Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Camp in February

After we went to Sydney/Blue Mountains/Lithgow we came home and headed off to "The Camp" for a few days of quiet R&R. We needed to give it a tidy up and finish off a few projects up there and will probably only be able to squeeze in one more stay after we return from Adelaide and before I get my right knee replacement (? I hope that all makes sense??)

Rhonda cut all the grass, got stuck into the garden and cleaned all the rubbishy weeds out and did some more work on her rock border as well as giving the living quarters a 'spring clean'. I put up the last of the shade blinds on the western (afternoon sun) side of the living quarters and we formally 'named' "The Camp by installing a name plaque that we had made (a suggested Christmas present to ourselves from a dear friend).

Shade blinds all installed - make a big
difference on a hot summer afternoon

Name plate installed, last shade blind and
two 'bottlebrush' plants, callistemons
"Captain Cook" variety planted

Bottlebrushes (Callistemon spp.) are among the hardiest of Australian native plants. They are long lived, require minimal maintenance and are almost impossible to kill. The flowers attract native birds, especially honey eaters, and reward the gardener with extraordinary amounts of colour. The original bottlebrushes available to gardeners were all bold red but flower colours now range from red to pink, mauve, cream and green.

Plant details
Common name: Bottlebrush. The name derives from the plant's flowers, which look like brushes for cleaning bottles.
Botanic name: Callistemon spp. The name is derived from the Greek words kallos, meaning beauty and stemon, meaning stamen, describing the coloured stamens, the showy part of the flowers.
Best climate: Bottlebrush grow in all but the driest areas of Australia. They need a warm spot in cool and mountain districts.

While we were doing all of this we found some mice so we set some traps. One rat and 6 mice later we had thought we had cleared out any of our new inhabitants when Rhonda spied a more welcome resident - a young spikey lizard. We want it to stay around - eats insects and spiders - so we decided to leave no more set traps around.

It moves from under the dwelling to high in a eucalyptus tree across the way.

We also found out that we have a pair of Eastern Rosella's coming in regularly and defying the territorial Noisy Myna's so next visit we hope to encourage them and set up a feeding post for them that they can use but lock out the more aggressive and 'hungry gutted' sulphur crested cockatoos.

File photo - Birds in Backyards -
Eastern Rosella, male, at nest hole.
Photo: Purnell Collection © Australian Museum

File photo - Birds in Backyards -
Eastern Rosella female with nestling at nest.
Photo: SG Lane Collection © Australian Museum


Sharon said...

I've seen those shade blinds before, but never here, I think I would like them. I don't imagine they could take the winds we get here.
The Rosellas are simply beautiful! I would love to have them as neighborhood birds!
Love your sign, very nice touch!

JohnD said...

Sharon, those blinds are deceptive. They survive wind blasts up to 120kph. They are 'spring loaded' like a Holland Blind and the bottom brackets merel hold them out so that there is room for the springs in the blind to 'give' to the winds and then snap back. There are other, more fixed and rigid types I've seen nearby but they often hardly last a winter's cold blast before breaking off.

LindaG said...

Thanks for all your posts, John. Loved all the beautiful Australian scenery and wonderful buildings.
Love your camp too. It's great to see such different birds in the back yard. Well, different to me from what I have grown up with.
Hope you all have a great week!