Sunday, January 07, 2007

One kayaker, one Jack Russell, one portulaca

Today I took Jack for a looooooong walk at the Sydney International Regatta Centre on Penrith Lakes. "Set on 196 hectares of native and landscaped parkland", the Centre hosted all the rowing and sprint kayak events during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. "It has now been re-invented to become a popular sporting, corporate and social venue", and is said to receive an average of 50 000 visitors a month.

Jack undertook the challenge of two x 1.5 kms (to the starting line and back to the car park) with great gusto, always trying - and succeeding, if his Extend-a-lead permitted - to stay just ahead of any walker on the path. He'd only been there a few minutes, but you'd be convinced that he knew the place intimately, and owned the path, the river, the water, every tree and blade of grass, and all of Penrith District. Typical Jack Russell. Jack was quite interested in the ripples of tide against the pebbled edges of the water course. Not to mention the groups of ducks and other waterbirds. But what really caught his attention was the sole rower on the water. Suddenly, as he or she passed by, Jack decided that that person had no right to be paddling a kayak on a Sunday afternoon and Jack began to bark enthusiastically.

He's incredible sleepy tonight, of course, and just looked at me with big cow eyes, indicating that it was time for the toy tiger to come out of its cupboard, so that Jack could retire to his sheepskin mat beside my bed. Mind you, it's only 10.30 pm as I type this, and he's normally content to wait until I'm ready for bed myself.

From lone kayaker to lone portulaca! Several of last year's glorious (self-seeded) portulaca display, here at home in the backyard, have themselves self-seeded - and they really do look fantastic, spilling casually over the rock walls of the elevated garden alongside the pool as if they had been artfully placed there on purpose. Today, a single stem of portuca plant, which had grown up, unnoticed, from a thin crack in the concrete surrounds of the pool, bloomed with a glorious red flower. Amazing!



The single portulaca joins the lone Black Pantha agapanthus (below) that has graced us with its presence this year. Although they are more of a deep purple colour, last year both of my Black Pantha specimens took a rain check on putting out flower stems. Very annoying when they cost so much more than the average blue or white agapanthus (many of which were no-cost hand-me-downs from elderly relatives and friends), and which grow like the introduced noxious weeds they were recently labelled as by the Blue Mountains Council.

Black pantha agapanthus

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