Christmas Day in Melbourne was a bit warm, about 33 Celsius. We had the great pleasure of spending it with our friends Heather, John and their extended family at the Melbourne Zoo.

As you can see from the photo we were not observing traditions but making some new ones. Until then I was not familiar with the idea of being able to 'steal' back a gift during a Kris Kringle exchange round. Much fun and laughter were enjoyed.

Given it is summer I have noticed the arrival of Rainbow lorikeets ... 

...that feed on the nectar of the New Zealand Christmas bush, metrosideros kermadecensis on the Front Beach at Torquay.

Their noisy chatter gives them away. But, you really have to look carefully to see them as their colouring camouflages them in this tree.

In our own garden on the hot days...


...the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos have been sheltering under the canopy of one of the taller eucalyptus trees.

I also noticed the Cushion bush, Leucophyta brownii  is in flower.


Here is a close up of the spherical flower head.

This is a photographic detail of the Cushion bush in the ikebana I created for the Ikebana International annual exhibition this year. 

Also flowering at this time of year is Bursaria spinosaThis particular example is in a neighbour's garden.

The masses of white flowers are particularly attractive. From an ikebana point of view, if you can avoid the rather fine needle-like spines, this small tree often has very interestingly shaped branches. 

My arrangement for the New Year is also not traditional, but rather a seasonal, single material ikebana. I have sought to contrast the unusual line with the mass of small white flowers. The ceramic vase is by Mark Bell, from Maine USA.

I would like to wish you a happy and peaceful New Year.

Greetings from Christopher
30th December 2019

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