I'm only gardening for the birds

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Shirley Hardy
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I'm only gardening for the birds

Private renting sucks when it comes to gardening. The last time I began making a garden everything was going well. I'll admit it was a jumbled mess and the trees were too close to the flats, but I planted wattles at a safe distance from the flats. The place was sold and then the demolition of the garden happened and I've been forced to start all over again from nothing. Everything from flowers, bushes to trees got ripped out in less than 12 hours. My heart just sank. It took me years to get over it, to get over the anger, and to question whether even if it was worth doing it all over again. I am still reluctant because every 3-7 years the garden gets demolished on a massive scale.

All what remained was the grass. They moved all the rocks to the perimeter and any grevilleas I had were transplanted but soon died. What did survive are still growing. They're mostly grevilleas though. Then a fence was erected which isn't even straight.

Here's some pics of the front garden after the demolition.

Woko
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Have you spoken with the landlord/lady, Hyperbirds?

Shirley Hardy
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The only time I've spoken to the new landlords was when they were inspecting the flats before they bought the place but then I'm not 100% certain if the ones I think bought the flats are the ones who actually bought the flats. I did speak to the real estate agents and they said that the owners said, in reference to me making a garden, "as long as I put the fence back to where it belongs." At the time I wanted to complete a garden bed with sleepers that a previous tenant had started. I still have one garden bed to complete (one section). None of the tenants do any main gardening either, except me. I don't have any big garden tools so digging a hole in the ground is basically done by hand and is very slow work. 

Here's some recent pics of the garden beds I have been working on. They go from right to left.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
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I've done a bit more to this garden bed section since these photos were taken. I've pulled down my compost bin (the inside rectangle shaped box not directly underneath the magpie) and have added 5 new plants including my most recent addition of the plant in the second photo. The rectangle shaped box directly underneath the magpie in the first photo has potatoes growing in it. The plant in the second photo actually has red flowers not orange flowers. Stupid camera. 

Third photo shows the celery/wattle patch with a callistemon to the left. To the left of the celery at the back is where the Coral Creeper is. 

The 4th photo is a close up of my wattle tree, a philodendron (I think - the rotten stalk which the frost killed - it just died back but hasn't reshooted yet), and celery at the back and right of them.

The fifth photo is of a Coral Creeper; and the sixth photo is of an unknown plant that I almost killed by spraying it with Eucalyptus oil spray. It has not flowered as yet in the 3-4 years I've had it. There's also flowers in there too.

The wattle tree and philodendron are competing were root space in the pot I had them in so in the ground they went. Once the wattle takes hold there'll be no turning back and it will start going mental in it's growth. 

The unknown plant is not a privet; Firethorn or lantana. I've already tried identifying the plant but I need more time to id it. When it flowers - if it flowers - I'll be able to id it. It is about 6-7 years old.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
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Here's some recent pics of the garden bed (partial) to the left of my footpath. 

My succulents and cacti have not flowered for at least 2-3 years, so I need to put them in the ground I think. One of my succulents flowering in the 2nd photo. I still have a few more plants to transplant into the front garden. Most of the plants in the last pic are still in their tubes. I need to plant them this weekend.

In the 5th photo, this particular plant I dug up and transplanted to this new spot just because it was falling over and wasn't growing properly. Over winter it apparently grew some new roots and recently discovered it started regrowing leaves above ground level on it's main stem. For a long time it was just a dormant stick with a few branches at ground level with leaves on it. I'm stoked because it seems to have survive my transplanting it and is taking off again with a new chance to regrow. 

Most of the plants I've planted here I've buried deeper than normal and seem to be coping with that extra depth for their root space. I suspect this section of my garden will grow rapidly once the plants establish their roots and get a proper foothold in the ground. I'm looking forward to that day actually.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

On a happy news front a Red Wattlebird has been visiting the front garden and even stopped to look at the section where my letterbox is (immediate left of my footpath). Then it flew to the left to where the grevilleas were and started feeding on the nectar for 5 minutes before flying away.  These photos were taken through flywire screen a few days ago, as every time I went outside the bird would fly away.

Red Wattlebirds around here don't seem to feed from the grevilleas often. It is not a daily thing, or even weekly for that matter. It's a daily thing for the Eastern Spinebill though.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

spiney
spiney's picture

NIce one Hyperbirds!! See... despite sometimes feeling that the whole world is aginast you and wants you to fail you are actually making a difference!!! that little Eastern Spinebill and the Red Wattlebird are testament to that - Great job - Keep going!! Oh and get that tubestock in the ground - There looks like a lot of great bird plants there to me!! 

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Thanks spiney, you're right! I've managed to plant 4 of the tubestock into the ground today, just 10 more to go. I'm down to all the smaller stuff now. The Red Wattlebird flew over and checked out what I was doing when I was watering the tubestock and the garden bed down the other end of the garden by the right driveway. My brother was telling me (he lives at the end flat) that the Red Wattlebird visits his garden bed several times a day. Here's some photos before I done up the garden bed out front of my brother's flat, which I have planted out except for the big grevillea which my brother transplanted and survived. The ants are loving the added plants and leaf litter too. 

The garden, in general, doesn't look like much right now. We've actually been getting some rain at last which seems to be making my job easier by not having to water everything. And I lost all the little seedlings I'd planted in my brother's garden bed, including the grevilleas. Only the bigger plants survived. Need to add a lot more organic matter and keep the soil moist. The soil down that area is really horrible and very clayish.

I just have to give it time before the birds stop flying over my garden beds. I want to add a few more grevilleas amongst what I've already planted. The more plants the better I reckon. I don't care how it looks actually. Anything to stop the neighbours from being able to see across the road at the flats - we all like our privacy here.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

jason

Yes take homage in the success you have, and let the dissapointment slip away as soon as possible.  I like the sleeper beds as they should be no issue to anyone in the future, and certinally easy to mow around.  Hopefully the land lord can see the worth or your work.    

Would starting a common somewhere give you more certinaty? Perhaps Lions or similar could be talked into helping out.  I have wondered in the past as we have stoped for the swings near driver reviver at the bridgonto the Northern entry to town.  If a garden of flowering plants and birds would be an asset.  The kids play on the swings and that's it.  Folks stop for a bit and a coffee when its running, but few go for a walk, so a good display of local plants to relax and watch the birds yahoo would probably be a nicer way to take a break, than stare at the open space.  

