Posts Tagged ‘Perth’

bee enjoying hardenbergia flowers at Star Swamp Now that summer’s almost here and my house is starting to cook during the day, I wanted a climbing plant to grow up the side of my house because the shade-giving African acacia is no more (although the stump keeps growing shoots and I keep lopping them off). My neighbours offered me a piece of wooden lattice that they no longer wanted. I’d just bought a piece (evil me) but there’s always room for more. Now I needed two locally native climbing plants to grow up the lattices. I already have Hardenbergia comptoniana starting to grow up my side fence (although it’s still very small) so I needed other ideas.

Ben from Nuts about Natives suggested some candidates:

I decided on Black Kennedia, with its stunning black and yellow flowers. Ben doesn’t propagate it, but said Lullfitz Nursery in Waneroo would have it. The trip there became a bit of a family outing. I thought my dad would want to come and my mum did too. (I think my mum came to supervise my dad so he wouldn’t buy too many plants, they have a very full garden.)

(more…)

Read Full Post »

bobtail lizard in the Perth suburbs by Fred Coles With a title like that, things could only end in tragedy. Last week I found a dead Western Bobtail lizard (Tiliqua rugosa) on my street a couple of houses down from mine. He was in front of the empty block, which would make good bobtail habitat with all those weeds and long grass. He may have been crossing the road because one block is not necessarily the extent of a lizard’s territory or he may have been warming up on that toasty road. My street isn’t so busy and the speed limit is 50km/hr, but people drive faster than that and most drivers aren’t looking out for foot-long lizards on “their” road.

When I saw the dead lizard, his death had only just happened because he wasn’t quite flat and his insides were still glistening. It was the saddest sight.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

empty bus lane in peak hour by Adam Loh I used to drive everywhere, but I’ve been trying to use public transport more and I’m catching the bus to Curtin University every day now. If I don’t get up early enough, the bus from near my house only comes by every hour, so I drive instead. Last year I was often sleeping in and driving more than bussing it. This year I’ve been getting up on time. I have to catch a bus, a train and another bus and it takes an hour compared to half an hour driving my car in peak hour traffic. Not having to worry about traffic is much more relaxing and I read to pass the time.

The different services of the public transport system in Perth are all managed by one authority, so the timetabling for services is well thought out. Connections between buses and trains in peak hour are timed to enable smooth transition from one to another (although at other times there can be lengthy waits). My cousin from Sydney recently visited Perth and was impressed with this.

The problem with public transport arises because of Perth’s enormous urban sprawl. Depending on where you live, if you’re not close-ish to a train line you might have a lengthy bus ride before you connect with a train (or your destination). The recently opened Mandurah Railway Line shortened the journey considerably for commuters in the southern suburbs. Mandurah is an hour south of Perth (by car) and it used to be a beach side holiday town, but with the land between Perth and Mandurah rapidly filling with housing (and bush being cleared to allow this) there was a need for a faster service between the two. My trip to Curtin has been shortened by the new line. I used to have to catch a bus, two trains and another bus.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

galahs at Star Swamp When I visited my friends at Nuts about Natives a couple of weeks ago their yellow leschenaultia (Lechenaultia linarioides) were flowering. They looked so pretty that I wanted one for my garden. Ben told me I should plant it in the ground, not keep it in a pot. Most of the plants I get from Nuts about Natives are still in pots because I’m not sure where to plant them. When I was looking for a place to put the leschenaultia I realised that if I removed the agapanthuses and ferns along the front of my house and replaced them with native plants, the birds and insects would love it and the garden would survive summer a lot better. The ferns die off during summer and come back green during the rain of winter. The agapanthus live happily through summer because they’re shaded by the acacia which grows outside my bedroom window.

tuart in my garden The acacia is a South African species that was popular as a garden tree in the past, but is now a weed in Western Australia. I’ve been meaning to kill it for a while, but every time I ask my dad to get out the chainsaw, we decide the shade it gives to my east facing windows is too useful and the branches just get hacked at a bit (in a couple of months they’ve grown right back). The tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) and hakea (Hakea cristata) I’ve planted are not yet tall enough to shade the house in the morning. I’ve been confused as to whether the tuart is actually a tuart or a marri, but I’ve had expert advice that it’s a tuart. When I told my mum I thought it was marri she was pleased because tuarts grow enormously tall and randomly drop branches, but that won’t be for a while. Although the tuart is getting bigger and has shoots everywhere, it’s still only 2m tall.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

part 1, got you I love Willy Wagtails (Rhipidura leucophrys). Jiri Jiri is the Noongar word for Willy Wagtails and that’s what I call them. I learnt this when a Noongar story-teller came to the library I worked at a few years ago. We sang a song about Jiri Jiri, but I can’t remember the song. (I think some other WA Aboriginal languages also use the word Jiri Jiri for Willy Wagtail.) Jiri Jiri are so fearless and will confront anything. part 2, stop wiggling They’re rarely scared away by people and so it seems like they want to be your friend because they will come so close. It’s more likely that they know insects are disturbed by our movements and activities.

The other week I saw two Jiri Jiri dive-bombing a kookaburra at the local school. The kookaburra was just sitting there, taking it for a while. It was very funny to watch. Unfortunately dusk was coming on and the photos I took didn’t work out.

part 3, down the gullet In happier photography news, when I was taking photos of the Christmas trees at Curtin University in December I saw a Jiri Jiri. He flew from his perch before I got my camera out. Not to worry, he’d only flown off to snatch an insect from the air and proudly display his meal and the eating of it for my enjoyment. I’ve always known Jiri Jiri eat insects, but I usually think of them eating flies and other small insects. Now I know they’ll quite happily take on a dragon fly for a tasty meal.

part 4, that was yum You can see more (and bigger) photos of Jiri Jiri vs the dragon fly on Flickr.

=^.^=

Read Full Post »

Growing pots

protecting tomato seedlings from the sun with potsNo, I’m not growing pot. I’m growing pots – or that’s what it looks like anyway.

It’s been so hot (which isn’t unusual for Perth’s summers) and my dad puts empty plastic pots on top of his smaller vegie plants during the heat of the day so they have their own little shade house. When I told him about the death of my beans, he suggested I plant more seeds and put pots on the plants when they’re small. The death of my beans made lots of room, so when I planted the bean seeds, I also planted the last of my tomato seedlings (which I grew from seeds). And I’ve taken up my dad’s method of shade manufacture.

protecting a tomato seedling from the sun with a pot I water the plant in the morning and put the pot upside down on the plant. This is only for the hottest part of the day. The plant can still photosynthesize in the morning and late afternoon. And it’s only for newly planted out seedlings and just-popped-up seeds. Larger plants which have their roots spreading throughout the ground can handle the heat.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Too hot for beans

my first bean harvest with a perfect strawberry In November I planted Romano beans which are a dwarf bush bean. They’re an heirloom variety I got from The Diggers Club. I had a bumper crop of tasty green beans for a week or so in December and then extremely hot weather hit during the Christmas week and my bean plants didn’t make it. The weekend before Christmas there were lots of small beans on the plants and I was looking forward to continuing the harvest every day. It was 40ºC on Christmas Day and 44ºC on Boxing Day. In the days following a few of the bean bushes died. Of the bushes that didn’t, the beans never grew large enough for picking. Most of the plants are now dead and the living plants have no beans.

the bounty of my bean crop in December the heat ravaged bean crop in January

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »