More Sydney

In Sydney our hotel isn’t too far from the Royal Botanic Gardens so we end up walking past it a few times during our visit. We finally take the time to book a garden tour. I do love being introduced to new types of plants. The climate in Sydney seems to be similar to Florida so it makes sense that I see some of the same sorts of plants I have seen back home. The garden has some fun and different ones as well that are native to Australia only.

When you have just given up collection in the bookstore #forevercatlady
Brachychiton rupestris or bottle tree
Hard to see but this tree is full of parrots.
Fun old Fig Tree

Manly Beach

Another day we take the ferry out to Manly Beach. We must be taking the slower ferry because we see the fast ferry pass us by.

The ferry drops us off and we walk through a district with shopping and restaurants to get to the beach.

We view Manly beach but walk on to another beach

We end up at another beach called Shelly Beach. The sand is basically broken shells and they are beautiful. The water is very cold but I love it. I walk out cautiously so I don’t slip on the shelf of rocks.

We don’t stay long since we aren’t much for sunbathing and the water is a little too cold for my family. We walk back towards the ferry and see a fun lizard on the way.

Manly Beach

Before hopping on our ferry back we stop at Betty’s Burgers for a yummy burger and some fries.

The next day we take an Aboriginal walking tour. For some reason I put down my camera during the tour but the guide, an aboriginal guide, takes us on a tour of the area near the Rocks and informs us of history and customs of his people. He shows medicinal uses of local plants. We learn about totems, a natural object, plant or animal that is inherited by members of a clan or family as their spiritual emblem. They are tasked with protecting that totem. We are told about how it is a rite of passage for a boy to carve a canoe out of a tree. It is a great tour.

Our last day is spent lazily. We could have left town for the day to view the mountains but the brushfires have made those activities dangerous at this time. We wander around some of Sydney. I check out some street markets.

Steps near our hotel

I leave Australia tomorrow for some time in New Zealand. My aunt will be joining me for a couple days of exploring. We are both excited about visiting what we think will be a beautiful country.

I say goodbye to my cousins hoping to see them soon when they make a trip to the USA next summer. Note: They are not able to visit USA this year (2020) due to covid outbreak. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait longer to see them in person again.

Brooklyn Botantical Garden

We happened to visit Brooklyn Botanical Gardens during a free period. I would have gladly paid for this amazing garden. A great couple of hours were spent wandering around and viewing all the garden has to see.

Butterfly watching

Great plant name.

I don’t even understand….

Ouch….

This interesting tree fort was built from the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.

We have many of these in Florida too!

Huge ass pine tree

I like the memorial rocks.

Daniel-son trim the tree.

Sensory Garden

These are fun leaves. Very hairy.

Brooklyn Botanical Garden is now on my must return list. There was more we missed and it would be great to check it out during a different season. All hail nature!

Spring Harvest

Spring is here and the garden has come alive. Our winter was mild so all the plants I had started in the fall did fairly well. It is getting hot quickly but we are able to harvest some goodies before the major heat, mold and bugs arrive.
I wasn’t sure because it started off slow but it looks like we had a good year from the blueberries and tomatoes.
We started picking the blueberries one by one as they ripened. I thought we could beat the birds this year. I guess the area birds are not a fan this year. They left plenty for us.

They are almost all gone. In retrospect I think the new drip irrigation that I added for them has helped them this year. I always thought they had plenty of irrigation where they were but I guess I was wrong. With consistent irrigation and the right schedule of acid, next year should be even better!
While we soon say goodbye to the blueberries, the tomatoes are thriving.

Tomatoes growing out of control. I need to secure them.

In other news….
Grape vine is fully grown for the season.

Broccoli has bolted. We never really took advantage of harvesting it this year.

Chive flowering.

It might be a good year for the citrus. I started a new fertilizing routine last year. None of the other disease control measures were working and the trees still seemed to be dying off. The new fertilizer sits on the leaves and provides nutrients. The idea is that the plant will remain strong and fight off the diseases its self. They seem to be holding on for now and producing fruit. I won’t know for a while if this routine will work long term

Grapefruit

Grapefruit

Lime

Spain: Another day in Madrid

It was our last day in Madrid and the Prado Museum is a must see. You can find some great Spanish works there.

After our morning visit to the Prado we noticed these Syrian protesters out on the street. In the typical European way, people actually gather to protest things they want to change. We don’t get around to doing that anymore in the US.

After we visited the Prado for a few hours, we decided to wander around the El Real Jardín Botánico. It is the Royal Botantical garden. We fully enjoyed the large collection of plants outside and in the greenhouses.

Fun cactus-like plant

Orchids and other hanging plants

Cactus room

Our park selfie

Next to the Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid lies the Parque del Retiro. This large park contains many trails, monuments, and lakes to enjoy. We spent a couple hours lounging around like locals. There is a boat rental and a cafe.

After lounging around the park we walked back into town and walked by this monument Puerta de Alcalá.

Also not far we happened upon this indoor outdoor area with this fabulous ceiling. I guess it is located inside what is known as the El Palacio de Comunicaciones.

After wandering around all day we were hungry. I ordered a hearty Spanish meal for dinner at a cafe nearby the hotel. It is early bedtime since we had to travel to Sevilla the next day. See you there.

Early July Garden

It’s the 4th of July and the garden is doing fine.

We finally have a watermelon growing. The bees are no where to be seen so I have been hand pollinating these as I can.

We also have a great crop of plum tomatoes. I noticed some signs of caterpillar damage (but saw no caterpillars yet). I want to spray them but the rain is every day lately. Hopefully I can spray BT sometime soon.

In the distance you might be able to make out the corn plant that is hanging on. No corn yet but I am hoping for something.

I am doing a much better job at training the muscadine grape vine this year. Last year the weight of the vine made the trellis slant forward. The extra support I added this winter is holding up.

For the first time we will have grapefruit this year. I counted at least five that are growing. The leaves are still falling off though. I found a spray that may help with this but I am having a hard time applying it because of the constant rain.

Key limes are back again too. They have the same issue as the grapefruit tree.

I butchered the heck out of the viburnum in the backyard. I was trying to locate a lost sprinkler head and finally found it behind the middle bush. I will be replacing that sprinkler head with drip irrigation to provide better water to one of the square foot gardens. I would like to train the bush on the right to grow as a small shade tree to open that area for some shade plant opportunities…..we will see what happens.

Flowers doing well in one of the whisky barrels.

And finally the aloe plant is reproducing again this year. I might transplant some of the babies. We don’t take advantage of this plant as much as we should.

Hopefully I will have an update at the end of the month to see what makes it.