Gathering the straws of life together

Tag: garden

Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ Markets

Yesterday we were at the Farmers’ Markets held in the grounds of the iconic Empire Theatre, Toowoomba. It is held every Thursday from 12 noon to 6pm. It was our first time at this Market. We arrived early and not all the stallholders had set […]

Back in KJ’s kitchen

Back in KJ’s kitchen

It is time to leave the political landscape and the debate about the changes to the age pension and get back into KJ’s Kitchen.  Although there is plenty of fodder around to keep the conversation going about the welfare state for months to come, we […]

Flower power for seniors

Flower power for seniors

Many of us who are now seniors may know about or been part of the the ‘flower power’ movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It was during the time of the Vietnam War when young people opposed to the war held peaceful demonstrations. They soon became known as the ‘flower children’ because they wore coloured clothing with embroidered flowers and had flowers in their hair.

If you were a ‘flower power’ child, then you may find it interesting to learn that there is truth in ‘flower power’. A 2001 Rutgers University study found that flowers may have health benefits for adults aged 55 years and older. In the study those who received flowers 81% experienced reduced levels of depression and 72% scored higher on memory tests than seniors who didn’t receive flowers. As it happened the “no-flower” groups in the study were not happy and wanted the study over while those who were in the group that got two flower deliveries over a two-week period got happier and happier as the study progressed. Read more here.

There is also evidence which shows links between flowers and plants in the workplace.  An eight-month study in Texas A&M University showed that both women and men had more creativity, innovative thinking and generated more ideas and solutions to office problems.

In this season of my life I have more time to get out into the garden. Winter is a great time to get out outside and plant summer bulbs and this is exactly what we did at our place this week. My favourite bulb is the lilium, even though there are other bulbs such as iris’s and freesia’s that come a close second. I find the perfume of liliums intoxicating and a fragrance I never tire of. I find that living in an environment with trees, plants and flowers in the garden and flowers in the house nourishes my soul.  It makes me feel better. In addition being out in the sunshine and enjoying the plants and flowers I get my daily dose of vitamin D.

Lilium Spinoza
Lilium Spinoza

On Monday the liliums bulbs we ordered online arrived in a box and were ready for immediate planting. My “One & Only” (O&O) dug the holes and I followed placing them in the hole and covering them with the rich Toowoomba soil. For years we have had liliums in the garden, both in Maleny and Toowoomba, however the most successful plants have been grown in Toowoomba.

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Lilium Devotion

When working, and when at all possible, I liked to have flowers on my desk. In my last Spring/Summer working season (November-December) 2012 I would always have a vase of liliums in my office. I appreciated the fragrance of the liliums and their visual appeal as I worked in a very demanding job. I was happy every time I looked at the liliums and inhaled their fragrance. When the liliums finished flowering the perfume lingered for weeks.

Lilium Bergama
Lilium Bergama

Now I understand a little more why I enjoy having flowers outside and inside the house. Receiving flowers has health benefits but also displaying cut-flowers in the house is good for us. Just like medicine. During times there are no flowers in the garden I buy these to brighten up the house. It is a habit I will definitely have to continue – more ‘flower power’ to me!

Does anyone know what this lilium is called?
Does anyone know what this lilium is called?
Take a photo…

Take a photo…

It is much easier these days with smart phones to take a photo to tell a story. Everyone it seems can take a great photo simply with your phone. With the arrival of social media everyone can now be a paparazzi even getting great photos […]

Rosemary Officinalis

Rosemary Officinalis

Rosemary Officinalis (commonly known as ‘Rosemary’) is a fragrant evergreen perennial herb, native to the Mediterranean region. It is related to the mint family. Apart from having wonderful culinary uses Rosemary is an essential oil in perfumes and cosmetics. What’s more it has great medicinal […]

The Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly

The Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly

I looked out the window from my home office and saw a colourful butterfly, then two butterflies. They seemed to be engaged in a mating ritual. As I had never seen this phenomenon before I grabbed my camera and went to investigate. An SLR digital camera is just what is needed in such a situation. Today I experienced one of the rewards of retirement and spending time staring out the window. After downloading the photos I went about identifying the species.

Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly. The female has shades of brown colour with orange & blue spots; the male is black with pale blue shading and red spots
Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly. The female has shades of brown colour with orange & blue spots; the male is black with pale blue shading and red spots
The male and female have very different colours. The male is black with pale blue and white and the female is brown with orange and blue spots. As I suspected the two butterflies were affianced and in a mating ritual. The wings were rapidly fluttering and they were quite difficult to capture on camera. I managed to get up quite close and tried different settings on my camera, all the while the wing fluttering continued.

Eventually I was able to get a couple of reasonable photographs. Another one of the benefits of being retired is that I get to enjoy nature. When I was previously at work I was mostly ensconced in an office building. Is it any wonder I got a reputation for choosing a seat in the conference room so I could look out the window. I was just waiting for the day when I could enjoy nature at its best, such as today.

Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly in a Mating Ritual
Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly in a Mating Ritual
Tomato Passata

Tomato Passata

I spent yesterday afternoon in the kitchen making Tomato Passata. The recipe for Passata has its history in Italy even though the ‘tomato’ originated from South America. Botanically the tomato is a ‘fruit’ but the Supreme Court in USA in 1893 ruled that the tomato […]


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