Just a thought, keep up the good work.          

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Hi jason. Thanks for your comment and the well wishes. The landlords don't live in town. I think they live on the Gold Coast somewhere. They never visit their property. The sleepers were obtained by a previous tenant so I'm just completing what that tenant started. The entire garden beds are easy to mow around and are sprayed to kill the grass along the edges. I'm trying to gain altitude with the garden beds so reduce the chances of the spray killing off my plants. It takes a while to do everything when you have a bad back and you're doing all the work yourself. Honestly, it's a lot of area to garden and adding just 50 plants doesn't really go far when you think about it. I just want to make sure my plants survive as the money is coming out of my own pocket. 

It would be a nice idea to start a common somewhere. I think I know what you mean by what you said jason. The trouble is watering everything when there's no easy access to water, unless it's done by the Tenterfield creek, in which case, I could easily grab buckets of water straight from the creek itself to water the plants. But that's a too big a job for me as I wouldn't even know where to begin with that idea. There are a lot of areas to walk around in Tenterfield which mostly follows the creek. So much erosion happens along the creek but the council doesn't seem to care either. There's just too much open space here and little seedlings have a hard time surviving infrequent flooding. Sometimes even big trees don't survive flooding either because there's just one row of trees and nothing else to support the tree's roots. You'd have to do a mass planting in Autumn and hope for the best.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Woko
Woko's picture

Hyperbirds, you've shown what can be done in a relatively confined space. 

I'm wary about using compost for natives as they generally prefer nutrient-poor soil, having evolved over aeons to survive in Australia's soils. If you have clay soil it's usually easier & costs less overall to use plants which are adapted to clay soil. If you can obtain them.

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Yes, Woko, I understand that natives prefer nutrient poor soil and I do agree with what you are saying. However, things are slightly different here in Tenterfield because the survival rate of small seedlings in poor clay soil is very low especially when puddles of water freeze overnight for weeks to months on end. I lose just about all of them with no organic matter to begin with. You see, what I'm doing is just providing my seedlings/plants small amounts of organic matter in the beginning stages of their growth which occurs naturally with wild plants. For example, grevilleas drop their flowers after they die; gum trees drop bark, leaves and small branches; decidious trees drop their leaves; bigger birds and flying foxes strip leaves and branches, etc from the trees; birds poop everywhere; and so on. 

Woko, the thing is, up my way the soil is actually supposed to be a lot richer than what it is. My trip to Mount MacKenzie a few years back showed me something about this climate. The soil up there amongst the gum trees is black. Its black from moisture and fallen and decomposing gum leaves. Because Tenterfield's fertile soil is all used up all I am doing is just giving my plants a good start in life by adding organic matter only to cover the soil. I also do that to prevent the plants' roots from freezing when its frosty, and cooking when it's too hot to be outside.

Like anything I do with native plants here, they have to adapt to the poorer, deeper soil conditions. That is unfortunate but that's just the way it is. I condition my plants to grow big and strong and then slowly wean them off of the organic matter which takes about 3 years. By that stage they are well and truly established and really don't need it. The plants usually show me when they are established by how they respond to what care I give to them, or a lack thereof if they're bigger. When they've been in the ground for about 3 years and are at least growing good and still growing is when I stop adding organic matter. I just let nature take over. 

But until that happens I'll intentionally stop watering the plants after the first week and hold out on the water. In summer I'll delay watering the plants for an additional day or two to make the roots go deeper. I'm mean but the plants have to be tough to survive Tenterfield's climate in the dry cycle.

Oh, by the way, buying plants that are adapted to growing in clay soil would still be influenced by the climate and may not survive the climate without a bit of organic matter to begin with. Its getting them to establish that's the time consuming part.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

jason

Hyperbirds, the creek rehab mob I am with use the creek and buckets for watering purposes, but 10 people can make light work of it as well.  When the creek is low and has been the case of late, I have an 800lt poly tank in a metal fram I tow around in a trailer.  It works a treat to fill buckets or run a hose.

It is hard, and like pulling teeth when it comes to councils seeing a bigger picture.  So I feel for you and understand.  My creek plan has all but ground to a halt while council work out amongst themselves what they are actually trying to say and do.  Perhaps another idea is find a local land owner looking for a hand.  Someone with the money and land, but needs help, knowledge, and enthasiasm.  Some one who gives a rip about the world they live in.  Perhaps a farmer with a flogged out creek and has realised the current ways of farming lead to a downward spiral or debt, drought, and depression; and is looking for alternatives.  

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Its all a bit overwhelming for me jason. Just doing a creek revegetation on private property, well, I've been there and done that before. Only 2 trees out of 50-80 trees/shrubs survived. They survived 5 floods, ant infestations, being whipper snipped around, being not eaten by rabbits, being not eaten by cows and sheep, etc. 

What I plan on doing, whilst thinking about a different strategy to approach this creek/revegetation problem, is to buy seeds, germinate the seeds, grow the seedlings then offer them free to anyone in the area who wants them on the sole condition they have to take care of them for the next 3 years. But honestly, the way things go in Tenterfield, plants simply don't last very long before they are removed or chopped down or vandalised. I'm better off trying to revegetate further afield, out of town, in the middle of the scrub or something where I know the plants will survive and not be touched by humans. 

But then again, most recently, I gave away 2 Pinwheel Hakaes and 2 Native Frangipanis to a friend who owns a Cherry Orchard 10kms south of Tenterfield. She happily snapped them up, but the very next day a storm came through her property and smashed things with cricket ball sized hail. Her orchard was okay but I'm not sure if the plants I gave her survived. Its like nature is trying to tell me something but what I don't know.

The local people here, the lazy ones, don't seem to touch plants so the plants might have a good chance to survive and die of old age in someone's garden. The ones who are anti-environment chop everything down it seems, and take pride in mowing their stupid grass. Even if that said grass is all there is in a paddock, they mow it. Tenterfield is like living in the dark ages when it comes to people's attitudes toward the environment. People still use firewood, and even chop branches off their trees to obtain firewood. Other people chop down dangerous trees, with council approval or not, and throw it all into the local dump. Can you believe that? Its a complete waste of a perfectly good tree, shrub, branch cuttings, etc. Yet, most of these same people don't even bother drying the wood to chop up for their fire place or think about using it to put back into their garden to improve their soil.

