Saturday, November 23, 2013

Working Towards A Healthy Habitat ... Chapter 4 ... The On-Going Project.

Well it's been a while since I updated this series of posts.  Of course, working towards turning our property into a healthier habitat, free of pest plants and noxious weeds, was never going to be a quick overnight project. It's a long-term, on-going venture that will take a few years.  So, the updates are going to be rather infrequent, and will only happen when I have something significant to report.

My last update was about five months ago, written in the middle of the dry season, after the extensive Chinee Apple and Lantana poisoning regime.  So let's see what's been going on since then.

First of all, we have worked at permanently removing pest plants from the garden areas around our house.  We chemically treated the massive Spathodea campanulata that had been planted beside the car shed area by a previous owner, and dealt with all the little ones that had popped up in recent years in various corners of other garden beds.

We also worked at removing many of the Bauhinia saplings that had been maturing all over the property,

and other tree saplings that had sprung up in the wrong places.

We have also been working at killing off the huge patch of Rat's Tail Grass that had taken over the area between the car shed and the house.  We followed the recommendations provided in our Land Management Plan, and made judicious, careful use of chemicals in an effort to wipe out this species of grass in this entrance area.

It seemed to work, and there has been no sight of any Rat's Tail grass blade.

So, we've completely transformed this area and my darling other half built a new garden bed wall for me to fill in and plant up.  It's still a work in progress, but it already looks far better than it did previously.  We've also covered the area between the car shed and the new garden bed with lovely new soil and sown some grass seed.

As well as all that,  the poisoning that I detailed in my last post seems to have done the job of killing off the majority of the Chinee Apple trees, as well as the massive clumps of Lantana that were choking the bush paddock.  During the long dry season that rolled on after the poisoning events, there was an extensive die-back of both these invasive pest plants,

and the view showed huge areas dominated by dead sticks,

 where once massive clumps of Lantana,

and many, many, many Chinee Apple trees flourished.

Now, the well-worn paths of generations of Agile Wallabies are more evident, 

and the features of the steep rocky landscape are more apparent.

Previously, the Chinee Apple and Lantana covered the majority of the bush paddock, and now with the dying back of these two, the entire area has opened up.  It's been amazing seeing this significant change, and we need to ensure it remains this way, so that more of the native species can get a foothold once more.

In the last two weeks, the wet season seems to have arrived a little earlier than it has in the past few years.  We generally don't see heavy rain until late December, and I think the last time we had really decent rain in November was about three years ago, back in 2010.  With the arrival of the rain, we had to check and see whether there has been any new re-growth of our two primary pest plants.

So, last weekend we headed out into the bush paddock to see if there was any sign of Chinee Apple or Lantana re-growth, or indeed new baby plants popping up, after the arrival of rain.  We hadn't actually been down there for many months, so we were keen to find out what was going on.

One of the worst spots of Lantana growth had been in one of the bottom corners of the bush paddock.  This was where the Lantana covered an area of around five or six square metres, and was around a metre and half in height.

Well, thankfully, it seems to have been conquered.  We didn't find any evidence of new growth, and that's been a massive relief.  It took many, many painstaking and painful hours of work to get in there in order to dish out some nasty chemical treatment.

We found other areas where the massive Lantana clumps were obviously dead and disintegrating slowly,

and in amongst some of these clumps there was evidence of one particular native re-establishing itself.  We found the native Jasmine, Jasminum didymum, thriving in between the dead sticks of what once was a huge, healthy forest of Lantana.

We noticed clumps of the native Jasmine had sprung up all over the place.

We've found evidence of other new natives flourishing, natives we've never noticed before.  If you look closely at the leafless slender grey tree trunk in the middle of the above photo, you will see ....

... the fruit of our native Kapok, Cochlospermum gillivraei.  Here's hoping we see more of this fabulous native popping up in the paddock.

