Bulbs, birds and bees

It’s the beginning of May now in the orchard and as the fruit trees gradually start to lose their leaves, I’ve made a few more discoveries. The first is a small patch of what I’m fairly sure are white Nerines, growing near the back door – I’d been planning on planting these within the orchard eventually, so it’s great to see some already doing well here. 

We also have more bulbs coming up, this time in our front garden. This means there are areas of lawn that G won’t be able to mow (which he’s very happy about), and I’ll need to keep watching for bulbs and making garden design plans that include them.

The small patch of Nerines that appeared near the back door.

The more garden books and magazines I read, the more wonderful ideas I come across – vegetable gardens, wildflower meadows, cottage gardens and so, so many more. I really want to try some of these ideas for myself – a large area for a vegetable garden near the house, wildflower meadow areas with bulbs under the fruit trees and near the sheds.

I’m also considering what to do with the front garden: it’s west-facing, so we need something that can handle the hot afternoon sun in summer, and I’d like to make it low-maintenance considering how much work the rest of the garden will probably need, with fruit trees to prune and my ever-growing vegetable garden plans.

Small patches of bulbs are starting to appear in the front garden.

Finally, we’d both like something that will attract more birds – plenty of them know about the fruit trees, but I’d love to see some honey-eaters – and the bees. Bees, both European and all the native species, play a very important role in our world and with the problems facing them, I’d like to do what I can for them.

One of the answers for all of these requirements seems to be some native plants; plus, we both love them! I started looking around to see if I could find some lists of plants that grow around Lithgow and the neighbouring upper Blue Mountains.

More of the bulbs appearing in the front garden.

I found a couple of websites – the Lithgow Plant List and Waratah Software’s Blue Mountains Wildflowers – that were very helpful and allowed me to develop a list of possible options, including grevilleas, banksias, Lomandra and Dianella. We have a grevillea that was given to us by my aunt and uncle as a housewarming present, which makes a wonderful start.

And since we already have some bulbs growing there as well, I’d like to combine the natives with some bee friendly ‘cottage garden’ plants, such as lavender, rosemary, salvias and others that can tolerant the sunny conditions. My mum has created a lovely garden that combines native plants with exotics, so I’ll take some inspiration from that.


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