There is a hazy film hanging around the valley today. Apparently, a blustery storm travelled across the state from west to east – so to the New South Wales coast – yesterday, kicking up dust as it went. My guess is that this is the tail-end of the dust, and we haven’t had any rain to wash it away.
Tonight my body aches from head to foot, but I’ve had the most wonderful and productive day in the garden. I’ve done a lot of pruning with the garden shears today, so even my hands hurt! By 3 pm I decided to call it a day, but paused to look over what I’d accomplished. Up in the pecan tree I could see several Figbirds, so zoomed in on them with the camera to get a close shot. The light, or rather lack of light, wasn’t in my favour, so it’s not the best photo. If you look closely though, you might notice the ring around the eye of the bird in the fork of the tree – that’s the male, and the other bird higher up the tree is a female.
Those cheeky birds were pinching my mulberries! I went down to have a look at the tree, and some of the fruit are looking pretty scraggly now, as you can see.
I decided to go right down the back and see how the orchard is going. We’ve done a lot of clearing down there during winter. The whole area had been taken over by gamba grass, which is classified as a weed in our area, but we’ve got rid of most of it now. We have to keep a lookout for any new shoots coming through though.
My poor grapefruit tree looked pretty dismal when we found it amid the grass, but look at it now! It’s covered in flowers, and I’m so pleased to see it looking so incredibly healthy. It’s quite an old tree, I think we planted it about twenty-five years ago, and every year up until now it ends up covered in huge grapefruits. It looks like it will be the same this year too.
As you can see, the whole valley has the smoky-haze appearance today. If you look closely at this photo though, on the right there’s a bare-branched tree with more figbirds in it! I think it might be a Jacarada tree, so I’ll keep an eye on it and get some photos when it flowers.
And here are the figbirds closer up! I wonder, are they all after my mulberries?
Another tree in flower is my Pomegranate. This is a fairly new addition to the orchard, but it had some beautiful big pomegranates on it during summer. There’s quite a few flowers on the tree now, so I could be in luck again this year.
Our lovely old Mango is preparing for summer fruit too! I had a great time last summer making Green Mango Chutney with freshly picked fruit from the tree and the next day my eyes were puffy and I had blisters on my face, hands and arms. It turned out to be a reaction to a poisonous substance in the sap of the mango tree that I had an allergic reaction to! But the chutney was great. 😉
While I did my gardening, my son’s dog Forrest – who lives permanently at my house now because it’s the only place she’s settled – and my Labrador, Bronte, followed me everywhere. They are good company, but it’s very difficult to get them to sit still long enough to get a photo of them. This photo of Forrest is a tad blurry, but the best I could get.
The Figbirds often sit atop these bunches of palm tree berries and I’ve often taken photos of them, from a distance, munching away on them. They were too busy with my mulberries today and seemed to have forgotten the berries, so I got a much closer photo of them on my way back to the house.
This is a Prince of Orange in my pool area.
And these pretty Daylilies are in the pool area too.
I absolutely love Evening Primrose flowers. They are such easy plants to grow, they are basically the plant-and-forget variety. And every summer the plants multiply, so I get even more flowers.
I love the closeup detail too, the veins through the petals and the dainty yellow carpel and stigma in the centre. (I think that’s what they are called, so correct me if I’m wrong.)
The only way I could get a photo of Bronte today was when she was on the other side of the pool fence. Every time I pointed the camera in her direction, she would run to me for a pat, so you’ll have to excuse the shadow of the fence across her fur. Actually, I’m surprised the sun shone long enough to form a shadow, it’s been such a dull day. It’s been very warm though, I think about 27 degrees Celsius, so around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a high temperature for a spring day, but cooler weather is predicted in a few days.
So that was my day today, a wander around the garden after I finished my chores there, and it was a wonderful change from sitting at my desk. I’ll have to get back into uni tomorrow, but I think I’ll feel better doing so after having a break. 🙂