Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Somethings up with the blog so I am checkin it out!

spring's promise

I ran into an old friend last weekend who is a bit of a gardening fiend and she reminded me to check out one of my favourite plants that is hidden down the back of my garden. It is a type of buddleia called Spring's Promise. I am normally made aware of tha plant at this time of year as it has an amazing fragrance when it flowers and it usually hits you when you least expect it in the middle of winter. Anyway I checked it out and here is a photo of it beginning to bud. Soon, when I walk past it I will be transported by promises of Spring!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Imaginary friends....

My daughter has an imaginary friend called Mary who has been around for about a year. She brings her up in conversation at least once every few days. Her age is elastic but she is rarely over the age of 18 and often hops between the ages of 2-10. She has been sick alot reflecting the fact that many people that Aurora is close to have been to hospital recently. I often hear her talking to Mary on her pretend phone and she is very convincing in acting out being the recipient of a real conversation. Anyway there are many avenues to explore on this topic but I am going to side track into B&W films as I got caught watching a late night film the other night. I don't know what the title was but it was an unusual depiction of a child's imaginary friend. Of course the imaginary friend turned out to be the ghost of a dead lover of her father. She had gone mad and taken her own life but had been drawn back to the world of the living by her relationship with this little girl. I ended up taking shots with my cheap digital camera of the old film and you can get a feel for the mood of the film from these odd snap shots. I think?!

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Last week was Reconciliation Week. I managed to get to my local event run by the Port Phillip Council. I took my little girl, Aurora and we met up with a few friends there. We took part in the smoking ceremony and each received a gum leaf passport. We sat in the cold sunlight and listened to some speakers as screams erupted from the carriages, rattling down the Big Dipper at Luna Park.
Aurora took great delight in pronouncing to all and sundry that she had been to RECONCILIATION. She is 4.

Concentration and endless imagination. The magic of child's play....and the mess!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Smoke and Mirrors.

I read the other day the reason our beloved Immigration minister denied the last Papuan Asylum seeker asylum was because he (David Wainggai) has a valid visa for Japan which expires in September. As soon as it expires he can and will then appeal this judgement and try to gain asylum in Australia. It all seems like smoke and mirrors! As soon as this issue is off the front page it is business as usual. In other words, a long wait in a far off detention centre. It would be far more humane to bring this individual onto the mainland where he could have contact with family and his support base. But that would be contra the Government's principles of isolating and disenfranchising refugees.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I remember my first giant weed...

The old weed fascination is back...

This photo was taken from my back garden and the large prickly pear cactus in the background belongs to my neighbour, Peter Marino. One of my earliest memories of trying to get rid of weeds was when I was about 8 or 9. Mucking around with my best friend, we decided to pull down one of these huge cacti in her front yard. We had heard people call it a weed so we thought we were doing her mum a favour when we somehow chopped it into little pieces. Of course what we didn't know was that all these little pieces were capable of generating individual prickly pears and we had created a mini nightmare. I cannot remember what happened after a vague recollection of my friend's mum getting mad at us.
Anyway since then I have been slightly in awe of these plants. On my one and only visit to Arizona a few years ago I saw these plants in their native environment. It made me look at them in a different way and I quite like this very naughty big weed that lives next door to me now!

Some prickly pear facts thanks to the Website-www.northwestweeds.nsw.gov.au/prickly_pear_history.htm

The very first plants of prickly pear were brought into Australia on the First Fleet. Captain Arthur Phillip collected a number of COCHINEAL-INFESTED plants from Brazil on his way to establish the first white settlement at Botany Bay.

Prickly pear first came to New South Wales with the First Fleet. It was to be used to establish a cochineal dye Industries... The photo on the left shows young cochineal insects feeding on a pad of prickly pear. The adults grow to about the size of a "match head" and when squashed produce red colouring.

At that time, Spain and Portugal had a world-wide monopoly on the important cochineal dye Industries and the British Government was keen to set up its own source of supply within its dominion. The red dye derived from cochineal insects was important to the western world's clothing and garment Industries. It was the dye used to colour the British soldiers' red coats, for example.

It was at the instigation of Sir Joseph Banks that a cochineal dye Industries was established at Botany Bay. Little is known of the fate of those first plants introduced by Captain Phillip, but it has been established that the variety of prickly pear was "smooth tree pear" (Opuntia vulgaris). This type of cactus is still found along coastal areas of New South Wales. It never developed into a major problem.

"Common pest pear" (Opuntia stricta spp.) was the variety of prickly pear that overran NSW and Qld between 1900 and 1930.

The Spread of Prickly Pear in Australia

There is no information on the original introduction of common pest pear into Australia from the Americas. It was first recorded as being cultivated for stock fodder in the Parramatta district in the early 1800's. There is also a record of a pot plant being taken to Scone, NSW in 1839 where it was grown in a station garden. The property manager later planted it in various paddocks with the idea that it would be a good stand-by for stock in a drought year.

It has also been recorded that a plant of common pear was taken from Sydney to Warwick, Queensland in 1848 for use as a garden plant, with a strong recommendation that it would be a good fruiting and hedge plant!

From garden plants to hedges and then into the paddock, prickly pear became acclimatised and spread at an alarming rate. Many people were forced off their lands.

Early settlers took plants to other parts of New South Wales and Queensland because of its potential use as an alternate food source for stock, especially during dry times. It was also planted at various homesteads as a hedge. The hedges flourished and bore fruit. Excess pieces were dumped in the bush. With all this help, prickly pear quickly established over a large area.

Prickly pear literally exploded! The accommodating climate and the general lack of natural enemies accounted for its amazing spread - still considered by many experts to be one of the botanical wonders of the world.