Monthly Archives: October 2016

Spring flowers at the National Botanic Gardens

October is the perfect time to visit the Botanic gardens in Canberra…


Canberra has had very good winter rainfall, and now, at last, all the plants have sprung into life.


Recently we took a guided tour of the Gardens, called ”Breakfast with the birds”.

It was absolute magic to be able to stroll around the grounds of the Botanical Gardens in the warm early morning sunlight, before the gates were open to the public.

This was followed by a delicious breakfast in the café. A great way to start the day.

img_6337-956x1024Our guide said  Wattle Birds have to check each individual flower in the Grevilleas and usually only find some nectar in about one in ten flowers.



No wonder they are such busy birds. In spring they whiz about our gardens like streaks of light…my neighbour says it is like being in a Star Wars movie sometimes.



This Wattle Bird has a nest just above her head in the Banksia bush.


The ever alert Currawong is in the same bush…waiting..

(I’m pleased to say two Wattle Birds chased it away a few seconds later)


I love looking out for birds, but the colourful native plants were the scene stealers on this day..


The Proteas (Waratahs) look wonderful alongside the ghostly white eucalyptus tree.


And here are more Grevilleas and other spring flowers.





Isopogon formosus



Eastern Spinebill feeding on a Grevillea



Grevillea Flexuosa Zig-Zag Grevillea



I hope you are enjoying your plants, gardens and green spaces in whatever part of the world you call home…

I’d love to know if you have a favourite amongst your own plants.

Copyright Geraldine Mackey  All rights reserved


Do cockatoos seek revenge? Bulbs, blossoms and birds..

Cockatoos are frequent visitors to our garden, especially when the almond tree flowers and the almonds grow and drop onto the ground.

They spend a lot of time collecting the almonds from the ground, cracking open shells, and eating almonds on the carport roof, while socialising…

They are pretty good at putting on a show for the camera too..


The almond tree has beautiful flowers and is much loved by many birds.


The Wattle birds enjoying the almond flower nectar..

However, there is seldom harmony amongst birds and gardeners in spring.

Recently a couple of the cockatoos hopped onto the almond tree and started shredding the leaves and the flowers. Earlier this year, they had successfully shredded our flowering Eucalyptus tree of many of its smaller branches, so we hoped this wasn’t going to start a new trend…

Paul waved the broom at them and politely said ”shoo!”

Well! We’ve never heard that tone before!

For our resident cockatoos, even implied criticism is hard to take…they collected their almonds and flew off to the neighbouring telephone wires….

and turned their backs on us!


….. and if you think you are going to get a photo opportunity from us…you can go sing for your supper…

They disappeared for a few days, but, sadly, the plot thickens.

Last year, I took most of these perfectly good tulips out of the front garden and put them in pots on the deck in the back garden.


Cockatoos frequently fly over the deck to get to the almond tree, and very occasionally they behead a daffodil or two along the way, usually the ones that have the temerity to flower early.

However, sometime after our falling out with the cockatoos, we came home one evening to find some of the early flowering tulips, and some crocus had been pulled out of their pots, and half eaten…. what a mess, what destruction!


The culprits had very large beaks…


Cockatoos are known to be curious and intelligent birds…so, were they sampling new bulbs for taste or bearing a grudge?

As my neighbour said, perhaps….”Revenge is a dish best served cold”

The cockatoos did not come visiting for a while, but we enjoyed seeing some of the other springtime youngsters…


Young kookaburras ”Oh did you hear what they did? We would never do that!”


Baby Eastern Rosellas…



I was wondering if I could come down and have a drink?



Baby galah…or Elvis impersonator..

Recently we went to Sydney for a wedding, and this time I hid my (remaining) flowering bulbs behind the camellia on the deck…better safe than sorry…


All quiet on the home front when we got home…


At least we have a few surviving tulips for the deck, so all is not lost.

There is not much chance to enjoy anything in the garden at the moment, because the rain has been tumbling down all week.

Except of course if you are a cockatoo. Word is out that the almond shells are lovely and soft, and have been lying around on the ground for some time now.


Well, okay you’re forgiven. We’ll just sit here in the rain and enjoy the bounty ….


I guess every gardener has some challenges, and at least ours are mighty big personalities!

Since I started blogging and reading gardening blogs, I’ve learnt all about a the hazards of nearby  rabbits, possums, deer, squirrels and other invaders in the garden…do you have yours?

Copyright Geraldine  Mackey. All rights reserved