a few garden snippets

I see this little lizard around from time to time. In winter it hibernates in my study in between sheets of paper. During warm weather I glimpse it round the compost and other spots in the garden. The other night it dropped around to check out how I was doing.

I thought it was a common garden skink or pale-flecked garden sunskink (Lampropholis guichenoti), a species only found in Australia. In commenting on this post Serena Bates kindly corrected me. "Generally skinks have claws but geckos have little suckers on their feet so they can climb vertical surfaces including glass. This is something skinks can't do." 

Now I think this is likely a Marbled Gecko (Christinus marmoratus), a gecko species sometimes kept as pets. It's not an albino. I took the photo through the window at night and this was the result. I guess it would have been better to take it from outside in, but by then it would have scarpered.

Skinks and geckos are great to have around because they're cute and because they eat small insects like slugs, flies and cockroaches.


Just one flower on the Crabapple, looks like a rose. I don't recall it ever flowering in summer before.


A feather, exactly the same shape as the leaf, carefully stuck on. What creature did this? And which came first? Did it find the feather and then choose a suitable leaf? Since there are more leaves than feathers in the garden, I suppose that would have been the most likely method. And those red petals have been transferred from somewhere else. Never seen anything like this before, and couldn't find anything like it in Google images.

I sent a photo to the Melbourne Museum. Simon replied promptly. He thought it wasn't made by an insect at all, and was 'incidental', by which I understand 'accidental'. So maybe a couple of feathers drifted through the air and just happened to land on this leaf. Disappointing if true, because for a while I thought maybe I'd observed something scientifically significant. And I wanted to say something funny about feathering your own nest.

But I guess that's science. It doesn't pay to become too attached to your hypothesis.




Many years ago a workmate gave me some Canna Lilies from his garden. He grew them with Plumbago and found they worked brilliantly together. But I was always wary of red because at the time I visualized the garden mainly in soft pastels, so I planted them in the back garden with the Ginger Lilies. I don't encourage them but they keep coming back every year, looking very dramatic.


This is blue fescue grass, a cultivar named Elijah Blue. It's a perfect garden plant, tidy but relaxed, predictable, reliable. And it's a brilliant blue, bluer than the ordinary blue fescue. I use it mostly to line paths. It doesn't seem to mind a fair bit of shade, either.


When my 4 year old grandson grows up, who knows what the world will be like? I'm sure he will grow up loving and protecting plants and nature. You can never start too young ... and he might have been happy even if it wasn't called the Jelly Bean plant (Sedum rubrotinctum).

Comments

  1. Many years ago I was on a freighter calling at ports in West Africa and the local boys used to catch and sell lizards to us so that we could put them in our cabins to eat the insects. The ship was not air conditioned so the insects could be a real problem and the little reptiles did a great job.

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    1. Thanks for this, David. That is absolutely fascinating. They would put Mortein out of business, which would be so good for the planet.

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  2. Sweet. Good to get the grandson caring about plants early, as you say. The feather phenomenon is fascinating! The skink--wow, I can't believe he hibernates in your study. What a fun, special friend. Is it an albino?

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    1. Thanks for the question, Beth. I've answered in a post update.

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  3. This comment was from Kris Peterson, of Late to the Garden Party blog. I accidentally deleted it.

    I wish our western fence lizards had an appetite for slugs, flies and roaches! Your grandson looks like a future gardener in the making. Starting them early is key!

    My reply: Thanks, Kris. I hope they will grow up as protectors of nature, not exploiters.

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  4. could the feather have been stuck on by rain?
    That is what it looks like to me.

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  5. I understand that your Melbourne Museum contact said that the feather thing was accidental, but to me it looks like something one of those tiny spiders might do, especially with the bent leaf.

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    1. Hi Jane, that's what I wondered, but it's a bit different.

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  6. Lovely little lizard, catmint. I've seen one in my garden as well, it lived near the big can where I burn the rubbish. Maybe it was a very warm place in the garden, but lizard loved this spot. As you I do like that they eat slugs, very good helpers.

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    1. Hi Nadezda, I guess it would like the warmth, maybe that's where it hibernates in your cold winters?

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  7. Fun shot of the Gecko. That feather didn't half mould itself against the leaf. What a happy smile from your grandson.

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  8. Here in the tropics, we have lizards and geckos! Even the house is not spared, but we have a cat who catches them. The geckos run for their lives at areas the cats can't get into, but the cats know how to wait for them, and eventually they get killed. However, others from the trees outside still come to the house again, and we are reminded by their calls at night "tuk-o", the name tuko is what we call geckos! lols

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    1. Andrea: this makes me think of a cartoon - like Tom and Jerry, except Jerry is a gecko! I find cats alarming because they are such fierce hunters. They are responsible for killing lots of our native wildlife, leading to extinction or the threat of extinction.

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  9. Enchanting observations Sue.

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  10. What great fun to see such things in the garden! When I lived further south we used to have anole lizards and skinks that I loved to watch. I haven't seen any in my current garden, though we occasionally have salamanders. They always hide a lot better though.

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    1. Gardening for me is all about attracting wildlife, as you say - such fun - and so interesting to learn about them.

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  11. That gecko looks exactly like a paper cutout of a gecko in your picture!

    We have anoles that live on our back and front porches. In the summer they run up and down the railing tops displaying, especially in really hot weather; they bob up and down and inflate their scarlet threat pouches. In winter they hide in the small space between the house and the back steps and come out to sun bathe.

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