Pest Damage

Almost immediately the plants were in the ground we had some damage. Thought it was rats or mice until we saw rosellas having a lovely time pecking at leaves and buds. The rabbit repellent I have just bought claims to keep off birds, as well as deer and mice so I gave all the plants a spray. There has been no more damage to the magnolia bud but quite a bit more to other trees. The camellias covered in buds have been badly trashed. A second spray seems to have been more effective. Perhaps they have heard that there is  a new, high powered air rifle in the house!


Plants in the Ground

In the Ground

This planting will provide shelter and screening so we have chosen evergreen trees which will grow quickly but not be too big. I also expect some flower interest and a variety of foliage and textures. This first planting will provide height relatively quickly and I will slowly provide detail with under planting of small shrubs, bulbs and perennials.

We’ve planted 60 trees so far using 10 each of Cunonia capensis, (Butterknife Bush) and Syzygium luehmannii for quick shelter, 4 Queensland Frangipanis, 5 subtropical evergreen ash (Fraxinus griffithii), several Tibouchinas and Luculias, three Fern Trees (Schizolobium parahybum ), a bamboo (gracilis), a couple of camellias, a Magnolia grandiflora “Little Gem” and a variety of other plants.No doubt they won’t all survive! They have been sitting around waiting for their final home for quite a while, cramped into the nursery with not enough light.   

Planting Underway

This week saw a big push on getting most of the plants into the three large beds to the north of our house. The beds were prepared by final raking and then covering with a thick coating of “Ground Hugger” mulch, which is a slightly composted bark/peelings mix recommended by Jason.

Roger did the initial spreading by tractor and it was finished off with a raking.

The holes were then dug, topsoil added and the trees planted. We might have to do some staking and I’ll give them all a good basic fertilise when all the planting is completed.

Pitcher Plant

Pitcher plants (Nepenthes) are carnivorous plants which have modified leaves known as pitfall traps—a prey-trapping mechanism featuring a deep cavity filled with digestive liquid.

The traps are formed by specialized leaves. At the end of the leaf the tendril develops into the pitcher which as you can see in the photo starts off enclosed but eventually the “lid” opens and allows the pitcher to fill with water into which insects fall, die and nourish the plant.

I have had this plant for years and it did flower at one stage when it was hanging in a totara tree at the farm. I cut out all the old, untidy looking vegetation when we moved. I have never re-potted or fertilised it. Obviously it sustains itself from its pitcher catches. It really is the most fascinating plant which comes from the Borneo jungles where it scrambles around in the forest

Planting above the Stone Wall

This bank is very narrow and will be very dry. It needs low maintenance plants as it will be hard to get up on the bank once the plants are established. I want to have a variety of heights, colours and textures and have been back to the farm garden to collect several different aloes which will give good texture, plenty of flowers and be very resistant to drought. Very few have roots but I think they will establish quite quickly and I can water them now to get them started. Their winter flowers will attract the birds. I’ve added some crucifix orchids, separating the reds and oranges from the pinks. Also a Dendrobium speciosum or rock lily which loves it hot and dry. Several different Cordylines and a Cussonia paniculata complete the larger plants with lots of succulents filling in the gaps. I intend buying some Proteaceae to plant at the far end where the bed is wider, near the shed. The Agaves lying on the ground are awaiting a home elsewhere. They seemed too big for this site.

Moving the Cycad

Three Cycad revoluta – the sago palm – had grown extremely well in the sandy loam at our bach, two becoming multi headers and flowering and seeding regularly.

We decided to bring the smallest one back to our new garden. Let’s hope it survives the move because it was a major mission. A digger dug it out and lifted it on to a trailer.

We have planted it in a very small depression with very free draining top soil packed over its roots. We’ll probably add a few large stones to keep it stable in its new windy site.

Rain and the Weather

The summer has been particularly dry here but at last we have had some rain and the Paradise Ducks are enjoying a swim in the dam.

We had 9mm in January, 49mm in February, 33mm in March and 47mm so far in April. This rainfall coupled with very high temperatures has meant we have delayed planting until now. With tank water we are limited on how much irrigation water is available for new plantings.