Six on Saturday – W38/20 – Ka-BLOOM!

It has been a busy week, with work picking up a bit, drying another batch of parsley, freezing strawberries and mulberries, the first attempt at making a small batch of piccalilli, and sowing a batch of seeds for summer flowers. We also had enough rain during the week – one chore less to do. Along with the increased heat, the garden is slowly starting to fill out and become green and pretty again, and there has been an explosion of colour in the garden (Ka-bloom!).

First up, not a ka-bloom but a BOOM!! A loud bang as something collided with the lounge window startled us both into nearly spilling our morning tea on Thursday morning. A bird! We rushed over to see a very dazed bird sitting in the garden under the window, in total shock and panting slightly. No doubt it had been ducking in and out of foliage trying to escape an insanely territorial Noisy Miner (aka Mickey). It is breeding season here and the Mickeys are on high alert for anything unusual in their territory. The poor stunned bird (tentatively identified as an immature Australasian Figbird) looked alright, apart from being dazed, so we decided to leave it alone to recover peacefully in the garden. we kept an eye on it to make sure it was still okay, and after about 2 hours it started showing signs of normality, shook itself and then flew off into a nearby tree. Almost immediately it was dive-bombed by a pair of Mickeys who chased it into the dense trees across the road.

Possibly a juvenile Australasian Figbird

2. Ka-Bloom!! The bottlebrush, Callistemon, at the bottom of the garden is around 4 metres tall is an explosion of colour, and is attracting the nectar eating birds, such as the Rainbow Lorikeet, the Scaly-Breasted Lorikeet and Noisy Miners who are feasting on the flowers. It gets quite noisy at feeding time! At night the flying foxes are squawking away as they also partake in the flower feast.

Callistemon in full bloom

3. It is lovely to watch the birds from our garden swing while we have tea. On Thursday however, we spotted an unusual dark larger shape in the Callistemon, and on closer inspection found it was one of our resident pythons (carpet snake).

The fluttering blur of a male Pied Butcherbird warning everyone of the snake’s presence.

The snake must have recently come out of hibernation and was feeling a little peckish, and what better place to get some food than at the floral bar! The snake remained there for a day and a half, and only came down when Mr S did some noisy work in the vegetable garden (replacing a garden bed). Snakes do not like noise. As soon as Mr S left to get more tools, it slithered down the tree and into the agapanthus patch below. Only when we saw its entire length did we realize why it had stayed in the tree so long; it had been happily digesting a meal!

Head of a Carpet Snake (python). The row of thermoreceptive labial pits allows it to sense heat via infra-red light.

4. The other native plant that is ka-blooming is the Grevillea ‘Flamingo’. According to the label that came with the plant ” up to 13 blooms on one branch, this Grevillea has flowers so large that they arch down – looking like a pink flamingo feeding”. The blooms on my plant are not as bright pink as the label indicated, more a dusky pink, but never-the-less they do look stunning against the narrow grey-green foliage of the plant.

Grevillea ‘Flamingo’

5. The roses have started blooming too …. Eyes for you, Polyantha rose – Pink Blush, Blossomtime and an unknown white climbing rose.

Brindabella rose – Eyes for You – the bloom just starting to opening
Climbing rose – Blossomtime
Climbing rose – unknown

6. The lilies are also ka-blooming….. the black pearl lilies look magnificent, as do the Hippeastrum – white and red.

Black Pearl Lilies
White flowering Hippeastrum
Deep red flowering Hippeastrum

Thanks to The Propagator for allowing us to share our weekly Six on Saturdays. To find out more, please visit his blog.

References used regarding the carpet snake:

https://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Find+out+about/Behind+the+Scenes/Museum+Experts/Biodiversity/Carpet+Pythons (accessed 19/09/2020)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morelia_spilota (accessed 19/9/2020)

30 comments

  1. What an interesting post and I really like your live and let live approach to the garden and its visitors. The python is spectacular!

  2. That’s a very comprehensive reply,. There are no snakes in Ireland, it appears, but I’ll be on the look out nonetheless!

  3. I love the pinks, a chara. But not the snake. Reading about it is very interesting, though. They generally stay away from humans? Or are there dangerous fellas too?

    • The funny thing is that the carpet snake (python) is generally nocturnal, but we have sighted most of them during daylight hours. They do not like noise and tend to stay away from humans and large dogs. As long as they do not feel threatened, then they will leave you alone. They are also slow moving, making them easy to observe if you want to. There are lots of dangerous snakes in Australia. We saw a red-bellied black this past week (no photo unfortunately). They are dangerous but very shy so tend to stay away from humans. There are also brown snakes here which can be aggressive, and we have seen one in the garden in the past 3 years. The other harmless snake we have seen here is the tree snake. They are very slender and well camouflaged when in the trees and bush, and are very shy as well. I have a photo of one drinking at our bird bath in the front garden. When you grow up knowing the snakes are out there you tend to be observant and make sure that you keep a look out for them. Snake catchers will come and relocate snakes from urban gardens. We are so close to the forest that we know that we will see snakes. I love watching the carpet snakes, but am extremely wary of the more poisonous ones; I can run very fast in the opposite direction if I need to!