I can tell you that I can easily get, for free, bark chips and tonnes of it too, delivered free!!! Every second summer the electricity company goes around trimming branches away from powerlines with their 8 tonne truck. If I ask them if I can have it they are happy to even shred it up for me and dump it in my drive way. Saves them taking it to the rubbish dump. But it has to decompose for about 6 months as there's pine tree in there as well. You should try it this summer, jason, if you have some room somewhere, but it will stink out the neighbours so just cover it with a tarp. 

I'm almost out of bark chips so I'm asking the electricity company for more bark chips when they come around this summer. I love free stuff, don't you?

I'm currently waiting on an email back from a company that sells seeds of native Australian plants - waiting for their sticklist and prices. I'm going ahead with this giving away seedlings for free to anyone who wants them. I'm determined to make a difference!

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Please also note I'm a single mother with no driver's licence nor vehicle. That makes it really hard to do anything major for hours on end. My daughter is not into the environment, gardening or anything like that. I have to do what I am realistically capable of doing. 

However, I do have the extra time to grow seeds, and I do that a lot and currently have germinated quite successfully some fruit tree seeds as an experiment and nothing else to germinate. Getting seeds to germinate seems to be my thing. And I never seem to have a problem with finding homes for my plants either. As it is said "Stick with what you are good at and things will happen and it will be successful." 

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Woko
Woko's picture

Thanks for the explanation about Tenterfield soil, Hyperbirds. Your approach to gradually enriching the depleted soil sounds sound to me.

Being a single mum certainly limits what you can do environmentally so I think you can be proud of your efforts on all fronts. It seems you've found your niche with seed germination. I guess you'll be distributing plants you've grown from seed to folk you feel confident will care for them. I once gave a couple of boxes of tube stock to a neighbour because he said he'd like to do some planting & because I wanted to encourage him. Some months later the boxes were still on his verandah, tube stock unwatered & mostly dead. Avoid those sorts of people like the plague if you can.

jason

The discription of Tenerfield's occupants seems pretty typical Australian to me.  We are largly a bunch of convict yobbo's with little regard for much besides ones self own indulgance of imediate wants and thoughts.

Just today I stood on a clients roof and looked down on where the mangroves should have been regrowing after the 2011 floods. But nope, not a mangrove in sight. Just bare mud flats right up to the neighbours boundry where their mangroves are going great.  They use Round Up to control the mangroves because they feel it adds value to their water front house, and besides who wants to look at those smelly ugly bag catching plants anyway.  Successful business owner and Doctor are thet are, one would hope they have a bigger picture than the yobbo hacking off a green limb to put in the fire.  So it pays not to focus on it for long, just find surenity, peace, and purpose in what you are doing regardless of size; and hope karma some how some where plays a part.     

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Woko
Woko's picture

Yes, I think getting on with environmental business & not focussing too much on the Bougainvilleas is a good strategy, jason. Despair is a destructive emotion if it's pursued too long.

It'll be interesting to observe the long term effects of destroying those mangroves, jason. I strongly suspect they won't be good.

jason

sorry for drifting off topic here hyperbirds.

I thought the council missed a golden opportunity in 2011. Not that they would have the guts anyway.  However the people on the Brisbane River watched their pontoons depart and head for the bay in the floods.  Some insured, some not, many reaking havoc as they driffed down he river.  If the council said right we have a clean slate here and a unique opportunity, we are letting the mangroves take back the river bank it would have been a good step forward for marine life, the health of the river, and the bay.

I'd say less than 10% of pontoon owners moor a boat, and about the same have sun fadded kayaks waiting for the day they get used for a second time. And a few have empty jut ski landing pads also sun kissed and slowly dieing.   At 35K everyone whacks a pontoon in because it adds value to the house, or simpley just looks nice and allows the dreams of freedom to flow, or wows the odd guest if they could be bothered walking all that way down to it.  Much easier to just talk about how nice it is as they observe the Estate from the rear verandah.  

I have worked on the river for a few years now and 99% of houses must have a pontoon to match the Jones.  When I go for a meander in my dinghy very few people do anything on them, but the creek bank is usually quite cleared around the pontoon or along the properties forshore.  Perhaps by the next flood my kind of thinking may prevale.  I doubt it though, all those river dwellers went right back into thier old slot thinking they can control the river, re building their below flood leverl living areas, replacing the unused pontoons and what not.     

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

That's okay, jason, drift off topic all you like. Most of our problems doing anything "environmental" lays with local councils anyway. In 2001 when we had our 60 year flood the council came along and stripped a lot of flora along the creek because "it caused debris downstream". There wouldn't have been debris in the first place if the council made land owners revegetate the creek on private land, and revegetate the areas that wasn't private land. Landcare was involved, I think, at some point and the creek was revegetated in parts of town. But the plants were only watered once and left to die. So I know how you feel about the mangroves. I've never seen mangroves in real life. Something has to be done about getting people to care about the environment, about erosion of land from water erosion. This anti-environment attitude is not the future I wanted my child to be brought up in. 

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

You know, it's sad watching the Red Wattlebird sitting on the fence just resting between feeds right above my garden. I've put 2 callistemons ("Pink Champagne") in my front garden but they're not growing fast enough for me. I just wish plants would grow quicker than what they do.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

jason

This may be where local species really thrive, well this has been my experiance. It maybe species specific but my locals leave the natives behind in the shadows so to speak. They just grow much faster.

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Woko
Woko's picture

It grieves me, jason, to see the destruction wrought by councils so that people can have their play things. At Goolwa there was a short stretch of the River Murray near the aquatic club which harboured tall water plants & provided habitat for a number of water birds. So that visitors could get clear views of the river, float their boats &, perhaps, to make it look nicer in the eyes of the local councillors the council got rid of the habitat. Now there's a real danger of that part of the river bank being eroded in the next flood or even before.

Dumb? You betcha. But that's why they get paid the big money.

jason

Yes Woko it can be demoralising. Trouble is the people with the play things are often very close to men of power in politics.   Economic growth, jobs, bla bla bla only comes with developement and population growth. And as we know why keep a tree if money can be made.  On one hand just down from the Oxley Common actually, they now house 25+ people in a 3 story unit developements where 2 houses and perhaps 10 people once lived.  Down side is there is not even grass on the unit site let alone a garden. I don't really mind this, but its rare land is bought and given to nature for natures sake, as it's only ocasionally for humans in the form of a high maintance mowed park, so no room for a tree their.  And when a council won't even let you plant a few meters out from a creek bank with local natives in a park it's more than demorlising. I think even if we had a strong leader who favours nature, we need a procession of them, and then the same with the States.  I can't see that happening ever.  And if it does, it will be because global warming has set upon us like termnal cancer. 

