Canberra gardening in Spring, Cockatoos ten/ Gardener one (won?)

During the dull and colourless days of winter, I always forget the sheer joy of walking into the garden in spring.

This year we planted new tulips and these pink ones were the best performers…

When they began to grow I told my neighbour they were orange, but in fact, the orange tinge is on the inside of the tulip, or perhaps the red tulips, (almost finished flowering) are reflecting some red onto them

….either way, they are a joy to walk past every morning.

A few years ago we bought a packet of mixed bulbs from Diggers and miniature surprise bulbs keep coming up in the garden,  like these tiny yellow daffodils.





Many gardens in Canberra have Alpine plants. I have grown to love them, especially in spring, when they display their tiny, but perfect flowers.


The almost magenta-coloured Salvia is a good backdrop for the lovely white Dutch Irises, multiplying all over the garden.

The Hot Lips Salvia (photo below) flowers for about nine months of the year in Canberra.

This year we planted some lavender along the path, and the bees absolutely love it.

New this year are some blue Dutch Iris, smaller than others we have in the garden.  We have planted them in three different parts  of the garden, with varying sunshine. They all flower at different times in spring and so there is always an extra touch of blue in the garden.

Speaking of sunshine, we have one part of the garden which has full sun most of the day.

At the nursery recently, I noticed this lovely plant called Gazania Variety. This is the description on the flower.

A small perennial plant, which is very hardy and versatile and produces masses of daisy flowers. They thrive in a range of soil types and positions, and are ideal for hot dry exposed sites.

Let me add, they are very resilient.

There were four flowers on the plant when I put it into this blue pot. Their colour is breath-taking on a sunny day, and can be seen from all over the garden. The flower below was my favourite.

I should add that this is a fly-over areas for Cockatoos who are visiting a neighbouring tree.

….as you can see from the photo below, my favourite flower has been lopped off at the stem, in the morning, and left to wilt and die.

Overseas readers might not know that Sulphur crested Cockatoos frequently take an exception to a flower, especially bright coloured ones, and they break the stem as they go past.

Not to eat, just because they can..

Crimson Rosellas are also known to do this, especially in spring, but my money is on the Cockatoos.

I tried small stakes near each stem…no luck, and then, in a hurry before dusk (early morning seems to be lopping time), I wrapped this gaudy, but strong twine around the plant.

The poor plant now looks mighty confused, and naturally is not flowering with the same gusto as before.

The flowers were lopped regardless of stakes or twine..

I found a hideaway place on the deck and pulled out all the twine and stakes. The poor plant looks as if it is on day release.

We went to visit our lovely granddaughter, and I left the long suffering, but recovering Gazania, in a very secluded spot on the deck. When we came back, there were no less than six flowers lying wilting on the deck.


In her blog  NewEnglandandGardenAndThread, Judy says we have to remind ourselves that our plants are not our children (and yes, who knew?)

However, just on principle I’m keeping the pot of Gazanias in the laundry at night, and on the front deck in the day time. (where I can keep an eye on them and flyover Cockatoos.)

okay, so where have you hidden them?

So far, the flowers are gradually recovering.

I think I might have won the battle…..

Butter would not melt in my mouth

but  perhaps not the war….


I’m not going to let this spoil spring for me, and I hope you are enjoying your green spaces and season, where ever you might be


Copyright: Geraldine Mackey  All Rights Reserved.












24 Replies to “Canberra gardening in Spring, Cockatoos ten/ Gardener one (won?)”

  1. What a wonderful garden you have planted and cared for despite the cockatoos! I love all the colours, bright or pale they must give you great joy.

  2. Oh Gerrie. I was enjoying your lovely colourful garden and you new resilient gems. Then the drama, the cheeky cookie, the poor flowers being caged. You tell the tale so well. Hope you enjoyed time with your granddaughter and didn’t worry too much about your garden 🙂

    1. Thanks Ruth, yes we did enjoy our time with our lovely little granddaughter, and didn’t give a thought to the garden! Hope you are enjoying your little grandson.

  3. How wonderful to be able to have such a profusion of garden colour. Have to admit- the fauna add the spice- but sometimes a bit less spice would do. Spare a thought for your tropical cousin who would die for just one of those cottage blooms.

    1. No one seems to know what motivates the cockatoos on this peculiar habit, however, the one colour they steer away from is white (perhaps because they are white?) and so I have placed the daisies near some white petunias….so far so good.

  4. What a stunning array of flowers, Gerrie! I let out an audible gasp when I spied your shocking-pink tulips. That Cockatoo looks so full of mischief. I’m glad your gazania is recovering after the savage attack on it. 🙂

  5. Lovely as the gazanias are, if I had cockatoos in my garden I’d forgive them anything.
    Our pheasants do much the same given half a chance. And yes it is infuriating. It’s not as if the flowers provide a meal, the birds just do it for the sake of it. Hellebores seem to offend them particularly.

  6. Oh Canberra in spring is such a special place. I envy you all those gorgeous bulbs and those cheeky cockatoos. The rainbow lorikeets do the same to the grevillea blossom. But they don’t come here so often now as I have a flock of noisy minors and they are very territorial and chase everything away claiming the garden for their exclusive use.

    1. The noisy minors are a real problem ..and I know the rainbow lorikeets are very territorial both in Queensland and I noticed them in Melbourne too…a pity for the other birds.

  7. The winter temps have arrived, and the pellet stove is roaring so I truly relished your photos of tulips and spring plants. But, I’m feeling guilty for all the positive comments I’ve left about the gorgeous birds you have flying in your area versus our more plain ones or downright ugly crows. I had no idea these handsome birds would take offense to certain colored plants. Although there is nothing funny about it, I did have to chuckle how they continued to evade your attempts to safeguard those beautiful blooms. Last week I was out spreading a fertilizer that the deer don’t like in an effort to keep them out of the yard, and you were playing keep away with your pots. 🙂 I hope you had a wonderful visit with your granddaughter.

  8. What a pleasure it is seeing all your beautiful spring bulbs. Oh, those naughty, adorable, mischievous birds! Who knew plants are not children!!! A lovely post, as

  9. One of the best things about blogging is to experience spring and summer twice a year by enjoying seeing these seasons in the southern hemisphere too. The contrast of the orange flowers with the blue pot are stunning, I’m sorry the cockatoos didn’t approve! Sarah x

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