Weekly Photography Challenge: Resilient

The first weekly photography challenge for the new year is “Resilient”. Anything in my garden would fit the description, since whatever is still thriving after many dry years is clearly tough, but these onion orchids are special.

The flowers are tiny – only 2 or 3 mm – and the seeds are like dust. They are an endemic plant that “just grow’d”, originally in a hanging basket, appearing one year in amongst exotic Sempervivums. I presume that they blew in on the wind. I now have them in several pots, and they have flowered discretely for months now. They evidently enjoy regular watering, and in their native habitat there will be hundreds growing together in damp places like streamsides, reappearing in winter so long as the autumn rains arrive.

I have seen them growing in roadside gardens, their slender green stems popping up among the official planting, thriving on neglect, resilient and adaptable.May we humans be as resilient and adaptable in the face of the challenges and adventures of the new year!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Spring

This week the Photography Challenge theme is “spring“, which is timely for the northern hemisphere, of course, although Lisa in the Pacific Northwest chose a completely different ‘spring’ for her post! Down here in Southern Australia, meanwhile, autumn is well under way. Because our summers are hot and dry and our winters fairly mild, this is the time of year when everything – especially weeds – spring into new growth, and gardening becomes a hands on occupation.nettle patch

Getting out there pulling up weeds – very carefully, in the case of these nettles – leads to the discovery of remnants of last spring, and the heralds of the next one. I have found two old bird’s nest in the past few days.

The first was the familiar cup shape, and may belong to silver-eyes. It was hidden in a large old rambler rose. The other was close to the ground in a rosemary bush, and has a tiny, almost invisible opening – I’ve highlighted it in one pic – my index finger only just fits. The interior is lined with paperbark, the nearest tree being more than a block away from here. I suspect the nest was built by scrub wrens, which are resident in our garden, although we never see any sign of their nesting activity in spring.p. curta shoots

Then there’s the promise of next spring – this pot of leaf litter contains a little colony of an endemic terrestrial orchid, Pterostylis curta, which is just beginning to send up shoots.P. curta flower

For the record, here’s the P. curta in flower last spring. By the way,I let a few nettles grow, despite the stings, because they are the food plant of the Red Admiral butterfly, and I eat some myself, cooked like spinach. What Popeye would’ve eaten, if he’d known!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

SURPRISE!

I’d noticed this odd slender plant in a hanging basket a few times, but without glasses, I couldn’t see it properly, and being busy, forgot to fetch them and go back for a proper look, until this evening.Microtis parvifloraThis is a tiny Australian native orchid, Microtis parviflora, or Slender Onion Orchid, identified for me by orchidsbirdsandotherthings. Micriotis in basket

This isn’t a great photo, but you can see that it’s growing in a hanging basket, along with some sort of house leeks.Microtis

The plant is fairly widespread in Victoria, locally common in some places, and is known to colonise lawns and golf courses at times. But there is no mention at all of this tiny terrestrial plant leaping into hanging baskets!