A New Hope

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jason

Ever heard of the Dean brothers, well they own most the hood, the old one we have been just talking about anyway.  Google them, not sure what you will find but they made a name and plenty of money back when Jo Bjelke Perterson was living the dream.  This part of Oxley is on the western fringe bordering Darra.  It's regards as pretty povo, with no real worth as far as dwellings go, but most of us are on 3000 to 6000m2 of land.  So developers are all over it like a rash being roughly 18km from the CBD.  

My only other like minded "nature" person was my neighbour.  She actually bought in because she liked what I had done to my yard and the greeness of the area.  We planted, watched, and wondered together with our quiet forgotten part of the world.  But when big money comes to the area, people mean very little I'm afraid.  The two of us wrote, bitched, and asked as much as we could. A few elderly people did also, but that was more so in regard to their position in life, potential industrialisation of the of area, and what alternative did they realistically face except finishing out their days with their new uninvited form of progress.  If a politician can fill his bag with votes than you have a chance, other wise you are as dispensible as the flora and fauna they are going to swip from the earth.  Sorry to be so down on it.  But after consultation with the developers on Borals old site, and Qld Government consultation regarding the Ipswich Road upgrade, all we ever were was politely entertained.  Our concernes we probaly not eve recorded, let alone any serious thought. Our street was the easiest path to profits, and least resistance.  

My old neighbour works in land care.  We tried all sorts of approaches. But like my new buddy here with the creek regeneration we are trying for out the back; it just falls on deaf ears.  Ego's, power trips, and maitaining the current position in people current or work load in their working life seem to take priority.  Nature means very little to people though they all say the enjoy it usually.

Anyway Woko, the trees are gone, is a done deal.  More houses, more industrial building, more of everything humans largly value for Oxley I'm aftraid.  And nature takes the hit and pays again.  It's time for a beer and wonder out the back of my new home. Watch the bats take flight. The Currawong sign it's evening prayer, and for me to dream if I dare, of what I can do here in my own back yard and little local creek.  It's the only peace I find in modern life.        

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Woko
Woko's picture

I don't see you as down on it, jason. Rather I see you as handing out a solid dose of reality.

Yes, sometimes there's little more you can do than raise your voice in protest & hope that some day someone will say Why didn't we listen to jason? That all sounds negative but at least one person saw what you were doing & liked it. Who knows, your model of working with rather than against the environment may attract someone else. Keep at it, even if it's for your own satisfaction. Your place will probably be a beacon of light midst the development gloom.

jason

Thank you woko, you are a supportive soul, and one with much knowledge. I mean that.  This site would be much lesser without your input. I think many on here get a lot from you. 

My neighbour moved as well.  She bought a bushy block near by.  We are again plotting, more plants, nest boxes, and another little pocket of haven for our friends who can't talk.   

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jason

Well it's nice to see machines that can reak havock, can also be used to make good as well. Did a little landscaping in the yard with the mini escavator this morning.  One step closer, very exciting.  We moved about 8m2 of dirt into the middle of the yard and shaped it into a very fat in the middle type of S.  Hard to see but its there.  

I have room for a pond so very happy with that.  Not sure to just use plastic as a liner, a plastic tub, or some sort of concrete job.  I love my logs and though one looks out in the middle of nowwhere, by the time the pond is in, a tree grows, and a sitting spot added it will blend in nicely. Also get to finish the fence tomorrow as well. So all in all a productive weekend.

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jason

Of course I would have got a lot more done if I didn' have to do a 5 hr round trip to get this little girl.  The new edition to the family.  Low allergy for the son, almost non hair dropping for the wife, lap dog for the daughter, and no instinct so hopefully will leave my garden alone.  Cheap to feed, easy transport, and hopefully enjoyable to baby sit ocassionally.  Booked into puppy school already, this is our new Maltese Shih Tzu, Biscuit.

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jason

added this smaller log to the frog garden, and have another for another bed.  It's turning out every garden has a rock cairn and a hollow log.  

