Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Journey to the Upper Reaches of My Backyard

From the road, our block extends some 225 metres and merges into bushland. At the 75 metre mark it starts going up a steep hill. The next 25 metres is what I call my bush garden. At about the 100 metre mark there is what we call the "Wallaby Fence". Why it is there is anyones guess. I'm thinking of removing it on aesthetic grounds as it certainly doesn't do the job it was built for. On any given night there may be up to a dozen Pademelons on the lawn and there have been signs (scats) of Red-necked wallaby as well. The possums come and go as they please and in autumn eat about 50% of my fruit. I never have to mow the yard as it has become what is known as a marsupial lawn. The Echidnas get through the fence too as do the Tassie Devils which come in to take the odd chicken or duck. The other day I even saw what looked like Wombat scats although they were a little on the small side. On top of that there are the feral cats and innumerable feral rabbits. In fact I'm starting to think the fence is actually keeping the wildlife in.

Anyhow, I rarely venture into the wilderness beyond the "wallaby fence" as the understory is very dense, almost inpenetrable in parts but today I went for a small walk. I found some really neat fungi growing on a pile of fallen sticks and there was plenty of birdlife up there too. The birds included a White Goshawk being mobbed by Forest Ravens, Collared Sparrowhawk, Eastern Spinebills, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, New Holland Honeyeater and much more, However they were not what I was looking for. I was after a species known as Homo sapien. I had spotted one from the house moving through the bush. Most of the time all you could see were the bushes moving. The person wasn't actually on my property but nobody ever walks up there so I had to find out what he was up to. As I made my way through the scrub I realised what machetes were invented for. When I looked down into a small gully I was surprised to see the creek was flowing ( a rare event) but more importantly I had located my quarry. He was a young bloke and he was armed and dangerous. That is to say armed with a bow saw and loppers both of which can be quite dangerous. While I couldn't have much of a conversation with him (talking across the gully) I was happy to find that he was hard at work decimating the local Boneseed / Bitou Bush infestation. It's great to see people addressing problems like this. We have pulled up trailer loads of the stuff in the last year or so as well and broom plants but would never be able to get on top of the problem alone. Maybe now there is a chance.

Part of my backyard - It hasn't been mowed for over a year.

In spring the foreground of this shot would be covered in yellow from Broom and Boneseed

Boneseed Chrysanthemoides monilifera

Cape Broom - Genista monspessulana


  1. What a great backyard. I particularly like the sound of all the wildlife coming in. But how does the garden grow? Only behind wire I imagine.

  2. We grow vegies. You can see some of the beds behind the wire fence in the photo. Even with that the odd wallaby has managed to get under the fence for a feast of carrots etc. I like the wildlife too though and I'm hoping by pulling the fence down (not the vegie fence) we will get the Bandicoots coming in too. They are definitely up there but I haven't seen them myself yet.

  3. G'day Mosura,
    Great backyard. I can see why the wildlife would like it. Good luck with the weeds.

  4. Interesting adventure with a great outcome! Funny how your fence is most likely keeping the wildlife in ;) I know about wallabies loving carrots! Luckily carrots are easy to grow, just add more for the wildlife ;)

  5. You really live close to nature Mosura, plurry wonderful! Like Gouldiae said, good luck with those weeds, shockers.

  6. Thanks Gouldiae, Anonymous and Duncan.

    As disheartening as it is, I've never been one to blame wildlife for have a feed. The trick will be in making the place even more wildlife friendly while at the same time protecting the vegies, fruit, chickens & ducks.

  7. I don't know if this will work at hiding some of your more delicious veges from wildlife but I used to plant Kumera potato vines amongst the veges. In my case it was to hold plants down into sandy soil and protect what little moisture there was. However, it might also make some plants more difficult to get to. Just a thought. Must go ... should be working!

  8. Don't know if it will grow here. Many say it won't but I've been meaning to try as we rarely get a frost where I am. I'll give it a go come spring.

  9. What a fabulous description of your "backyard". When my husband retires, we hope to have a similar set up, but in a more semi-arid area of the country.

    I have seen how the broom can take over (Barrington Tops, NSW) and it would be a frustrating struggle to attempt to make any impression on it. Good luck with the weed problem, and good on you for tackling it.