I ramble on to my kids about how important an ant is to them, and that a grass lain is full of diversity though it looks boring and flat. A swap in a wonder land of biodiversity, not a wasteland that smells and full of snakes. That steep gully on the way up the mountain is a ladder to freedom. I know I am creating a thought process out of sync with the rest of their mates and common world, almost putting a useless tree hugger label on them.  But I know in years to come their is peace and surenty in nature, and that will be very important in the world they are moving into.  It's not in materialism largly, of with all your online mates, or the drugs that society will perscribe to cope with the mess it's made.  It's in the boring grass land where you can be free and feel alive.  Just a shame very few see it like that, or the ones in power anyway.     

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

I done something really dumb last night, I bought some trees and palms online. I said to myself "to hell with everyone". I ended up buying:

13695Golden Guinea Vine (Forestry Tube)$2.95 $2.95
4387Palm - Cabbage (Forestry Tube)$2.95 $11.80
4731Small leaf tamarind (Forestry Tube)$3.90 $15.60
13614Wattle - Fringe (Super Tube)$12.90 $12.90
4353Koda (Forestry Tube)$1.95 $7.80
4382Native frangipani (Forestry Tube)$2.95 $11.80
4222Callistemon - Weeping (Forestry Tube)$1.95 $7.80

(My copying and pasting skills suck!)

They're not entirely what I wanted, per se, but hey, at least they're partially natives to my area. The callistemon and Wattle are natives to my area. Whose to say the rest are not natives to my area. Doing some research has put me into a predicament whereby I'm not sure if some species WERE NATIVES to my area or not. Tenterfield is so devoid of it's diversity of plant life I can't tell anymore what's native and what's not. From what I have discovered is that South-eastern Queensland flora did inhabit Tenterfield and the Northern Tablelands for the most part, going on the fact that some species are recorded inhabiting areas from southern Queensland to mid to southern NSW. There's also reminant areas where some species live still that is parallel to my area, vertically along the eastern coast of Australia. And as Tenterfield is just within reach of the western most point of the Great Dividing Ranges, and within a stones throw away from an actual rainforest (at Drake), there should be rainforestish type flora here in town, or at least there probably was before white man came along and chopped everything down. One species, the Australian Teak, would've been abundant here in town as I've only found one recorded specimen that still exists here, less than 10kms from the Post Office. If that species was abundant here, it's absence or bordering into extinction in this area, simply means it was chopped down for timber use to the point of almost the extinction level locally. Therefore, where there was once timber trees there would've been more than just one species of similiar timber trees to be devoured by white man. 

How depressing to think about, when a whole species and diversity of species are removed from an entire area for the sake of the need for timber. What's even more depressing is no-one seems to be replacing those trees, which brings me to my next point: mining.

I'm not for logging for the obvious reasons, but I've actually heard that the mining that happens nearby, they are revegetating their mined land with more diversity of plant life than what was there beforehand. This part of the country severely needs revegetating as it is for the most part so barren, so I'm all for mining in this area of the Northern Tablelands - because at least the mining company does it's part and revegetates the land thereafter to something better than what it was. Nature can adapt and so can our wildlife. 

I hear you saying about the pollution caused by mining and logging I know about that. I've taken that into consideration. As I said: Nature and the wildlife can adapt. Its what they do best!

Anyways, the hard part to my gardening strategies/plantings is trying to go back far enough in time (before white settlement) to figure out what was actually here in the way of flora. All I have to go by is the local Aboriginal name for Tenterfield which is "Moombillen", which means "Place of wild honey". Going on that alone there would have to have been a huge amount of flora that produced honey in large quantities for it to be called that name. But there are no honey trees/plants here now. There's not even any large stands of native/introduced grasses to call the place a "grassland or open plains". 

Looking at Tenterfield and surrounding area on google maps (I made a video of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KuVTOLbMGM) makes me wonder what the heck was here before all the flora species was chopped down. Just gum trees? I doubt it. Nature doesn't create just one species of tree in one large spot without another different species to keep it company. There's always biodiversity within flora species. "Biodiversity" has to be my favourite word now. 

So, where am I going to plant these trees? In my garden, of course, or maybe on the side of the road. If I had a footpath I'd plant them there but there's no footpath out the front. Bloody council/dept. of roads-transport doesn't make footpaths in town except for the odd street here and there. I could put trees in my side of the road as the power lines are on the other side of the road. Fortunately for me (and nature) I don't get vandals in my small section of the street that go around destroying trees so that won't happen here. I figure, to hell with the landlords. It's a garden, and if they don't want the trees there I'll just say I didn't put them there. I'll lie through my teeth, so I don't get kicked out. I'll say they just showed up, and that the garden has attracted a lot of birdlife since everything began flowering. Birds do poop and disperse seeds.

Adding 2 more pics of the front garden and the stupid crooked fence from different angles. I'm sick of looking at the grass and the stupid sloping ground that's not even level. I'm starting to really hate grassed lawn.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

jason wrote:

This may be where local species really thrive, well this has been my experiance. It maybe species specific but my locals leave the natives behind in the shadows so to speak. They just grow much faster.

Local species......hmm....let me think.....I don't know the true identity of local plants as the area is so barren of flora diversity. Without a huge amount of research I'll never know which are local species and which are not. I have to do research that goes back before Tenterfield was settled by white man, prior to 1860 something. I'm not kidding about that either!

Plants not growing fast enough for me is just me being impatient. I know I'm impatient for the most part. I'll add natives (non-local natives) only as a fill in until I find true local natives. The birds have to have something to feed on except what is already there. It's really hard to do my research AND find local natives online. If I do find some, the ones I want are usually not available. Obtaining seed online is becoming difficult as no-one is replying to my emails.

I've found 3 things out with growing plants here in Tenterfield:

1. honeyeater birds prefer rich nectar plants over everything else;

2. seedlings/plants do better if I buy them from either Victoria (go figure, but I put it down to a similar climate) and one nursery in town;

3. only extreme frost hardy plants will survive in my garden.

