about this blog
This blog tracks the ongoing changes of my garden, and the wildlife I try to attract to it. It's a nature blog. It contains my thoughts and musings about anything and everything to do with nature - gardening, book reviews, philosophy, travel, science, history, art, design, politics. Catmint is my signature plant because it has all the qualities I value in a plant: resilience, beauty and the capacity to spread prolifically . Unfortunately it's not indigenous. If I was starting again I'd probably choose an indigenous plant.
Saturday, 24 January 2009
A generation ago, in the distant mists of time when my children were little (they’re in their 20s and 30s now) water dominated both garden and family life.
I had never gardened until we moved into this place in 1979. Everyone around me watered their gardens all year round so I assumed that is what you had to do. The overhead sprinklers broke the delicate lavender branches so I switched to drippers. But I hated the look of the drippers and anyway the plants kept moving and changing and somehow they were never in the right place-both drippers and plants!
Years and years later I realized that the lawn grew anyway although it died back a bit in winter. And that the lavenders and rosemaries, gum trees, and most of the plants in my garden were ok without moisture additional to that provided from the sky. In fact, I felt that water was harmful and addictive to them. It would only encourage them to be lazy and not to bother extending their roots down, down into the moist underworld when they could easily lap at a wet surface.
In the meantime the climate grew hotter and drier, and here water became a scarce resource, with strict laws limiting and controlling its use. You no longer hear the sound of sprinklers, nor do you see water running off into the street.
When the children were little, the garden was planted on the four sides of the fence line. In the middle was the lawn, a grassy play space. On hot summers they rarely wore clothes. In their little birthday suits they played together and with friends. In and out and around the sprinklers – what cool fun they had. Cool fun that my baby grandson will never know, not in this geographical area anyway.
You could even buy special toys for water play. We had a kind of water slide, which was laid on the grass and got wet and slippery. With a running jump, down the children went, sliding and slipping and laughing. And we adults joined in too, often bruising ourselves as we slipped.
And there were water pistols. The kids weren’t allowed to play with guns but who could refuse them water pistols on a hot sunny clothes-free day? That kind of play has ended forever round here.
What messages do we give kids about gardens? Thanks to a successful program getting gardens into schools, many children now...
A recent post was about my success in rehousing a possum couple. The nest stayed empty so it seemed that the possums had settled in their...
To do nature photography you don't have to be in a garden, park or the bush. Just make sure you have a camera and keep your eyes o...
You don’t have to go to the countryside to get a nature fix. Wherever I go I look for plants and animals. Just like rural spaces...
I have decided to make a list of the plants in my garden. For too long I haven’t really respected them as individuals, vaguely seeing them ...
I've spotted a few different types of fungi growing in the garden. Yay! That shows biodiversity is increasing in the little ecosystem ...
Press release! Deborah from Kilbourne Grove and I have just published a post together, featuring our communications about our common lo...
This is the photo of my garden in the current guide to Australia's open gardens. It was taken last October. The foreground f...
In Melbourne's southwest, about 5 minutes drive from a major industrial centre, is a shining jewel: six and a half hectares of virgin...
I miss the jubilant rowdy morning chorus I used to hear each morning. These mornings I'm lucky if I hear half a dozen birds gre...
- Animal Rights Photography
- Atlas of Living Australia
- Australian Marine Conservation Society
- Australian Plants Society Victoria
- Avaaz - The World in Action
- BirdLife Australia
- Birds in Backyards
- Born Free Foundation
- Bush Heritage Australia
- Eco Voice: Voice of the earth
- Encyclopedia of Life
- Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
- Global Giving
- Gould League
- Indigenous Flora and Fauna Association
- New Internationalist
- Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
- Seedsavers: Preserving the genetic basis of tomorrow's food
- Stop Factory Farming of our Pets
- The Nature Conservancy Australia
- The Plant List