12 DAYS ON……..

An update on the herb & veggie ‘patch’.

Most of the new herbs and leafy greens I planted 12 days ago are doing well (with the Asian lettuce varieties doing the best).   Finally, the French Beans and Tomatoes are beginning to grow, but I think they could do with a little sun.   The Tuscan Kale was planted months ago and I use a couple of leaves fairly regularly – one Kale plant is plenty for me.

I’ve only seen one male Superb Fairy-wren in the last week and he didn’t stay long enough to get his photo taken.   He was in full mating colours of Blue.  I suspect the rest of the fairy-wrens are nest sitting.

I continue to get visits from the female House Sparrows gathering nesting material.   I pick the dead parsley stalks and put them all in the one pot so they can gather what they like.

The aim, (apart from a new hobby), is to grow enough for a salad in Summer & leafy greens all year round.   I don’t have room for a whole lot of flowers these days, but I might buy a couple later in the year.   If I don’t get around to food shopping, mostly online these days, I can still get something out of the garden to eat.   I use an enormous amount of mint and parsley all year round anyway.   If I buy a large bunch of these 2 herbs, I find I waste half of it, so best to grow it on my balcony and cut as I need it for dinner.

SUPERB FAIRY-WREN (Malurus cyaneus) – MALE

Last week I mentioned being able to distinguish 3 Superb Fairy-wrens now.

One of which was the male with the eclipse (non-breeding) feather pattern and colouring.   If  you  look  at  the  face  and  the  breast  below (31st  July),  you’ll  see  what  I  mean. Those tufts of white/fawn/greyish colour are quite noticeable, almost like a moustache and clipped beard or ‘beard’ of one feather.

2 days ago, either this male has gone into full breeding plumage, OR it’s a different bird.

See below.

Not an especially good photo but you can see the clear back, cap & cheek pale blue colour.

Yesterday, after I’d arrived home from my morning errand, the sun was out and I decided to spend some time in my balcony garden preparing for Spring planting.  After re-arranging my potted plants and cleaning up all the winter leaf litter in the corners (and tipping out a few totally pot-bound withered plants and depleted soil), I came indoors to turn the computer on and out of the corner of my eye saw what appeared to be 6-7 wrens in the garden.

It was almost like a party.

Obviously stirring up all the soil and pruning back some herbs to 1″stubble, must have opened up some tasty food for my avian friends.

I noticed that male in full breeding plumage was back again but could see no signs of the fluffy feathers between the blue, SO I think it is my one and only male……. ready to breed.

In one week, he’s ‘changed his clothes’ and put on his best head and chest colours to ‘attract the ladies’.

The sun was a bit too bright, but I managed to get a couple of shots in reasonable focus to share.

This second shot is a bit clearer, but the brilliant sunlight, reflecting off the rain clouds, spoilt the shot a bit and over-exposed the breast feathers.

After all that physical work and heavy pot moving, my right elbow and lower back is extremely sore this morning and it hurts to type, so a couple of days rest is required methinks.

Spring is only 3 weeks away now, so my list for new plant seedlings is getting longer by the day, but I only have room for ‘x’ number of pots and only have the time and energy to carry ‘x’ number of heavy watering cans once the seedlings are planted, so I’ll have to ‘prune’ down my Seedling Shopping List a bit.

After all the weeks of watching and waiting for last year’s experiment in growing Capsicums and ending up with only 6-7 fruit and broken branches from the nightly possum (?) visits, I think I’ll concentrate on tomatoes, baby spinach, more parsley (English curly & Italian flatleaf) and some fast-growing leafy greens – they seem to grow the best on this hot west-facing balcony garden of mine.

Some images from the last 2 Summers below………

I found 3 Harlequin bugs over-wintering in the Lemon Thyme yesterday, so I REALLY must find a solution to their infestation this year.