Tag Archives: garden

Frog story

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At the moment I am enjoying listening to and recording frogs – the last two places I have stayed at in Sydney have frog ponds and the Australian Museum have a FrogID app that I can record them with.

I have recorded Striped Marsh frogs both in Sydney and in Maitland where I live. They are not an endangered frog but they are very interesting. After the last big lot of rain the main frog in the pond out the back called in every frog in the neighbourhood I think – there were heaps of frogs and a lot of noise. Not long after that there were egg rafts everywhere in the pond and a few days after that tons of tiny tadpoles. I felt like a kid again and was so happy to see them all.

There is another frog out the front of the house in a drain – it is quite a nice drain but sadly he hasn’t enticed any females into it which I think is a bit sad. These frogs can live for 8 years so that would be a lot of calling for a mate with nothing happening. I have seen a few cats around out the front and I’m wondering if that’s why there aren’t many frogs there. At my sisters I caught her cat with their frog (they only have one frog, also a striped marsh frog) in its mouth – luckily the cat dropped it and the frog survived.

I think the frog out the front needs to weigh up his options and find somewhere else, probably somewhere out the back or in the pond with the other two frogs. I’m keeping my eye on him.

Diana.

Image of the Striped Marsh Frog by the Australian Museum

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Frangipanis

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Tahitian frangipani – taken with my phone in the evening with the moon in the background

I love this frangipani tree which I walk past every time I walk the dogs. It is a beautiful tree – pink frangipanis are my favourite. I always look forward to walking under it when it is in flower as the fragrance is exquisite and it always makes me happy. The owner gave me a piece of it a while back which I planted out the front of my house although it died. I didn’t properly prepare the soil and it just shrivelled up.

There are many scents in the air at the moment on our walks – citrus blossom, roses and murraya and all equally delicious.

We had a lovely yellow frangipani growing next door and my daughter and I used to pick up the flowers from the ground and bring them into the house. Someone on their body corporate didn’t like the tree because it was messy and chopped it down. We were really sad to see such a beautiful thing go. So was our elderly neighbour whose windows it shaded in the summer.

“Scent is the most potent and bewitching substance in the gardener’s repertory and yet it is the most neglected and least understood.  The faintest waft is sometimes enough to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or to transport you back through time and space to a long-forgotten moment in your childhood.  It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and evaporating almost the moment it is detected.  Each fragrance, whether sweet or spicy, light or heavy, comes upon you in its own way and evokes its own emotional response.” –  Stephen Lacey,  Scent in Your Garden, 1991

“It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.” –  Robert Louis Stevenson

“Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.” –  Heinrich Heine 

Addit: We had a super storm since I wrote this and sadly the frangipani tree was destroyed. It’s a shame mine didn’t grow but I’m sure others had cuttings of it. It was a big tree, I don’t think they will replant it. I will miss the tree but I am glad that I have a photo of it and the memory of its fragrance will linger on.

PS: I was walking my dogs and got talking to the neighbour of the lady that owned the frangipani tree. We were talking about the storm and she said another neighbour had lived there for 80 years and had never seen another storm like it. We have had regular flooding events but nothing like that supercell that hit us. I said how much I missed the tree and that I had a photo of it in full flower taken earlier in the year. She said her neighbour had kept pieces of it and will replant it from the cuttings. I was thrilled to hear this and I look forward to a new tree.

Diana.

Violet haze

backyard jacarandaJacaranda

Backyard Jacaranda and surrounding Jacarandas                  Front yard Jacaranda

The Jacarandas are out in full force in our suburb at the moment. My back yard tree is loved by all the birds that sit in it and sing or squabble – honeyeaters, wattlebirds, parrots, doves, willy wagtails, peewees and magpies. Peewees built a nest in it last year but we had high winds and it was blown out. I also have tree orchards and “air plant” on this tree.

The front yard Jacaranda is only half the tree it used to be as council cuts them in half because of power lines. At the moment it houses about 10 magpies that love to sing and at twilight you can hear them calling. So far we haven’t been bombed by them so I’m hoping that they are used to us. My neighbour over the road has the peewee nest in her Jacaranda this year but I have the magpies.

"Air plant" in flower growing on Jacaranda.
“Air plant” growing on Jacaranda.

This is a piece of Spanish moss growing on the Jacaranda in our backyard. It is also called an “Air plant” and it is epiphytic, drawing it’s nutrients and water from the air and rainfall.

Bromeliad

"Spanish moss" in flower on Jacaranda.
Spanish moss  in flower on Jacaranda.

I was at our local show one year and came across a fellow known as the Bromeliad Man. He is from out of town and he propagates and sells bromeliads. I was talking to him and asking him about the various bromeliads he had on display and I spotted the Spanish moss. I told him that I had some of that at home and that it was such a weird plant – I thought it was moss like in the fact that it doesn’t have any roots. He said that it is a bromeliad – now I was confused. He said it flowers and they are small and green. Since then I looked out for when my bromeliad flowers and here are photographs of two tiny green flowers. The Bromeliad Man also told me the bromeliads in South America are worth seeing. That would be a great experience.

First gardenia

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I was mowing out the front on the weekend and I noticed that the gardenia bushes were in bud.  It made me feel happy that the gardenias would soon be in bloom. Today coming up the path I noticed one had flowered. They smell so delightful and freshen up the house when I put little vases of them around the place. I like to give them to my friends also. I put them in the common room where I used to work for people to take and it was never long before they were all gone. I love my native grevilleas, tree orchids and camellias out the back, and of course the jacarandas when they are in flower, but the gardenias have a special place in our home.

They are actually known as a funeral flower and for thousands of years,  scented flowers and herbs were placed with the dead. They are still used today in floral tributes  at funerals but not so much for the heavy scent. Apparently they are in the coffee family which I didn’t realise until I looked up different species. Interesting as the camellia are in the tea family. Coffee out the front and tea out the back. I don’t think I’ll be brewing them though.

Slinky the cat likes to lay under the bush near the porch – it is a cool spot out of the hot sun. I think he might enjoy the flowers also.  Who knows  whether a cat senses  smells the way we do. I’m fairly certain the dogs don’t, or the pigs for that matter!

Next post I will try to capture pics of the jacarandas using the camera, not the phone. I tried to upload pics to WP on the phone and it kept timing out. I have two trees but there are many around our suburb and they look delightful. I will also put in a surprise pic – I was quite excited to see this for the first time out the back. I haven’t actually taken the pic yet, but I’m hoping it will still be there.

Diana.