Plants can adapt to the heavy minus 10 degrees Celcius frosts when they are young but not too young. Getting them to adapt takes the longest time for me but once they've adapted they're fine and do survive. But I've noticed that until a plant is established with it's roots they take forever to gain height, even the quicker growing gum trees. 2-3 years is a long time for me to wait for them to get growing and it makes me impatient. That's what I mean that they are not growing fast enough for me, jason. Once the 2-3 years is up those natives grow like crazy and dwarf me in size in just 12-24 months. I love it when that happens. 

Several years ago, when I was able to plant some trees on private property along the Tenterfield creek, I planted several gum tree seedlings that were claimed to grow 2 metres per year. Only 2 of my 50-80 seedlings survived over time. That was a waste of $200 I can tell you. Finally, the 2 surving trees (both gums of 2 different species) started growing 2-3 years later and last time I checked on them last year they were both getting close to 7 feet tall. They're less than 6 feet apart and growing wonderfully together. I'm happy about it too because I didn't have a need to water them after a month as they were planted almost in the creek itself. That's 2 trees that will definitely self seed in the creek sooner or later. That's two trees that weren't there before.

And what's even better is, the huge gum tree right across the creek from these two seedlings started self seeding and there's at least 3-4 seedlings of that gum that have come up that is not mowed down along the creek. There's also 2 seedlings in the other neighbour's paddock that is not mowed either. A small stand of gum trees is beginning to emerge in that one spot of about 20 square feet. So they should get some height to them this year. 

I'm just wondering if the seedlings I planted and the attention I gave them initially triggered something in the huge gum tree to self seed? It makes me wonder because before that time I never saw gum tree seedlings of the large gum tree before in that area. Why did the seeds germinate when the same conditions and habitat did not change. The only thing that changed was I started planting seedlings opposite to where it was growing as a huge tall tree. Perhaps I was worrying too much about the big gum tree falling over from water erosion due to flooding, and the tree sensed my worries? Sounds stupid I know but it just makes me think about things, as all the seedlings are growing upstream not downstream, and growing in a way that will support the roots of the mother plant from water erosion. The mother tree leans inwards toward the creek. 

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Woko
Woko's picture

Jason, we may be waiting til hell freezes over to get the sort of leadership you're talking about. And with global warming in full swing there's not much chance of that happening.

So we need to depend on ourselves to get environmental change for the better. I'm a great believer in the saying "It’s better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission". Hence my support for The Phantom Tree Planter who has been operating in my area & who cuts obstructive authorities out of the equation.

Another strategy is to get approval to, say, plant a couple of trees on a roadside then proceed to plant not only trees but shrubs & understorey plants too. Many decisions are made by control freaks. They simply like to say NO because that gives them a buzz & a feeling of power. So if you seek permission for only a couple of trees then by giving permission the control freak thinks he/she will be seen as a good guy. But to say NO to revegetating a whole roadside gives the control freak a real power rush. So, far better to seek permission for a small planting & then, once that permission has been obtained, go the whole hog. The control freak isn't concerned about what you do, only about the power rush.

I believe you're providing your children with a wonderful model. But I sense your concern that your modellling is powerful enough to thwart the sophisticated brainwashing efforts of our materialistic, profit-at-any-cost, money-addicted, Earth-wrecking society. It's important to keep in mind that you can only do your best & exposing your children to the marvels of nature & enabling them to feed off your enthusiasm for it is part of that.

Hyperbirds, try Googling <original native vegetation of Tenterfield>. You should get a link to Flora Survey Tenterfield Management Area Northern....This should give you a PDF which has lists of plants for the Tenterfield area on pages 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16 - 25. Many of the species mentioned are grouped as plant communities which have evolved to suit specific locations in the Tenterfield region.

Your Googe search should also present you with a link to Mole Station Native Nursery. I note that they stock frost hardy plants. You might want to ask them if they stock species local to where you want to do your planting.

You would probably agree with the saying that "patience is the virtue of an ass who trots beneath the burden of his load & is silent." However, as you've experienced countless times, impatience doesn't make the plant grow faster. Sadly, it takes only a few hours to wipe out a woodland or forest but it can never be restored to its original grandeur.

It's pleasing to see the regeneration on which you've commented. Would you be able to discuss with your neighbour the protection of the regenerated trees in his paddock? While no mowing is currently occuring who knows what will happen tomorrow?

I'm wondering if the large regenerating tree you mention is River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis. This species sheds masses of seeds on days when hot northerly winds blow. Subsequent rain sees thickets of seedlings growing rapidly. Is upstream of the tree to the south of the tree?

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Thanks for your comment, Woko. I already have that PDF you mentioned, and have gone through most of it to identify local species. There's a few species it doesn't mention though. I've already checked out Mole Station Native Nursery's website and I'm not happy with their online service as they don't offer all species listed in their database for sale online. I suppose if I went to the nursery in person things might be different but I just can't get there.

My either neighbour, Gaye, does seem "environmentally friendly" and even planted a gum tree by her house. Years ago when discussing with her about water erosion from the creek flooding, eroding her paddock's edge, she did seem very concerned about it. She just doesn't have the time to do anything. Her paddocks rarely get mowed. It may be 3-5 years between mowings. Most of the grass around this area is dead anyway, from a lack of consistent rain. My neighbour, Gaye, who owns the paddock with the regenerated gum trees on it, would probably let me revegetate her side of the creek, and probably even her paddocks too if I asked her. Once I even grew some willow tree cuttings for her, as she wanted them to put in her yard, but she never came and got them so they died. She's the same neighbour that I've said can crash at my place for as long as she needs if it floods and she can't get home. Her driveway floods (when it does flood) and she can't get home nor to her boyfriend's home (his place floods too). Its horrible sometimes but that's the nature of floods.

In reference to the gum tree that's self seeding, it's the one in the first pic below. The plant to it's immediate left that is not quite as tall as the gum tree is an exotic willow, plus privet. The 2nd pic I believe is the same tree as it's the only tree in the area I'd take close up photos of because a White-faced Heron nests in that gum tree 3/4 the way up on an overhanging branch and I'm still trying to perfect my photography skills with that tree. Both of these photos were taken a few years ago, about 2012-13, before I planted trees in that area.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Woko wrote:

I'm wondering if the large regenerating tree you mention is River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis. This species sheds masses of seeds on days when hot northerly winds blow. Subsequent rain sees thickets of seedlings growing rapidly. Is upstream of the tree to the south of the tree?

