Wednesday, 6 December 2006


Agapanthus is the universal choice of plant for roadside, boulevard or driveway edging. Or any other place that the Australian homeowner wants to decorate with easy-care vegetation. The leaves are strong, structural and evergreen. When the flowers bloom as they are doing now, their huge heads float gracefully above the foliage like explosions of blue or white fireworks. They grow so well here, standing twice as tall as their feeble relatives in Vancouver gardens, that it’s no wonder they are so popular. I saw an ad in the local newspaper offering divisions for $1 a plant, cheaper for a bulk purchase. Hard to resist!

When I went out to photograph a swath of them around the corner from my sister’s house in the leafy northern suburb of Turramurra, I noticed this dramatic spider strung between two sturdy stems. Rising from deep memory comes the name of golden orb spider, although it’s so hazy a recollection that it may be partly, or even entirely, wrong. (February 17, 2007. I am wrong: it's called a St. Andrews Cross spider. This is a female. The males are much smaller and hang around on the edges of the web, waiting for a chance to mate. Sometimes the female will atttack a male who then drops to the ground, sometimes shedding a leg to create a distraction.)

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