This is a photo of my newest garden, and I have just weeded it.
"Wha..aaat!" I can hear you say. "That is not a garden at all, and it hasn't been weeded."
Well, this is the way that I garden these days. I put in things that will bring in the wildlife, rather than plants with pretty flowers. Every new plant must have animal value, either directly by being a food or shelter plant, or indirectly by adding to my rainforest planting.
Actually it is a new old garden, one of the gardens that I am replacing with native plants. It is in our front yard around the power pole and had become overgrown with nuisance plants that I had once liked but now am trying to eliminate.
Those piles of rubbish that you can see are the old pl...
I have a friend who has a beautiful house with a large garden that she established, in a new housing estate, not far from the coast. The site inherited a wild wallaby that must have been a relict from its recent past as farm or bushland. This "brazen" animal was the bane of her life. It chewed the buds off her roses and nibbled the delicate bits from a variety of plants.
On one occasion it committed the sin of all sins – it pooed on her verandah. (Now perhaps I should explain that wallabies only eat vegetation and their droppings are relatively hard and dry, composed mainly of fibrous matter, unlike cat and dog poo which is smelly and disgusting.)
I classify weeds in our yard into two categories, "weeds" and "terrible weeds".
"Weeds" include those ordinary plants that occur everywhere here, many of which are on the local environmental or noxious weeds lists, such as crofton weed, Ageratum, camphor laurel, farmer's friends, and Lantana. They grow readily in my garden and come back very quickly if you pull them out and are a big nuisance, but they have one essential characteristic that distinguishes them from "terrible weeds" - when you pull them out, or poison them, they die.
"Terrible weeds" are almost impossible to kill. If you pull them out, every little bit of stem has the potential to regrow if it is left in contact with the ground. And/or every bit of root lef...
I think our species is the Giant brown bull ant, Myrmecia pyriformis. They are nocturnal, which explains why we don’t often see them during the day, leaving the nest at dusk and returning at dawn (Reid et al, 2013).
I accidentally trod on the nest while I was out planting ferns. I did get stung, but having worked in our garden with jumping ants, leeches and ticks for 30 years, my reactions are pretty swift to anything trying to penetrate my delicate skin.
The ant only managed a series of glancing touches with its stinger before being swiped away. It hurt a bit for half an hour or so, like being stung a few times by a jumping ant.
So I was very surprised at the reaction to the sting on my leg, the next day. A...
A few months ago we built a bridge over our little creek-bed. The creek is ephemeral and only appears after heavy or persistent rain, but we needed a bridge so that we could wheel down the barrow-loads of concrete to make the end of the path on the other side.
It is a very solid bridge. Standing about 40cm above the bed of the creek and made of concrete it is supported on plinths at either end over a raft of steel posts with an additional internal reinforcing mesh of metal. It had to be strong to withstand possibility of branches falling on it from the camphor laurel tree above that we poisoned last year.
But no water flowed under it until the recent floods.
Water flowing in the creek has always been an exciting eve...