoulder was back to full use.  It almost is but there is one thing I can't do (do up my bra) so I still have my nightly vanilla drumstick and yes, I do still try very hard to overcome this final obstacle in my recovery but no success as yet.  : )

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I is for Isopogon cuneatus

I wasn't sure I'd find an "I" plant but sure enough there they were waiting for me.  Don't you just love these botanical names?  Isopogon is a genus of around 35 species, most of them endemic to Western Australia.  They are part of the Proteaceae family which includes banksias, grevilleas, macadamias and hakeas.  The Isopogons are commonly known as Drumsticks.  I chose this one as I think it rather special.

Isopogon cuneatus comes from an area around Albany in Western Australia and can grow anywhere from half a metre to over 2 metres high. It flowers from the middle of spring until the end of summer, October-February.  The flower is an inflorescent, i.e. many small flowers make one large flower head. It is pale to bright pink in colour and closely resembles a pinwheel style of flower.  It has a long stem with leaves that sit under the flower. They are very popular as cut flowers.

If anyone in Australia should decide to grow Isopogon in their garden, it is best to look up the variety for your area as this will make sure it adapts well to your garden's conditions.  If you're in the eastern states of Oz the yellow flowered Isopogon anemonefolius will be more resilient than the Isopogons endemic to W.A.  In case anyone is interested this is the anemonefolius which I like 'cos it's yellow. Wonder if that would grow in Perth (if available)?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

H..a host of lovely flowers

Hovea elliptica is a slender erect shrub or small tree (0.6-3m high) with blue/purple,white pea-shaped flowers from August to December.  It is a native of southwest Western Australia.

Hardenbergia comptoniana (native wisteria) is endemic to the sandplains and dunes of southwest Western Australia.
It is a a vigorous climbing plant whose branches twist around the stems of other plants.  The flowers. which appear in winter and spring are usually mauve to purple in colour but pink and white forms are known and are a typical 'pea' shape.

It has been in cultivation for many years and is widely grown both in Australia and overseas.  It has proven to be very hardy in a wide range of climates and most reasonably drained soils.  It will grow in sunny or lightly shaded locations.  Bear in mind it is very vigorous and is best grown on a strong support such as a fence or trellis rather then allow it to grow over smaller shrubs.  Propagation is easy from seed following pre-treatment to break the physical dormancy provided by the impervious seed coat.

Hypocalymma robustum (Swan River myrtle) is a species of open shrub endemic to open forests and woodlands of the southwest region of Western Australia. It grows in the jarrah forests of our Darling Ranges near Perth.
It usually grows to between 0.4 and 1 metre in height and has pale to dark pink flowers which are produced between June and November (early winter to late spring) in its native range.  The scented flowers cluster around the stem.  It is a desirable garden plant but it needs a climate where the summers are dry as well as good drainage. It will grow in a sunny or partially shaded position and has moderate frost tolerance.

Hibbertia cuneiformis, commonly known as Cut-leaf Hibbertia, is a shrub species that is endemic to the southwest of Western Australia where it enjoys the karri forests but can also be found in coastal areas. It grows to between 1-2 metres tall and has yellow flowers which appear from January to March and June to November in its native range.  It often flowers with the blue-purple native wisteria and white clematis which, combined, make for a beautiful show in the forest.

I love them all but the last one always catches my eye as yellow (as some of you may know) is my favourite colour.

Monday, October 28, 2013


At about 9.15am this morning my other half wondered what the noise was out the front so thought he's best go and investigate.  There was a young man (obviously an electrician) working on our meter box. The government employs private enterprise people to do this work and they do a wonderful job too.

"Good morning" said this young man, "we're here to switch you over to underground power".

We, of course, knew this was coming as for several months now there have been men digging holes all around this part of our suburb and leaving holes with orange mesh trellis around them etc. etc. and then filling them in.  We have already paid some of the cost to have underground power ($AUS2,500.00 for pensioners spread over 5 years).  The Council did allow us to vote on whether we wanted underground power and about 75% of respondents answered in the affirmative which pleased us.

We have quite a few trees growing in our front garden and from time to time have had to have lopping done to keep them away from not only our overhead wires but of those belonging to the house next door.  You can imagine my delight when I stood and watched a chap roll up the wires that used to lead from the street pole to our house.  No more worries about trees and wires.  What a wonderful thought.

