By Beatrice Hawkins
Two-legged garden volunteers are very welcome…
Last column I wrote about volunteers in my garden and said they were not of the two-legged variety. Well, early one morning, I heard a commotion and looked out to see several currawongs annoying two beautiful sulphur-crested cockatoos who were dead-heading my dianthus for me! They didn’t pick one flower but were very busy removing the spent flowers and seed heads. They were a wonderful sight with their sulphur-coloured feathers fully extended working away. So while my volunteers were not humans they were certainly two-legged and very welcome!
For many years now I have had a pair of metal Jabiru standing forlornly in my garden, one with its head down looking for water, the other standing tall. I have looked many times for a suitable container to fit the spot and thought about what I wanted to plant around them to make them look at home in their habitat. This week I decided enough was enough and the situation had to be remedied! The top off an old bird bath seemed to be the solution, if I could find another birdbath that I liked to replace it. I scoured the local shops and couldn’t find what I envisaged so went to ‘plan B’ and came up with a black pot that I sealed, dug into the garden and filled with water. Now I have two watering points for local wildlife in my garden and the bees are certainly enjoying the new one. I was on a roll so I continued and found a water plant to put in the ‘pond’, some hardy grassy plants to add to the atmosphere and finally some red gravel mulch to complete the picture. More will be added over time, maybe even a very small solar-powered pump to have a tiny bubbling fountain. Who knows where my imagination might lead? The sky is the limit! At present I am very pleased with the outcome and enjoyed the day’s distraction from what I should have been doing – the cleaning was still waiting for me the next day and was attacked and completed with renewed vigour!
In this dry time one of the things about gardening that still gives me pleasure is planning what to do once it does rain again, dams are full and restrictions lifted. Catalogues are a wonderful distraction and this week I have had the pleasure of having quite a few come to me. They contain a delightful array of glorious temptations for me to dream about, resist, or go and try and find in our local nurseries! I have found a source of vinca seeds that I hadn’t been able to source locally and will order some this week for friends out in the west of the state who don’t have access to the great variety of nurseries we enjoy. I’ll take the easy road and buy plants locally when they come in – it must have rained by then!
Beautiful lily bulbs from southern areas once again tempted me with their spectacular colours and varieties I hadn’t seen before, but even watering them in pots is no longer an option until it rains.
I was very fortunate to receive a spectacular bunch of beautiful sunshine yellow lilies that have brightened each day for a week now as the buds have continued to come out.
With the washing machine water on my garden the Jacobean lilies have started to flower, providing a bright spot of red. They are one of my favourite easy-care bulbs that come back, in ever-increasing numbers, year after year with minimal care and attention.
A friend was telling me the other day of the innovative way her family has decided to save and use their shower water. They found a child’s wading pool that was the exact size of the shower recess. Once this was installed a small pump was purchased and connected to a hose and the garden could be watered without the chore of having to carry buckets through the house. They all shower one after the other and then the pump is turned on. The additional benefit of this system is that they now realise just how much water is used in the shower. I’d love to be able to implement this system but can’t accommodate it in my house so stand in a big tub in the shower and then bucket the water to the garden. Oh well, I suppose it gives me needed exercise!
I have found something else that I will look into when I have time after my trip to WA. There is a website that has picture wraps to decorate our boring wheelie bins! The selection is endless. There are flowers, flags, animals, cartoons, scenery and on and on. When we can’t use water and our gardens are looking a bit drab perhaps a wheelie bin wrap might be the answer and a bit of fun! I saw one of an outback sunset with a windmill. Now that’s one I’d really like to put on a bin!
Don’t forget the garden competition in October. Entry forms are available once again from Bryson’s at 66 Palmerin Street.