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jason

Got the first 20 plants in on the weekend.  That was very pleasing though there is much work to be done.  Just something nice about seeing plants go from tube stock into ground.  

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Woko
Woko's picture

Are you getting a good rain to greet them, jason?

jason

bit more progress, last log.  

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jason

Woko wrote:
 Are you getting a good rain to greet them, jason?

yes and no. The rain happened in the week leading upto, but I think a bit more is forcast.  I guess 10 cubes of mulch will be the next bit of fun.  

Are you getting a good rain to greet them, jason?

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spiney
spiney's picture

Looking Good Jason - What have you planted so far?

jason

I joinned the Ipi Council's Habitat Gardens scheme, so really what was on offer at their nursery.  I have done ok I guess, well 5 out of 7 in the local stakes. Still in my mind hybrids are not really where it's at, just hard to know at the nursey unless you reasearch every plant on the phone before you pick them.  I have a hand full of emails from Society for Growing Aus Plants "SGAP" nurseries.  I will email them a list of locals I'm looking for from the councils publication of the area.  Hard to find local plants, well I think so.     

So I picked up  

3 x Melaleuca thymifilia - Thyme Honey Myrtle

2 x Callistemon viminalis - Rose Opal

1 x                                   - Dawson River   This is to replace the transplant one that didn't make it.  This is for the water dragons that graced the old, hopefully they will the new.

6 x Lomandra longifolia - Matt Rush

2 x Leptospermum scoparium - Pink Cascade

3 x Eremophila - Wild Berry emu bush.

3 x Acacia disparrima - Hickory Wattle.  some how these made their way to the park, but just outside my house.  

But really now the hard scape is done, 150 - 200 plants could go in, but I need to get the mulching done first.  Good to have some spare money as well so timing is good. 

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spiney
spiney's picture

Fantastic stuff - It's great that your local council has a habitat garden scheme!! Yes get that mulch down ASAP - at least 5cm thick - it'll save you a million headaches by preventing the weeds from sprouting everywhere... Well worth the effort... When I did my garden a few years ago I used around 25 cubic metres and it has worked a treat. I've topped it up annually, have had hardly any weeds and my brick hard clay soil is slowly turning into worm filled GOLD!!!

Woko
Woko's picture

Spiney, have you thought about using indigenous native grasses in your garden. They not only look great (in the eye of the beholder) but they're important habitat for a number of butterfly species as well as providing seed for native seed eaters.

spiney
spiney's picture

Hey Woko, have a look at my pics on the other thread 'A Bird Garden Grows'. My garden is packed with indigenous grasses. I have Themeda triandra, Austrodanthonia caespitosa and Microlaena stipoides to name a few. Microlaena is by far the best butterfly grass and probably the best for birds too but it isn't the prettiest thing unfortunately so my patch is tucked away by the shed. I call it my indigenous lawn. Themeda and Austrodanthonia by contrast are fantastic garden plants. I highy recommend them and the butterflies love them!!! Lomandra longifolia is important too for the Splendid Ochre. I'm thinking of giving some of the smaller grass species a go by my pond so I might get some Poa morissii and Austrodanthonia geniculata. I'm dead keen on watching which grasses are favoured by the local butterfly and bird population. The information out there is very limited.

jason

And thats it really, more food means more activity in the chain.  More activity needs more housing which needs more food and it all equals more smiles and pleasure.  Sunday morning, cup of coffee, enjoying the morning light and watching the butterflies do their little flutter dance before seducing the plant putting on its best display. . Just magic. 

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jason

Well not quote the puppy socialisation I was planning on, but I'll take whats on offer.  Who knows we might end up being some sort of ingured wildlife career in the future.  In the past two days I have visitors bring orphaned animals around. This little fella and a bird which fell from a nest.  Surprising how accepting of humans they are.  

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TheBirdLover
TheBirdLover's picture

I know this topic isn't really about photos but those cute little fluffballs are adorable. The last shot is sooooo cute!

