Sunday, December 30, 2012

Yellow buttons, Striped Marsh Frog, Rhubarb

The main purpose of this post is to outline my attempts to keep our rhubarb plants alive over summer.  We have the green stemmed variety.

I have been giving them a regular drench of phosphoric  acid which is a treatment for phytophtera but both plants in the vegetable garden have been going backwards -as in getting fewer and smaller leaves. They have also been wilting badly each day but recover overnight.  I have another three plants in pots in the shade house which seem to be doing ok so far.

Recently on a local bush walk, in an area that I don't usually use, I discovered a chest type freezer had been dumped.  The idea occurred of modifying it to form a cooler microclimate for the rhubarb - including placing frozen water inside it on the hot days.  I think the lid will be needed as well on the hot days to keep the temperature down.

Here is the finished "product":

The photo shows the rather sad state of this Rhubarb plant.

It will be an interesting gardening experiment - I have never managed to get Rhubarb to survive through summer in Brisbane.

There's not much in flower on Mt Petrie at present  - the above is yellow buttons
or  Chrysocephalum apiculatum.  It is not a good photo -  there are some nice 
mats of this plant in only a few places.

This striped marsh frog had found it's way into one of the aquaponics tanks:

It was  removed and placed in amongst some moist and shady vegetation beside
the shade house.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sun Moth

Also seen in the Mt Petrie Koala reserve on 22/12/12 - the flash of red was what drew my attention:

Location : Western side Mt Petrie reserve  22/12/12  
Common name: Sun Moth
Binomial name : Synemon laeta

The above web site has some interesting information on the moth - it is common
in dry eucalypt bush, the male has territorial behaviour and the adult moths have a scarlet arc on the hindwings.

Lomandra longifolia is the host plant - we call it Lomandra but it is also known as the Spiny headed mat rush.   We have planted lots of Lomandra longifolia and  other types of Lomandra  in our garden but I have never spotted this moth as being present - not to say it is not in the garden however.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Woolly frogmouth

Today whilst walking the  bush track that goes around Mt Petrie, I noticed this plant in flower :

Location : swampy area in the power line easement between Mt Petrie Rd and Prout Rd (Southern part)

Common name: Woolly frogmouth
Binomial name : Philydrum lanuginosum

Mangroves to Mountains describes it well:

"Fleshy leaved plant to 120cm on edges of ponds and still shallow water. Flowers on spikes  to 60cm, covered in  white woolly hairs."

I have been aware of this plant in the marshy low spot but this is the first time I have seen it in flower. The plant looks a bit like an iris but it has long hairy flower spikes and flowers which, with some imagination, look like the mouth of a gaping frog. Thus the delightful common name of woolly frogmouth.  It is also recorded as a good frog plant so I think I will grow some clumps in an old bath-tub.

Seasons greetings  from  both of us and our resident reindeer "Woody"
- happy gardening next year  and may the rain come regularly!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


This plant is listed as a weed species in some parts of Australia but not by Brisbane City Council.
So far I have spotted it in two places in our area- on the roadside near the waste transfer station and also in some bushland where it was obviously dumped with garden waste.  It was removed from both areas and as it didn't seem to be too invasive I have replanted a few clumps in our yard-  it has very attractive flowers and it seems to be drought tolerant- both of which are appealing to me. I am reasonably confident it will be ok as a plant in our garden and climate but will monitor it closely. 

Common name: Coreopsis, Tickseed
Scientific name : Coreopsis lanceolata

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Foxtail Grass

Whilst having a bush walk a few days ago, I spotted this very attractive clumping grass.
Unfortunately, it is listed as an exotic weed and it should be removed from the reserve
(there is about 30 clumps of it). Mangroves to Mountains states that it mainly grows on swampy and poorly drained soils but this certainly doesn't apply to this site.

Location : Neville Laurie Reserve -  eastern side on ridge overlooking disused quarry site

Common name: Foxtail Grass

Scientific name:  Pennisetum alopecuroides. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Double White Banded Noctuid Moth

Late yesterday after doing some potting of some plants we noticed this 
rather attractive moth:

Common name: Double White Banded Noctuid 
Binomial name:  Donuca rubropicta

It is a bit out of focus - when I went back to  take another photo it took off
and disappeared from view.
The internet is pretty sparse on  information about it - I was interested in what the host plant is but couldn't track it down.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Native Gardenia

Whilst down doing some watering of some freshly planted native grasses this morning I noticed this plant in flower:

I couldn't remember the name but Anne ID it when I showed it to her.

Common name: Native Gardenia
Binomial mane: Atractocarpus fitzalanii

It used to be known as Randia fitzlanii  and seems to have been
first described by the famous early botanist Ferdinand Von Mueller.
In 1860 he published an "Essay on the plants collected by Mr Eugene Fitzalan during Lieut Smith's expedition to the estuary of the Burdekin"
and described this plant which he called Gardenia fitzalani  with a sub-name of Randi fitzalani. He recorded it as having been found at Cape Upstart, Magnetical Island and Halifax bay.;seq=14;view=1up;num=12

It looks like it was reclassified in 1999 as Atractocarpus with Randia being restricted to similar African plants

It quite an attractive small tree (thus far) on our property.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Two-spots Tiger Moth

I am starting to repaint my shed and spotted this moth spending the day
on the inside surface of the north facing fascia: 

Common name : Two-spots Tiger Moth 
Scientific name :  Asota plagiata

(ref :

The host is  Ficus macrophylla  - we have several  figs and probably do have one or more of these (but I am not sure,  having long forgotten which types we planted!)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

White necked heron

It is hard to believe it is over 6 months since I posted.

