Trees in Spring

I chose to have deciduous trees in my garden because although they are bare in winter they are so pretty in autumn and it is always a treat to see the first new leaves in spring. I especially appreciate it after last summer when it was so hot and dry. I was quite worried about my garden while I was evacuated for two weeks. I mean I was worried that my house might burn down but I was also worried that my plants would die from lack of water but they all made it.

Apple tree 2019

The apple tree has a nice lot of blossoms. I thought I would lose the lot before I could really enjoy them as it is windy here in spring but I didn’t. The tree looks untidy because it wasn’t pruned when it should have been.

My Japanese Maple acquired a bit of a lean in its first year and still looks a bit tipsy but the leaves are nice. I think that it must be different from what is known as a Japanese Maple in the USA because this one has red leaves all the time. This was planted in 2015. The lovely, light green Gleditsia has also had its issues. After the first year the leaves at top of the tree stopped growing so when last winter came I decided to snip the top of the tree off. I hope that it will encourage it to grow better. This was also planted in 2015.

When I came back home after the fires this Japanese Weeping Maple did not look good, leaves were dropping and the remaining ones had turned rather dark. I wasn’t sure if it was because autumn was approaching or it was struggling in the dry weather. Anyway, it’s back. Not very tall but a lovely shape and colour. It’s 3 years old now.

I did look up the name of this plant once but I have forgotten it. When we moved in it was a small and rather straggly tree. A branch broke off and David had our neighbour chainsaw it almost to extinction but it is a stubborn plant and came back. It is more shrub-like now and the former garden guys used to prune it into a more attractive shape. Most of the time it is not very pretty but for a few weeks in spring, it gets these wonderful flowers.

Life of a Hedge 2019

Every year since it was planted in September 2014 I have taken a photo of the photinia hedge in my front garden.

Cindy investigates the new plants
Photinia Hedge 2018

Five years have passed since then and now the hedge is looking magnificent. It is always at its best in spring when there is a growth spurt and it is covered in new red leaves. It has got so big now that when I am coming home on the bus I can tell the driver, “Drop me off near the house with the red hedge.”

It has survived the early attacks of possums or wallabies who chewed the leaves. It survived the neighbours who like to drive their quad bikes in front of my house and the postie who pulls up beside the hedge to get to the mailbox. It has survived dry summers when I didn’t like to water it too often in case it seemed wasteful, especially last summer when we had the bushfires and we were afraid the local supply might not be enough for the firefighters.

Taken from the same spot I took photos in previous years.

Now it is a home for small birds who hide in it. I see them popping in and out from between the leaves in the morning when I am waiting for my ride to the shop.

Finally, I’d like to show you the backup tree. When I ordered the original plants the garden guys suggested that I buy an extra one in case any died. That way we could replace it and there would not be a gap in the hedge. I took their advice and bought one which I planted myself at the bottom of the back garden near the compost bin. As it happened I did lose a couple of trees but not in the first year and the others had grown sufficiently that the gap would be covered. Just as well too because the backup tree grew like crazy and after a year or so was much bigger than its front yard relations. Looking at it today it is hard to believe they are the same age.

Photinias are sometimes grown as trees and this one flowers regularly. This article rather unkindly states that they are rather unattractive flowers and smell bad. Granted they are not the most attractive flowering plants in the world but people mostly grow them for the leaves. I never expected my little plant at the bottom of the garden to turn into a big, leafy tree but it does a good job of blocking part of the view of “Ugly House” behind me.

A Photo A Week: Yellow

Mellow Yellows

This is the perfect time for yellows. My daffodils are all in full bloom. I do love daffodils, the big King Alfreds are my favourites but I have other varieties too.

As it is still winter here we also have wattle in bloom. A bus driver I used to know used to say “When you see the wattle you’ll see the snow.” I always think of that in August and sure enough, although we’ve not had low-level snow this month we have had falls on the mountains.

Winter Wattle

I’m very partial to yellow flowers. Here are some more.

yellow flowers in springtime.
Rose and buds, the same bush
Jonquils 2019

Garden Visitors: European Goldfinches

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.

European Goldfinches in my driveway.

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.

Goldfinches eating seeds in my driveway.

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.

Further Reading:

http://www.australianbushbirds.info/infc/carduelis_carduelis.html

https://www.animalwised.com/how-to-tell-a-male-from-a-female-goldfinch-195.html