M.M.

jason

Well yes and no Bird Lover. Pages of reading is sure helped out with a few pics.  I sure like to see what people are up to besides just reading. My hope to build a nature reserve of sorts in the yard, one that compliments the park, and increase the parks diversity, density, and health are tied some what into that fluff ball. The seed was planted with my daughter well before the rest came along. So a dog that works with nature is a must, not an option.  It has to get comfortabe with birds, lizards, frogs and the like sharing its space or it, I and the daughter have a problem.  Biscuit started school last night and I'm happy to say she sits and lays alredy. I have no doubt the instructer can advise me if she starts chasing the wildlife.  

A little tip for any man who wants a dog, consider a little dog, they are one serious chick magnet. Lol. 

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Woko
Woko's picture

Yes, of course, spiney. Forgetfulness is my middle name!

jason

Well the garden is comming along nicely.  Got it mulched, bought a pond liner, sourced some 30 odd locals and got them in, all in the middle of some good rain.  Off to another nursery for another session with the locals this morning, and an innings of planting to cap the day off.  I see the phantom planter found a bit of time as well.  

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jason

Got another 50 in today.  It's always the same.  You leave with a box of plants but know in the back of your head it should really be double or tripple.  Still it's a good opportunity to do some more homework on ground covers, grasses and plants under 1.5m.  I'm happy I have all the 2 to 4m plants in, and a good sprinkling of <1m.  Just need to thicken it all up.

Last pic is the pond sight. Figure I can get a 2.5 x 2m pond in there under thise Blue Flax Lilies.

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Woko
Woko's picture

Hopefully, this will rub off on your neighbours, jason.

zosterops
zosterops's picture

keep up the good work, jason. 

it will be interesting to see how they all grow. 

timrp
timrp's picture

Your garden is coming along well jason, it looks really good. It will be awesome when the pond goes in!

jason

Thanks lads, it has been fun with hold ups in cash flow from not getting paid from work being the only real thorn.  My soil is generally sandy which drains quite well. I seem to have a bit of a water table about 1m down from the lowest point in the garden. With the highest point not mush above that.  The fall to the creek is subtle so we are pretty low here. What that means I don't fully understand yet, I have no say anyway, but we don't flood which is nice.  My mound of dirt seems to have a fair bit of clay in it. Hard to pick and choose when you ask the bob cat driver for his next topsoil load when available, and it's for free.  So yes zosterops time will tell.  But I have a good layer of mulch now making the best of some good rain we have had.

I have tried to pick plants from open forrests and woodlands, but also alluvial flats, watercourses and wetlands to a lesser degree. You go with a list to a nursery, all keen, then get there to find many are not there, then trying to work out what will and what won't work, is it local, picture it in you head for the garden, and try not to waste loads of the sellers weekend time for a $2 plant, it's hard to get it right I can tell you. But I'm happy with myself, being open to some smaller spindly type stuff with tiny flowers.  The kind of thing that arent showy or popular to humans, but butterflies and insects love.   

Yes looking forward to the pond, I have spiney to thank for that inspiration.  That log it will be under will be a good perch for all sorts of  things. I bought a 1mm thick rubber liner.  I was told if I make the edges sharp and 400mm deep its too akward for the toads.  So will see how it goes.  

Ahh my neighbour. We have a laugh.  He was commenting on how his family have been saying how good it looks, and he said yeh if you like plants.  I said I have some bad news for you buddy.  I just put in 80 plants and I have at least another 200 to go.  Hi eyes bulged, and then he shook his head.  I like my grass, it's easy he said.  Funny how 3 or 4 days work to set up a garden is harder than a lfie time of mowing. Anyway I said you can enjoy my birds from your verandah standing next to your fake owl.  Amazing how people see nature as the enemy.   

I see the phantom planter has been back, 3 more in.  Maybe a nice little thicket just might develope.  It's like a little McHabitate for the wild life.                

