Bathroom basin

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Feb 252013
Crystal wall-mounted basin by Parisi

The lovely Michael at Advanced Doorware and Bathroomware is a model of efficiency. I emailed him last weekend about getting hold of a Parisi ‘Crystal’ wall-mounted basin, and voila, this weekend I was able to collect it from his showroom.

Crystal wall-mounted basin by Parisi

Crystal wall-mounted basin by Parisi

The basin is designed to be wall-mounted, although the picture above shows it sitting above a benchtop.

All the plumbing is concealed behind the white ceramic box, which also provides a ledge large enough for a bottle of liquid soap.

The glass plane is curved and inclined to prevent splashing regardless of the reach, height or angle of the water outlet.

You can have a single tap-hole (for a combined mixer and spout, as shown above) or no tap-hole (for a wall-mounted tap and spout).

(The Omvivo KL basin/plane had been on my wishlist for this new bathroom, but splash potential was a bit of a problem. Omvivo recommends a water outlet with 250 mm reach and a vertical water angle. This severely limits the choice of mixer taps and/or wall outlets unless you want to put up with water splashing all over the place whenever you turn on the tap.)

Why a plane instead of a traditional basin? Well, why not? With a plane there’s no need for a plug (which would require storage and eventual replacement). The flat surface should be relatively easy to clean. A wall-mounted plane doesn’t require a vanity unit, so saves a bit of space. Plus it looks sleek and beautiful.

New in the garden

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Feb 122013
Grevillea Peaches and Cream at the Cranbourne botanic gardens

Sunday was the only forecast cool day in a fortnight of over-30 degree temperatures, so it was a good day to plant some recent acquisitions.

We had around 1 mm of rain in January. Under the mulch and grass, the soil in the back garden is just dry dust. Water beads and rolls off it. *sigh*

Heliotrope baby blue - Heliotropium arborescens

Heliotrope ‘baby blue’ (Heliotropium arborescens) by Haar’s Nursery.

Two heliotrope ‘Baby Blue’  plants (Heliotropium arborescens) went into the bed under the front bedroom windows. Quite a few other species have met their makers here, so I’m only cautiously hopeful about these. They’re in flower at the moment, lovely blue flowers, fading to lilac, above dark purple-tinted foliage.

Out in the back yard my gorgeous Scarlet Blaze wattle died in last summer’s heatwaves, so I’ve now filled the resulting gap with several other natives.

The Grevillea ‘Peaches and Cream’ is a relatively new variety, the result of an accidental cross-breeding in a Brisbane garden. It’s now available commercially.

Grevillea Peaches and Cream at the Cranbourne botanic gardens

Grevillea Peaches and Cream at the Cranbourne botanic gardens. Photo by me.

Nearby is Grevillea ‘Rosemary’s Choice’ (Grevillea rosmarinifolia), also called rosemary-leafed grevillea because — you guessed it — its foliage looks more like a rosemary bush than like a standard spiky-leaved grevillea. This variety was developed from Grevillea winpara hybrids and grows to about 2 m in height. It produces pink, yellow and mauve flowers.

Since childhood I’ve loved the waratah, the State flower of New South Wales. Now I have two, planted amongst the new grevilleas where I hope they’ll thrive. The Telopea ‘Bridal Gown’ (Telopea speciosissima x oreades) is a white form and of course the second is red.

Red waratah, Telopea speciosissima

Red waratah, Telopea speciosissima

The grevilleas and waratahs form an east-west line with the Acacia Lime Magic, which is now about 2 m tall and nearly as wide. If the grevilleas grow as expected/hoped, they and Limey should provide a good screen to hide the ugly back fence my neighbors refuse to replace.

Alyogyne huegelii 'Misty' by Austraflora

Alyogyne huegelii ‘Misty’ by Austraflora

There’s a 1 m easement along the back (northern) boundary, and I’ve placed three Alyogyne huegelii in the space between the grevilleas and the fence. Two are the white-flowered form and the third is called Misty, which bears lilac-colored flowers and has slightly blue-tinted foliage. These will require regular light trimming to keep them bushy and healthy.

Closer to the house, around the birdbath, I planted two Echinacea purpurea, an Alba (white) variety and a second that’s simply labelled as ‘assorted’ and currently has white, yellow and purple flowers on the same plant.

A bee pollinating an unidentified species of purple coneflower (Echinacea) at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington. CC-licensed image by Moxfyre.

A bee pollinating an unidentified species of purple coneflower (Echinacea) at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington. CC-licensed image by Moxfyre.

Also near the birdbath is a new Dahlia ‘Mystic Mars’ – this variety is so new, it doesn’t even appear on the breeder’s official Mystic Dahlias web site! It has dark burgundy foliage and vivid red flowers that fade to a burnt orange as they age.

Dahlia Mystic Enchantment

Dahlia Mystic Enchantment, similar to the Mystic Mars (but not quite the same), Image from breeder’s web site.

Finally, also in the vicinity of the birdbath, two Daphne x transatlantica ‘Eternal Fragrance’, a variety I haven’t seen before. It’s supposed to be sun-tolerant, low-watering, frost-hardy and happy in either acid or alkaline soil. What a miracle!

Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance'

Daphne ‘Eternal Fragrance’ – photo from

Two pendant lights

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Feb 112013

Dropped into Beacon Lighting this weekend and was glad I had followed that sudden impulse to turn off the highway.

The Rosetta 15-globe chandelier was on sale, discounted by about $600. It will look beautiful hanging over the black wrought-iron four-poster bed in the  main bedroom.

Rosetta pendant light fitting from Beacon Lighting

Rosetta pendant light fitting from Beacon Lighting (discontinued)

It has 15 small light globes nestled among its silvery branches. The dark red half-opened-rose shapes are made of glass.

Also picked up a pendant shade in the shape of a retro cartoon-style rocket ship – cute and funky, takes a 60W globe. This will either live in the laundry or hang over my desk (wherever that ends up) as a task light.

Both designs have been discontinued, so it was a lucky day for lighting :-)

According to Wikipedia:

  • Rocket would be “A pendant light, sometimes called a drop or suspender… a lone light fixture that hangs from the ceiling usually suspended by a cord, chain, or metal rod. “
  • Rosetta, however, would be “A chandelier … a branched, decorative ceiling-mounted light fixture. Chandeliers are often ornate, using dozens of lamps and complex arrays of glass or crystal prisms to illuminate a room with refracted light.”