The Eye of the Beholder

I was visiting a small country town, which is mostly known for its railway history.  Yes, that was good, as you know I’m keen on old trains, and I’ll show a bit of that another time.  However, when I asked about other things to see while in town, I was told there wasn’t much else…..so I did a bit of my own wandering…

On the way to the town’s lookout, I came across a garden filled with wonderful huge cacti plants, so well suited to this rather arid environment.  Cacti have such a sculptural quality about them, that from a purely photographic perspective they make a great subject.  Added to that, I have always had a special place in my heart for cacti and succulents, so of course I spent some time wandering up and down the footpath admiring them and photographing those within reach.

Next time I’m back in that little town, I’ll mention to the local woman, that there’s something else in town that visitors make like to see 🙂

 

Arid Lands Botanic Gardens

While I’ve been in the Quorn region, I’ve been caught up on matters other than exploring the Bush, which would be my normal choice.  However, on the day I needed to visit Port Augusta, I took a detour, to visit one of my favourite places, the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens.

In my photo files are many images from previous visits, over various months and seasons; however, this is how I saw some of it in July 2019.

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Access to many areas is wheelchair friendly, and toddler friendly.  Just remember it is natural land, and snakes are part of this environment,so keep an eye open for them.  They are part of this land, and need to be respected.

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Not a snake, but a shingleback lizard, otherwise known as a stumpy tail, or blue tongue.  Great characters to have about the place.

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A Crested Pigeon is one of the very many birds who live in the area.  On any day, the birdsong is wonderful.

The State Floral emblem of South Australia is Sturt’s Desert Pea.  I’ve been out bush where in the right season, the ground is covered with these plants, and it’s a real sight to see.  At times, even white sports can be found.

Yellow is a cheerful colour when the winter days are cold.

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There a lovely places to sit and contemplate, such as this space.

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Looking through a window in the wall, to where visitors are admiring a sun dial.

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Naturally, I have to include one of my favourite plants, the Eremophila 🙂

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All too soon it was time to head back to the van.

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One of the changes since my last visit, was the addition of the bird watchers bulletin board.

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There’s a special area set-aside for those parking with dogs.

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The western view of the Flinders Ranges……. timeless…… and on this day, it was the first chance I’d had of absorbing the wonderful warmth of the sun in this wintry month.  I was just like that lizard, soaking up the warmth 🙂

To bee or not to bee…..

Tonight I was talking with a friend, who is a hobbyist beekeeper south of here in a slightly higher rainfall zone.  This year, for the first time, he’s had to provide supplementary food to his bees.  Yes, it’s been a dry season, but there have been plenty of gum blossoms and other flowering plants for them to feast on.

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Plenty of flowers so what’s the problem?  A lack of nectar in the flowers is the issue.

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Another thing he’s noticed, is that instead of the gums flowering in succession, all the different ones are flowering at the same time.

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The bottle-brush (above) are common street trees, and the local bees have had a great time with them, so I need to ask local apiarist if I can find one, what they have noticed.

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I have noticed bees on the ground, in small numbers, and didn’t know if they’d been affected by chemicals or some other issue.  Perhaps they simply were starving…..

We humans need bees.  It’s a simple fact that without bees we wouldn’t have any food security.  There is much we still have to learn about bees.  My friend has stories about his bees, and how they know if a visitor to the property is ill – they refuse to allow them in!

Gretchen Wheen donated her estate to establish the Wheen Bee Foundation, with the aim of supporting and developing research, innovation, training and communication to ensure a viable beekeeping industry to protect our food supply.

Nor does it stop there.  So far I’ve been talking about the European honeybee, but Australia has its own native bees.  There are actually more than 1600 native bees across Australia, which is ten times as many species as there are mammal species!

South Australian gardener extraordinaire, Sophie Thomson, is busy buzzing about a project installing native bee hotels and plantings through eight different council areas along the iconic River Torrens from the Hills to the sea.

When I had my own garden, I had the blue banded native bee visiting, and it was joyous to see them in the garden enjoying the flowers I’d planted for them.  Do visit Sophie’s page so you can see this delightful insect.

Finally even the government is realising the importance of native bees in the home garden.…. the next step is to get the government  to stop advocating the use of chemicals in broadacre farming.  Industrial agriculture is killing bees, killing the Earth and killing us.  The Union of Concerned Scientists want the situation to change.

In Australia, Charles Massey is a godsend, leading the revolution to a better way of farming.

I’ve just finished reading his book “Call of the Reed Warbler” and I highly recommend it.

Change – we need it!  Let’s embrace a better way to live – with the bees!