I used to be familiar with the River Red Gums when I was living in Mannum in Sth Oz. The tree in question doesn't have a wide girth like a river red gum, for it's age. But I really don't know one gum tree from another, really. Maybe I should learn my gum trees considering they're everywhere up here. Upstream is in a southerly direction. The immediate direction of the creek where this gum tree is, is the creek flows east to west. So, the self germinating seedlings sprouted south (in my neighbour Gaye's paddock), and west (upstream) of the mother tree. I'm assuming "upstream" is the direction of where any flood water would come from, and "downstream" is where the water flows to during a flood? Correct me if I'm wrong, Woko.

By the way, it is extremely rare to get hot northerly winds here in Tenterfield. That is the one thing I don't miss about having lived in South Australia. It was also the first thing I noticed absent from northern NSW - hot northerly winds in summer. They used to drive me inside, turn the fan on, and not go outside until it was dark. We get southerly winds for the most part of the year, or westerlies and sometimes easterly winds. Any wind coming from the north up here is always associated with either cyclone weather or really bad storms further north of us. I just hate those days when the wind is not blowing - feels like I'm suffocating from a lack of air flow so I have to put my fan on. 

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Actually, at the moment I am struggling with a garden design problem. I want to do it right but don't know where to place everything in the garden. I want to grow this and that but putting it all together is hard. If I had more rocks I'd be a happy little camper for at least a week. Any rocks I find laying around I have a habit of bringing home with me to add to the garden. Gardening is hard and designing it even harder but I'll figure something out sooner or later.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Woko
Woko's picture

Hmmm, I don't think that's a River Red Gum. But River Red Gums may not be the only species which shed lots of seed in favorable conditions. 

Yes, you got your up & downstreams right. 

  1. It's unlikely you'll ever locate the full complement of plants that once grew in your area. You can only plant what's available either from seed you collect or from nurseries which stock local plants. That's one of the tragedies of the environmental destruction which afflicts us - we'll never get back exactly what originally existed. Hence the need to protect what's left of intact bushland from the ravages of development. 
Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Woko wrote:

Hmmm, I don't think that's a River Red Gum. But River Red Gums may not be the only species which shed lots of seed in favorable conditions. 

Yes, you got your up & downstreams right. 

  1. It's unlikely you'll ever locate the full complement of plants that once grew in your area. You can only plant what's available either from seed you collect or from nurseries which stock local plants. That's one of the tragedies of the environmental destruction which afflicts us - we'll never get back exactly what originally existed. Hence the need to protect what's left of intact bushland from the ravages of development. 

Thanks, Woko. I agree with you in part but I'm a firm believer of if you really try hard enough to achieve something you'll achieve it. Getting back what plants used to exist in an environment can be achieved except for the extinct ones unless they are growing elsewhere in the country then that's doable. 

I'm ranting on to myself here, Woko, so don't mind me: It actually makes me wonder why gum trees are so abundant everywhere? I'm all for our eucalypts, but come on, they're everywhere up here. They're almost like weeds. I think gum trees are that type of plant species that will overtake the environment if given the opportunity. I'm starting to think that gum trees see a space in the ground and fill it up with their seedlings killing off any chance for any other bigger species to repopulate next to them by dropping toxic leaves. There's a good reason for that I'm sure but it just makes me wonder why the majority of gum trees up here rarely have other non-toxic leaved trees growing around them. And why are most of our tree species nationally so short lived? 

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Woko
Woko's picture

One reason for the relative abundance of Eucalypts in many places is that the rest of the natural bushland has been destroyed by humans. This destruction might be because Eucalypts are generally harder to remove than other native plant species. Eucalypts' prominence  might also be due to many Australians believing that natural landscapes consist of gum-studded paddocks. 

Yes, Eucalypts do have toxins in their leaves which prevent germination of seeds so that competition is reduced. New plants appear when the parent Eucalyptus dies. It's the way things have evolved & that's not to be sneezed at.

I haven't noticed that so many of our trees are short-lived but then I suppose it depends on what you mean by "short-lived".

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Woko, I mean the majority of our native trees only seem to live for about 100 years or so, some, like some wattles only get to be 20-30 years old before they die. Yet some other trees can live up to 500 or more years - can't remember which ones though. I am just wondering why that is, and why trees evolve the way they do, and why some species have longer lifespans than others do. I think I think too much. If only trees were chainsaw proof. Now that would be interesting!

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Woko
Woko's picture

I can't help you with why some trees have longer lifespans than others, Hyperbirds. It's something I haven't looked into. Perhaps trees indigenous to parts of Earth where there is consistent rainfall live longer because they're not subject to the stresses of inconsistent rain or even frequent drought. 

On the short-lived side, Golden Wattle Acacia pycnantha lives for only four or five years, even less in some cases. It colonises areas after bush fires & other disastrous (to humans) events & its ecological task is to fix nitrogen in the soil then die quickly so that other species germinating later will benefit. 

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Thanks Woko. An interesting reality about wattles that is but it still makes me wonder why plants are so short lived in the first place and others are not. I'll just put it all down to genetics and the more long lived the plant species is the older the species is on this planet and the less opportunities they've had to adapt to an ever changing environment involve man and the weather.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Finally done some catch up gardening and planted 8 more plants into the garden and weeded. Only one third of the entire properties' garden has been weeded (and has a half decent garden). And then I had to water the 3 garden beds.

As I was weeding and planting as I was going several birds came to investigate my gardening activity. A Pied Currawong flew in several feet from me then flew to my bin and just watched me; a minute later it took off. A pair of Red Wattlebirds? flew in and perched on the power line going to the flats and looked at what I was doing; chirped a lot then flew away. Australian Magpies hung around me and went through the weeded area looking for bugs and found lots of them. Birds of many different species always take an interest in what I'm doing when gardening, as if they approve of or are excited about what I'm doing, especially if I'm planting plants in the ground.

Only disappointed about one thing: I lost a Coral Creeper to slugs. I have another one so it's not a complete waste/loss.

Being undecided about what to plant where today I just randomly selected plants and put them in the ground, including my dwarf Daylily that I had in a pot. I think I'm going for a random look for the garden. Just throwing plants in here and there but planting the trees in the centre of the beds. Once I've got my coleus seeds germinated and they're big enough they are going into the garden as well, for a splash of leaf colour. 

