22 October 2006

Dragons Head Walk

Frank has been working very hard this weekend making a new path and to the right of this photo, a unique fish pond area. I've been mooching about indoors feeling unwell but not actually sick. In some ways that is worse than actually being sick because you feel you should be doing so much more, but really you can't be bothered. So no photos, no mowing, no weeding, no nothing from me.

Frank's artistic bent has been allowed out to play. He has made a sculpture with found objects; a piece of wood which looks to me like a pig's head (Lord of the Flies-ish) but to him it is a dragon's head.
It's not finished yet, rather just placed to "see what we think". Posted by Picasa

15 October 2006

Grevillea robusta

I've been out taking photos of the garden today and I want to put them all up on the web! Look at this one. No, look at me. No me, me, me.


I've settled on this one because it is a closer look at the Silky Oak's magnificent flowers. She flowers reliably every year, and every year birds flock to feast on the nectar in the flowers. Some we only see at this time of the year. Noisy Friar birds for instance. We always hear them first hence the name. They are indeed very noisy as they squabble amongst themselves for the best possie. This is part of my orange and yellow section of the garden and it is looking pretty darn good.

Look at me Posted by Picasa

Willie Wagtail

We spotted this nest in a fairly open, very conspicuous location not far off the ground. Our great dane could jump up and take the eggs if she actually knew it was there, but fortunately she hasn't noticed. We walked past and the parents flew at our heads in an attempt to drive us away. Their behaviour told us there was a nest nearby and once we really looked we soon found it. Now that there are three little eggs inside we avoid the area.

These are brave, feisty little birds. I love to see them around the garden. They twitter away quite nicely most of the time and catch insects very cunningly on the wing. Now though they are intent on keeping us well away from their nest. I hear them calling of an evening "Sweet Pretty Creature, Sweet Pretty Creature" with an up inflection on the end of the drawn out Creature. Very distinctive call it is too.

Info on Willie Wagtails here
<Click to listen to the song of the Willie Wagtail

Dendrobium tetragonum

We are lucky enough to have a small creek running through our property. It winds backwards and forwards somewhat snake like; which causes small pockets of bush between steep creek banks. This orchid, Dendrobium tetragonum was growing attached quite high up on the trunk of a tree on one such peninsula. All these areas have special names, some rather ordinary like, The Peninsula, but also a lovely area called 'Mirror Water City', this last named by our daughters many years ago. They had a cubby built there from Palm fronds and spent many happy hours playing with their cousins, but that's another story. I was talking about the orchid.

We were so excited to see it because we walk around the place regularly and hadn't noticed it before. And we were fortunate enough to visit when it was in flower. The next day the flowers looked much the worse for wear so we were extremely lucky.

I tried to find it in books and by looking up Australian orchid web sites without much luck, so I emailed an orchid enthusiast and he was able to tell me the next day exactly what it was. It turns out it's very common. Pooh! I didn't want to hear that. I wanted to have discovered a new orchid which I could call the Christinii orchid. Posted by Picasa

12 October 2006

Resting in the Garden

Sometimes I can actually sit down in the garden! Posted by Picasa

Ornamental Poppy

A flower much beloved by the bees.

If you look closely you can see them at work in the centre. Each flower is shortlived.

I took this photo in the morning and by mid afternoon the flower was spent. Posted by Picasa

Kniphofia 'Little Maid'

What a tough little beauty this is. Flowers reliably no matter the conditions; rain or drought it really doesn't care too much. I began with one plant and have now grown a long row underneath a Silky Oak, plus placed clumps strategically throughout the garden. In this particular spot I wanted the combination of yellow and orange the tree and the pokers made at this time of the year. I had a row of dear little pokers in front of this which were a lovely orange, called Kniphofia 'Orange Butter', but most of them died during the last dry spell. I still have a few so the potential for increasing and building on my theme is still there.

After the pokers finish I have little orange and yellow Cosmos self sowing through. They are lovely too. Posted by Picasa

8 October 2006

Australian Native Birds

One of the things I am most proud of with my lovely garden, developed over 15 years from a boggy weed infested paddock, is the habitat my husband and I have created for native birds. When we first arrived here we had Indian Mynahs, a terrible pest bird in Australia, and not much else. As we planted more and more native plants they moved out and the natives moved in. At first they visited only while plants were in flower and then left but now I am pleased to say we have many, many Superb Fairy Wrens living here all year round and raising their families. We have a large flock of Firebrowed Finches all year round as well and the beautiful little Eastern Spinebills and many others that visit for a time and then move on.

