Week 2 December 2015: Rain = 12 millimetres. We need a lot more rain but this fall brightened the garden.

We have a Eucalyptus pulverulenta plant near our patio. This week we noticed that the plant is covered in buds. There are three large buds at the base of each leaf. Our Melaleuca nesophila, growing near our shed, is in full flower.

Pruning continued with our cordless trimmer. The garden is so large it had become very time consuming to prune with secateurs. With the trimmer we are able to prune more plants more quickly.

We spent time watching cricket again with Australia playing against the West Indies. Unfortunately game only lasted two days and a bit with Australia winning in a walkover.

We have planted a number of purchased plants near our deck. This time, because the plants are in pots not tubes, they went into individual holes. This week we mulched the whole bed. We also mulched the passionfruit vine growing against one of the posts of our verandah. The vine is in a bottomless pot so hopefully the roots will have grown into the ground. The vine has five passionfruit at the moment.

Later in the week we picked the ripe pods from a number of wattles including Acacia leptoclada. Last year this plant flowered well but produced no pods. This year the plant is covered in pods.

We bought a new toy this week. It is a TEAC combined record player, CD and FM radio. The unit will convert vinyl records and CDs to MP3 format which in turn is saved to a USB memory stick. The output will then be burnt onto a CD. With the MP3 format a CD will accommodate about 80 double-sided 12 inch vinyl records. We have a large collection of records many bought from op-shops. Once burnt to CD we will donate the records back to the op shops.

The highlight of the week was the local Australia Plant Society Christmas party. The party was held in two memberís garden. They live not far to the east of Yallaroo and have a native garden with many interesting plants. The owners are quite happy for people to take cuttings, as we do with visitors to our garden. We availed ourselves of the offer and collected cuttings from some plants of particular interest. Two were Boronia denticulata and Melaleuca tamarascina. We used to have the former species our garden in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney and the latter was growing in one of our present gardens but was lost when the electricity people cleared under our powerline. There were a number of other varieties that provided cuttings. In total we put 160 cuttings in thumb pots and they in turn went into our propagating unit. We had a very pleasant time and enjoyed a guided tour of the garden and being able to talk to other native plant enthusiasts.

Wildlife observations: A fair bit to report this week. Flocks of Brown-headed and White-naped Honeyeaters visited our birdbaths on several occasions. Near one of our garden beds we found a pile of wattle seeds. Ants had collected the seeds. Apparently they are partial to the fleshy end of the seeds, known as the funicle. The funicle is where the seed is attached to the pod. After removing the funicle the ants leave the seeds in a heap. We heard and saw a Channel-bill Cuckoo one morning. They migrate south from Asia in the spring and lay their eggs in currawong and magpie nests. We noticed some caterpillar droppings on our patio table. We eventually found a Privet Hawkmoth caterpillar feeding on the leaves of a Wonga Vine (Pandorea species). There may be more than one going on the quantity of droppings on the table. We found a caterpillar in the vine at this time last year. The four flower spikes of our grasstree (Xanthorrhea species) are developing seeds. We noticed that two of the spikes are looking rather dishevelled. We saw a Silvereye pulling at the chaff around the spikes. On closer inspection we found holes in the spikes that are harbouring caterpillars. We then saw a Silvereye pick out a caterpillar and fly off into a shrubbery perhaps to feed the insect to a baby in a nest.


Garden Diary