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Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Oh the mindset of the neighbour and millions like him. Just can't see the difference between the boring, unimaginative, stark sterility of a lawn and the treasure of nature in a garden where a million things may be happening at any time. Apart from the cost of mowers, fuel (and associated pollution), watering, maintenance, etc do many people ever USE their lawns? I suspect that most lawns are never even trodden on except by the shoes of the person pushing a mower. Perhaps they are useful for a game of backyard cricket. Once a year? Once a decade? Probably never.

jason

And to pehaps than show how lost or bored people are with their lives, they then say I find it therapeutic or relaxing. The poor soul admits to mowing 2 sometimes 3 times a week in summer so the lawn looks real smick. Im not holding my breath, but maybe one day I will encourage him to plant a tree. 

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Woko
Woko's picture

A mighty effort, jason, on a number of fronts.

I wouldn't worry too much about taking up the nursery person's time for a $2 plant. An astute nursery person in a free market economy will be listening carefully to the demands you're making on his/her business & will be responding with supply. That's how it's supposed to work, particularly if your neighbours begin trapsing to her/his establishment demanding indigenous species for their gardens.

jason

You know woko it has crossed my mind, a little indigenous landscaping business.  I almost like riipping out excotics as much as I like whacking in locals.  Something boteque for all the wealthy beaurtiful people I work for.  Kind of feel if they can cough up 140K for a kitchen, then a little garden make over should be easy.  Not sure I can convince them however, they do like manicured sterol look. 

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Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

It could be well worth looking into. Having a few good "before and after" shots in advertising and extolling the benefits of a native garden in terms of greater privacy, ease of maintenance, added shade and attractiveness, increased real estate value, benefits for birdlife, etc might pull many customers who only know the sterile look and think it is the only option.   

Woko
Woko's picture

And provide them with photos of beautiful songbirds such as Golden Whistler. Let them know if they want to attract these wonderful creatures & their song to their garden then they'll need to avail themselves of your reasonably-priced services. The name of your new business: Wildlife Dimensions.

jason

Food for thought Woko. A change from my existing job sure would be nice.

Through out this process I have undertaken, it just got me thinking with the homework to find plants, or even the idea of indigenous plants verse native plants, it can be a bit of an exercise for the uneducated.  If one can provide all the answers, and another has the want and money it has merrit.  I see all the time in my working world, lots of excotic landscaping where everything is neat and architectural.  But birds pooping on the Porche, or spiders making home of the CCTV just wont be tollerated.  No one seems to talk positively about possums or nature generally.  It's just a completely different mindset as to who you would find on here.

I know of a customer who has 2 landscapers do maintance three times a week on the extensive garden. They have a grand total of 4 species in it, all exocitic.   Grass, money tree Crassula ovata, some elephant ear type thing, and Jacarandas. And spent well over 50K making it.      

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Woko
Woko's picture

Money well wasted from my perspective.

jason

Yes indeed. Could rattle on a more but no wonder surgery is so expansive. And unfortunately not just a one off. 

Anyway, I must try and be more positive.....

I noticed while planting in just about every hole I dug in the sandy loam, I have worms.  Lots of baby worms about 25mm long.  Got to be happy with that.    

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jason

I think this indigenous concept is certinally the way to go. Things just grow.  Before I cottoned onto it I planted an Evodiella muelleri Little Evodia and a Hymenosporum flavum Native frangapanni.  One native to Nth Qld, one indigenours.  At the time no real plan just have a liking to both trees.  Both went in June or around that time.  The Evodia has had two sessions of being eaten, one stripped bare.  And this is the second time it has given up the ghost on a warm but not hot day.  If anythng it has recieved more water then the rest. However I prefer my garden to be self sustained and only needing water in the hottest of those unfair summers or drought cycyles.  Evodia has put on maybe 2.5cm, NP has done 45cm.

I have a nice Mischocarpus anadontus Viney Pear Fruit jumping out of the pot to fill the Evodia's position.  

