Being a Bowerbird …

Here’s what you do when your town goes into a soft-lockdown and you have a list of home maintenance jobs that you really don’t want to do. Find an excuse to do something else …

I challenged myself to make a Bower Box using only treasures found in my garden, and not to buy anything specifically for the project, although I admit to one cheat, the wooden jewellery box which I had already purchased for another project. The idea came from a wooden gift box of gourmet goodies sent to me by my neighbours as a thank-you. I just couldn’t bear to throw it away. The blue paint came from a left over can in the garage and the lichen came from trees in the garden.

Inspiration came from one of my favourite books, Sibella Court’s “Bowerbird”.
(bowerbird –noun informalmainly Australian a person who collects miscellaneous objects – that’s me!)

I’ve never understood why it’s so hard to find a dead cicada on the ground when thousands of them hatch each year.  Surely they can’t all be eaten by birds? Anyway, after much scratching around over several cicada seasons, I’ve managed to find and identify five species.  Maybe this year will bring me a Greengrocer to complete the collection.  I’m almost looking forward to Cicada Season.  Maybe not?

The pigeon skull came from a brown cuckoo-dove which flew into a window and was thankfully killed instantly.  The rat perished after becoming stuck in a wall cavity.  Both were buried in my compost bin, where the worms and bugs went to work.  They didn’t quite finish the job, so I had to complete the gruesome task.

I wanted to include two nests in my display. One of the nests fell out of a tree on a windy day, the other is a fake.  Can you tell which one?

We will be under lockdown for another week, so I’m looking for another excuse NOT to clean my windows.

Bamboo creations …

This week ended for me with splinters, sore fingers, a new found respect for bamboo artisans and a “not-so-private” privacy screen for my outside shower.

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Bello Bamboo’s property on the upper reaches of the Kalang River

I should explain … this week Bellingen hosted Camp Creative.  An annual event, now in its 27th year, which attracts over a thousand participants to the town. Courses on offer include – visual arts, writing, crafts, digital imaging, indigenous language and culture, music, singing and dance. Adults and children are catered for, and if you’ve always wanted to learn Indian Bellydance Fusion, African Drumming, The Joy of the Mighty Uke (elele) or how to Build a Canoe … then Camp Creative is for you.

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Don’t plant this one in your garden!

My chosen course, Bamboo Craft for an Eco-Future was over-subscribed, with one participant driving 1,528 kilometres from Phillip Island just to attend.  The course was run for the first time this year by the lovely people from the Bello Bamboo Company.  We harvested our bamboo from Kirsten and Rob’s property and then launched enthusiastically into building our chosen project.  I think it’s fair to say that we were all under skilled and overly ambitious, but everyone had a great time and went home with at least one creation.

Mine was a privacy screen for the outside shower – but to avoid shocking my neighbours, I think I’ll be growing a small creeper over it!

The tropical beds project …

One evening early last year, I was standing on my balcony with a glass of wine in hand contemplating my garden when I had a sudden rush of inspiration.  Whether it was due to my recent visit to Coco’s Cottage or the effect of the wine … who knows … butdecided it would be a great idea to convert my front lawn into sub-tropical garden beds.

After much pacing backwards and forwards and the laying out of garden hose, I came up with a plan.  Friends Brian & David helped by delivering multiple loads of rich garden soil.  Jason the Kwik-Kerb man laid the edges, and I built up the beds with cardboard, soil and sugar cane mulch.  Other friends added to my plant stock with donations from their own gardens.

Now growing happily in the new beds are … various gingers, pandanus, ornamental bamboos, a black sapote tree, a ylang ylang tree, tiger grass, pink bananas, galangal, turmeric, costus, and a beautiful apricot datura.

At the end of summer I’ll post a complete time-lapse article
with photos taken from my balcony
♥ ♥ ♥