Monday, March 8, 2010

Our backyard...

It's STILL raining here - two weeks and the weather bureau is predicting more. Our bush block hasn't seen this much rain in decades. Literally. Even though we've not lived here that long, we've lived in the area for over a decade. Seriously though, as wet as it is, it also makes for a wonderful change. The land needed it.

Anyway, we got a break in the weather yesterday afternoon, so I decided to see how the water was flowing on the block. We have several gullies cross-crossing the block, which naturally deals with the run-off. I've never actually seen them flowing up-close, because until now, all our large rain events have only fallen within 24 hours. So the run-off is often gone before I can get out with the camera.

But on my recent hike in our backyard, it was a wonderful discovery of miniature waterfalls and changing hues of wet bark and foliage.

This is part of our sand-pit, run off area. The erosion has cut out a miniature waterfall that sounds absolutely delightful when it's running. Although we're not too keen on further erosion, we understand this is a natural part of the lands ability to cope with large water events. One such strategy, is to cut a meandering path through the block, to help slow down the flow of water.

This is part of the reason we're not in a hurry to remove the lantana bushes. Not until we've added more plant life to hold the banks together at least. Otherwise, it would only take a few heavy falls to wipe out most of the soil from this area. If you notice above, on one side, Dave has cut the grass, and the other is left to grow naturally. Our intention is to plant both sides of the banks with reeds and rushes, so we can eventually remove the lantana and keep all the grass mowed.

It's not that we're particularly fussy about mowed lawns, but we are fussy about seeing snakes before we stick a ruddy great big foot on them, LOL. Fortunately we've only encountered green tree snakes so far, but I'm happy for the brown and black snakes (neighbours have reported on their blocks) staying a mystery to us.

The above image is where the run-off leaves our property, behind that lovely thicket of shrubs. This is what we call our recharge area though - which means whenever there is too much water to get through, it spills over the bank and has more time to soak into the sand. While it looks like a creek bed, it's not actually a creek. It's just the accumulation of silt over the seasons, where soil erosion from up stream, ends up sitting here.

To show you how a recharge area works, the image below is to the left of the above image. It's where the water has spilled over and is soaking into the recharge area. And yes, it was the same area, a reader dubbed an interview area. Hi mountainwildlife, how bizarre is that interview set-up now, LOL?

Here is the same spotted gum tree, as well...only it's bark has changed colour in the wet. You can see it's almost completed it's annual shedding of flaking bark, having grown another foot or two, no doubt!

The spotted gum is a native here. Not surprising since it doesn't require a great soil to grow in, and recovers quickly from bushfire. We get several species of native trees here, but the spotted gum would have to be the quickest grower so is more common. They're quite a large tree too, around 30 or more metres in height.

While we're looking at bark though, here is my favourite tree. It's an Ironbark with thick, robust bark. Being a hardwood, they take longer to grow than the spotted gum, but their width is something else to behold. I love that this tree is part of our backyard, and as long as we're living here, it will stay.

Still on the subject of trees though, here is a reminder of the 2003 bushfire, which came through this area - two years before we bought the place. There are a few black tree stumps like this one, and even a few hollowed out trees (no branches).

I'm in awe how rain makes the black charcoal of the stump, stand out more - and there are even plants growing in the middle of it. To the left is some moss too, all part of nature's big recycling project! Even when something dies, a useful job is found for it.

I love how the rain brings new life with it too. All these green sprouts have popped up through the natural layer of mulch nature provided. Even this native grass is sporting a new shade of green, from some of the brown ones already dying off.

This is not a very good picture (below) but this is another gully that runs down one of our south facing slopes. The miniature waterfall trickled and it sounded so beautiful. One of our future aspirations, is to green these particular gullies. We have another gully on the opposite side - both running down into the sand-pit.

We would love to have tree ferns and all manner of rain-forest foliage, planted here. It would be such a haven for the green tree frogs, dwarf tree frogs and green tree snakes. Of course, the gullies only flow in heavy rain, but with enough plant material, it should generate enough humus to keep the plants moist in drier times.

Peeking through the trees in our backyard, we can see the back of our house again. I remember when we used to drive to our block to visit, and imagine our house sitting there. We'd say to each other, "imagine when all this becomes our backyard". Wow, how did it happen so fast!

Seasons change, plants grow and die, that's what I love most about our backyard. We play with a very small portion of it, but nature does all the rest. Most of the photos you've seen today are, "as is". In other words, we haven't interfered with nature's original design. Of course, the surrounding landscape is always changing - depending what the neighbours and local council are doing. Because what happens up-stream, always effects what happens here. So in a way, I suppose it's not entirely a la naturale.

One last photo before I go though...this is technically our backyard. Or the civilised section we've managed to tame. The house is just up the top of that bank, and below (in the distance) you can see our wedding "wishing well". This was made for us, so that guests at our wedding could place cards inside. We got some lovely gifts of money too. Nothing enormous, but it was enough to help contribute for the next phase of our life.

So I think it's fitting I make this the last photo of our backyard. It all contributed to finally bringing us here. Maybe we can do some good in future? I hope we can.


  1. WOW, that is some back yard!! Do hope your land isn't too wet!!

    Thank you for the absolutely delightful and insightful comments you've left on my blog, they are so very very appreciated!

  2. Thanks for visiting FT. :) I hope for a balance of weather soon, so we can dry out a bit also.

    But you know, it's always a pleasure to leave comments on a blog full of inspiration such as yours.

    Don't be too embarrassed when I say, you have a beautitful heart. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing these photos with us. I am amazed at how dramatic the changes can be with the heavy rain. I love that you have your wedding well in your "tamed" back yard as well:)

  4. Glad you enjoyed them rebel. Rain does change everything and it's nice to see a bit of green around for a change. :)

    We love our wishing well too. It's probably due for a coat of clear (marine grade) varnish soon.

    The person who made it for us, used the insides of an old upright washing machine (ie: steel barrel) and built the wood around it. They even used scraps of wood they had around too, so very frugal.

    It lived in our previous house in town, and has now come here to grow moss and give the spiders somewhere to live in the garden, LOL. ;)


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