Simpson Shadehouse - Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Simpson Shadehouse - Adelaide Botanic Gardens

29 November 2014

Ringtail Possum in drey

Ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) build scrappy looking nests called "dreys" in trees and the dreys are often communal, housing a family of ringtails.  This one has built its drey in a large prunus.  Ringtails are very fond of young leaves (especially myrtaceae such as eucalypts, lilly pillies, melaleucas) as well as flowers and fruit.  You need to net fruit trees and even seedlings in garden beds as possums can be very destructive (especially brushtails which are heavier than ringtails so their weight can damage thin branches).

19 November 2014

Christmas cactus?

This "zygocactus" is called Easter cactus in the northern hemisphere where it flowers in the Spring and summer months.  But in Australia where the spring and summer occur around Christmas it's called Christmas cactus. It's a Rhipsalidopsis  whereas most "zygocacti" are now classified under Schlumbergera.  Zygocactus has had no botanical validity since 1953 (although many nurseries have sold these epiphytic plants under the name zygocactus since 1953, probably because they had the labels printed and didn't want to trash them).  Whatever, it provides a lot of colour.

17 November 2014

Grey Fantail nest

Of all the fantails, the Grey Fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa) is known to be the most inquisitive and most likely to fly close to humans.  That's certainly my experience.  They particularly like it when you turn over a compost heap and they'll zip around getting insects.  There's been a couple of Grey Fantails flying around the garden lately and I thought they must be nesting in a neighbour's trees.  In a way I was right.  I discovered this nest today about two metres off the ground in a Pittosporum undulatum growing over our fence in a part of the garden seldom frequented by human traffic.  Grey Fantails are renowned for their "wine glass" nests and this one has been exquisitely put together with grass interleaved and the outside of the nest covered with spider webs.

09 November 2014

Bees love poppies!

Poppy flowers don't always last a long time but there are usually many plants and some have multistems with flowers on each. And the bees love the flowers!

02 November 2014

Callistemon (bottlebrush)

This bottlebrush was planted in the garden by a previous owner but it looks to me like Callistemon 'Kings Park Special' which is a variety that arose as a seedling in the Kings Park Botanic Gardens in West Australia.  It's thought to be a cross between C. viminalis and C. citrinus.  Like most bottlebrushes it can be cut back quite severely after flowering and will usually spring back with new growth and more flowers the following year.  Most bottlebrushes are drought hardy but can withstand periods of flooding.  From experience this variety needs plenty of sun to get it to flower.