To see photos and learn a little about each of these birds then follow this link.
Click here

To listen to the song of a Superb Fairy Wren try here.
Click here

Did you know that the early settlers from England said thatAustralian birds were dull and had no songs?

We have what I would call a messy garden, areas are left weedy, grassy and overgrown. This is habitat for the birds and it really pays off. The Satin Bower birds can be a bit of a pest eating my fruit and vegetables but they are beautiful and interesting to observe.

Try here for more bird songs
or here
or here

Aesculus hippocastanum x carnea (Horse Chestnut)

This is a very beautiful tree which I first noticed while living in Canada. It has enormous large "five fingered' leaves, and flowers which sit like candelabra all over the outside of the canopy. Horse chestnuts are a very big tree and not really suitable for small back yards, nevertheless I was determined to try to grow one when I returned to Australia. I had some difficulty finding one, eventually having to buy mail order from a rare plant nursery in Victoria. So far my little tree is surviving and this year has two flower spikes. It likes a rich moist soil but has to make do with clay, which was exceptionally dry this last two years.

So far so good. Posted by Picasa

Spring Growth

I love this view across the water lily dam.
The yellow water irises in the foreground are always first to flower; but the various shades of blue and purple will soon follow.

The yellow tree is Gleditsia 'Sunburst' and the bright green on the right is a Claret Ash with Bougainvillea on the pergola.

To me it all screams Spring! Posted by Picasa

1 October 2006

Rosa Altissimo

What a lovely thing this is! Blooming extremely well at the moment but does suffer from blackspot in our humid climate. Still it usually manages to have at least one bloom all spring and summer.

I have roughly 70 roses in my garden, (I did a quick count), but there probably are some I've forgotten and all have to be caged to keep the hungry kangaroos away.

All also have to be sprayed for blackspot. For the last ten years I've refused to spray - but last year and this I've succumbed to the bicarbonate soda and fish emulsion recommended by rose experts as being friendly to both me and the other bugs which live in and around my roses.

Last year we had little rain, but heavy dews every night, which really decimated the rose leaves - so reluctantly I spray. It took me about 3 hours this morning - something I have to repeat in ten days time. Urgh! Posted by Picasa


Our macadamia trees are smothered in sweetly smelling racemes of flowers right at this moment. The bees adore them and I think they're extremely lovely as well. We have a little copse of macadamia trees but these are a little unusual because of the beautiful pink colour; the other trees have cream flowers. We usually have a very good crop of nuts too, although last year was disappointing, I presume because of the drought.
Info on Macadamias here Posted by Picasa

Leptospermum 'Outrageous'

I am so impressed with this plant! I now have three in various areas of the garden and I am going to plant many more. The first one went in 2 years ago and grew very slowly. The area of the garden where I put it is very tough on plants; hard dry clay with competition from large spotted gums, but it grew and flowered last year. I remember being so disappointed with the flowers! I can't imagine why. What one earth was I thinking?

Anyway I planted more because it was at least flowering and all of them this year are breathtakingly gorgeous with these beatiful flowers smothering the branches. They grow about 2m x 1.5m so I can hardly wait for the display I will have in the future. They certainly have the Wow! factor if that is what you are after. They are also incredibly tough. One I have in full sun, one in semi shade and one even shadier than that. All have performed well without any extra water at all. Posted by Picasa

Oenochroma vinaria

Pink Bellied Moth.

We had a very warm day last week and that evening we were absolutely inundated by moths. We tried to have the windows open to collect the cool breeze but were forced to close them due to the presence of hundreds of insects trying to come in to the light. The glass of every window was covered, and I mean literally covered, with moths of all sizes - simply hundreds of them so it was a gorging night for all the insect eaters I guess.

This pretty pale pink moth caught my attention because of its soft pastel shade of pink. One photo was taken looking out the window and the other outside looking in.

I tried to find a name on the internet but really the information is so vast I found it impossible. I probably should have tried typing in pink moth but instead I asked an expert for his opinion. He kindly gave me the name.
To find out more about this moth click here Posted by Picasa