Canberra’s summer has been hot and dry, and as a consolation, the sunsets have been stunning..
A recent survey of birds in suburbia recorded that nearly 50% of households in the Canberra region provide water for birds in summer..
Birds in our garden have a choice of bird baths, and a sprinkler system occasionally which they can fly in and out of…(a five star bird friendly garden)
…..this provides us with daily amusement and joy.
Last week this tiny kookaburra appeared on the back wires…(a good place to check out the water situation in safety) I have never seen one so young in our area…..his Mum was not far behind..
All babies are beguiling, but this little kookaburra is at the top of my list for cuties…he hasn’t even got the Kookaburra crew cut hairdo yet!
In the nearby Eucalyptus tree is a juvenile Cockatoo….just waking up….look out…
When we came to Canberra, the house we bought faced due west, which meant we got the punishing summer sun on all the living room windows. It was like living in an oven!
At that time we had a one year old daughter and another baby on the way! Fortunately we were young and just pleased to have our own home!
In those days no thought was given by planners or developers to siting houses to take account of the climate.
Over time we extended the house, and put insulation in the roof, and the walls. Eventually, we bought solar panels for the roof, and best of all, double glazing for all the windows.
What a difference all of that made!
In the meanwhile we built up shrubs and trees, especially in the front garden to give us shade and protection. We bought two water tanks for the garden, which helps, but is not enough during dry months.
We planted agapanthus because they are tough and drought resistant. I was once told they are the ”bully boys” of the garden, and when you look at their roots, this is certainly true. But they earned their stripes by surviving a drought and a nearby fire some years ago.
In the past couple of years we have had good spring rain, and this has set them up to flower very well this summer.
The garden is now shady and green, and the house is cool and quiet.
Having a simple, well functioning home give me a sense of wellbeing…it is a port in a storm.
I have mentioned the Chinese Tallow tree in previous posts, and this is our Chinese Tallow tree during summer, full of tassel like flowers which attract bees and butterflies by the millions (it seems)
I have read, in New South Wales, these trees are considered weeds because they sprout and grow prolifically. However, the up side is the bees are prolific here in summer. (we will get rid of new young trees appearing …one is plenty)
IN February we had about three days of extreme heat (41 degrees). At times like this the birds stay hidden in our thick bushes and trees, and come down to the bird baths in the late afternoon.
Now that we get more bees and insects in the garden, I noticed many of them coming for water too. In fact, after rescuing a bee swimming desperately in this small blue bird bath, I have put some small stones in the bird bath and reduced the level of water to give them solid places to land on when they need a drink.
The rest of the garden is now quite well established, and has held up well in the days of extreme heat.
One advantage of heat is, the fruit is nice and soft to eat…
On Valentine’s day I heard these two galahs chatting away in the Eucalyptus tree. They are very sociable birds, and it looks like love is in the air on this summer’s evening…
I have so many photos of our lovely sunsets, so here is one more…..
May you enjoy your change of season, as we will be soon…autumn is my favourite season in Canberra and I look forward to hearing what yours is…
As part of the spring festival in Canberra, many Embassies have opened their doors and gardens to the public, and South Africa is one of those Embassies.
The South African Embassy is one of the oldest in the diplomatic circle in Canberra. The beautiful Cape Dutch building was established in 1956, and the gardens were designed at this time. The elegant buildings and grounds reflect the era in which it was built.
It is surprising these lovely long lawns have survived the drought. Nowadays many embassies, including this one, have very large water tanks to store rain water. Some years ago, Canberra suffered 10 years of drought, and since then there have been permanent water restrictions for watering gardens.
However, this year we have had plenty of winter rainfall and everything is looking very green and lush.
The Galahs have found some tasty seeds in the lawns of the Embassy, and, a Magpie is making a nest in one of the many trees nearby.During nesting times, Magpies become very territorial, and I’m watching her, watching me…..
In the front of the building is a wonderful bush full of proteas, the emblem for South Africa. My mother spent her childhood in South Africa, and she felt homesick every time she saw a protea…(or a Red Hot Poker, or Flame Lily)
The plants in the garden are a mix of those that grow well in Canberra and those that represent South Africa..
and some flowers that seem to have strayed in from Monet’s garden…
We visited South Africa a few years ago and enjoyed the markets, the colourful fruit and vegetables and the lovely fresh food served in restaurants…….
As one of the South African waiters said to me…when I mentioned that she had given me a very large serving….
“‘ What are you worrying about?……you can go on a diet when you get home….”
I’m using this logic today at the Embassy cupcake stall…even though home isn’t very far away.