Corella-geddon……..borders and companion planting…

Corellas are the slightly smaller cousins of Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, and when they  come to town, everybody knows about it…

They screech, strip leaves and bark in search of food, undo lamp post wires to swing on them, and they are up for a party any time!

Sam Dooley from Bird Life Australia says ”they are extremely intelligent birds who are able to adapt and exploit new food resources”  Corellas in Canberra (and elsewhere in Australia)  have developed a penchant for the seed pods of the Liquidambar, and the Oak trees, traditionally northern hemisphere trees.

They are destructive and entertaining in equal measure.

Well, just as long as they haven’t discovered our garden.. because look who’s coming….

Autumn is the time cockatoos fly in to our garden to check out our almond tree.  Thanks to Paul for taking this incredible photo as the cockatoo flew into the garden…

The cockatoos haven’t visited too often this autumn, perhaps because they prefer their almonds soft and soggy from the rain and we haven’t had any rain since February. We are hoping May will be rain month…

Meanwhile, Paul, who is just in the last stages of finishing his PhD, decided to clear about one quarter of the back garden, (he says it is a good counter balance to studying) . The plan is to change a very overgrown tired area, with a winding path and new plants along the borders.

Magpies are very tame and great gardening companions….that is, if you are clearing, rather than planting..

They dig away looking for grubs and take a great interest in the gardening routine.. as you can see they are very low key compared with Corellas.

At the rear of the above photo is a water tank, it is attached to the carport roof, and rain water drains from the  gutters into the tank…  (we have a second much bigger tank near the house) These two tanks have provided enough rain water for most of the back garden this summer.

Here is Paul’s cleared border…looking great, and ready for new plants. The Photinias on the right hand side will be trimmed right back at the end of May.

The magpie on the archway is really enjoying a shower, what could be better after a bit of companion gardening..

Meanwhile I had a much smaller project on hand…moving some of the succulents, which, after summer are spilling out of their pots.

I put an ornamental white agapanthus in the middle of this old birdbath, and some succulents and pebbles around it. One of the younger magpies spent a bit of time watching me… as the Aussie saying goes..  she was having a ”stickybeak”.

…. I left to have lunch on the deck.. and started filling in my new ” Five year Garden and Planting Diary”

and when I looked into the garden, she had pulled out one of the agapanthus. I suppose if it was good enough for me to pull plants out of pots, it must be worth  trying for her…

She is warbling at me (gently) here, to tell me that this is her territory..

and she looked so determined to try again that I resorted to putting the newspaper over the top of the new creation, while I finished writing in my diary.

The things you do for birdlife….

The succulents are safely on the deck now…

and all is well in the autumn garden..

….except for water….that most precious commodity for much of Australia.

Crossing fingers for May..

 Finally the weather has cooled into the gentle golden sunshine that is autumn in Canberra, and often accompanied by beautiful sunsets..

The kind of weather that inspires you to stand in the garden every morning and sing

”Oh what a beautiful morning..”

I hope you are enjoying spring or autumn/fall in your part of the world, and singing…


Copyright: Geraldine Mackey: All Rights Reserved.





21 Replies to “Corella-geddon……..borders and companion planting…”

  1. Lovely to look round your garden and see what you do with help from the birds! Hope you get the rain you need, if I could box it up and send it, you could have some of ours.

  2. Your gardens, and birds, are lovely. I wish I could send you a bit of our water. We are soggy to overflowing and it’s too wet and muddy to plant. Let’s hope May find us with less rain and you with more!

    1. Yes, we definitely need a reverse of weather conditions don’t we? Enjoy spring as much as the weather allows.

  3. Your pots are looking great, Gerrie, but I had to laugh at the cheek of that magpie. 🙂 Paul has done a great job with the winding path. Gardening is a great idea for a bit of relaxation. 😀

  4. Great pictures of the cockatoos and corellas. They sound very entertaining, but only at a distance. I don’t think I’d want them around here.

  5. Oh the pure joy of this time of year in Australia. Working in tandem with birds is one of my delights. Love your low succulent bowls.

    1. Thanks, the succulents look better when they are with other plants.Yes the birds are a treat aren’t they?

  6. I do love magpies such a friendly bird. How satisfying to renovate tired corners of the garden. I do like that newly planted and tidy look. We have had a very good summer for rain, every time I began to think I may have to start watering we would get some rain. Autumn is an excellent month for sunsets too

    1. I’m glad you have had good rainfall, we had some rain last night which was great. Yes, I love the Magpies too, they don’t look as colourful as the parrots, but are very friendly.

  7. What a wonderful post! So interesting to see the birds—I had never heard of corellas—and take a look at your gardens. Also, those magpies! Really like how you potted those succulents and how you get water for your gardens. Finally, funny to think of it being fall for you and spring for us.

    1. Thanks Laurie, I agree about how strange it is that we are experiencing the exact opposite seasons at the same time…really fascinating.

  8. What a spectacular photo you open with!
    Are those wings every so slightly tinged with green?

    I am eying patches of our garden for revamping. It’s time.

    1. Thanks Diana, I was surprised that photo came out as the Corella was swinging so much. The Corellas have some yellow on the underside of their wings….it looks green just as a reflection from the trees around.

  9. How I enjoyed watching your gentle magpie watching you! Naughty bird pulling the bulb out, that newspaper had me smiling….and shaking my head, we can never simply just get on with stuff can we? I love the pots, I am a fan of succulents, how lovely they look.
    It is lovely seeing your garden and new creations, that winding path looks great, be interesting seeing what new plants go in the border.
    That is a fab shot of the cockatoo flying in! Just love those cheeky birds. Here’s to you getting lots of rain this

    1. Thanks Dina, we are supposed to get rain on Friday…hope so! The magpies are really sweet garden companions, and you have to love the cockatoos for their personality!

  10. I love looking at those handsome birds, but I’m sorry they do damage to your plants. I’m glad you told us about the water tank because I was really curious what it was. I love the new path. I have an area that needs to be redone. I keep looking at it and thinking that I need new pavers, but about the time I think about really doing it the weather is too hot and my cycle of thinking and not doing goes around again. 🙂

    1. We have been thinking about clearing that area for a couple of years…here in Canberra Autumn is the best time to garden .. So always so much to do!

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