Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gigi's Garden Day: Katie 16: snakes and geckoes

Last Sunday's Garden Day at Gigi and Scott's property 'Westwood' was inspirational.

'Westwood' sits comfortably on both sides of Australia's famous Dingo Fence (called the Dog Fence, locally) and is a typical large semi-arid cattle property.  Blue-grey scrub blends into native grasses, with improved pastures in some places.

An extensive vegetable garden and orchard keeps this family well-fed and healthy.  No chemicals are used. Fertilisers and mulches are home-grown using plentiful cattle and poultry manures.  Vegetables are protected from bird and insect attack by means of tents made of fine mesh.

A family of talkative guinea fowl sound the alarm whenever a King brown snake slivers into the garden. Then they round up the snake and drive it out through the boundary fence or into netting.  Apostle birds also have a distinctive snake alarm call.

Today -- on the home front -- we saw our first brown snake.  It was 1 1/2 metres long and disappeared beneath the house.  I confess to feeling anxious regarding the safety of our dogs. Our first gecko in the house was, on the other hand, a delight!

But back to the Garden Day.  Apart from guinea fowl, Gigi has a collection of rare and exotic hens and ducks -- and a very special pet rooster that loves being patted.  One breed lay chocolate coloured eggs.  Then there are pet kangaroos, a Siamese cat and of course, cattle dogs.  This is a place where life is good for all creatures great and small  --  plants included.

Although the temperature hovered in the mid 30s C, a large group of people came from far and wide to partake of the warm hospitality given by Gigi and Scott.  Plants were exchanged; conversations and laughter flowed easily as friends shared hints about plants and gardens.

On the way back to Mitchell we detoured to Orchard Hill where I discovered three new flowering plants.  There's always something happening in this particular patch of bush.  Aside from the flowers, the aroma of red sand and blue-green herbage filled my nostrils: an aroma typical of the Australian bush on a hot sunny day.  This is the Australia I love.  

Katie turned 16 this week, a fine age for a very special and dearly love Siamese.

No comments:

Post a Comment