Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Evan's Crown

Last weekend our daughter took us on a drive/hike to Evan's Crown. This extraordinary collection of huge boulders rises from typical Australian grasslands dotted with eucalyptus. The climb to the top is surprisingly easy, as the trail winds across the face of the hillside at a gentle grade, so that it is quite startling to emerge above the treeline and find yourself among the massive rounded rocks...



...looking down at the rolling pastures.



My two favourite people posed for the camera...



...and then it was my turn.

Wallaby in the Weeds


Yesterday evening this lovely little wallaby was calmly grazing in the vacant lot next door to us, not too concerned about our snapping pictures of him/her. I think it must be a swamp wallaby as those are reputed to be the most common ones in this area.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Snow

That's right. Snow. We have chosen to live in a region of Australia that gets as cold as Vancouver in the winter. It snowed briefly on Thursday although, as it didn't stick to the ground, Michael claims it wasn't REAL snow. I did my best to capture the moment on film and will admit that it could as easily be mistaken for sleet or even merely rain.



Then again, this afternoon, another little flurry came by and this time it lasted long enough to make the ground look white for about half an hour. The photo below shows our Cootamundra wattle blooming defiantly above the white stuff.



You can see the beginnings of some garden beds in this photo too, but as long as the weather stays this cold, not much more will get done. The area along the back fence gets the most sun, so that is where the veggies will be planted. I've already shifted my little bottlebrush plant to a spot below the wattle, and it will eventually become as large as the wattle and thus replace it. This particular species of wattle has a short life span and ours is already showing signs of ill-health. We won't replace it with another as it is considered an invasive weed in this region. Instead, I've planted a sunshine wattle which doesn't have the attractive powdery blue foliage, but is native to this area and so a more responsible choice. The bare patch at the bottom of the photo is always in the shadow of the house, so only only shade-lovers will thrive there. There are a couple of existing hydrangeas, not very attractive ones, but they will do if surrounded by more interesting companions. I've already added three rough tree ferns(Cyathea australis). When they leaf out, they'll cover a considerable area. Their eventual height will be 15 ft. or higher, like the ones I've mentioned in the previous post, but it will take years for them to reach it as they are quite slow-growing.
It will also be a good site for hellebores and Australian plant breeders have produced some stunning ones, including many doubles. Normally, I prefer the simplicity of single flowers, but in the case of hellebores I make an exception as they suffer from that tendency to hang their heads so that you have to tip the flowers up to admire the freckles, dark centres,or pretty stamens. The doubles look good without the need for any handling.'Mrs. Betty Ranicar', the first double white to be introduced, is for sale in many garden centres at around $15 a good-sized pot, and for twice that much there are cherry- and apricot-coloured doubles available from specialty nurseries.


It was cold enough overnight for the snow to turn to a crust of ice. In spite of the blue sky, it hadn't melted by 10:30am when I took this photo of George inspecting the front garden.