Week 4 December 2008: Rain = 28.5mm

A Happy Christmas to one and all.

Plenty of visitors this week. All our family celebrated Christmas at Yallaroo. Very little horticultural activity during their visit but plenty of volleyball, softball and other holiday activities.

We had time to notice two wattles in flower this week. Acacia implexa occurs naturally at Yallaroo and literally dozens of plants have regenerated. Many of these plants are in full flower. Acacia parramattensis is a tall wattle with bipinnate foliage and pale yellow flowers. We planted a clump of these tall plants near our front gate.

Keeping to the wattle theme. This week we found piles of wattle seed in our mown areas and also one small pile under a rock. The seeds had no funicles. These are the fleshy growths that attach the seeds to the pod. We have read that ants eat the funicles. Probably ants gather the seeds and harvest the funicles. We have sown some of the seeds so the species may be identified. We feel that they may be Acacia implexa seeds but time will tell.

Some Channel-bill Cuckoos were flying around this week. They are large, ungainly birds that migrate from Southeast Asia every spring. They lay their eggs in Currawong nests. The birds we saw are probably young birds that have been raised by their foster parents.

We had two outings this week. One morning we walked through the Stock Reserve along our boundary and returned through Yallaroo. We found a dead Antechinus (Marsupial Mouse) in the Reserve. The cause of death unknown but may have been a male that expired after the mating season. This is a characteristic of these small marsupials. After the mating season the males die and the total population consists of pregnant females. Balance is restored when they give birth.  It is good to know that Antechinus are in the area.

We found some interesting living organisms. Firstly we came across large areas covered in long-stalked, yellow-flowered daisies similar in appearance to the exotic dandelions. Closer inspection revealed that the plants were native Podolepis jaceoides. We have observed small populations of this native daisy but have not seen such large populations before. This germination was probably triggered by the good rains during the spring of 2008.

A more surprising find was a small population of Dipodium hamiltonianum. This is a close relative of Dipodium punctatum the Hyacinth Orchid. The latter orchid is common in the Yallaroo area but Dipodium is much rarer and we have only seen individual plants. There were six plants in the population. This group was in the Stock Reserve and during our return walk we found one plant in Yallaroo.

On another day we had a family outing to the Blue Hole, east of Armidale. This well-patronised picnic and swimming area is in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. A great time was had by all with bushwalking and swimming on the programme.

Having the family visiting meant that plenty of grey water was generated. Most of the surplus was used on some of our edible exotics including feijoas, olives and persimmons.

New on the Site: Dipodium hamiltonianum and Podolepis jaceoides.


Garden Diary