November 3, 2010
The Secret Garden is full of wild things: I mentioned the hawthorn a few days ago and competing for attention is the broom. In solid blocks of yellow it dazzles in unkempt places. Our roadside is one long strip of vivid yellow but I manage its ebullience in the garden. Another wild plant that runs rampant in this garden is the native vine, pohuehue. Here it has formed a companionable association with a Cherokee rose, both of them scrambling over an old acacia stump and flowering together: a lovely balance of the strong white roses couched amongst the soft green sprays of the pohuehue. Already the new growth of the vine is thrusting out from the flowering mass and will overwhelm the rose, but by next spring the vigourous habit of this rose will have benefitted from the vine's leaf-fall and redressed the balance. Inside, the accumulating tangle is a haven for birds, the rose thorns providing protection from cats and the wiry vine a ready made base for nests. Cats visit the Secret Garden. Lady Mondegreen occasionally threatens a predator-proof fence, but mostly we live around each other. The visitors always remain aloof. The Siamese cat considers us beneath him - I can tell. How dare we expect to sun ourselves on the veranda while he is basking there. How dare we expect him to pose for photos while he is stalking lizards. Doesn't he have a home to go to? In spite of statistics and the presence of cats, the bird life is rich and varied - no kiwi - they will have to wait for the predator-proof fence. A few days ago a blackbird found its way into the kitchen: as it panicked against glass, I too felt a panic for its safety; gasped in dismay as it flew into the big front window and dropped to the floor. For this blackbird has an identity and I have watched it and its forebears about the garden over the years. The White Family they could be called as there is always one with a patch of white feathers somewhere on the body. This latest one has a flash of white on one upper wing. I had no idea that I felt so protective towards it until I thought it was going to kill itself. But it lay in my hand, as I carried it outside, and then flew off and I saw it the next day going about its business. Just about where the thrushes crack their snails open.
Broom Cytisus scoparius
Cherokee Rose Rosa laevigata
Pohuehue, Wire weed Muehlenbeckia australis