Week 1 December 2005: Rain = 29mm
We continued planting this week. The ground is very moist after all the rain and many plants that have recently gone in the ground are putting on new growth.
Weeding was another job undertaken this week. The rain has also activated the growth of lots of weeds. These are slowly being removed.
Most of our Callistemons have finished flowering and pruning also commenced this week. Each stem is cut off behind the spent flower head.
A survey of White Box (Eucalyptus albens) woodland is being undertaken throughout the range of this species. We have some of the most easterly specimens and this week we assisted in recording the plant species within two large quadrats. The quadrats are 20 metres by 50 metres and about 40 species (both native and introduced) were recorded in each quadrat.
The recent rain has triggered a proliferation of Hyacinth Orchids (Dipodium punctatum). Dozens have appeared throughout our woodlands.
Sometimes birds fly into our windows. Usually they are only stunned and after being photographed they fly off. This week a Horsefield's Bronze Cuckoo flew into our lounge room window. After the mandatory photo opportunity the bird flew off. A few years ago a pair of Blue Wrens raised one of these Cuckoos.
A small number of Banksias and Grevilleas have developed yellow foliage. This indicates an iron deficiency. This week we treated these plants with a soluble fertiliser that contains iron as well as the other nutrients. Sometimes the plants require two or three treatments before the leaves revert to their healthy green colour.
There is plenty of bird activity as per usual. Within a few metres of our back door Grey Thrushes, Red-browed Finches and Scrub Wrens are feeding chicks.
Also there has been a pair of King Parrots feeding on the ripening seeds of one of our Grevilleas. This is a hybrid that we found growing beside a local roadside. We propagated cuttings from this plant.
Eucalyptus curtisii, Melaleuca elliptica and Melaleuca macronychia are all flowering furiously this week.
We spent some time this week using grey water on many of our new plantings. Our grey water system was a life saver during the drought. Many of our new plants owe their lives to our recycled water.
We have been planting dwarf beans in 20 centimetre pots. There are four seeds per pot. This week we harvested our first crop. We are continuing to plant seeds so we should have beans throughout summer.
Many of our cuttings, from our trip out west in September, have struck. This week it was the turn of Grevillea floribunda. We do not have this species in our gardens and it will be a welcome addition to our collection.
This week we attended a memorial service for Mike O’Keeffe. Mike had recently retired from his job as manager of the Armidale Tree Group nursery. He died suddenly at his home near Dorrigo. Mike was manager for 15 years and in that time produced over one million native seedlings. Of these he planted at least 100,000. Mike built up the nursery so that it is now one of the best native plant nurseries in New South Wales . He also designed and built the Woodland Centre in the nursery. He will be sorely missed. Nearly 200 people attended his memorial service in the Woodland Centre.

Garden Diary