Week 3 August 2008:  Rain = a paltry 1.5 millimetres.

We watered some of our new plantings with grey water this week in order to keep up the moisture level. This will help the plants when they start to put on new growth in the coming months. We are very fortunate, when putting our moved house back together, to have made provision for this source of water.

The cold weather is still continuing and this week we cut up more firewood. When we split a large log we exposed a hibernating Skink Lizard. We carefully placed the reptile in another log that will not be disturbed.

Our garden has become a trifle large. From east to west it is about 80 metres long. At present we are planting on the eastern end or frontier and we feel like taking a cut lunch when we are working there. Having such a large planted area means that we sometimes come across plants that we have forgotten about. This week we found two forgotten plants in our Western Garden. One was Hakea Burrendong Beauty and the other was Kunzea pomifera. These were two interesting finds. The Hakea is thought to be a hybrid and develops into a semi-prostrate shrub with carmine red flowers and cream styles and the Kunzea is a ground cover with white fluffy flowers and edible fruits. Its common name is Muntries and the fruits are being marketed from plantations in South Australia. Cutting will be taken from both these exciting finds.

Spring is just around the corner and a number of plants are bursting into bloom. These include: Acacia amoena, Eucalyptus albens and Eucalyptus pulverulenta. Eucalyptus albens (White Box) is native to Yallaroo and we have some splendid specimens growing not far from the house. The large creamy-white flowers are attracting Rainbow Lorikeets and Red Wattlebirds. Both species are very vocal.

Two Wedge-tailed Eagles have been soaring in the air space above Yallaroo. They are beautiful birds and are often attended by crows and magpies that spend time dive-bombing them.

We recently wrote an article about Eucalyptus diversifolia for an Australian plant journal. The species name means different leaves and we had read that the type specimen was a plant carrying both adult and juvenile leaves. Of course nearly all Eucalypts have this characteristic when young. We wondered where the plant was collected that was used to give this Eucalypt its species name. The author’s abbreviated name was Bonpl. This abbreviation referred to Aimé Bonpland, a French botanist/horticulturist who managed Napoleon and Josephine’s garden near Paris in the early 1800’s. He named Eucalyptus diversifolia from a specimen growing in this garden. In fact he named a number of Australian plants from specimens in the garden including Acacia subulata one of our favourite Wattles. The garden was supplied with seeds and plants collected, by French scientific expeditions in the late 1700’s and 1800”s.

This search has led us into many interesting areas regarding the early naming of Australian plants but more of this at another time.

We now move outside again and this week we potted on four Blueberry plants that we bought last month. They have been moved into bigger pots. They like acid soils so we used Azalea potting mix.


Garden Diary