Flowers around here

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge February: Close Up or Macro

How I came about these selections. I download all my photos into a misc folder by date order. This morning I randomly picked a sub-folder date 30August 2020 (yes I am that behind in sorting photos) which luckily had the following photos from around my place.

The fruit from an Ink Plant, an introduced exotic plant from tropical America, and yes they did make ink from this plant

An Erect Guinea flower, 12 to24mm across, grows well on my place

A Yamba Sunshine Grevillea flower in my garden

So many flowers on the Lomandra Multiflora gives a tiny Stingless Native Bee lots of choices

Called an Australian Bluebell or Wahlenbergia sp, I find these little flowers all over my property

I think this is a Hovea of some species

Life of a white Agapanthus flower

Number twelve in the Life of….flower series.

Thanks for everyone’s lovely comments and encouragement over the past posts. I have already shown the blue Agapanthus flower life cycle and, as promised, here is the white Agapanthus flowers life cycle.

“Agapanthus (Agapanthus  spp.) also known as the African Lily or the Lily of the Nile is a fleshy rooted perennial. It is part of the Liliaceae family and is native to Southern Africa.”
* https://www.gardenexpress.com.au/growing-guide/agapanthus-growing-guide/

Some of the spears appear to be quite small at the start of flowering

Gradually filling out

Then a slight opening to reveal the white flower buds

Finally breaking free from the casing into the sunshine

The remnant of the casing still clinging on

The buds are so full and soon the umbrel will explode into flower

When some of the buds open, it doesn’t take long for the Stingless Native Bees to come for some pollen

An open flower makes it easy to hang on while gathering pollen

Many of the flowers have opened and other buds are waiting

The flowers are so white

Finally some of the flowers are dying while there are still lots of buds yet to open

The flower heads are almost finished leaving stalks where the flowers once were

I hope you have enjoyed the white Agapanthus flowers life story. There are some more that I am working on but they will have to wait a while until I can get organised and the flowers cooperate.

Cee’s FOTD

The Water Lily and the Dragonfly

The mornings cool breeze was still softly blowing as the days suns rays began to be felt upon my skin. I wondered what has been happening over at the house dam. From the house I have seen more and more flowers appearing, water lilies with their large showy blue blooms.

“Do you want to come with me over to the house dam?”
“Let’s take the short cut and climb through the fence rather than walk to either of the gates. Be careful. Look!”
“Doesn’t the dam look lovely? The green of leaves, stems and stalks with splashes of blues, pinks and yellow.”

Just then something whizzed past my ear. What was that I wondered?
Looking around I can see what it is.
“Come over here but slowly. It’s a Water Lily and a Dragonfly”

Out on the dam there’s lots happening.
The frogs are too fast and have plip plopped into the water as we get along the edge of the dam wall.
“It would good to get a classic frog on a lily pad photo wouldn’t it.”
“Make sure you have your camera at the ready.”

Over there is an early flower just opened, not yet had its blue hue applied.
“Some of the Stingless Native Bees are already flying in and out with pollen sacs full I guess.”
“Come let’s go a bit further around this way. I am sure something was over here.”
“Did you see that?”

A Red Skimmer Dragonfly swooped the water and then nestled in among the reeds. Never one to sit still for long, he was gone in a flash.
“Did you see where he went?”

“On the flower over there can you see the two tiny Stingless Native Bees?”
They are about 10mm long.
The bee in the rear has pollen sacs that look quite full.
“Those yellow lumps on the rear legs are sacs where they store the pollen for the flight back to the hive.”

Maybe just sit here for a while longer shall we and enjoy the peace and sounds of the bush that surrounds us.
“I have a marmalade sandwich under my hat if you would like to share?”

Cee’s FOTD

An unknown visitor

Ragtag Daily Prompt Tuesday: Stranger

While in the garden taking a few photos for an upcoming post, I stopped to get a few photos of some Singleness Native Bees who were enjoying the pollen of a Hippeastrum flower filling their pollen sacs. See the yellow pollen in the well filled pollen sacs on their legs.

Unknown to me a stranger appeared. He zoomed in and was gone in an instant. The Bee in the lower left side with the yellow spot on its thorax is a Masked Bee, the first time I have ever seen one at my place. Masked bees ingest the pollen and regurgitate it back at the hive rather than collect it in pollen sacs like most bees

One of my favourite Billy Joel songs

Life of a Lilli Pilli flower

This Lilli Pilli is called Powder Puff Lilli Pilli (Syzygium wilsonii) There are so many different way that Lilli Pilli is spelt – Lilli PIlly, Lilly Pilly but I have always known the bush to be called a Lilli Pilli. When I thought about doing a Life of a Lilli Pilli flower post, I didn’t count on it raining nearly every day, so photography was a bit difficult to really showcase these wonderful flowers.

