Tuesday, October 30, 2007

2008 Plant Science Internship, National Herbarium of NSW--Applications open!

The next Internship (Jan-Feb 2008) is now calling for applications. Anyone who's read my blog and website accounts of this will know how much I absolutely adored it. I am not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. It certainly led to my current job and to my committing to a B.Sc in Conservation and Biodiversity.

If you or anyone you know can spare 7 weeks in Jan-Feb next year to get advanced work experience and training in botanical science, here it is! (Oh, and that's me, third photo down, pretending to mount a specimen. So to speak.)

I'm going on the Internship's Central Coast field trip. My boss said to me, "We can't take you as a scientist, because you're not one yet, but would you like to be the cook?" So I'll be there, wearing the wacky, zany novelty BBQ apron, and hopefully doing a little botanising on the side.

Seriously, this is the greatest thing for someone with a passion for Australian plants, ecology and biodiversity. Pass it on!

Germination. That was quick.

I sowed my Themeda and Poa seeds just over a week ago, and they've already sprouted! Amazing. I hope the other plants germinate as quickly.

Not interesting enough for a photo though, so instead, here's a pic of a Bassian Thrush, Zoothera lunulata, in our front garden. It has a running gait, freezes after a metre or so, then digs about for insects in the leaf litter. A real sweetie.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dragonflies (er, Damselflies...) Do It*.

(*Apologies to Cole Porter.)

(*Edit: And David is quite right. Not dragonflies, but damselflies! See comments section.)

I was pottering about the garden this afternoon and took these photos....

They have been hovering around the pond a lot of late.
These two look to the future. (If only the frogs would take the hint!)

I planted this Doodia aspera next to the pond, and
it's now unfurling these magnificent new fronds.

This delicate little monocot I've yet to identify,
but now it's flowering, the job will be easier.
Edit: It's Lomandra filiformis, and I've since found a
number of them flowering in the garden. I'll
collect seed for propagation when they're set.

In the background is the trunk of one of the many Banksia serrata
growing in our garden.

(P.S. I just realised that a few days ago, my blog had its first birthday. Happy birthday, Blog!)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Propagation blissage.

I've just spent the day in a frenzy of sowing, using seed I've either bought or collected, and I've updated my white-board so I can keep track of it all:

And now, of course, the trick is to keep them all alive...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Potatoes and tomatoes and strawberries....

As spring warms up, naturally a girl's thoughts turn to propagation. My old hot house was covered in clear plastic, but that made it more like a boiling hot house in summer, so I've replaced the plastic with shade cloth, drawing upon ancient sewing lessons from yesteryear. When we've got our water tank, I'll probably set up a sprinkler system on a timer to keep things moist.

At this point, I'm propagating some native grasses to put into some of the bushier areas of the garden (Wallaby Grass, Danthonia sp.; Kangaroo Grass, Themeda triandra; Tussock Grass, Poa labillardieri; and Meadow Grass, Microlaena stipoides, as well as some Hen and Chicken Fern, Asplenium bulbiferum. Before it gets too warm, I'll also do some cuttings, probably of various Grevillea species.

The vegie patch is coming on a treat. Plenty of flowers on the tomatoes, and so far, few pests. With luck I'll be able to stay organic. The drip irrigation system I installed is working well. It's great to be able to use so little water by directing it straight to the plants!