Week 3 April 2007: Rain = 13 mm

We received some interesting botanical information this week. Botanists have decided that Callistemons and Melaleucas have so few differences that they should be merged into the one genus. So Callistemons will become Melaleucas. We will continue to use The Callistemon title and regard it has the horticultural name of this popular group of native plants.

We have a large area that has been taken over by the dreaded Coolatai Grass. We are brush cutting this area and then spraying with Glyphosate. We prefer not to use chemicals in our horticultural endeavours but this seems the most efficient way to destroy this horrific weed. The dead clumps will be removed and then planting will commence. The area is large enough to accommodate some hundreds of native plants.

There are a number of birdbaths scattered throughout our gardens. One that is situated under a Wattle has proved to be very popular. One afternoon this week we observed Eastern Spinebills, Thornbills, Blue Wrens, Scrub Wrens, Grey Fantail and Brown-headed Honeyeaters bathing together.

Two Hakea verrucosa plants are flowering profusely at the moment. These are upright shrubs. We also have a semi-prostrate form that has not flowered yet.

Last week we reported seeing a flock of White-eared Choughs just outside our front gate. This week they have moved inside and the flock was active in one of our shrubberies near the house.

We read in a gardening magazine about pruning Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos). The spent flower stalks should be removed and the leaves cut back almost to ground level. This week we followed these directions and gave our Kangaroo Paws a rather drastic haircut. We will report on the result.

Dianella caerulea is another native plant with strap-like leaves. We have a specimen in one of our gardens and this week we noticed that the plant was suckering. We will remove some of the suckers, pot them on and eventually plant them in other gardens.

An Armidale supermarket had a nursery sale this week. If you bought one plant you received another plant at half price. We availed ourselves of this generous offer. Two Eucalyptus pulverulenta and two punnets of a mauve flowered Scaevola were purchased.

We also purchased a soaker hose. This is basically a leaky hose that drips water along its 15 metre length. We are going to loop the hose through new plantings and see how well the plants are irrigated and how much water is used per hour. The hose cost $15.

One afternoon a bird flew into our lounge room window and broke its neck. This does not happen very often but is upsetting when the crash is fatal. We spent some time trying to identify the dead bird. We eventually settled on a female White-throated Treecreeper. The beak shape, the streaks under the body and the small orange spot below and behind the ear-coverts were the deciding features. We find that A Field Guide to Australian Birds by Graham Pizzey is the best book for identification.

New on the Site: Backhousia citriodora, Hakea actites, Pavetta australiensis, Pterostylis truncata, Scaevola calendulacea and Wallaroo.


Garden Diary