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jason

Well another 32 in today, it's starting to look like a garden. Easy to see the sheltered tube stock with the recent heat wave.  It appears baby them and they brown off pretty quickly.  Still most have done exceptionally well. I currently have 26 species in 81m2, not sure if that's good but I'm happy.

So my garden is looking like: 

Acacia falcate- Siecle Wattle

Acacia fimbriata- Brisbane Wattle

Baeckea frutescens - Weeping Baeckea

Breynia oblongifolia - Coffee Bush

Callistemon viminalis - Dawson River Weeper hybrid

Callistemon viminalis - Rose Opal

Cullen tenax - Emu Foot

Dianella brevipedunculata - Pin Cushion Flax Lily

Dianella caerula - Blue Flax Lily

Enchylaena  tomentosa - Ruby Salt Bush

Eremophila debil - Winter Apple

Eremophila - Wild Berry emu bush

Eucalyptus curtisii- Plunket Malley

Hardenbergia violacea - Native Sarsparilla

Indigefera australis - Native Indigo

Jacksonia scoparia- Dogwood

Leptospermum scoparium - Pink Cascade hybrid

Lomandra longifolia - Matt Rush

Melaleuca thymifolia - Thyme Honey Myrtle

Myoporum montanum prostrate - not local 

Poa labillardierei - Large Tussock Grass

Oplismenus aemulus - Basket Grass

Ozothamnus diosmilius - Sago flower

Scaevola albida - Fairy Fan Flower 

Themenda Triandra - Kangaroo Grass

Viola banksii - White Ntive Violet

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Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Oh boy, you have been planting a lot haven't you, jason? You must be rightly stoked with yourself! The more species the better as it creates more diversity for all the birds, and creates more bird species diversity that'll end up by visiting your garden. I really hope your plants grow big and strong and surprise you with all their beautiful flowers.

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

jason

Thanks Shirley, I have bought 2 to 3 sometrimes 4 of each species, grasses of corse are in 6 upward.  I'm excited I still have the pond to fill and surround, and still plenty of room for ground covers, grasses and sub half meter plants.  I think I have a good selection of berry V flowers, and something should be in fruit or flower all year round.  It's been fun but wish it was bigger.  

The back garden is also comming along. I'm thinking of rebuilding some one of the original retaining walls to make garden bigger.  We will still have plenty of lawn for all our needs. Also decided to remove two of the large trees that were hacked off at 1m height from the previous owner.  I already have two of each in the yard in their fullness, and feel the space where the re shooting stimps can be used better.  Just cement, bins, chain saws, stump grinders all cost. And there is time.....       

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

jason

Got a bit time this afternoon and made some Micro-bat boxes.  Should go nice in the park. Last pic the finshed but unpainted boxes upside down.

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spiney
spiney's picture

The garden is coming along fantastically Jason... well done... Stoked to hear you purchased some pond liner - the frogs will love you!!  

I Love the bat boxes too... I get a few microbats around my place and they are the most endearing little things... they eat so many insects too they're a gardeners best friend!!

jason

Thanks spiney, all seems to be going well.  I think I am looseing two lilly's however, but they were something the lady pulled out of the ground at the nursery becasue she was out of tube stock.  They didn't have much of a root system and perhaps no hope going in whilst in the middle of a heat wave. But if they fall over I know where to get more.   

I bought a 1mm ruber liner from Southland Liners just down the road here in Brissie. Australian owned, operated, and made, and at a price equal to the ebay whatevers. Not a big one, just something around 2.8 x 2.1 x .45m  I think .3 deep will be plenty deep for my needs.  50 years they say is its expected life, so who knows I might look at something in the back yard as well.     

However, time to focus on bees and bird nest boxes for a bit, no full weekends left before Xmas for building ponds.  

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

jason

Managed to get NP's bee box set today.  I borked at creating a tunnel between the hive and potental new hive.  After reading my new litrature these bee blokes seems to have killed the odd hive or two working things out.  So I parked NP's new hive 3meters away creating an opportunity, but not affecting my hive.  I guessed that works as in one of the books there is a pic of a bloke who found a new species standing next to a hive, and one in the back ground.  Hopefully Dec, Jan, Feb is enough for them to create a new kingdom.  