  4. Beautiful plants!

    We have had bird issues during this week also. While out driving, I received a call that our house alarm was triggered. On return, we found the print of a large bird on one of the windows – no sign of the bird so it must have been fine. Later this week, we had just woken when we heard a hammering and the alarm sounded – a pheasant was pecking at his own reflection in a window and had set off the alarm. Twit!

  5. Roses out already! How lovely. Mine are just beginning to grow buds, but I think I’ll be waiting a week or two. Your white unknown one is especially pretty.
    Those Noisy Miners really are the terrorists of the garden, aren’t they.

    • Glad your roses are budding. I do love roses! The Noisy Miners are definitely the little terrors and are relentless in chasing anything new to the area away. I’ve even been terrorised when they fly down out of nowhere and skim by within inches of my head.

  6. Poor little bird I hope he escaped the two Mickeys and how can you be so calm about a snake, and not just any snake – a python! Oh, I’m shuddering! 😱

    You have a lovely collection of roses – I’m really partial to pink though the white climber is very attractive. I agree that the black pear lilies are outstanding and I love the range of colours in the deep red flowering Hippeastrum. A great range of plants and stories in your six this week.

    • The little bird had a really bad day that day. The Mickeys just chase everything out of their territory so once it was past the ‘boundary’ it would have safe. I find the pythons quite fascinating, but you wouldn’t catch me hanging around a poisonous snake! No way! I’d be gone faster than a roadrunner! It’s unusual to see pythons during the day as they are mainly nocturnal. I’m pleased to see my roses again and to have a bit mor interest in the garden. I do love spring but hate the hot humid and draining summers. This summer should have more shade in the garden as the trees start growing taller, so that should make a world of difference. Because of the heat and humidity I’ve found that not all roses grow well here, so it’s pretty much a trial and error process to find those that will do well. Your roses do give me rose envy though! There will be photos of more hippy’s in the weeks to come.

      • I’m glad that the little bird made it safely away. I’ll be looking out for more of your ‘hippys’ over the next few weeks. Happy gardening!

  7. I saw a baby slow worm ( a legless lizard) in the garden a couple of days back, all of three inches long, and I got quite excited. Now I feel a little foolish. Do the birds mob the snake?

    • Oh how lovely! I love seeing a diversity of creatures in the garden! Did you get a photo of it? I’d love to see it. I find too that being at home and armed with a camera has increased my awareness of all smaller creatures in the garden and I notice even the slightest movement in the garden now. I’m loving it! Being excited at spotting the unusual shows empathy with nature. The birds do mob snakes when they spot them, but very few actually try and peck it. They are normally too skittish, and just make a huge noise. I have seen a butcher bird actually peck a snake once. I’ve come to recognise the ubiquitous ‘warning’ call of birds and can’t help myself and go and investigate. I’ve spotted some interesting predator birds and snakes as a result.

    • Thank you! I find the pythons to be really fascinating creatures (you can tell by the regular photos I post whenever I see one). That red Hippy seems to be darker than the rest and should look wonderful when it opens!

  8. I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with how nonchalant you Aussies are about having huge pythons in your gardens!

    • They are really beautiful and being close to the forest we get to see them more than the urbanites do. Now I’ve got over my initial fear, i find them fascinating, and was intrigued to read up on their infrared sensing and how they can sense their way via chemicals picked up on their tongues and transmitted to a gland in their mouths.LUCKILY these pythons are not poisonous……..I’d react quite differently to a Brown, Black or any other poisonous snake! I’d be gone in a flash!

  9. I jump seeing lizards (not afraid of them, just not expecting to see them), so I can’t imagine a large snake in the garden! Bottlebrush are so pretty, yet so messy. I once lived in a house where one had been planted by the front door. What a mess on the walkway.

    • Luckily for us our two largest bottle rushes are in the border at the back of the garden, so they can be as messy as they like down there. There are patches of red on the footpath when we do our daily walk which are pretty, then messy and slippery. The snakes is relatively harmless and I have grown accustomed to seeing them at least one or twice during summer. They are slow movers and just fascinating to watch.

  10. I like the unknown climbing rose. Pretty frills. I’ve got a baby seagull hiding in one of my bushes that keeps snapping at us but I reckon your python trump’s it for danger.

    • It’s a pity I’ve lost the names of that rose! Oh cute! A baby seagull in the garden! That must look quite funny when it snaps. It must scare any unsuspecting visitors though. As long as Alice is safe, that’s okay. We’re lucky we don’t have grandchildren visiting too often, but we definitely have to watch our dogs, cat and little chickens, and make sure they are put away when the snake is around. The pythons are normally nocturnal, so it’s been very unusual to see them so often during the day…..great for photographic opportunities though!

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