I am now waiting for nightfall to see if the new street lamps are turned on or are they still using the old ones.  We are of course hoping that eventually the huge wooden poles (one of which is on our verge near our front gate) will also be gone which will make out streetscape look so much tidier.

I didn't even miss out on my morning cuppa (you know I get up late don't you?) as MOH got the small gas stove and kettle out and brewed me a cup of tea while the power was off.  I ask you "what would I do without that man?'  I'd be absolutely lost without him.

Now, that is interesting.  I just realised that night had fallen so we checked and it's the old street lights still in use and not the new ones.  We have the underground power in our houses but the street lights don't, as yet.  I won't even try and fathom out how 'they' do that but it gives us another bit of excitement to look forward.

The pictures??  Just to show how happy I am with this development today.  Whoopeeee!!!!

G .....more of our lovely wildflowers.

Gompholobium confertum is a small shrub, native to Western Australia,  and is a member of the family Fabaceae and begins its flowering period at the end of winter - August, with its optimum flowering at the beginning of summer - December.  It continues through autumn showing its blue/purple flowers across the southwest of Western Australia from Jurien in the north of the Swan coastal plain to Esperance on the south coast.  It has an erect habit and grows to 1.2m high.  Its habitat preference is sand, sometimes over laterite, in undulating plains and winter-wet areas.

Grevillea pinaster is a shrub in the family Proteaceae and is endemic to southwestern Western Australia. It grows to between 0.5 and 3 metres in height and has a peak flowering period between May and September (late autumn to early spring) in its native range.  The flowers are pink to red with yellowish-tipped styles.  The long and narrow leaves are 20 to 55 mm long and 1-2 mm wide.  This species occurs in a small area from north of Eneabba to Bindi Bindi.  Plants labelled as Grevillea stenomera in plant nurseries are often forms of, or hybrids of this species.

Most folk that grow native species in their gardens here often have a variety of different grevilleas as they attract native birds.  A cultivar, Robyn Gordon, is very popular with home gardeners in Perth:

Unfortunately some folk find that if their skin comes in contact with this grevillea they come out in a rash.  A friend of mine (now long gone unfortunately) had that problem and when she and I where away on a camping trip about 15+ years back she saw some grevilleas growing in a garden and actually thrust her arm into one of the bushes just so she could show me how she came up in a rash!!  She was one of those people... a real 'nutcase' that would always have you laughing at her antics).

Sunday, October 27, 2013

F is for Frankenia pauciflora

Frankenia pauciflora, sea heath, (native of Western Australia) is a prostrate or rounded perennial shrub to 0.5 metres with many branches often forming mats.  The small linear and somewhat fleshy, dull green leaves are arranged oppostively with backward curving margins and are 3-7mm long and 1mm wide.  Flowers are pink or white and stalkless.  The 5-6 petals are 9-12mm long and the fruit are capsules which contain several smooth warty seeds.

Eastern Australian populations are generally referred to as var. gunnii.

I could only find one plant for "F" so have shown lots of lovely photographs to make up for that.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

E...ven more West Aussie wildflowers

Elythranthera emarginata, known as the Pink Enamel Orchid is a glossy orchid that grows in the southwest corner of Western Australia; in general the area surrounding Perth to Albany.  It has pink star shaped flowers with similar sized petals and sepals.  The flowers are shiny giving it an enamelled appearance, and are about 4cm across.  It flowers in spring from about October to December.  The plant is often seen in groups and can sometimes form colonies.  The leaves are green and an elongated oval shape, tapering towards the tip.  It grows to a height of about 25cm and is found in damp soils in swamps and also near creeks.

Eutaxia myrtifolia is a shrub species in the family Fabaceae and endemic to Western Australia.  Plants may be prostrate or up to 2 metres high.  Yellow and red pea-shaped flowers are produced throughout the year in the species native range.  It occurs in woodland, shrubland and heath in the coastal region between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Arid.

The species has a reputation as a reliable shrub in cultivation where it has usually been known by the names of Dillwynia obovata or Eutaxia obovata.  It is well suited to being grown in rockeries, containers or other situations providing good drainage.  It is resistant to mild frosts and can be grown in coastal areas, with some protection.  Pruning after flowering promotes more compact growth. Cultivated plants usually range between 0.75 and 1 metre high and slightly less in width.  Plants may be propagated from cuttings or scarified seed.  (I must see if I can buy this one as I would like it in my garden).

