Everlasting daisies (Rhodanthe chlorocephala subsp. rosea) provide beautiful spring colour in the garden and I plant them every year in June. I’ve had more success starting the seeds in seedling trays and then transplanting the young plants because snails love to devour them. Every year I let the flowers go to seed and they fall into the leaf litter, ready to pop up the following winter. This year there are so many plants growing before June has even started. I’m looking forward to fields of pink and white come spring.
I planted Moon and Stars watermelon seeds from The Diggers Club last year, at the start of summer. I planted them among sunflowers in the empty block behind my house. It’s sand but I spread some compost before planting the seeds. While the sunflowers were growing I hand watered and the sunflowers grew well, but only one watermelon plant came up (from 2 or 3 seeds). It was very small for quite some time, but while I wasn’t looking it grew enormously.
Now the plant is about 3m x 3m, showing no signs of slowing, and has three fruit developing. I haven’t watered out there all year. There’s been more rain than usual this autumn, but not much fell in April and there was pretty much no rain in January and February. The summer was one of the hottest on record for Perth, and the heat continued into autumn, with 30°C+ days in April. I wonder how the plant survived, let alone thrived.
I haven’t tasted the fruit, so I don’t know if the harsh growing conditions will affect the taste, and I’m looking forward to my watermelons ripening. But I don’t know how to tell when the fruit is ripe, can anyone help me?
I found this pretty little beetle on a teatowel hanging on my washing line this morning.
Its legs were caught in the threads of the teatowel and while I took photos, it lifted up its legs one by one, trying to extricate itself.
I helped the beetle onto a leaf, it got it’s bearings, and buzzed off to new adventures.
I’ve been asked for an update on the woolly bush hedge I planted behind my house. The back of my house faces west, very bad in terms of passive solar design, because when the back verandah was enclosed, some clever person put in a wall of windows. Every summer afternoon my back room bakes, lightly toasting the rest of the house. It’s a nice place to pass a sunny winter afternoon, but for half the year my house is unpleasantly hot. A hedge of locally endemic plants was my solution.
It took two years, but at last here is part II: Return of the Cannibals. Yes, my frogs are cannibals. I once caught a cannibal in the act, froggy froze at my approach but those little legs hanging from his mouth kept wiggling *sob* (sadly I don’t have a photo)
Every garden really needs a water source for wildlife – it’s important not just for frogs, but insects, birds and lizards – Happy Earth
A couple of years after putting the pond in my garden there were no frogs in sight, so I got some motorbike frog tadpoles (Litoria moorei) at the end of October last year to move things along.
My friend has frogs hopping here, there and everywhere in her two garden ponds (one with a waterfall!?) but the frogs never had tadpoles. Every spring she would get motorbike frog tadpoles through the Frog Watch tadpole exchange program. Tadpoles shouldn’t be transported far from their parents to limit the spread of disease (chytrid fungus). My friend lives three suburbs from me, the furthest taddies should be transported on the Swan Coastal Plain. (In the Hills they should only be transported two suburbs away.)
Sheeba the dog died three weeks ago, 11 December 2010. She had a malignant mast cell tumour on her leg. She was only sick for a week before I had her put down, but after the infection on the tumour improved she was back to running around for a few days, just not quite as much as b4. Unfortunately we didn’t go for one last sk8, bike ride or beach trip together, but there were a few tennis balls to chase. And I let her sleep her last night on my bed.
Update: I often mix up Banksia attenuata and acorn banksia which I did with the photo of a black cockie eating a banksia cone. Just because they both start with A doesn’t mean they are the same!?
Once upon a time, Black Cockatoos flew in vast flocks, bright tail feathers flashing, calling to each other as they gathered to feed and roost. Just 50 years ago, these unique birds were so plentiful their flocks would blacken the sky. But not anymore.
I love hearing the raucous cries of black cockatoos as they fly over my house or when I see them laughing at the top of tuarts in the park or ripping pine cones to pieces at Curtin University. With all these sightings of my favourite bird, you might think there are lots of them, but sadly Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) are an endangered species .
My friends’ bush block is the best place to see black cockatoos. They have a garden of banksias and other native plants surrounding a bird bath. Although there’s more often honey eaters, wattlebirds and blue wrens, every now and then a flock of black cockies comes down for a drink and a chat about the weather. It’s said that black cockies fly over when it’s going to rain . This probably came about because black cockies migrate from the Wheatbelt east of Perth where they breed, to the Swan Coastal Plain in autumn to winter along the coast .
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Writer Robin Sloan had this to say about why he uses Creative Commons for his work.
I’m a writer you probably haven’t heard of. But if I’m right about Creative Commons, and about the way books and culture work — and if I’m a little bit lucky — then your kids will read my stuff. And their kids too.
Just about a year ago, I used a site called Kickstarter to gather a posse of patrons and, in the span of about two months, wrote and published a short novel. It featured a character named Annabel Scheme, a sort of Sherlock Holmes for the 21st century.
After it was finished, I mailed the books off to my backers — about a thousand copies, total — and then put the PDF online, for free, with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 license.
Often, that’s where this story ends. Triumph! Success! Righteous sharing! Right?
Update 19 Jan: The link to a copy of my letter from the black and red pic is now fixed and you can download it to amend and send your own letter.
Last Wednesday the environment program Understory on RTRfm radio interviewed WWF’s Southwest Australia Policy Officer Katherine Howard about a land clearing proposal at Perth Airport in Jandakot . The Airport’s owner Jandakot Airport Holdings (JAH) is the second owner of a 50 year lease since privatisation a decade ago . Their clearing proposal is detailed in Jandakot Airport Expansion – EPBC Reference 2009/4796  and includes bushland home to three endangered species:
- Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo, (Calyptorhynchus latirostris)
- Grand Spider Orchid (Caladenia huegelii)
- Glossy-leaved Hammer Orchid (Drakaea elastica)
While 40% of the proposed area is designated for a fourth runway and extension of the other runways, the other 96ha is earmarked for Jandakot City, a development which would be largest homewares complex in the southern hemisphere  (they must want to compete with the biggest ikea in the southern hemisphere that killed my fav swamp). WWF provide a simple breakdown of the areas proposed for clearing . JAH have previously cleared 79ha of banksia woodland for a commercial precinct and there is dispute whether this was done with appropriate authority and permission. Currently 90% of this development is vacant .