Summer Beauties

Well, it’s been the best Spring/Summer for blooming Cacti flowers that I’ve had in quite a few years!

Here are a couple of more beauties…

The series of 3 images is from a Notocactus variation, and the Yellow flower is from an Echinopsis variation.

At the end of the flowering season I shall put together a post showing all the flowers that have bloomed from my Cacti and Succulents this time around.

Looking forward to the next beauty!

Written by David Johnson

15 December 2022

Orange & Yellow

Say ‘Hello’ to my latest Cacti flowers, from my Parodia Mairanana!

I was walking up the side of the house (that we just moved to) and something caught the corner of my eye…it was the gorgeous colour of these flowers.

My Cacti and Succulents (before we moved) had grown to 160 plants. Some of them were duplicates, most not and I have realised that my hobby was getting out of hand. We intend to buy a house next year, however, after the latest move I have come to the conclusion that I need to downsize my collection.

We had a garage sale before moving and I sold/offloaded about 50 plants, reducing my collection to 110. This is still a lot of plants to move, particularly when you consider the size of some of the plants and the pots.

I am going to bite the bullet and pick out my favourite say, 30 plants and have another garage sale.

I also think that I am going to change direction slightly in terms I what future Cacti and Succulent plants I will buy, i.e., I think I will aim for the smaller, flowering plants. There will still be some columnar plants but mainly smaller Ball-type ones.

Written by David Johnson

28 November 2022

More Beauties!

It has been a bit of a challenge posting in this past week as we are in the process of moving. Always a fun task, not!

Following on from my last post, I can excitedly report that two more of my Cacti and Succulents have flowered in the past week.

The first is an Aylosteria pulvinosa. It is only a small Cacti plant measuring 5cm across and has had pups and the flowers in the image are (apart from that flowered last week) the first full crop of flowers that this plant has produced.

The second plant to flower this week (in fact it bloomed today), is an Epiphyllum Hybrid which is sometimes mistakenly called a ‘Dragonfruit’ plant, according to the Cacti and Succulent Association of Australia. I joined the Society nearly 12 months ago and am learning a lot.

I love the rich, Red colour of this flower which really contrasts well against the Green foliage of the plant.

Two more beauties from my collection that have flowered so far in Spring.

I am so looking forward to the rest of Spring and Summer!

Written by David Johnson

12 November 2022

A Fleeting Beauty!

One of my other hobbies is Cacti and Succulents. As mentioned previously, I have had them as an interest for the last 45 years (since I was 14).

I’m not an expert by any means and although I collect them I do not regard myself as ‘true collector’, like a lot of the people that are in the Cactus & Succulent Society of Australia, which I joined during the last Covid lockdown in 2021.

I enjoy their uniqueness and beauty.

Yesterday, one of my Ball Cacti, of the Echinopsis variety, flowered for the first time ever and I thought that was worth of a post.

The stem of the flower has been growing for a number of weeks and leading up to the point of flowering, there is always great anticipation, particularly when you don’t know what colour the flower will be. I walked out the side door yesterday and upon walking past our cattery that holds our single Cat, Miri, the flower came into full view.

I never tire of this type of flower’s exquisite beauty! It begins to open nocturnally and we are blessed with its beauty in the morning. The flower only blooms for 24-48 hours, then its gone. A fleeting beauty.

Written and photographed by David Johnson

4 November 2022

Things That Attract My Eye – 3

Welcome to my third post of ‘Things that attract my eye’.

All of the images below were taken in the last couple of months on walks, excursions and as I go out my daily life. All were taken on my iPhone 8 Plus.

A famous Photographer was once asked, ‘What is the best camera to have?’ His answer was, ‘the one you have on you at the time…’. That was Chase Jarvis.

My interpretation of this comment is that we all probably wish that we could have our DSLR, Mirrorless or high-end compact camera with us every moment of the day to capture every beautiful image. This is often not possible, nor practical e.g., if I took my DSLR out on my early morning walk before I started running my business that day, my walk would take longer…and thus impact the running of my business.

With the phone camera, I just take a quick snap and I’m on my way as I have a certain amount of time allocated in the morning for exercise. That is the best camera to take the images on, given that circumstance.

Similarly, when I go out sketching, often, I will not take my DSLR with me as it can be a distraction.

Here are the latest things ‘that have attracted my eye’.

