Albury-WodongaNE VictoriaSouthern New South Wales


­­­­Nature is close-by

garden, nature

By Sue Brunskill

I sit at my computer near a large glass window, looking out on a red salvia that has been flowering for many months. I have been seeing many interesting nature interactions – and we are supposed to look away from the computer regularly aren’t we!

While I would much prefer being out there in the garden with the animals, at least I have them close by and can “spy” on them without scaring them. One day I saw a male Superb Fairy-wren pick a red petal from the plant and take it over to 3 females. While we shouldn’t really anthropomorphize animals, I can’t see any other meaning except he was trying to win their hearts with a flower. I’v­e noticed how agile the Eastern Spinebills are getting nectar and they remind me of hummingbirds I have seen overseas. Two other honeyeaters vie for the nectar – New Hollands and Yellow Tufteds.  I am surprised at how many Blue-banded Bees visit one shrub, and how quickly insects come out after rain.

I am also noticing, more than other years, the stunning flowers of the hakeas and the butterflies that visit them. I think I often walk under them and not notice, but now as I am still and looking out often, they are really grabbing my attention.

So, my common red salvia is not only bringing me much joy, I’m learning quite a lot from just being in the one place, still and observing. Often if you sit in the garden or bush, still, and just being rather than doing, the birds seem to realise you are not going to harm them and they will carry on their lives around you. You will have the special treat of being part of their day to day lives, watching their activities and learning about their lives. Lizards are also great fun to watch and I enjoy their antics and food gathering – glad they aren’t too much bigger.

Gardens can be great places for nature conservation and caring for our small woodland birds (which are in a bit of trouble). So, “on the list” is to grow more of the very common, easy to propagate by cuttings Red Salvia; and to sit more and watch…. just being not doing.

Small brown bird at purple flowers

Photo: Eastern Spinebill feeding on Purple Salvia, by Richard Nunn.