Small extras

Walking around the yard this sparkling autumn morning, I thought back over the many hopeful plantings over 35 years. I planted hundreds more than now exist, gone either from unsuitability or passionate macropod pruning, but I kept records.

I love how big many trees have grown but I also found myself noting the many small extra benefits that they offer.

This Lilli-Pilli (above) protects the bird bath so the small birds are game to land and stay to drink; they can scoot off into the dense leafiness and hide if need be.

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This avocado was grown from a seed I saved. It has flowered — finally and fewly — and I watched the sole fruit jealously, daily. But of course it went; a bird or possum got it first. However, I love that tree, culinarily unproductive as it may be, because of its growth habit.

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Its branches grow in a downwards arching manner — ‘pendulous’ or hanging — so standing inside its canopy is like being under a leafy umbrella.

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And they can be nurseries, in which butterflies can lay eggs or birds build nests. The citrus trees especially seem favoured.

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Of course they provide shade, perhaps none so conveniently as the two spreading Nashi trees outside my ‘bunkhouse’. A perfect spot for visitors to sit and listen to the silence.

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And for myself, they continue to offer not only beauty in each season, but surprises. I adore my Liquid Amber, mightily grown back after the 2002 fires. I’ve featured its bright autumn glow in many posts.

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