Written by David Johnson

23 October 2022

Renewal

For The Love of Cacti & Succulents!

I’ve commented a couple of times on this Blog about my love for Cacti and Succulents. It was an interest that started when I was 14 years of age when my Aunt Beryl gave me a Succulent on one of the family visits to our place. It was (as I later found out) from the Euphorbia family.

My original pot.

Over the years my liking for Cacti and Succulents increased to the point where I had a small, shallow pot with about 5-6 small Cacti plants in it. I used to dream of the day when I would have a big garden. That came when I got married and moved onto an acre and a quarter of land. I built a 35square metre garden. All up, I had 120 plants in it and in pots around the yard.

Part of my original 35square metre garden.

Sadly, we don’t live there any more, we moved after 16 years there and are currently on a residential block. What happened to the plants? I brought them all with me didn’t I! They are currently all in pots of various sizes which is not quite the same but it will have to do until we make our next move.

This week, I was accepted as a member into the Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia which is the oldest Cacti Society in Australia. My first meeting (this week) was on Zoom. They usually meet face-to-face in another State (Victoria) but even then have a ‘Zoom-room’ for people that are too far away. There are lots of benefits for being a member of the Society, including a 32 page quarterly magazine which I’m quite looking forward to receiving. They have a Facebook group, library etc so I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge of this wondrous species of flora that captured my imagination at the age of 14, some 44 years ago.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Society, I’ve included some links below to their website and Facebook page and also some other links if you feel you are in any way curious about this species of plant.

Written by David Johnson

30 September 2021

Cactus and Succulent Society of Australia:

Other useful links:

A Way To Escape!

One of the ways I’ve been ‘escaping’ in this current lockdown environment is my walks which are allowed, currently within 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) from home. We are blessed to have access to the Nepean River at Camden which is a beautiful spot to walk through (and picnic in normal times).

During lockdown and due to time constraints of the working day, I only get to go down to the Nepean River, Camden on a Wednesday and on the weekend. On other days, I just walk around the suburb. This may sound quite boring, and it could be if not for my nearly 40 years training my eye, firstly via photography and now via sketching and painting as well.

By ‘training me eye’ I mean looking within the scene and the way light interacts with a subject. There is just so much beauty around in seemingly mundane surroundings.

The following images are taken within the suburbs of the 5 kilometre radius we are are restricted to at present.

There are many benefits to be obtained from walking, with exercise being just one of them. I get ideas whilst I walk, for paintings, photos, poetry, articles and business. I either listen to Mother Nature, podcasts or music.

It is quite an immersive experience and a perfect way to ‘escape lockdown.’ I get to walk more days than not during the month. I’m not a good ‘cold-weather’ walker normally so to know that I commenced my latest walking programme in July, which is the middle of Winter in Sydney, was quite pleasing for me.

In programmed walks I have walked 51 kilometres (31.6 miles) in July, 72 kilometres (44.7 miles) in August and am around the 40 kilometre (24.8 miles) mark in September so far. In Winter I walked more towards the middle of the day and as it heats up during Spring/Summer I will walk earlier or later in the day.

Once lockdown is over I shall continue my walks and continue to view the beauty that surrounds!

Written by David Johnson

19 September 2021

A Stunning Display

Things That Attract My Eye

As those of you would know who follow my Blog regularly, one of my interests (dating back to 1982 when I bought my first serious camera) is Photography.

Whilst I still enjoy photographing with a DSLR, many photos are taken also with my iPhone. Currently, I possess an 8Plus which is getting a bit dated now but is still handy to have when I don’t have my DSLR with me.

My aim within the next 12 months is to purchase a high-end compact from the Sony RX range for the type of photography below and I’m also looking to say goodbye to me DSLR and go Mirrorless, but that’s another story.

As we have our phones on us nearly all the time these days it is very easy and convenient to photograph interesting things we have come across on a daily basis.

In the past couple of weeks, I started a new album on my Facebook page called, ‘Things That Attract My Eye.’

Here are the first 9 images in the album.

The images were taken when visiting the local Hospital, in my backyard, on walks, waiting for a Take-away food order, visiting an Art Gallery and whilst doing a ‘driver changeover’ on a motorway. All would have been missed were it not for the trusty phone camera.

Over time, I will put up more images.

I hope you enjoy, ‘Things That Catch My Eye!’

Written and Photographed by David Johnson

28 June 2021