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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.