|Dolly bush, Cassinia acueleata. A wonderful Tasmanian plant that is pretty,|
fast growing and a great food source for beneficial insects.
After someone cleared the 'scrub' it was then a cow paddock, and probably not a great one with its poorly draining, easily compacted soil. Its most recent history is as a chook paddock that has frustrated my attempts to grow food, due to hungry wildlife and short hoses in hot Summers. But now it's fenced, has water nearby and has been cultivated. Things are going well!
I've collected seed and cuttings from the remnant 'scrub' we have on our block, and hope to plant out an echo of what was once here. This will have far more advantages than just that of feeding my romantic notions of one-ness with Nature. Diverse plantings can host a huge number of beneficial organisms. Ants will live among the gum trees and venture out to collect root feeding grubs, and leaf eating caterpillars. Flowering plants will attract hover flies and native wasps that cunningly lay their eggs on aphid babies, then the eggs hatch and the larvae devour the undesirable garden guest. Thick, prickly scrub and tussocks will provide homes for wrens and their feathered kin who feast on insects and boost the spirit of a weary gardener. I've even heard a theory that dense vegetation, especially Banksias, favours ringtail possums who do far less damage that their brushtailed friends. The trees I put in will absorb a teensy portion of the carbon emissions I create on the way to market, and most of all my family and I will feel as though we're trying to do right by the land that is supporting and sheltering us.
|Fruit salad sage and Mount Wellington. What a brilliant work place!|
|Good weeds. For the first time ever we saw an Australian Admiral butterfly here |
whose caterpillars feed on Nettles. What a great 'weed'!
And it is also a wonderful thing in the kitchen.