We also found this fabulous looking thing blooming away in another corner of the bush paddock, close to the creek bed.   Thanks to an I.D. provided by a fellow gardener on Facebook, I found out it's our native Turraea pubescens, more commonly known as native Witch Hazel.

It's thriving in amongst a massive clump of Lantana that we hadn't managed to poison, as it was very difficult to access because of an enormous patch of Chinee Apple Trees that was in the way.  Now that the Chinee Apples have been dealt with, we will definitely get in and deal out some deadly treatment to the patch of Lantana that surrounds this native beauty.

We saw quite a few clumps of grass visible in the more open landscape,

and loads of our native fern, Cheilanthes sieberi,  popping up in rock crevices everywhere.

It's a beautiful little thing and we'd love to see this spread all over the bush paddock. 

All in all, as we headed back up to the our house, we were very, very pleased with our efforts so far. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day ... November 2013 ... End of Spring

As November comes to a close, Springtime here in the tropics is nearing its end.  The spring-blooming native Planchonia careya, or Cocky Apple, is still showing off its strange flowers though,

and attracting loads of insects.

The Cocky Apples on my property were late bloomers this year, compared to the trees in the surrounding bushland, and there are still lots of buds waiting to burst into bloom.

Not only is the end of Spring is nigh, but it looks as if the dry season is also ending.  We've had some rain during the month of November, which has been lovely.   Around our city so far, the rainfall total for this month has reached 117 mm or 4.6 inches.  I think the last time we had a November total around that, was back in 2010.   Out here in the foothills, I don't believe we've had quite that much rain, but we certainly have had some very decent falls.

Finally, there's a faint tinge of green to be seen around the yard,

and the mainstay shrubs are looking a little plumper as the leaf growth begins again.

The Agile Wallabies are now finding some grass to munch on rather than digging huge holes everywhere in search of grass roots.

Plants like the Galphimia glauca are bursting at the seams with golden yellow flowers.

Crotons are blooming and the Mussaendas are beginning another blooming cycle.

Mussaenda 'Calcutta Sunset' is throwing out its first coloured bracts,

as is Mussaenda philippica 'Aurore'

and Mussaenda philippica 'Bangkok Rose'.

A sure sign that Spring is coming to an end, and Summer is about to begin, is the sight of the Delonix regias breaking into bloom.

All around the city, around the foothills here and on my property, there are splashes of bright red everywhere.

I have three large Delonix regias, or Poincianas, here and all are now covered in blooms.

Another sign that Summer is almost here, is the sight of the fabulous Plumeria flowers.

With the arrival of rain, the Murraya paniculatas, that grow underneath the Plumerias, have burst into bloom and have filled the garden with their delightful, heady scent.

I just adore the perfume of these flowers.

In the top tiers of the tiered garden beds,

the Adenium obesum, Duranta, Nerium oleander are blooming, while the first buds of the Hemerocallis corner have appeared and a couple of Caladiums have been on show.

In the bottom of the tiered beds, outside my shadehouse garden, there are Salvias in bloom.

Salvia madrensis always looks terrific,

but I do have a soft spot for Salvia leucantha 'White Velour'.

As you get closer to the shadehouse garden,

you will also spot Pentas, Ruellia and Dianthera.

 Inside the shadehouse,

there's Spathiphyllum, Begonia and Impatiens flowers, as well as Caladiums rising from dormancy.

Out in the courtyard garden, you will find Salvia farinacea 'Strata', Petunias, Tabernaemontan corymbosa 'Sweet Love', Pelargoniums, Impatiens walleriana and Duranta in bloom.

Down the driveway garden,

Russelias, Thunbergia erecta 'Tru Blu', Turnera subulata and my Polygala are all showing off their beautiful flowers.

That's my contribution to GBBD for this month of November ... a little late, I know, but at least I've managed a post for this month after a bit of a break.

For many more fabulous posts that show what's blooming around the world this month, make sure you visit Carol's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day meme.

Related Posts with Thumbnails