A little piece of somewhere else

Our garden has some fairly clear distinctions when it comes to planting. The front is almost all Australian plants (except for two small veggie beds) and the back garden is for vegetables, chickens and other utilitarian purposes.

Despite of my intense love for Australian plants I have to admit that there are  non-Australian ring-ins in my ornamental garden. So I have been trying to work out how I could combine some ornamental plants from elsewhere into my garden without it looking too odd.

A little bit of somewhere else in the garden
A little bit of somewhere else in the garden

What I came up with is a small area that is focused around a Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) which was an early purchase for my garden and has grown into a lovely small tree. One of my neighbours and another friend have gifted me hellebores, which seem to be getting their roots into the ground under the tree, after an uncertain start. Last but not least I bought some miniature cyclamens from the hardware store that dare nor mention its name. Bowls of seasonal bulbs are also added to the mix.

Some early morning sun on my latest garden feature.
Some early morning sun on my latest garden feature.

A recent visit to Bowral and a stay at a house with a lovely European-style garden encouraged me to look for another feature for this little spot. I found what I was looking for in the garden section of Dirty Jane’s Emporium and Antiques Market. It is a lovely stone trough!

The trough has some layers of paint on the outside but I’m hoping that they will genteelly wear away given time and some Canberra frosts. Speaking of frosts, the day after I heaved this weighty treasure into pace we had one of our -5 degree nights, so you can see the solid block of ice that formed below.

A very small ice skating rink!
A very small ice skating rink!

 

Signs of Life

Even at the start of winter there are signs that spring will be along sometime, sooner or later. TB took this photo of swans and cygnets two weeks ago. Given their size it seems that the cygnets are already several weeks old.

Aww, how cute is that! Swans and cygnets on Lake Tuggeranong, June 2015
Aww, how cute is that! Swans and cygnets on Lake Tuggeranong, June 2015

 For the second time in as many months we have had Satin Bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) in our garden. This time it wasn’t just one bird, but three!

A Satin Bowerbird in our Snowgum
A Satin Bowerbird in our Snowgum

According to the Canberra Ornithologist’s website, Satin Bowerbirds are increasingly visiting Canberra’s southern and western suburbs. This occurs most frequently in the winter months.

Note the violet coloured eye which is a feature of this species
Note the violet coloured eye which is a feature of this species

It’s hard to tell whether these are females or juvenile male birds. The latter only develop their shiny ‘satin’ feathers as they mature. According to Birds in Backyards the adult male plumage doesn’t develop until the birds are 5 years old and they don’t come into their full plumage until they are 7 years old. Which begs the question just how long do these birds live?

Here’s one last shot, not a perfect photo, but I thought the pose was pretty interesting.

Don't try this at home!
Don’t try this at home!