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How does my garden grow?

A gardening guru recently used floriferous to describe his garden. It fits my garden well too; it is surprisingly floriferous. Surprising because it is not particularly planned, relying on some very welcome volunteers.

Like the pale blue/darker blue starry flower in the foreground. I think it is a delphinium. Do you agree? Its small shoots appeared months ago. As the leaves didn’t look like a weed I was familiar with I let it grow. This is how it has repaid me. Smiles!

Behind are white and blue salvias. To the right, out of the picture is a mass of nasturtiums, rambling around. I certainly haven’t planted them for ages, but they happily return year upon year.

The corn flowers are have also sprung from seeds of last year’s flowers.

I am very tolerant of volunteer plants, happy to wait for them to grow, to see what they will turn out to be. I quite like some weeds. I even did a zoom talk recently about edible weeds!

I love the seed heads of salsify. That’s another plant that many see as a weed, although the root is apparently edible, but I am happy to have its company. How can I resist admiring them as the morning sun shines through the delicate seed balls?

The front garden is another area that is doing its own thing at the moment. One half it is a parsley patch. The plants are almost a metre high and in flower.

Look at the soft yellow flowers and the umbral shape of the flowers. But what I love most is how it attracts so many insects. The bees! There must be at least a dozen working away every time I go past. Hover flies hover. When you look closely you see spiders and ladybirds, which means there must be many other creatures that I don’t see.

I wonder what the passerbys think…..

Which brings me to the verandah. You may remember that I was pondering what to do with the verandah-shaped space at my front door. After workshopping it through with friends and family, I decided to pave the area. I found some pavers, ordered 15 of them, only to find out that it was going to cost $99.00 to deliver them! After I picked my jaw off the floor I said “Thank you, but can you cancel the order”. So now I am on Plan N, or there abouts, deciding to have a proper wooden verandah built. Not that the plans have gone any further. In the meantime I have put two plastic chairs out there on the sand and enjoy cups of tea in the sunshine.

There is progress planting the other part of the front yard.

It doesn’t look much, but I can see the potential! I have planted:

  • Poa labillarderi ~ a native grass that will clump to be about a metre wide. At the moment they look like grassy weeds!
  • Copper crest grevillia ~ very low growing, and hopefully will not only cover a large area but also bring in birds
  • Wahlenbergia stricta ~ these are the native bluebell, whisky little things, but quite pretty.
  • Pelargonium australe ~ this was a surprise as I didn’t know there was a native pelargonium. It has a little, pretty pink flower.
  • The taller, broad-leafed plant is a sunflower, the only plant that came up from the many seeds I sowed.

There are plans for more. I am looking for some murnong plants (a native yam) and bright yellow billy buttons.

I must tell you of my David Attenborough moment. I was sitting with my cup of tea on the ‘verandah’, reading and idly watching the insect world go about business, when I looked down. I noticed some flying insects digging in the sand. From later research I think I was watching three sand wasps at work. The digging fascinated me, as the wasp madly dug a little, then moved to another spot, madly dug a little more. All three were frantically digging. I figured that they were testing out the sand, searching for the perfect spot. Then one started to be really serious about her hole. The digging action was rapid so the hole got quite deep quite quickly. At times she would appear with larger grains in her mandible and toss the grain away from the hole. In the end I think the hole must have been about twice the length of her body, which was a couple of centimetres.

My cup of tea caught my attention for a few minutes. When I looked back at the hole I was amazed to see that she had brought a caterpillar from somewhere, which she dragged down the hole. She spent a little time down there, so I presume she was laying egg/s into the caterpillar. Up she came, and fastidiously covered it in, caterpillar and all.

I helped me remember all the interactions that are happening that we have no knowledge of. We need to slow down and look.

I know that many of you are heading into a cold and anxious Winter, so I will leave you with some flowers from other gardens. I hope they bring a smile. Stay well, my friends.

29 replies on “How does my garden grow?”

At the moment, I am enjoying watching the mud wasps who are building Something in the wall cavity under my sewing room window. They’re not fast, but they are incredibly persistent and industrious. They’re not doing any harm in there, so I’ll just carry on watching them while I press my seams. Love your flower photos – what’s that last spiky pink and grey job?

