For some reason, birds seem to really like my driveway. I see more birds out there than I do in the back garden where there are more trees and plants.
I happened to glance out the kitchen window on Saturday afternoon and to my surprise, a flock of birds were hopping around in the drive. I dropped what I was doing and hurried to get the camera and fit the long lens.
I didn’t want to open the window and scare them away so I just shot through the glass. I took a lot of photos hoping that I’d get some good ones.
They are European Goldfinches, described in my bird book as a feral species found around towns, farms and settlements in Australia. They gather in large flocks in autumn and winter and feed on seeds. They are quite common, I’ve seen them in the garden before but never a whole flock.
Some of them even hopped closer and started to search for seeds right in front of the window. They stayed quite a while before something startled them and they all took off.
My plants have had a tough summer. It was pretty warm and dry and with all the fires in the area, people were being asked to conserve water so I didn’t feel like I should be using it watering the garden. I did water my pot plants with a jug but then at the height of the danger, I left home for three weeks. I wasn’t sure if I would see my house again let alone my plants but I gave all the pots a good soak before I left and the ones on the front porch I placed in a shallow tub of water. Nevertheless, after being gone for so long I expected to come home to a garden full of dead plants.
The ones I was most upset about losing were several plants that I’d bought in late 2015, two pots of English Lavender, two rose bushes and some Marguerite Daises. I’d bought them not long after David died and I planned to keep them in pots so that when I eventually moved I could take them with me.
When I was able to visit home again the plants were in a sorry state but they were not completely dead. The ones in the front which were mostly in plastic pots which dry out faster had been saved by the tub of water. Some of the ones around the back were in terracotta pots but they were all dried out and I wasted no time in giving them a good drink and cutting some of the dead stuff off. It was another week until I came home but I hoped that would keep them going until then. Luckily we had some rain that week which helped a lot.
Once things had started to get back to normal I had time to look at the plants properly. I am no gardener but I decided that the best thing to do was first to cut off all the dead parts of each plant and secondly to re-pot them. I had been planning to do that anyway as they had been in the same pots for three years. I had to wait until I could arrange to get some potting soil, it’s not the easiest thing to carry a big, heavy bag of potting soil home in your shopping trolley or on the bus but luckily I was able to tag along with a friend who was renovating and while he was getting his hardware I was able to go and get my bags of potting soil.
I decided to split the daisies into two pots. it looked as if one half was going to die anyway. The rest I returned to their original pots with fresh new soil. There was not a lot left of the lavender. The French lavender in the garden has always been more prolific but I like the English ones, the scent reminds me of summer in England when I was a child.
I had bought some pansy seedlings, marigolds, lobelia and pansies as I like to have flowers around the house, it makes it look welcoming to potential buyers but more importantly, I like them. I put some pansies in with the bigger half of the daisy plant. We had some good rain in March and in between times I kept them well watered.
I’m pleased to say they all lived, even the dodgy daisy.
I was pleased to see the roses looking more healthy after a few weeks in the fresh soil, they started growing a few new shoots and leaves. When pruning time comes I may cut more branches off but for now, I’ll just give it time to recover. It is quite late in the season for flowers, they didn’t flower much this summer at all but I’m hoping next year I’ll see some nice ones like the one in the photo above taken a couple of summers ago.
The apple blossom never seems to last long, October is often windy and sometimes it’s gone almost as soon as it has arrived.
In May I planted some bluebells under the tree, I honestly didn’t know then if I would be here to see them flower as the house was on the market already but I thought that they would look nice and be a parting gift to the house.
They flowered this week in time to coincide with the arrival of the apple blossom and it does look nice. If I am still here in the autumn I’ll try to plant a few more. A mass of them would look beautiful next spring.
I was out in the garden looking for circular things to photograph for Cee;s Black & White Photo Challenge and took this photo of the top of the wind chime that hangs in the apple tree. I thought that it looked pretty good in colour too so here it is.
Naomi’s friend Leigh made this for me probably twenty years ago now. It used to hang on the front porch at our old house. It’s been in the apple tree for many years now and has become over grown with moss but it has a lovely tone. I hope to take it to the next house too.
I first posted this in November last year although I have posted a photo of the hedge every spring since it was put in. It is starting to get a lot of new growth now that spring is supposedly here so the other day I took a few new photos to add to the timeline.
The Photinia hedge was planted in October 2014 to enhance the front of the house. This was long before painting, paths or any other work was done. I chose these plants because I see a lot of them growing around here so I knew they would suit the conditions and also because I like the red colour of the new growth. I have tried to take a photo of the hedge each year . It’s been slow but now it is finally looking like a real hedge even though every bush seems to be growing at a different rate. The ones at either end are smaller. I think they get too much carbon monoxide from vehicles stopping at the letter box and in my neighbours driveway. A couple got nibbled by possums or possibly wallabies who visit the garden although I have never seen them. One was taken out completely either by the postie or the neighbour and just died but the rest are going strong.
Four years ago we decided to grow a hedge to screen the house from the road. I chose Photinia as it is a commonly used hedging plant locally so I knew it would have a good chance of growing and I like the colours as the new growth is red. Jason and Brodie, the “garden guys” got the plants for me and Jason suggested buying an extra one and planting it in an out of the way part of the garden in case we needed a replacement.
Over time we did lose a couple of the plants but the hedge was dense enough that the gap did not matter too much so the odd one was left in peace at the bottom of the garden. Some people do grow Photinia as a tree it is not only used as hedging.
Well today it has well and truly overtaken its hedge based brothers and sisters and is now taller than I am while they have not quite reached five feet.
I was chatting to Jason about this recently and he suggested that it is all about location. It rains a lot here as you know and in summer I water the hedge in dry spells but the soil is relatively dry there compared to the bottom of the garden which in winter is so damp that I nearly got my foot stuck in the mud when I went to the compost bin one day recently. I water the other garden trees but never that one. It has thrived on neglect.
The hedge has been trimmed a few times but only to tidy it up as some plants have grown faster than others and it has not been trimmed for a couple of months. The back yard tree has never been trimmed in any way. It looks untidy because Cindy broke a branch when she was jumping and barking at the neighbour dog who had chewed a hole in the fence.