Thursday, October 26, 2017

Nature's pretty clockwork

Spanish moss flowering again? Must be late October in Sydney. While you couldn't set your clocks by these plants, you could set a calendar by them. 

Here's one of the extremely tiny beauties this morning. Each flower is less than a quarter-inch (5mm) across and you would definitely miss them if you didn't go looking for them. Fortunately for Pammy and me, we know to stay on the lookout for them once October rolls around, and over the last two weeks we could see the minuscule flower buds forming.

The flower pictured above is part of this mass of Spanish moss, which is growing at almost alarming rates, dangling from the branches of our olive tree.

This unusual second location for our massed moss was forced on us by circumstances. This large wodge of old man's beard (Spanish moss's other common name) once thrived on a large grevillea shrub, which collapsed and died last year. The wire framework attached to the walls was once home to a very unproductive, and rapidly fading, passionfruit vine, and so this was our solution. It's working OK, too. Most of the Spanish moss is clinging to the wires and seems to be slowly growing. My big contribution to its health is to regularly water it with a mist spray, if there hasn't been any rain.

Finally, I've added some small strands of Spanish moss to the newly planted fern garden out at the front of our house. They're hanging in there, but it's still a bit early to tell if the Spanish moss is growing yet.

One good short-term effect of the new strands of Spanish moss in the front garden is that they will add to the spooky Halloween look that the marauding, lolly-hungry kids will hopefully like to see on October 31.

I think I might raid our big backyard stores of Spanish moss this weekend and beef up the front garden's spookiness rating ... 

I'm sure that by late October next year, all these fine whisps of moss will be thicker, longer and, if you look carefully, dotted with tiny green flowers.

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