I hadn't intended to include any of the eucalypts as there are so many of them but this particular 'gum' tree is one of the most spectacular of the eucalypts when in flower.  It is seen in parks and gardens and on roadsides in Perth and always look so conspicuous.  I always love it each year when the erythrocorys are in bloom.

Eucalyptus erythrocorys commonly known as Illyarrie or red-capped gum, is a mallee that grows north of Perth, on undulating limestony sites near Dongara, and also north of Kalbarri in Western Australia.

It is a small tree. 3-10metres tall.  The bark is smooth but can have a few rough patches where it persists on the trunk instead of being shed.  The leaves are dark green and sickle-shaped.  It is notable for its big flowers which can be up to 5cms or more across.  They are bright yellow, being covered by a bright red cap (operculum) when in bud, giving the epithet ertythrocorys (red helmet).  The flowers are so heavy they often weigh the tree down.  The stamens are arranged in 4 bundles and the fruits are ribbed with a red top.

and different forms of the tree itself

Friday, October 25, 2013

D .... West Aussie wiildflowers

Dampiera hederacea, commonly known as the karri dampiera, is an erect perennial herb in the family Goodeniaceae.  The species, which is endemic to the southwest of Western Australia is a low spreading shrub which reaches 40cm (16 in) across.  It produces blue flowers between August and January in its native range.

Drosera macrantha, the bridal rainbow, is a scrambling or climbing perennial tuberous species in the carnivorous plant genus Drosera that is endemic to southwest Western Australia.  It would be one of the largest sundews and grows in a variety of habitats, including winter-wet depressions in sandy, loamy, laterite or quartzite soils.  It produces small, cup-shaped carnivorous leaves along a stem that can be 0.16-1.5 m (0.5-4.9ft) high as it climbs.  Its 2.5cm (1 inch) white or pink flowers emerge from June to November, blooming earlier in the more northern range.

Diuris corymbosa, donkey orchid, is endemic to the southwest of Western Australia.  It favours open forest in well drained soils and can form colonies.  Flowers are medium size, yellow with reddish markings.  Although it is said to be endemic to W.A. I feel it grows in other parts of Australia although there could be variations in colour etc.  I included it because I think it is so cute.  I just love those donkey ears.

This next one is a little confusing as I hadn't realised it had been reclassified.

Dryandra speciosa until 2007, but now known as Banksia splendida and common known as 'shaggy dryandra' it is a shrub endemic to Western Australia.  In 2007 all Dryandra species were included with the Banksias.  It is far too technical to even try to understand yet talk about it here but it is such a delightful flower I had to include it under D as I've already done B.  It is rather special isn't it?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Caladenia denticulata, known as the spider orchid, is a tuberous perennial herb 0.15-0.35m high with a strong putrid odour and three colour forms: yellow, white/pink and red, and flower through September and October.  They grow in laterite, clay, loam and deep sand; winter-wet flats, river banks and creeklines in the southwest of Western Australia.  (I have picked spider orchids occasionally when out in the bush but had never noticed they had a bad smell).  They are found in the Avon wheatbelt, Coolgardie, Geraldton sandplains, jarrah forest and the Swan coastal plain.

Caladenia flava commonly known as the cowslip orchid is found across southwest Western Australia. It is a perennial herb with underground stems.  The leaf and flowerstalk appear from these to present several yellow flowers during July-December.  They grow in many different soil types including laterite and granite.

Callistemon glaucus, known as the Albany bottlebrush, is a shrub in the family Myrtaceae.  The species is endemic to the southwest of Western Australia and grows up to between 1 and 3 metres in height and has a slender, erect habit.  Red flower spikes are produced from September to December in the species native range.  (We have one in our front garden that actually flowers later than that).  It occurs on sandy or clay soils on swampy flats between Perth and Albany.

Clematis pubescens, known locally as common clematis, is a member of the Ranunculaceae family, found in coastal regions of southern Western Australia.  It is a strong, dioecious, woody shrub or climber to 5 metres high with white-cream flowers from May to November.  It can be found in the Avon wheatbelt, Esperance plains, jarrah forest, mallee, Swan coastal plain and Warren.  (I remember when holidaying down in Denmark on our south coast seeing the clematis climbing over various shrubs and trees, and it was a beautiful sight).

I am trying, if I possibly can, to only show wildflowers endemic to Western Australia alone. Sometimes a genus will grow in other states but with certain species of that genus only growing in the West.