Simpson Shadehouse - Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Simpson Shadehouse - Adelaide Botanic Gardens

30 November 2013

29 November 2013


Yes, we've netted our cherry trees this year.  Last year we lost every one of our cherries to birds, possums and rats.

13 November 2013

A koala's life

A koala's life seems quite solitary.  Apart from when they mate or when a mother has a baby koala they seem to spend most of their lives by themselves, sleeping, eating, moving from tree to tree in their range, not socialising at all.  They avoid humans when they can; they're very cautious except, it seems, when they're climbing along, what to us would look like, twigs but they always appear to know the limits of whatever they're climbing.  They're remarkably agile for what look like bulky animals but it's mainly fur and they're little balls of muscle under that fuzzy exterior.  And note those claws which they seldom use in anger but they can hang on to branches in ways we would never attempt.

This koala (which we think is female) was walking along our side fence at dusk - quite a remarkable feat in itself.  Then she hopped up a tree and went out on a branch which seemed far too small for her weight.  After some swaying in the evening breeze, even she thought that her choice of branch wasn't optimum and she eventually descended, continued her journey along the fenceline and disappeared over the back fence.

11 November 2013

Mulberry fingers

No I haven't been involved in a bloody conflict.  This happens when you pick a lot of mulberries.  Our old mulberry tree has had a bumper crop this year, probably because of the wet winter we had and the higher winter and spring temperatures.   And, yes, it is true that you can use an unripe mulberry to remove much of the stain from hands and clothes although wearing white when picking mulberries is not recommended!

08 November 2013

Grevillea robusta

The largest grevillea, Grevillea robusta (Silky Oak), has been grown in a number of gardens in past years and it provides an attractive display that honey eaters love.  Unfortunately it seeds and germinates quite readily so it's not recommended for planting near natural bush areas nowadays.

07 November 2013


I don't know the specific name of this bromeliad but the bright pink flowers provide quite a display in a dark corner of the garden.  Because bromeliads are epiphytic you can grow them in shady places in the garden where little else will grow, let alone flower.

05 November 2013

Tillandsia aeranthos

Tillandsias are often called air plants because, as epiphytic bromeliads, they literally grow in the air.  Probably the best known tillandsia is Spanish Moss or Old Man's Beard (Tillandsia usneoides) which grows from trees in tropical forests and even hangs off power lines in some countries.  At one time it was used as stuffing for automotive seats - a live plant!

Tillandsia aeranthos has larger leaves than Spanish Moss and it has colourful flowers (the flowers of Spanish Moss are insignificant).  The photo below shows the complete plant.  It's hanging from a hook attached to a piece of bark hanging in the shade of a birch tree.  Whilst South Australia has a much drier climate than the tropical or subtropical countries from which tillandsias originate they grow quite well (if slowly) in dappled shade and an occasional sprinkling of water.  In a humid greenhouse, growth can be spectacular.

04 November 2013

Eyes For You Rose

This is a small rose still in its pot but it's already producing flowers like this.

01 November 2013

Dasypodia selenophora

This is a "Southern Old Lady" or "Granny" moth.  Apparently they are hosted on Acacias.  This one was on the wall of the recently refurbished Blackwood public dunnies.  There used to be a couple of Flinders Ranges wattles (Acacia iteaphylla) next to the toilets on Australia Post land but they cut them down so this moth is probably wondering what happened to its habitat!

Incidentally the refurbished dunnies are a vast improvement on the previous leaking, unhygienic bog.

Red poppy

These pop up wild in gardens at this time of year.  Usually the flowers only last a day but how spectacular they can look!