Local Spring update

Following on from my earlier post about tuning in to my local landscape I have the following few updates.

The weather continues to be highly changeable with very strong winds and bouts of rain. While I haven’t spotted any fledgling Wedgtailed Eagles, a pair of Australian Ravens are happily nesting in my neighbours Blue Gum, and have been for the past month. This year they have built a new nest about 1 and a 1/2 metres from the one they used last year.

The native clematis (Clematis aristata) that grows here abouts is in splendid bloom. This specimen is in my garden and is creating a floriferous halo over one of my correas.

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What this clematis lacks in showy individual blooms it makes up for in sheer abundance of flowers. Once finished flowering it will develop the fluffy white seeds that give it its common name of ‘Old Man’s Beard’.

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Also just starting to break through are our ‘bluebells’, in this case Wahlenbergia communis, a native herb that grows commonly and widely throughout SE Australia and has had the happy knack of surviving, as ours did, even after the land has been subdivided. Once I found it growing on my nature strip I was keen to encourage this plant’s presence in my garden. The best way to do this is not to mow it down until the end of summer, if possible, to allow seed to set. It will flower throughout summer and its blue-mauve flowers make a great display in contrast to the yellow paper daisies I’m also cultivating on the nature strip.

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The plant grows from tubers underground, with very deep roots, which makes it difficult to transplant. It dies back over winter and these rosette’s are the sign of its return.

This plant is a close relative of our ACT floral emblem the ‘Royal Bluebell’, Wahlenbergia gloriosa. However W. gloriosa only naturally flowers in our sub-alpine areas of the ACT. It’s intensely coloured and much larger flowers make it a truly wonderful sight. While you can sometimes buy specimens of W. gloriosa they are difficult to grow in our gardens, preferring a moist shady spot which can be hard to maintain through our hot summers.

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