Week 1 November 2007:  Rain = 49mm Tanks are full, runoff into dams and our plants are jumping out of the ground.

This week was visited at Katoomba in the beautiful Blue Mountains of New South Wales. We celebrated a 70th birthday with our family in a rented house.

We drove along the Putty Road, on the way to Katoomba and were very impressed by the Flannel Flower display along this lengthy road. The Putty Road passes through Wollemi and Yengo National Parks as well as Parr State Recreation Reserve.

We received two floral birthday presents. Acacia Scarlet Blaze and Acacia merinthophora were very welcome presents. The former was the Victorian Centenary Plant and the latter is known as the Zig Zag Wattle. Cuttings will be taken from both plants.

On the second day, and on subsequent days, there was some rain but this did not deter outdoor activities. We walked through a valley near where we were staying. This area had been disturbed in days gone by but there was some ongoing revegetation work. We saw some Olearia argophylla plants and also a few Grevillea acanthifolia specimens. Hakea dactyloides was in full flower and their branches were covered with white flowers.

On the next day a long held ambition was realised. Two members of the family had a ride on the footplate of a steam locomotive. We visited the Zig Zag Railway on the western end of the Blue Mountains. This was the original railway that gave access to the western plains. The railway is now a tourist attraction and regular trips are run during the weekend.

Next day we visited another Blue Mountain attraction. We walked to the Three Sisters Lookout. Thousands of visitors visit the Lookout every year. The day was clear and the view across the Three Sisters and the timbered country beyond was stunning.

Walking home we came across some cicadas on a tree. This was the first cicadas we have seen this year. We were able to point out the difference between male and female cicadas to our grandchildren. The males have a pair of “drums” on their bodies. These generate their distinctive sound in summer. The females have better things to do with their short lives.

One day there was rain all day so we walked to Katoomba CBD and visited some bookshops and second-hand shops.

We also visited a native plant nursery in Katoomba. The Blue Mountains Wildplant Nursery rescues native plants from sites that are being “developed”. They are potted on and sold to gardeners. The nursery also propagates plants and sells them in tubes. As per usual we purchased some tubes. Included in our purchases were: Allocasuarina nana, Hakea constablei, Hakea propinqua and Prostanthera linearis.

We also came across Allocasuarina nana on one of our bushwalks. These plants were about one metre tall and over a metre wide. They formed dense, green semi-circular clumps.

Another bushwalk was attempted in heavy rain. This time we went to Minnehaha Falls Reserve. This was not our most successful bushwalk as the track had become a creek and we abandoned our walk before we reached the Falls Lookout. On the positive side we did come across Eucalyptus moorei and Olearia erubescens.

At the end of the week we made our way home with an overnight stay in Gunnedah. We had time to visit the Forestry Nursery in Gunnedah where more tubes were purchased including Eucalyptus sideroxylon, Hakea leucoptera and Hakea orthorrhyncha.

New on Site: Grevillea acanthifolia, Olearia argophylla, Olearia erubescens.


Garden Diary