Following a request for identification of the ‘red ball flower’ we received responses from John Phillips, Owen Curtis, John Williams, Jan Broadfoot and Peter Kjorstad. All were on the scent but it was Jan Broadfoot who hit the nail-on-the-head by identifying the mystery flower as Scadoxus Multiflorus or the ‘blood lily’. The plant hails from Africa growing from Senegal to Somalia to South Africa. Thanks Jan.
Besides having an interest in flora, the gardeners are interested in the fauna of the area. Last week we heard the ‘whoop whoop' call of what is often titled the ‘bush pheasant’. Known officially as the Pheasant Coucal it is widely distributed through the East coast of Australia. The Pheasant Coucal is a ground feeder living on small inverter-braes, (predominantly small frogs) and insects. It is more comfortable running than flying. A pair were heard in the undergrowth of the Unity Waters grounds last week. They are very hard to see but their call is distinctive. Listen for it.
In the lower garden we had cultivated some rock melons. With the disaster we had last season with crows breaking into the shells of the water melons we took precautions by covering the fruit with milk crates. The crows were dissuaded from destroying the ‘fruits of our labour’ but the water rats took full advantage of the opportunity to the point that all that was left were the outside shells.
On Thursday morning we found one of the rock melon eating culprits spread eagled on the ground. Upon examination, its belly had been ripped open and the surrounding flesh eaten. The kill was fresh as the ants had not had time to start their work so one assumes the kill happened in the early hours of the morning. The suspect would most likely be a Tawny Frog Mouth Owl which frequent most parts of Australia. The water rat has now been dispatched to a compost bin as a source of blood and bone. Go the owls!
The workload of the gardeners continues to grow to the point that we need to recruit more enthusiasts. In particular, we would like assistance in the lower garden. Gavin Meakens and Bill Lodge have their hands full with landscaping as well as caring for the lower gardens and propagation shed. This is an opportunity for a couple of members to have a free hand to grow a range of fruit, vegetables and flowers in what are very productive beds. If you are interested in joining the team please speak to
Mike Nixon or Bill Lodge. You will be most welcome.