WILD THING

There’s hardly any gardening possible these days, with rain, showers, downpours being the order of  things for weeks now. When there is a break in the weather, the ground is so soggy and slippery and the mossies swarm, it’s not really a fun place to be. The one pleasure is watching everything grow almost before your eyes and being thankful for the planting that went in before this monsoonal patch started. So it’s an interior life I live more these days, back to books and planning and dreaming for the drier season.

And speaking of indoors, friend Liz wondered here last week if some messy evidence around the fruit bowl meant there could be rats visiting her kitchen bench at night. She feared a pile of garden rubbish might be their breeding ground.

I think I now know what’s to blame for your night time raid, Liz.

It’s a possum – or a few of them .

The penny dropped after one treated our fireplace as a drop-in centre this week, sliding down the chimney, rustling around the woodchips and nearly giving our cat heart failure. I hover between admiring its sweet cuteness and resenting its intrusive audacity.

Its the first such creature we have had here in the bush. Yes, truly.

Brisbane is awash with possums, dancing noisily across rooftops, sliding into crawl spaces in ceilings, clattering around the guttering, peeing on verandahs and chewing away at vegetables, herb gardens and pot plants. Life has been very merry in the city for this wildlife over the past few years, so their numbers increased due to a combination of more edible gardens, proliferation of greenery and  available food  – albeit some of it meant for domestic pets like cats and dogs.

But we here in the possum-free outer burbs have had no such problem. Our plants were left alone. We could grow as much in pots as we liked without losing them to these cute, but malicious marauders.

Now the first possum to breach the battlements at our house has arrived and I am nervous. Nervous because he ( and I am guessing the sex here) climbed successfully over the fire guard and danced his messy way around the lounge room, leaving ashy footprints all over the CDs,  lampshade and books, knocked over a stack of ornaments and tellingly, munched into two ripe bananas on the kitchen bench. And like Goldilocks, having sampled the food and the furniture, he seems to like it here and is reluctant to leave.

Will it be soon that he discovers the plants and pots on the decks are way easier to access for a feed without having to base jump into the fireplace.
Who are we gonna call? Possum busters???

CUTTING IT

I was born to snip. All my dolls got haircuts before they had a change of clothes and I took a pair of scissors to the head of any younger sibling who stood still long enough. Now my tool of choice is the secateurs and I am never happier than clipping and cutting around the plot. And these days, EVERYTHING needs a big trim. Branches, weighed down with rainwater, wild shoots, leggy annuals, unruly shrubs …. they’re all in my firing line.  But what I really need now is a mulcher to turn all this offcut into useful garden food.  Hmmmm, only 268 shopping days til Christmas.

LITTLE TREASURE 

 I wrote last week about the newly discovered carphalea shrub a dear lady from my neighbourhood, named Jeannie Little, told me about.  I took my trusty secateurs to Jeannie’s in the meanwhile and came home with several bunches of gorgeous carphalea blooms and a stack of  other cuttings of red, yellow and purple salvias and 
Coleus are always a startling contrast to garden greenery

pretty coleus she generously gave me. I have honeyedthe ends ( acts as a hormonal stumulant I have been told) of the carphalea cuttings and potted them. Carphaleas are not easy to strike, I have been warned, but I am hoping all this rain will fool them into thinking they are in the tropics where they thrive and that they will prosper and grow. ( Jeannie said she discovered them growing in the main street of Cairns, in the tropical north of Queensland )

I will keep you posted.

And lastly, I’d like to share this marvellous vision of a city greened over.

Dare we dream?

If you ever want for friendship, join a garden club. Go the website of The Garden Clubs of Australia, www.gardenclubs.org.au.,  an umbrella organisation of affiliated clubs, with kindred spirits for gardeners waiting to meet you and share their knowledge and fun.

Could this be the way of our cities' future?

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