Kalau Kelelahan Nyetir di Australia


Ingat dulu waktu saya masih kecil, waktu alm. papa nyetir mobil keluar kota, sering beliau itu ngantuk. Kalau sudah terlihat kepala mulai terangguk, mama terus mengeluarkan camilan untuk papa untuk menghilangkan ngantuk. Untung dijaman itu ditahun enam puluhan jalanan di daerah Jawa tengah masih cukup kosong. Mama tak bisa nyetir jadi tak bisa bisa gantian nyetirnya. Walau katanya semakin kenyang orang akan semakin ngantuk, tapi nyetir sembari nyamil memang membuat papa saya tidak ngantuk lagi🙂

Driver Reviver Road Sign

Photo Source: abc.net.au

Menurut SES (State Emergency Service) di Australia, salah satu penyebab yang bisa menyebabkan kecelakaan di jalan raya adalah lelah. Kalau kecelakaan di jalanan kota sering disebabkan karena kecepatan/speeding, pengaruh minuman alkohol atau kurang konsentrasi, tapi dalam perjalanan jauh antar kota penyebab utama seringnya adalah pengemudi yang lelah dan ngantuk.

Dianjurkan sebelum memulai perjalanan panjang, pengemudi harus cukup tidur dan dalam keadaan fit. Nyetir antar kota di Australia itu bisa melalui jalan raya (highway) sepi yang panjang tanpa melewati banyak desa atau kota. Walau cukup tidur sebelumnya, bisa saja pengemudi merasa lelah setelah nyetir agak lama. Untuk menghindari kecelakaan lalu lintas karena kelelahan, ada yang namanya State Emergency Service ‘Driver Reviver’. Ditempat-tempat tertentu di highway akan ada tempat khusus dimana mobil bisa berhenti dan parkir dengan aman sehingga pengemudinya bisa beristirahat. Biasanya di lokasi ini juga terdapat toilet, bangku dan meja. Dianjurkan untuk tidur sebentar (powernap) atau hanya sekedar istirahat meluruskan kaki. Pada saat liburan, seringnya akan ada  kopi atau teh gratis. Anggota berbagai klub seperti misalnya Lion, Rotary Club dsb membaktikan diri untuk kepentingan masyarakat dengan jalan menyediakan kopi atau teh panas yang disupply oleh Bushells Coffee & Tea. Selain untuk pengemudi, para voluntir yang ramah tamah juga bersedia memberi minum buat semuanya di mobil, semuanya gratis tak usah bayar.


Cymbidium Orchids – Last Flowers


The last flowering Cymbidium orchids of this year are the noid Yellow and Bulbarrow ‘Our Midge’.

From all the 5 pots of the noid Yellow, only 2 are flowering and each are having 2 spikes. These orchid flowers will be chartreuse in colour when first time open and gradually will look more yellow.

Bulbarrow ‘ Our Midge’ is still relatively small, I haven’t divided it yet and this year it is only having 1 spike. What makes this Cymbidium orchid special is the ashy pink colour of the flowers, it is pink with grey tinge, while around the edges of the petals are light cream colour. We bought it as a young seedling and it took so long to grow, went rotten away at one stage and was neglected for few years under the pear tree in the back yard. Then about 3 or 4 years ago I noticed that the bulbs had started to grow big with healthy leaves. I repotted the plant, it grew better and now it is flowering for the second time.


Golden Diosma


Golden Diosma

Golden Diosma (Coleonema pulchellum/pulchrum ‘Aurea’) is a low growing shrub that love cool climate. This pretty plant with fragrant fine leaves will get scorched and susceptible to fungal disease in very hot and humid summer over 32 deg. C. In winter time to early spring, it will bear many tiny flowers that can cover the whole plant. Golden Diosma is the most popular among other Coleonema varieties like for examples: C. album (White Diosma), C. rubrum (Red Diosma).

  • Golden Diosma – Coleonema pulchellum (pulchrum) ‘Aurea’.
  • Small shrub, can reach 1 m high. There are dwarf varieties that will grow more prostrade.
  • Cool temperate climate, not suitable for tropical area. It does not like high humidity as it will cause fungal problems.
  • Suitable to grow in well drain soil in the garden.
  • The fine needle leaves are fragrant (mix of herby/lemony/piney smell) and will be more yellow colour in full sun.
  • By the end of winter to early spring it will bear tiny white-pink-mauve flowers that can cover the whole plant. If grown in shady area it may not grow flowers.
  • Suitable for hedges and respond well to shaping and trimming. It can grow lanky and rangy if not pruned and shaped. Pruning can be done after flowering and avoid trimming in autumn to make sure the plant will flower in the winter.
  • Liquid fish emulsion or seaweed extract can be applied once a year. We never fertilize and the plants are doing fine.

Winter Garden – Shades of Orange


Orange hues of Camp Fire

The chill of battering southern wind has made this winter feel much colder.Things that are hot like a campfire or a fireplace will surely give a warm feeling. It is the same with the garden, all hot colours of flaming fire make the garden brighter and warmer… and we have plenty of them. They come from plants that have flowers in the shades of orange colour, the colour of fire.

Jacobinia pauciflora ‘Firefly‘: Under the new name it is called Justicia rizzinii. This low growing shrub is native to Brazil and loves cool temperate climate. I’ve noticed that it hates extreme summer heat. Ours had all the foliage scorch and burnt, but the tough plant has recovered slowly. Now it is flowering quite profusely again. The small tubular flowers are orange and gold similar to the colour of fireflies. It is better to grow this plant away from hot afternoon sun.