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Woko
Woko's picture

I suspect those birds are a little more mercenary than being excited by your gardening efforts, Hyperbirds. A juicy worm or bug is what they're after. It's simple exploitation. 

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Just reading this thread and thinking you are doing an amazing job Hyperbirds. I love your determination. If all residents of country towns were like you, wouldn't the towns be beautiful places to visit! Speaking of visiting, only a couple of weeks ago I drove through Tenterfield on a trip from Canberra to Sunshine Coast. Had I read this thread beforehand, I might have tried to drop off some tubes for you to pick up somewhere. I see your difficulties, a major one being resident/council apathy. And yes, Australians mostly haven't managed to lose the compulsion to cut down trees and plant sterile lawns in their place. I think they just like the noise of their mowers, the smell of the carbon monoxide and the joy of pouring precious water on them. A fellow who lives up the road on the edge of the bush recently cut down a huge eucalypt, probably fifty years old or more, because it was tall enough to hit his garage IF it fell down (in that particular direction). After fifty years, and another fifty years of healthy living to go, I don't know why he thought it was suddenly going to fall. And incredibly, he has been at pains to kill off new coppice growth! If he left the tree to grow again, it would take another fifty years to get to the same height. He is around fifty himself, so that means he is planning to be in the same house when he is 100 years old, living under the threat of that same re-grown tree IF it fell and IF it fell in the five degrees angle where his garage stands, instead of the other 355 degrees available to it where no damage would result.

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Woko wrote:

I suspect those birds are a little more mercenary than being excited by your gardening efforts, Hyperbirds. A juicy worm or bug is what they're after. It's simple exploitation. 

That would've been true for the Magpies but not the other birds. The Pied Currawongs don't visit my garden anymore since I stopped feeding the birds and when the previous garden got ripped out. The other pair of birds that landed on the power line that went to the flats, I think, were just letting me know they were around.  That's what it seemed like to me anyway. The Currawong just looked at my garden then at me before it flew off to join the rest of the Pied Currawongs heading south. 

On the news front a little tree of some sort has self germinated in my garden. I noticed it growing the other day when I was weeding the garden. It actually looks like my other "unknown tree" when it was smaller; it has red growth leaves on it too. Its the prettiest little plant actually. I'm guessing a Pied Currawong dispersed the seed into my garden whilst gobbling up cabbage moth catepillers from my neighbour's cabbage plants. I didn't put it there, nor did the neighbour who is growing vegies - as all he's got is a few cabbages and half a dozen or so spring onion?. It's also possible that a bit of bark could've regrown and shooted. I have to keep turning the bark chips over otherwise they'll reshoot, as they're all growing roots. The bark chips are growing in the ground, in pots, etc, just not on the immediate surface of the ground or exposed to air. The ground is constantly moist and cool and has been all year long, even just a few cms down. I've barely had the need to water anything where there are bark chips.

Still waiting for plant growth to happen in any of my begger plants. Only two things are currently taking off like crazy: my celery, and a groundcover that is jasmine-like. It had one flower last spring/summer so it should have a mass of flowers this year. The honeyeaters love the flowers to this plant. My plant is a cutting from the one by the creek which the mother of my neighbour across the road planted. 

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Night Parrot wrote:

Just reading this thread and thinking you are doing an amazing job Hyperbirds. I love your determination. If all residents of country towns were like you, wouldn't the towns be beautiful places to visit! Speaking of visiting, only a couple of weeks ago I drove through Tenterfield on a trip from Canberra to Sunshine Coast. Had I read this thread beforehand, I might have tried to drop off some tubes for you to pick up somewhere. I see your difficulties, a major one being resident/council apathy. And yes, Australians mostly haven't managed to lose the compulsion to cut down trees and plant sterile lawns in their place. I think they just like the noise of their mowers, the smell of the carbon monoxide and the joy of pouring precious water on them. A fellow who lives up the road on the edge of the bush recently cut down a huge eucalypt, probably fifty years old or more, because it was tall enough to hit his garage IF it fell down (in that particular direction). After fifty years, and another fifty years of healthy living to go, I don't know why he thought it was suddenly going to fall. And incredibly, he has been at pains to kill off new coppice growth! If he left the tree to grow again, it would take another fifty years to get to the same height. He is around fifty himself, so that means he is planning to be in the same house when he is 100 years old, living under the threat of that same re-grown tree IF it fell and IF it fell in the five degrees angle where his garage stands, instead of the other 355 degrees available to it where no damage would result.

I just don't understand people who think a sterile lawned landscape is better than having an actual garden full of plants with flowers on them and lush foliage. People here don't even water their lawn anymore - due to the drought/watering restrictions. Only clover seems to be surviving right now, as it is growing and flowering everywher you look. The other grass just looks dead. We have a type of clover, as well as the normal clover, that has pink flowers. It is currently growing crazy and is in bloom too, even on my front lawn. Its really pretty actually. 

The minds of people who worry about gum trees falling down on their house bothers me. I just don't get why they'd even think about such things for in the first place, unless a particular tree is prone to dropping large branches then that train of thought is understandable. Perhaps people really have nothing to think about apart from their own little lives, so they worry about other things instead - like felling a tree?  I think a lot of people, especially white people, have lost their identity, their spirituality over time. We don't seem to have a true history of where our origins came from. If you look at the other races, like the Australian Aborigines, for example, their cultures are full of myths, dreamtime stories, spiritual customs and laws, etc. What kind of culture and traditions do us white people have? None, I'm afraid. We seem to make something up as we go. We don't know who we are as a race, so therefore, we don't know how to think or feel about anything. So most of us just give up and do our own thing by not fiting into anything "natural or spiritual". If we do try, we end up stealing values from other races to use as our own. Us white people are a "lost people". It explains, to a large degree, why we are anti-everything for the most part and why we don't care about nature, plants, birds, wildlife, people, the planet, etc. You strip away the very essence of a person and they will not care less about anything either, whether they are tribal or not. 

But yeah, people are generally unempathetic toward eveything and everyone up here. There is one neighbour who has planted out her garden with native plants over the back fence but obviously no trees as I haven't seen anything large sprouting up to further empede my view of Mt MacKenzie to the south-west, and she's been there for about 5 years or so.

Usually the people who say they like what I'm doing to the garden are the people who rarely visit the flats or are just walking by. 

