Monthly Archives: November 2013

I’m A Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins?!

‘You’r a cotton headed ninny muggins’ is an insult with various meanings – in my case I think the “someone who feels like they can’t do something right” meaning fits best.

What brought this to mind is identifying a cluster of ground hugging, tiny yellow blooms as ‘Conostylis Setigra‘, better known (as far as I’m concerned) as ‘Bristly Cottonhead’.

Bristly Cottonhead Cropped

Bristly Cottonhead At Balligar 🙂

This is my attempt at capturing the modest Cottonhead in the style of my pen and watercolour series depicting wildflowers at ‘Balligar’ – our home.

Conostylis Setigera

Bristly Cottonhead By Helen Lock

This tufted, evergreen perennial is endemic to the south west of Western Australia.  It flowers between late winter and late spring and actually likes hot, overhead sun and extended dry periods.  It also tolerates high winds and light frost!

The long hairs on the leaves gave this Cottonhead its Bristly name – hard to depict in a series designed to be reminiscent of leadlight designs.  I’m just a cotton-headed ninny muggins!


Fauna With The Flora

A bush garden full of blooms is bound to attract bees and ours did – swarms of them.  How wonderful that our environment supports so many bees even though some may be European Honey Bees, which are considered more deadly than spiders, rather than native ones!  This one was determined to be the centre of attention on a Native Fuschia flower this Spring:

Grevillea Wilsonii

Native Fuschia Of Balligar

Native Fushcia (Grevillea Wilsonii) is a shrub endemic to the South West of Western Australia growing to about 1.5 metres high.  It bears brilliant, eye-catching flowers from late Winter to early Summer.

I wonder if watching this bee made me a Balligar Batcher Bee Watcher?!

“Oh, the jobs people work at! Out west near Hawtch-Hawtch there’s a Hawtch-Hawtcher bee watcher, his job is to watch. Is to keep both his eyes on the lazy town bee, a bee that is watched will work harder you see. So he watched and he watched, but in spite of his watch that bee didn’t work any harder not mawtch. So then somebody said “Our old bee-watching man just isn’t bee watching as hard as he can, he ought to be watched by another Hawtch-Hawtcher! The thing that we need is a bee-watcher-watcher!”. Well, the bee-watcher-watcher watched the bee-watcher. He didn’t watch well so another Hawtch-Hawtcher had to come in as a watch-watcher-watcher! And now all the Hawtchers who live in Hawtch-Hawtch are watching on watch watcher watchering watch, watch watching the watcher who’s watching that bee. You’re not a Hawtch-Watcher you’re lucky you see!” – Dr Seuss


Mistaken Identity

At first I titled this coloured pencil painting ‘Bottlebrush” but

Not A Bottlebrush

Kunzea Baxteri

discovered that is is a Kunzea.  One has to look closely to see the differences though!  Kunzea leaves tend to be smaller than those of Callistemons and the five sepals and petals are deciduous in the Kunzea and persistent in Callistemons.  They are closely related.  Here is a photo of each taken in our garden this Spring.

Not A Bottlebrush

Kunzea Baxteri



The Kunzea is endemic to the south west of Western Australia and occurs on granite outcrops and hills – so this Kunzea Baxteri is right at home at our place!

I’m enjoying the education I’m getting as a by product of painting and posting.

I’m also awed and appreciative of the free resources available to us on the internet. (Just follow the links in this post if you need convincing.) I remember it used to cost thousands in old money to own an encyclopedia!  It is just one of the reasons I support ‘net neutrality


Blue Stars

I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of stars makes me dream

– Vincent Van Gogh

I was lucky to find Blue Stars (Chamaescilla Corymbosa) appear in our bush garden this Spring and this pen and watercolour painting followed:

Blue Stars Of Balligar

Blue Stars Of Balligar

I love the way the seed pods look heart-shaped from certain angles.

Blue Stars are also called Blue Squill or Mudrurt.  It is a tuberous perennial that grows to 10 – 15 cms high with grass-like leaves.

My research to identify this plant educated me about Blue Stars of the astronomical kind and I couldn’t help but draw parallels between them and the intense, short life of Vincent Van Gogh and his dramatic death!

Blue Stars are very large and compact, burning their fuel very quickly so are very hot and extremely bright.  They die in a spectacular way – they explode! Find out more


Geewillinkinwinkings – So Many Flowers, So Little Time!

There has been an enormous variety of flowers pop up this Spring in our patch of the Perth Hills in Western Australia.  I’ve been hastily photographing, identifying, sketching and painting just a few in between life happening in case they don’t reappear again next year.  This is one that I haven’t been able to identify so if anyone can help I’d appreciate it, as I don’t feel able to title another painting ‘Wild One’!

Blue What?

Blue What?

They are a gorgeous bright blue – six petals (3 a little larger than the 3 in between them, so maybe 3 petals and 3 sepals).  There are 3 yellow anthers and the stigma is bluish. The stems are 30 – 40 cms long.

Blue What 1

It may of course by an introduced species /weed 😦

All we know is still infinitely less than all that remains unknown    (William Harvey)