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Thursday, 31 December 2009

My New Garden: Progress 11 - Oct to Dec 2009



Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets.
To plant a pine, one need only own a shovel.
- Aldo Leopold

2009 is coming to an end, and so soon will summer. We still have 3 or 4 months of blissful sunshine and birds frolicking in the garden to enjoy and I always revel in the thought of Autumn with its beautiful colours and then Winter with it's stark contrasts of bare branches and blue skies.

But for the moment my garden is at its peak and the Silky thread grass below will soon start releasing its thousands and thousands of salt-and-pepper-like seeds to the surrounding soil, ready to be transplanted as soon as they get big enough.

My little place in the African soil is providing me with endless hours of pleasure, not only gardening, but watching the daily animal life going on between the plants and it is more and more becoming home to a great variety of animals, insects, reptiles and bird life.

Everything and everybody is welcome here - the termites, Mollie, the resident Mole snake, Mrs. Brown, the resident Brown House Snake, Rinkhals and Adders (only for passing through, otherwise they are relocated to the Blue gum bush across the road!), the resident Black Velvet spider (read more about Mrs. Black HERE), the frogs and the lizards, who often make their homes in our shoes in the house, the Scorpions, who are encouraged to stay outside!, Solly's chickens, the snails, which the Thrushes enjoy immensely, even the rats (the reason Mollie and Mrs. Brown are here).

Our term here on Mother Earth is short compared the insects and animals that have inhabited her for millions of years - doesn't it make sense to enjoy their presence and co-habit this planet with joy and peace?


October 2009 - Silky thread grass (Nassella tenuissima) also known as Mexican feather grass


The Kiss of Sun -
- for pardon -
the Song of the Birds -
- for Mirth -
One is Nearer God's Heart in a Garden
than Anywhere Else on Earth.


Nov 2009 - Sword Ferns at the base of the Acacia karroo and a bird bath, favourite spot of the Fiscal Shrike for her early morning bathing sessions.


Nov 2009 - The Echeveria planted in an old piece of concrete is just starting to flower


November 2009 - The Phormiums made a spectacular show this year


November 2009 - the indigenous trees I planted about 5 years ago now reaching heights of over 8 meters. On the left of the picture is the Acacia karroo with its spectacular thorns and home to all the weavers' nests, in the centre are a couple of Black Karees (Rhus lancea), which attract a vast array of birds and butterflies, and on the right a White Karee (Rhus viminalis). On the left right at the back, the White Stinkwoods (Celtis africana) provide shade in summer and sun for the Cycad in the winter.


I did have a set-back though - termites (which I said were welcome!) attacked my Restio grasses and this is all that is left over! I sat watching these hard-working little creatures for almost an hour as they steadily chomped off the stalks at the bottom, then cutting each stalk up into 2" long pieces and carrying them down their holes.

The remedy? I'm too scared to use termite poison, and I don't really want to kill the little fellas off, so I poured some diesel around the base of each plant, hoping this would encourage them to leave the area and move to somewhere on the other side of my garden wall.


December 2009 - The Restios did start recovering and the termites seem to be gone.


New Restio growth


The termites DID move! They are now in an old log next to the garden path across the way from the Restios.


December 2009 - Progress on the new Rain Garden : Haven't done much in the rain garden yet, but the Echeverias I planted have taken well and a stray Marigold decided to make it's home among them.



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