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It would be so interesting to watch the wasps build the nest. They are such industrious creatures. The spikey thing with pink flowers is a salt bush, growing really well down at the wetlands.

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The sand wasps were so interesting to watch. I haven’t seen them since, but the bees are still working their way across the parsley patch. (I wonder what parsley flavoured honey tastes like?)

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Thank you for the lovely pictures and a reminder of summer on what is a grey dull damp day here. Like you I have lots of plants that self-seed and enjoy seeing where they decide to grow.

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I wish you lived nearer too. We couldn’t really be much further apart could we? Maybe I will send you some seeds – they can be posted.

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I’m not sure this counts as a David Attenborough moment, but I was picking up some sticks from the front yard yesterday when something fluttered to the ground to my left, less than a metre away. I looked up to see a kookaburra inquisitively pecking the ground. I said something inane like ‘what are you doing here?’ and the Kookaburra decided that maybe he was a tad too close and flew up into a tree. It was only later that I realised he was after the bugs I’d disturbed while mowing. Was a happy moment. πŸ™‚

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Volunteer plants are my favourite. I’m hoping eventually they’ll do most of my gardening work for me as they seem to be doing so well in your garden. Like you I try not to pull popped up small plants unless I’m sure they’re a weed. And headed into a hot who knows what kind of summer where I won’t be spending too many daylight hours outside in the heat anything that’s free, survives, flowers and propagates itself is a winner.

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Dale, I am not surprised that you are someone who gives plants a chance to show their true colours. There are definitely treasures in amongst the weeds. I agree that plants have to be able to cope with less watering and care, and not be finicky. (Isn’t that a great word?!)

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I might be just a little bit green with envy, Anne. The 40+ temps have really taken a toll on both me and the garden. I’m on a steep learning curve, and I can assure you there are no volunteers in this heat, things just die. We are living on the promise of La Nina putting down some rain over the next few months. We live in a rammed earth house and the mud wasps frequently ‘mine’ the walls for material to make mud to encase a caterpillar with their eggs. It’s interesting but requires my attention to repair the holes! Lovely specimens in your garden, thank you for sharing it with us.

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When I posted the photos Ardys, I was thinking of our friends in the depths of Winter, completely forgetting that you have been experiencing such dreadful heat. No wonder things are not surviving. I am glad that the photos brought you some joy too. Thanks for you story about the wasps. It would be fascinating to watch, but a nuisance to have to repair the walls.

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All these years, and all these oceans apart and here we all know what the name & person of ‘David Attenborough’ means. A tribute in and of itself!
But to your post – please know, yes, your photos and commentary on your ‘floriferous’ garden have brought a ‘smile-iforous’ face to this lady! HA!
You stay safe, too!

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So pleased that you had a smile-iforous face! I think so many of us are enjoying and appreciating the simple things at the moment. David Attenborough is such a wonderful warrior for our environment, but I do wish more people would listen to him and take heed.

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Nature loves your place, and the moment with the wasps intriguing. I only have birds around here, I have chats with them at times. Or like this arvo & I was closing some windows I noted that some dandelions were blooming so I whipped out with my scissors and got some in – still plenty out there because I forgot about the “balance issue” and I nearly landed up upon their bed…and I apologised to any that got slightly trampled…

(yesterday I had a mostly magic “well balanced day” – today “not so good” – starting to see a pattern, “alternate days” ….)

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How delightful Catherine that you talk to birds and dandelions. I get the feeling that they understand you…well the birds, maybe not the dandelions. If you have birds you will have insects, tucked away our of sight. I am glad that you are finally having some days without the terrible balance problems.

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I thought I was seeing a pattern with “balancing” particularly as I managed a whole day whizzing around town on the public transport (not much walking/standing) but it seems maybe a fluke… So back to picking little pockets of time to do things then horizontal…

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WOW, Anne! Your garden is so beautiful … while mine has died and been pulled up, scattering the sunflower seeds for next spring. And you are spot on when you say “We need to slow down and look” … indeed, we do. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos! Hugs!

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I used to watch the dung beetles carry away the dog poo we had missed in our French garden and I was once late for a meeting because I’d been transfixed by two snails mating. 🐌 Nobody could say I don’t know how to have a good time.

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