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

jason

version two, microbat homes.

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

jason

The Fig.... my eternal fig bless it.  Well it has decided it's not giving up after being slashed by the council park mowers; it has started re shooting again.  So despite the tree hater taking my sign saying "happy, you finnally got rid of it", I went down and weeded it, re mulched, and drove a stake in so the mowers know its still loved. Will see what the tree hates next move is.  I can borrow one of those infa red motion camera's I think.  Might give that a go to find out what this person's problem is.  

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Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Good luck Jason. I have great expectations. I am wondering if it helps to smear some of the cerumen that is in the crack of the tree hive on to the entrance of the new box. Its supposed to contain pheromones that help the bees identify their hive. Not sure what the effect would be. Maybe it hasn't been tried before.

jason

Yeh why not, between us we will sort it.  FYI box is set up Nth Nor Est same as the tree.  Under good broken shade so don't think it will get too hot.  It sits quite well on that strar picket holder thing.  But just thinking you might want to grab another if easy.  Just incase it looses it's integrity and doesn't bit the next star picket.  Fingers crossed. 

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

Night Parrot
Night Parrot's picture

Thanks Jason. I will get another of those picket caps, although when I set it up more permanantly I will add some support struts for stability.

jason

yes NP, the house deal fell over so it will be a good experiement.  It seems via the amount of cerumen in the donor hives entry, it is quite an old hive.  So it should be a stong and stable one. My trees have been growing well, and the neighbour hood is still fairly well wooded. Shame I have missed spring though.  I am hoping next year I can put my log hives out to be accomodated the same way as yours if it works.  I don't get it though. In the books thay say how hard it is to do a log hive, but then say hollows are bees natural homes, and how they fill termite eaten hollow everywhere. Live, dead, or fallen trees, any port in a stom as the saying goes. So I'll keep reading.  Probably go to a workshop as well.  

I have forgotten to grease the pole on yours so will do that today. I have been thinking more about the cerumen at the front door.  Since little seems to be know about these bees, just wondering if that door way is as signifigant to bees as numbers are to our homes. I'm sure some of the population would be happy to move to anothers house, but might just watch for December and see what happens.  I have read if one has some brood and place it inside the new ive, it can be a good motivator for take up. Don't have any however.  Looking at the donor tree it has fallen from grace somewhat.  The termites have been giving it a good chewing, with all the upper limbs gone, and the trunk seemly to have shrunk in height by a fair bit. It's looking rather cained all over, even at the base under the hive.  Maybe I didn't look hard enough 8 years ago when the decision was made to keep it. But I can't recall mowing over tree limbs either, so has to be the termies i think.

I tell you Woko's idea of letting natural germination take it's course is sound one.  I planted a line of native ? shrubs to screen the neighbour way back when.  Besides from her breaking off the branches if they dare cross the fence line, they have been slow growing and apoor performer.  The local wattles however have done the job in two years, twice as thick, but I have lost 5m of yard compared to the 1.5m line I was working on.  Given there is a few 1000 meters down there who gives a rip I'm thnking.  Can't see the cranky cow now so that's welcomed.  

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

timmo
timmo's picture

Nice work, Jason. 

You are doing a super job for the local wildlife. Bringing in the bees, bats and insects with homes and diverse plantings will be sure to help create bird habitat as well.

It has inspired me to do a bit more round home as well - I made up some Besser block mud bricks for the bees yesterday, just need to put the holes in them tonight, before they bake dry. I think I'll have a look at what scrap timber I have under the house to use too - for bees/birds/bats etc.

I still need to find a new site for the second bird box that came down in the storm last year too.

I found a couple of links with amazing pictures of bee hotels:

http://www.nativebees.com.au/solitary-bees

http://mrccc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/BEE%20WALL%20and%20HABITAT%20-%205%20page.pdf

Cheers
Tim
Brisbane

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