A beautiful shrub that has a weeping habit and glossy large green leaves with very attractive red-bronze new growth. Lilli Pilli are native plants to the East Coast of Australia mainly in the rainforests.

In full flower it is absolutely joyous, with dozens of big pink-red pompom flowers, followed by pure white edible (when cooked) bushtucker fruit in autumn. I don’t seem to have any fruit photos from years gone by and I can’t wait until Autumn to show you the fruit. This one is a similar fruit just a different colour from an Acmena smithii.

Let’s have a look at how these wonderful red pom poms grow. At first, the buds just seem to appear overnight as long shaped almost small clubs.

They then push outwards from the floral tube with white ends on the bottom .

The tip turn white after a few days as well

Slowly the stigma reach out from the filaments and the on the stamen the anthers turn white as they burst forth from the buds

A view from the rear of the flower showing the floral tubes

The pom pom is starting to fill out

Every day there are more filaments appearing and the buds have almost disappeared

The full flower is finally here and nearly always hang down like this. This year there have been lots of flowers

They are like a burst of sunlight or even fireworks

As the weather hasn’t been favourable for the bees either I dug out an old photo with some Stingless Native Bees enjoying the sweetness of a Lilli Pilli flower

Once the flowers are finished, the filaments drop off onto the garden leaving a quite straggly looking flower

As it has been raining I have been trying to get a few water drop photos

I have also been waiting for the Scarlet Honeyeaters to seek out the flowers. They have been in the garden but this year the Bottlebrush have been also having a bumper flowering and they seem to prefer to snack on Bottlebrush flower.
I also have some Pied Currawongs who seemed to have decided to stay around. Most years, when it cold in the mountains, the Currawongs come to my place but leave once Summer arrives. Currawongs are predators on small birds so small birds aren’t as prevalent in my garden for awhile now.
Here is an old photo as I love seeing Scarlet Honeyeaters feeding on Lilli Pilli flowers

Also for Cee’s FOTD

They are tiny

Weekly Prompts Wednesday Challenge: Mini

I am often banging on about the Stingless Native Bees that are in my garden. I find them fascinating as the zip around the garden filling their mini pollen sacs with pollen from the flowers. When the Hippeastrums are in flower, they all come to gather pollen for their hive (or really a resinous nest) and get a bit of nectare as well. They do make honey but only around one litre a year.

These mini bees are up to 3 to 5mm long. Their nests are in tree hollows and are constructed in spirals usually. This slideshow gives an idea of their size and the pollen sacs.

Native Bees are found from the coastal area of north-east of New South Wales, across the top of Australia to the northern area of Western Australia. There are over 1,700 native bees in Australia but only eleven of these are the mini Stingless Native Bees.

I love seeing these mini bees in my garden knowing they are doing a good job pollinating the flowers.

Life of an Orange Trumpet flower

Another in my series of “In the life of…..” This time it is the Orange Trumpet vine or Brazilian Flame Vine (Pyrostegia venusta) whose flowers are out in force at this time of the year around the North Coast of NSW.

This one is on my shed and it almost covers the roof and hangs down the walls so the display is seen from all angles.

When the flowers are just starting out they are a lovely lime green bud that gradually turns yellow before bursting forth into the brilliant orange flower. Even at this stage, tiny spiders set up home with delicate webs strung between the buds.

The flowers are in large groups which can range from a new bud, unopened flowers to some that are open and ready for visitors, giving a warming look to a winters garden.

Flame vine is the perfect name, because when it’s in bloom, the plant comes alive with a fiery hue of bright orange. Looking closer at the individual flowers, you’ll see the small yet bold orange trumpet-like blooms that smother the vine.

Once the flowers are open the insects gather to collect the nectar and pollen. When I went down the garden as the flowers started to open, there was a definite buzz happening.

One of the winter butterflies in the garden is the Meadow Argus who love flitting from one flower trumpet to another. I was waiting for the Meadow Argus to sit with its wings open, as it does frequently, but on this day they were too intent of getting nourishment. Their “eye spots” on the wings are a wonderful orange as well.

A tiny Stingless Native Bee makes a beeline for an open trumpet to add more to its pollen sacks.

The flowers last for a few weeks but there is always new buds appearing to take there place.

Even as they are in their final days, I love the texture.

I couldn’t not go without leaving a Meadow Argus showing its patterns and colours.

I hoped you enjoyed a look into the life of an Orange Trumpet Flower.
Also for Cee’s FOTD