The garden has been lower priority due to other commitments but it is once again
"on the agenda"

This morning whilst walking on Mt Petrie - doing the big lap around the base of the reserve that takes about 1hr 40mins - I spotted this bird in a swampy area.  It is one  that I haven't previously seen in our area.

Scientific name:  Ardea pacifica
Common name : White-necked heron

The photo was taken with my iphone so the quality is a bit average.

We also spotted some Dollarbirds (Eurystomus orientalis) this morning high in a dead tree. These we rarely see as they are a migratory species  and don't usually come to SE Qld (ref  Field Guide to Australian Birds : Michael Morcombe 2004).

It is fairly dry at the moment and I am carting water to a few recently planted
natives - grasses and some other herbaceous species that I will detail later


Monday, May 21, 2012

Crotalaria sp

Another plant in flower spotted under the powerline easement on Mt Petrie the other day was this:


It was about 1.5 m high with a fairly open growth habit in an area that is regularly slashed by SEQEB.  My tentative ID is Crotalaria grahamiana.  There are some native Crotalarias,  (common name of Rattlepods)  but this is an exotic sp, if I have correctly identified it. As it is reported to have  low potential to proliferate freely I have taken some cuttings to propagate for planting on our property. There might be some seed pods also in a few weeks to collect. It has very eye catching flower spikes and is also is a food  plant for a couple of butterfly species.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

penguin colony

We have been fortunate to see quite a few of the penguin species in the wild, both in Antarctica and recently in the  Sub-antarctic islands. We found them to be amazing and fascinating  - even if their colonies are rather odorous!

In view of this we decided that we should have a penguin "colony" in our garden.  As there are no real penguins living in our parts we must make do with some pottery ones!

It's only a small colony of five birds.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chequered Swallowtail

Another butterfly that was seen in large numbers at Bladensberg national park near the old homestead on a hedge (not sure exactly what plant species) and a large bougainvillea, was a Chequered Swallowtail.  We have also seen it at other places out Western Queensland so it seems to be a common species out here.

Brisbane Insects is the reference:

We have a bougainvillea of the same colour in Chandler but I have not seen it attract this butterfly species

Sunday, May 13, 2012

White-stemmed Gum moth

We have been on a road trip to Western Queensland and we have been privileged to see some amazing things both historical and natural.

One "treasure" was this large moth that we spotted on the ground at Stanthorpe.

It is known as a White-stemmed Gum moth or   Chelepteryx collesi 

 The above web site gives a good description. This one is probably a male from the feathery antennae. After photographing we gently placed it back into some nearby bushes.  The variety and colours of moths and butterflies never ceases to delight us.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rocket Goodenia

The other day I noticed some small spikes (racemes) of about 300mm length with multiple small yellow flowers on the road verge near Mt Petrie reserve under some Casuaurina trees. Closer inspection revealed a flat plant (a basal rosette-  like cats-ears -Hypochoeris radicata). I initially thought dandelion but realised the flower stalk was different.

Investigation - including checking with two of the authors of "Mangroves to Mountains" that I know,  has identified it as Goodenia bellidifolia subsp argentea or Rocket Goodenia.

It is reported to  be one of the host plants for the Meadow argus butterfly. I have been unable to track down why it is called "Rocket Goodenia" but maybe it is something to do with the shape of the leaves that look a little like the vegetable called rocket. As it was on the road verge I have relocated some to our property.  I hope it grows successfully and propagates well to help attract the Meadow argus butterfly and also to provide some colour to our garden. 

ref:  Mangroves to Mountains  rev. ed. Leiper G, Glazebrook J, Cox D, Rathie K.
       Logan River Branch of SGAP.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pale Banded Snail

We have seen this large snail a few times and this morning one of our Grandchildren found another in the garden.

Pale Banded Snail  or    Figuladra mattea

There is not much about it on the Internet and I don't have a reference book on Molluscs.
The shell is quite striking with alternating dark and pale bandsThis shell was empty,
but I have found others here with a "resident".

This afternoon on a walk in my favourite local bushland ( Mt Petrie) this wallaby was fairly unconcerned about my presence :

 Another "spotting" was this butterfly  near some milkweed

It is a Lesser Wanderer or  Danaus petilia .

The usual website of  has information and better photos than I managed to take


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Broad-leaf Bramble

This post is to record the occurrence of the native raspberry species -
Rubus moluccanus var trilobus   or  Broad-leaf bramble in the Mt Petrie Bushland Reserve. It was seen in two  separate areas - I had noticed it before but had mistaken it for the introduced Blackberry.

Unfortunately there was no fruit to sample!

We have the Rubus parvifolius which does well on our property so this might be worth trying as well although it looks like it needs moisture and well drained condition.

Another plant spotted that was in flower was a Banksia sp (?spinulosa) :

I might try growing Banksia sp again, by being more careful where I plant them,
to allow for better drainage during wet weather

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Slender Grape

A plant that I thought was a weed called Balloon vine in fact has turned
out to be a native vine - Slender Grape or   Cayratia clematidea:

We have it growing in many places here and we have been fairly active in pulling it out.

The difference between the two is fairly obvious once it is pointed out:
The Slender Grape has 5 leaflets (not 9 as does the Balloon Vine) and the petioles of the two lower pairs are distinctly forked at an angle of about 45 degrees, while the terminal, largest leaflet has an unbranched petiole.

According to this website :
it is the host plant for a most magnificent moth  - the Joseph's Coat Moth:

 (image from Google images)

Needless to say we won't be pulling it out anymore without good reason and I look forward to seeing that moth around