about this blog

This blog tracks the ongoing changes of my garden, and the wildlife I try to attract to it. It's a nature blog. It contains my thoughts and musings about anything and everything to do with nature - gardening, book reviews, philosophy, travel, science, history, art, design, politics.
Catmint is my signature plant because it has all the qualities I value in a plant: resilience, beauty and the capacity to spread prolifically . Unfortunately it's not indigenous. If I was starting again I'd probably choose an indigenous plant.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

paula's garden

Paula lives in the country, and is a passionate and eclectic gardener. She grows food, but will always find a spot for a new plant, seeds or cuttings. The result is a gorgeous profusion of colour and unexpected combinations.

Climbing Geraniums
Adventure for children

Jade Plant with Dichondra repens

Lunch from the garden
unidentified Beetle
Purple love grass

Thursday, 14 May 2015

what's happening in the autumn garden

At first glance, the garden's a sea of greens and greys. In this part of the world, flowers in a native garden tend to be more subtle than showy European flowers. They're there, but they're not exactly shouting their presence.

Acacia iteaphylla
Correa pulchella

Other growing things are not flowering plants at all. Autumn is fungi time, especially after rain. It's a thrill to find delicate toadstools and sturdy mushrooms.

On some bark I found Physicia stellaris, a type of lichen, soft orange and green.

Physicia stellaris - Star Rosette Lichen
Marasmius oreades - Fairy-ring Champignon

Since this unidentified orange fungus is growing on a wooden step, I wonder whether it belongs to the family of Bracket, or Shelf fungi, a group of fungi identified by their growth form. On the other hand, it probably belongs to the Agaric family, since in shape it is more similar to members of that group.  Fungi id. is notoriously difficult. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Rainbow Fern
Rainbow Fern
Tough Rainbow Ferns are more like bracken than ferns. They don't need water although they don't like direct sunlight.

The plants in the photos below are not native to Australia, but very welcome, appreciated immigrants.

Erigeron, or Seaside Daisy
English Lavender
Foxtail Fern
Smoke Bush
Euphorbia spp. 
I'm linking this post to the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day meme in Carol's popular blog, May Dream Gardens.
 Orange Wallflower

Sunday, 26 April 2015

seeing nature through a macro lens

Taking photos with a macro lens gives you a glimpse of the incredibly complex small organisms and the ecosystems they contain. This world that we are mostly unaware of exists at the edge, and beyond our capacity to see it and its intricate detail.

I look at this cicada shell and think about the dangers the vulnerable cicada was exposed to as it clung to the blade of grass and shed its old skin.

Monday, 13 April 2015

backyard birds - the good, the bad and the ugly

Part of the point of planting indigenous plants in the garden is to attract native birds. I used to think it was good to attract as many different species of birds as possible. Over the years I have observed quite a variety of birds: insect eaters such as Thornbills, nectar eaters such as Wattlebirds and seed eaters such as Doves.

Brown Thornbill - Acanthiza pusilla - from Birdlife Australia

Some birds are carnivorous - Ravens, Kookaburras, Magpies, Tawny Frogmouths, Pied Currawongs and Butcherbirds. They'll eat mice and lizards and part of their diet includes young and small birds. That's why the butcherbird got its name!

Grey Butcherbird - Cracticus torquatus

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

indigenous plants

Indigenous plants in Australia have a very precise definition. They are plants that grew in a locality before European settlement, about 200 years ago. Most of these plants have disappeared. And many of the fauna that depend on these ecosystems are extinct or struggling to survive.

Lomandra spp.
But still, in many places in Melbourne there are remnant stands of indigenous plantings. Seeds can be collected from these plants, and used to propagate new plants that can be grown in public and private spaces.

The argument is that the fauna evolved alongside these plants, so these plants will best attract and support indigenous wildlife - birds, butterflies, insects, spiders, frogs, mammals and reptiles.

Clerid beetle (Eleale lepida)

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