Aloe spinosissima: This winter flowering Aloe plant is thought to be a cross between Aloe arborescens and Aloe humilis. Some are sold under the name of spider aloe or dwarf Aloe arborescens. People say that it is smaller and more manageable compared to the arborescens. The towering flowers are bright orange colour and the nectar attracts honey eater birds.

Cymbidium Marvin Gaye ‘Royale’: The small flowers are orange yellow colour with dark red lips. I let the blooms cascade freely down, and they are nicely arranged and spaced from one another. Thanks Rika🙂

Goldfish: Though looking at goldfish in the winter makes me feel cold, I have to include them for a couple of reasons. First they are either orange or gold in colour and second, it is an update about what have happened to our goldfish. Quite a few of our mature goldfish have gone missing. Perhaps the cat took them. but there are 4 new babies.

The colour of orange radiates warmth and dynamic. It is very close to red, but kinder, gentler and milder. In association to cheerful yellow, orange is more vibrant and invigorating.   In fact, the colour of orange is optimistic,  uplifting and rejuvenating our spirit.

Cymbidium 2016 – More Flowers


Melbourne winter this year is very cold with extremely high rainfalls  and very strong wind. We are lucky to have a covered area to keep the blooming orchids out of bad weather elements, otherwise the continuous rainfall and chilly wind will easily destroy the beautiful blooms.

Most of the small cymbidium orchid in hanging pots have been flowering earlier, and now some of the larger ones are blooming.

Cymbidium ‘Claude Pepper’ x ‘Sensation’: This Cymbidium did not flower last year after division and repotting. This year all the three divisions have flowers, two with three spikes and one with a single spike. C. ‘Claude Pepper x ‘Sensation’ flowers have nice deep maroon colour, but the stems are short and each blooms are close together.

Cymbidium ' Claude Pepper' x 'Sensation' July 2016

Cymbidium ‘Claude Pepper’ x ‘Sensation’

Cymbidium large pink (noid): I bought this one in a green grocer in Brandon Park Shopping Center. I like the large towering light pink flowers. Orchids flowers with very tall and straight stems that much higher than the foliage are very showy.

Cymbidium July 2016.jpg

Images below:

Earlier bloomers: Cymbidium white ‘My Sweet Amy’, Cymbidium Maluka ‘Baby Pink’, Cymbidum Artistic Impression ‘Snowdrop’x Ruby Eyes ‘Red Baron’ and creamy colour Cymbidium Insigne:

Brugmansia candida – Beautiful Bark


Brugmansia - Rugged and knobbly bark

Our Brugmansia candida plant (White Angel’s Trumpet) is growing quite tall reaching for the sky. The south facing position between the house and fence makes it grow higher to reach for sunlight. This very poisonous plant ( the flowers, leaves, bark etc) has attractive trunks and branches. The older the plant, the more rough and knobbly  the bark looks. The cutting marks on the branches will grow thick calluses and create very interesting formations.

Unusual Bark Formations:

The spotted trunks and branches look rugged and rough, knobbly, warty and holey that are full of cracks and lines. The nooks and crannies are good hiding place for creepy crawlies. Pill bugs (Armadillidiidae) make the holes a good hiding place.

Brugmansia - a nesting place

Brugmansia - a holey trunk

Brugmansia - attractive bark

Brugmansia growing a button - attractive bark

Brugmansia - weird looking bark

Brugmansia - another bark formation

The White Angel’s Trumpet is growing taller than the gutter line:

Brugmansia aka Angel's Trumpet growing tall

Garden Early Winter 2016

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Pear tree early winter 2016

This sunny winter morning, the calm air is crisp and cool. The pear trees still have some of the remaining autumn colours. The ground underneath is littered with the fallen leaves. I like to spread them evenly on garden beds to act as mulch and later on will break down to fertilize the soil.

Winter flowering plants have started to show off their colours to brighten our garden. The early blooming Cymbidium orchids are in flower, but many are still in buds. The Zygopetalum orchid is having two spikes and the Oncidium ‘Dancing Lady’ has one spike.

Cymbidium Orchids - Early Flowers.jpg

Cymbidium insigne

Cymbidium insigne is native to high altitude forests of Thailand, Vietnam and Southern China. The narrow waxy petals are cream colour with slightly pinkish tint and the lips are heavily spotted. The long stems bring the flowers high well above the foliage.

Loropetalum chinense

The much cooler air during autumn and really cold winter temperature have made this plant grow much better. The new leaf growths are burgundy red which make this plant look colourful, while the pretty flowers look unusual.

Plectranthus caninus

This smelly scaredy-cat plant has beautiful purple flowers. The thick furry leaves release very pungent smell that cats hate. This compact ground cover plant spreads nicely without overtaking the whole garden.

Sweet Pea Bush (Polygala myrtifolia)

This rounded bush with pretty flowers is from next door along our fence. The colourful flowers are worth noticing🙂

Cotyledon orbiculata

This Cotyledon orbiculata plant has large leaves and orange bell flowers. It looks very similar to Kalanchoe, everytime I still mistaken the name.


Belladonna Lilies (Amaryllis belladonna)

Forgot to include the Belladonna lily bulbs that were transplanted to more sunny spots. They have grown leaves, some suffer from frost damage (or eaten by snails/slugs?), but they are not too bad now.



We have lost a dear friend Ratih Del Citto (1944 – 2016). Rest in Peace Ratih…. no more pain. You will be sadly missed by us all.

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