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.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

children and gardens

 What messages do we give kids about gardens?

Thanks to a successful program getting gardens into schools, many children now know that food doesn't originate in a supermarket. So far The Kitchen Garden Foundation has established gardens in nearly 600 Australian schools.

I know growing food is important, but it's not the only dimension of a garden.  I want my grandchildren and other young visitors to feel the garden as a place for imagination and play, and a space to learn about plants and wildlife.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

spontaneous nature photography, or ... have camera, will snap

To do nature photography you don't have to be in a garden, park or the bush. Just make sure you have a camera and keep your eyes open.

A spider has already spun the silk using the spinnaret glands at the top of its abdomen. It holds the silk using several legs - a bit like holding them in its lap. At the same time, it uses one leg to hold one end in a kind of lasoo, while feeding the silk out using another leg.  The tensile strength of spider silk is greater than the same amount of steel.

A suburban shopping strip, a street with no trees or gardens ... but vases of flowers on the pavement tables allow for a nature photo op.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

garden bloggers bloom day, June 2014

It was a mild autumn and up to now it's been a mild winter.

The last leaf has fallen and the branches are bare on the Crabapple tree.

The purple flowers on the French lavender bushes are starting to open.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

virgin bushland and flying saucer mystery

In Melbourne's southwest, about 5 minutes drive from a major industrial centre, is a shining jewel: six and a half hectares of virgin bushland. The Grange Heathland Reserve has never been logged or developed. The result is an inspiring biodiverse ecosystem. 48 bird species and 230 plant species have been recorded, as well as reptiles, frogs and insects.

In the past the Reserve would have been home to a large variety of mammals. Today there are just four species of mammals: brushtail and ringtail possums and two species of bats. An uncomfortable reminder that Australia has the highest mammal extinction rate of any other country in the world.


Monday, 2 June 2014

how the garden changes

I took over the care of this garden 35 years ago. At the time nothing much grew here. A patch of lawn surrounded by a few boring shrubs decorated the front garden. The back yard had been used to store large quantities of rusty barbed wire and other rubbish. When I saw it, my first thought was to make sure we were up date with our tetanus shots.

Over the last 35 years, the garden has definitely improved and progressed. But ...


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