It's okay, Night Parrot, you don't have to drop anything off for me to add to my garden. It is sweet of you to mention it though. What I need is rocks and dirt at the moment, so I might have a chat with someone at the Council. I know, from past experiences, the council struggles to find places to dump excess dirt and rocks in town when they're doing stuff.  If I had more dirt and rocks I could easily do up the garden beds to complete them all. I don't mind paying for the plants myself when I can afford it, but I'm reluctant to ask for dirt and rocks from the Council, going on the fact that I might appear desperate or needy or something. But, I figure the council just wastes the excess dirt, rocks and the electricity company just dumps the tree offcuts, and as the local rubbish dump is getting too full of rubbish, I'd be doing us all a favour of reducing landfill of green waste and other stuff anyway.

Maybe, one day, other people in the neighbourhood might catch on and start doing the same?  

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

My next project, considering I've done all that I can out the front, is work on the southern side driveway. For the life of me I can't find the photo I took of the driveway. I'm going to plant my Small leaf Tamarinds, 1 x Cabbage Palm and Koda in the driveway along the fence line as soon as I can find something as a garden edging. I'll probably do up the immediate area by my front door in preparation for putting 2 of my cabbage palms in pots there. There's always something to do in the garden.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

I bought 10 Linospadix monostachya - Walking Stick Palms yesterday plus some Native Violets and an Arachis pintoi - Pinto Peanut groundcover. The Walking Stick Palms I've wanted to add to my private collection for a long time and I'm stoked about that. There's only two places outside where I can put them at the moment and that is under the carports out the back in pots. There's no shade elsewhere on the property except inside the flats. 

The trouble with adding plants to this property is I'll need a lot of them, litterally hundreds of plants. Its just so overwhelming.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Well. I've got some bad news and some not so bad news, and perhaps some good news to add. I spoke to the local Council and I'm not allowed to plant trees on the footpath next to the road. It seems the Council does it themselves when they want to plant specific trees along a street.

I had to redesign one of my garden beds and cut back 2 grevilleas to ground level as the heat was killing them. I recently bought 10 bags of potting mix for $40 (on sale), and put 2 bags of potting mix on one garden bed then covered it all with a thick layer of bark chips from elsewhere on the property. Then watered the garden that night. I just hope the grevilleas make it. I've never lost a grevillea before and this year I've already lost 4 of them. I've lost most of my fruit tree seedlings due to slugs, too much watering and the heat. Some are just not germinating properly either. 

My not so bad news is where most of my plants are surviving some are not doing so good. They're struggling to survive. Some are rotting due to too much water, some are getting sunburnt (my cabbage palms and Blue-flax lillies in the garden, and the last frost nearly killed my Native Frangipanis. I compensated and covered them with dug up weeds, grasses and cacti in pots. They seem to be surviving. I've also lost one of my Weeping Bottlebrushes to the heat, and nearly lost my Fringed Wattle to the heat. I nearly lost my 2 Native Violets by putting them outside in the shade to get some wind. 

My good news is there are some flowers out now (dwarf Chrysanthemums; poached egg plants; plus some others including a succulent that hasn't flowered in a few years), and my garden is a buzz with native bees, gnats (on the celery), butterflies on the lawn (the little purple ones that I hadn't seen on my lawn for quite a few years), and moths and even the odd dragonfly. There's also worms, slaters, and slugs still. Not much else but plenty of native bees. I did see some introduced honey bees on the clover flowers when I went outside before.

Some plants are starting to grow fast, whereas others are struggling to grow at all. Some are flowering rathering than growing. Water and heat is making them flower, even if they are really tiny in size. And one flower is almost as big as the tiny plants are. I'm confused and disappointed at the same time with my annual flowers. My annual flowers are minaturising themselves on me.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

zosterops
zosterops's picture

Hyperbirds wrote:

Thanks Woko. An interesting reality about wattles that is but it still makes me wonder why plants are so short lived in the first place and others are not. I'll just put it all down to genetics and the more long lived the plant species is the older the species is on this planet and the less opportunities they've had to adapt to an ever changing environment involve man and the weather.

The Acacia plants themselves might be comparatively short-lived but their seeds are very long-lived and capable of surviving many decades in the soil. They have a tough seed coat and are reluctant to germinate and generally only do so following a disturbance event. 

acacias are basically supersized weeds in their ecology. they are designed to pump out as many seeds as possible in their short lifespans. it also makes them (and many other leguminous relatives) extremely difficult to eradicate in areas where they are introduced. 

Woko
Woko's picture

Zosterops, you're so right about introduced Acacias being hard to eradicate. In my neighbourhood in SA we have infestations of Golden Wreath Wattle Acacia saligna from WA. I still have seeds germinating from A. saligna plants I destroyed well over 20 years ago.

zosterops
zosterops's picture

I believe some other Fabaceae like gorse (Ulex europaea), brooms (cytisus) and some clover seeds were found to remain viable for over 80 years in the soil.

some can even survive continuous submersion. i recall reading about some Cytisus sp., seeds were kept underwater for over 3 years and were still viable.  

zosterops
zosterops's picture

just found reference to some more Fabaceae sp.. Cassia and Albizzia ~200 year old seeds germinating, had been kept in poor conditions at ambient room temperature.

In other plants Lotus seeds (Nelumbo) seeds 1,200 years old have successfully germinated, as have Phoenix dactylifera (2,000 years old). 

Woko
Woko's picture

Zosterops, I certainly hope these Acacia saligna seeds won't still be germinating in 2000 years time. Nor do I hope the Albizzia seeds from a couple of plants I destroyed about 27 years ago are germinating in 200 years time.

Sadly, people don't appreciate the damage they do to the environment by planting ferals.

zosterops
zosterops's picture

locally when old suburban houses are pulled down (original 60s jobs) for new subdivision developments inevitably a continuous blanket of Solanums germinates from where the foundations were.. i reckon seeds were waiting all that time for a disturbance event and they could probably go a lot longer as seed. 

Similarly we sometimes get Chamaecytisus palmensis (tree lucerne) germinating in the garden following disturbance, there are no mature plants nearby and i suspect at least in some cases the seeds have been dormant since before this area was urbanised from market gardens in the 50s. 

Woko
Woko's picture

It would seem there are ecological time bombs all over the place just needing the right trigger to set them off. We would do well to avoid planting any more of them.

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