Christmas Colours: December 21

Is it bending the rules of Six on Saturday to include six photos of the same thing, I wonder? Will I incur the wrath of our leader The Propagator? Time will tell, I suppose.

Recently, I wrote about the King Parrot in my post ‘A Single Man?’ as I wondered whether he had a mate, and I’m pleased to say there was a fleeting visit this morning with a female so it seems he’s not alone. Below he’s photographed with a friend* as they both enjoyed breakfasting on the ‘Pigface’ (Lampranthus), that strangely-named tough succulent found in many Australian gardens. The Pigface has proved as enticing to our garden visitors as a box of exotic chocolates might be to the chocaholics amongst us.
I’m highlighting the King Parrot this week, because I think with his scarlet and Robin Hood green colours, he’s about as Christmassy as a bird can be. He could be perched atop a Christmas tree and look perfect: a kind of antipodean angel.

The photos above were taken earlier this week and are my way of saying Happy Christmas to all of you generous, knowledgeable and entertaining bloggers I’ve met during my first full year of blogging. It has been an unexpected pleasure to be in contact with gardeners from all over the world and vicariously enjoy your gardens

To me, (not being a religious type) Christmas is really about spending time in the company of my family, enjoying some Christmas food and perhaps opening a present. We do ‘Secret Santa’ so the present-giving is simple and not overdone.
May your Christmas be full of joy and 2019 be a year of beautiful gardening weather with the right amount of rain and sunshine. Here’s hoping there’ll be no ‘Beasts from the East’ (or any other direction), fire, drought or flood, whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere.

On Christmas Day I’ll drink a virtual glass of champagne with you all. Cheers!

*Point of clarification: it seems I was a bit too subtle here. For anyone who didn’t realise, the photos are of two male King Parrots. The visit by the female was too brief for me to be able to take a photograph of her. If you would like to see a photo of a female, one can be found in Garden Visits 3.

54 thoughts on “Christmas Colours: December 21

  1. What beautiful pictures of a very handsome bird – just right for Christmas in my book! I’m sure you will be forgiven, the photos are delightful. No big religious event here, either, just good food and some walks to celebrate Midwinter. Have a very merry Christmas, Jane – it’s been lovely to share your blog this year. 🙂

  2. Fabulous and very festive. King Parrot finds his Queen, horray! I have never heard lampranthus called Pigface before, what a great name. Do you know why? A fantastic Christmas to you too, it has been lovely following you this year x

    • Thanks, Gill. I’ve spent a bit of time googling today, and I can’t find anything about the origin of that name! Sorry to disappoint. The flowers certainly don’t look like pigs in any way at all.

  3. Lovely pictures! Our birds are mostly pretty but can’t compete with your King Parrot. Your garden in the background is looking good, too. Have a good Christmas!

    • I’ll do my best, thanks, Granny. We’ve had good rain during December so the garden is looking lush. Very hot weather arriving after Christmas, unfortunately.

  4. Your type of Christmas sounds very good to me. We won’t even be with family as I loathe driving at this time of year, but they will of course be in our minds, as always.

    Your King Parrot is a fine looking chap. I suppose they are eating the (edible*) fig like fruit on the plants. This grows wild on some of our cliffs (non-native) and grows wild in South Africa (native) where it is known as Vygies. I see that there are some Australian natives too, but I have no idea why you call it Pigface!

    *The red-purple fruit has a flavour described by some as like salty strawberry or kiwi fruit and by others as like salty apples

    • Hello, Jude. We seem to lump a few succulents into a group that we call Pigface, and despite my best efforts I’ve been unable to find out why. Another one is Carpobrotus which has the fruit you describe and, I read, can be used to make jam. The fruit is insignificant on my plant, but fortunately is still enough to entice the parrots.

      • In California, Carpobrotus is sometimes called Hottentot Fig in spite of the fact that it is neither a Hottentot or a Fig. I had to look up hottentot, I thought it had something to do with africa, and it turns out to be kind a rude name for some of the indigenous people (everyone but me probably knew that). It is also invasive in a dune environment but works well along freeways!
        bonnie in provence

        • Carpobrotus is often found by beaches here and is very good at holding sand dunes together. The fruit and leaves are edible and I read that people sometimes make pickles from the leaves! It a wonder that other name hasn’t been changed to something a bit more pc!

    • Thank you for noticing the flowers. We’ve been very lucky with rain during December and it has made a great deal of difference to the garden.

  5. Cheers! And a very Happy Christmas to you too.
    I can appreciate the King Parrot even more now, having seen one for myself! Thank you for the wonderful views of your garden, cheering me up no end when the weather is so grim back at home. And for all your tips which have made my current trip here even more exciting.

    • Your turn for cheerful views will arrive soon enough Rusty Duck and I’ll be bemoaning wintry weather! I’m looking forward to the next instalment about your trip, wondering where you’ll be for Christmas.

  6. A delightfully Christmas-y bird (lovely photos) and it’s nice to know he has family for Christmas too. 😉 The only Lampranthus I’ve tried failed to make it through summer in my low desert garden. I’m wondering how much chill it can take as my next garden should be at least marginally milder in summertime though colder in winter…
    Wishing you a very happy holiday and I have certainly enjoyed discovering your blog this past year!

    • Thank you, Amy. We had severe frosts (-7.5 C) last winter, and the Lampranthus didn’t miss a beat and it doesn’t mind heat either. I don’t know how cold your temps will be in your new area, but I feel it should be ok. I had two that succumbed to serious invasions of scale though. Otherwise it’s a very hardy plant. I’m looking forward to reading about your new garden when you post.

  7. I showed the pictures to our resident robin. He is now feeling a little inadequate in the plumage stakes. On the plus side, he gets to appear on every second Christmas card, so he feels his seasonal primacy is not truly in question. Merry Christmas to you and yours Jane.

  8. Happy Christmas to you too, Jane. Let’s hope the day is not too hot and not too windy. Here it’s forecast to be 27 degrees – sounds good. Your King parrot’s friend is another male. The females are all green and smaller in size. If you look at this post about the Bunya Mountains in Queensland and go down to the photo where a group of King parrots is eating a pile of seed, you can see both the male and female birds. Maybe your two are bachelors still searching for their mates. https://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/byo-birdseed/

    • Hello Carol, our forecast is for a perfect day on the 25th, but extremely hot weather after that. I realised that the other parrot in my photos is a male, which is why I wrote that he was with a friend which I now see can be taken two ways! My view of the female was a fleeting one yesterday morning. Perhaps I should change my text to avoid confusion.

  9. Back in 2008 we went to O’Reilly’s lookout in Lamington National park and I have pictures of king parrots sitting on people’s heads. Not mine I hasten to add. People were feeding them chips in the café. I’ve seen properly wild ones a couple of times since, a real treat. I have small flocks of goldfinches, perhaps a couple of dozen at a time, blue tits, coal tits, siskins and the occasional bullfinch. I certainly wouldn’t preface that with “we have to make do with”. Do your Christmas cards have (European) robins on them? I should know, I was there last year.

    • King parrots can become very tame, Jim as you’ve observed. Your small flocks of birds sound lovely too, and it’s such a pleasure to have them in the garden. Yes, our Christmas cards often have robins, snow, deer and sleighs etc, but slowly there are beginning to be cards that are more Aussie-centric (does that even make sense?). It’s taken us a long time to cut the apron strings hasn’t it!

  10. Great photos. And they are real! So much Christmas stuff is plastic. So far no plastic parrots to be seen.
    Have a great Christmas, Jane. It is cold here in he Southern Highlands and we are heating!

    • Heaters on? Amazing! It has been pleasantly cool in the mornings here too, but hot weather is coming. I think Christmas Day will be perfect though…for you too.

  11. Beautiful birds and great capture. The two boys look a bit like father and son. I had a look at your female and she was a bit ruffled, but with any luck there will be more soon.

    • The photo of the female was taken on a chilly morning, so I think she’d plumped up her feathers for warmth. Either that or she was wary of me. You might be right about father and son- it’s a nice thought.

  12. The 2 parrots in the first shot sitting beak to beak to create something reminiscent of a heart had a poetic look but I did realize that the female of the species was unlikely to have the same coloring as the male. I’m glad your resident male has a friend at least and, hopefully, also a mate.

    Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas, Jane!

  13. How amazing to have such beautiful birds in your back garden. The colours up here in the UK are much more muted (although still very pretty). Having spent most of yesterday afternoon wrapping presents, Secret Santa sounds like an incredibly sensible idea! Maybe I’ll suggest that for next year! Merry Christmas 🎄

  14. The very idea of red and green parrots in the garden! I livei in Provence and our most colorful birds are Hoopoes, which are mostly seasonal and normally do not live here all year. I was previously in southern California and we have flocks of green mexican parrots, quite loud and tend to attack fruit trees. Yours are truly amazing and subscribing to your blog has been very educational about Australia, which is very far away …..
    bonnie

    • Thank you for your comment,bonnie. I had to google hoopoes as I had no idea what they look like, and I think they’re very handsome birds indeed, very cheeky with that cockade on the top of the head. In fact, they look as though they’d have a great sense of humour!

  15. You have really given us a true Aussie Christmas icon Jane he is perfect for the top of the tree. I love his vibrant plumage. I hope you had a peaceful family Christmas I totally agree with your sentiments for this time of the year. Today is January 1 2019 as I write this, hope the coming year is kind to you and youe garden.

    • Thank you Pauline, for your new year wishes. Our parrot friends have been coming every day to the Pigface and there has been a female too! I think I’ll have to plant more Pigface for them to enjoy!

  16. Congratulations on your year of blogging. Isn’t it something else? I never would have dreamed of the connections made when I started several years ago.

    As for those parrots, oh my goodness what a handsome pair.

    • Thanks, Alys. It has been quite a year re blogging, and I’ve met some wonderful people. It’s encouraging the way bloggers are so interested and positive.
      We’ve been having many visits from our parrot friends, and the ‘gang’ seems to be increasing in numbers. It’s such a joy to see them in the mornings.

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