Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

A Naive Gardener

Basically I’m a lazy and pretty ignorant gardener, but I do loves plants and flowers so I hope my blog will motivate me to focus my energy and be more informed. My blog is part of trying to be be a better gardener and more importantly a better observer, who is more in touch with nature.

I’ve always wanted to track the changes in the garden and I’ve taken lots of photos over the years, but they are all stored in a mish mash on my computer with no sensible way to track changes. By having a blog over the year it gives me the chance to have an easy reference point to what usually happens when.

One of the reasons I’d like to more closely observe changes is to know when bird and insect visitors are or are not turning up. We’ve been sad to note we had no Ladybugs visit last year and very much hope to observe them this year. We’ve also noticed different bird life turn up when the drought has been at its most extreme and birds have been forced out of their usual feeding areas.

My garden is in the Latrobe Valley, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. I think we are on the edge of a cool and a temperate zone, but I’m going to have to research that!

Blogging is new to me, so I’m learning all about that too. I have already seen that there is a community of garden bloggers out there, so hopefully this will be a good source of education for me.

Update: February 2010

I’m moving some of the post I made on February 13th 2010 titled ‘Zoned Out’ in here, for those interested in knowing a little more about where the Gippy Garden is.

Greenish Grass Dart on Golden Everlasting (Bracteantha bracteata)

In relation to plant hardiness zones, there is not a commonly accepted model yet in Australia (at least, not one that I can find!)

Here is one proposed model, courtesy of the Australian National Botanic Gardens that attempts to develop a system that can be related to that of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map This Australian model would have my garden in zone 3 which approximates to zone 9 in the US system. So, if I’m reading the map right, similar conditions to parts of Texas, Arizona, Florida, Mexico and, probably not surprisingly, California. We certainly have frequent bushfires in common with that State.

But most Australian information does not seem to refer to a numeric system, and the most commonly used guide seems to be a climatic division of around five zones, based on temperature and humidity However, I’m guessing that those serious about their horticulture take into account a much broader range of measures. Anyway, from this measure I deduce that I live in a temperate zone.

A little bee I’m yet to identify, not sure if it’s a native species.

I am at Latitude 38 degrees South. This puts me roughly on a line with Rotorua in New Zealand and Los Angeles in Chile. At this latitude I am far enough South to completely miss the African land mass. I am also 70 meters above sea level.

The Latrobe Valley is an area of contrasts. We have dairy farming mainly to the West and our State’s major coal fired power generators and paper producers to the East.  But before you get the idea that it is nothing but ugly heavy industry here, we also have the beautiful Mount Baw Baw which forms part of the Great Dividing Range to the North (Baw Baw does get snow most winters) and the Strezelecki ranges to the South, with some beautiful state parks of fern gullys inhabited by Lyrebirds.

How Climate Change impacts all of this is also the subject of great debate. We certainly seem to be getting hotter, drier and more prone to drought and devastating fires. Maybe not so temperate for much longer if the heat stress that my birches are starting to show is any measure.

Of course all the above is what I have been able to glean as a naive gardener just starting to dip her toe into all the knowledge that is out there. I am always happy to be corrected and educated by those with wiser heads 🙂

Comments on: "A Naive Gardener" (6)

  1. Congratulations on the start of your beautiful blog and a warm welcome to Blotanical! I have found your blog through Blotanical. I think you already have a great startup and nice layout. Keep up the good work and Happy Blogging!

  2. I know I’ve commented somewhere before on your blog, but as Autumn Belle says, welcome to the wonderful world of blogging and Blotanical! It’s fun to read about someone on the other side of the world–and in the southern hemisphere, to boot–so I’ll be visiting regularly.

  3. Sorry I’m so late in responding to your warm welcomes Autumn Belle and Jodi! I’d forgotten about this page (yes, still getting the hand of it all!)

    I’m having great fun meeting the world wide gardening community. So many welcoming, warm and inspirational people!

  4. Admittedly I’m unable to identify various bees, but my garden here and the one in Chicago were always likened to Chicago’ O’Hare field, one of the largest airports in the world. Sitting in the garden is an experience where bees of every sort just fly back and forth round one’s head. Yesterday there was a huge black bomber type, which I really should know the name of but, alas. A blogging friend from Victoria just moved to new Zealand before I was able to visit and meet her. But one of these days…

    I think we have quite similar garden conditions. Cheers!

  5. hello neighbour! I too , am in Gippers but in the village of Sale! we are in the victorian open gardens this year and are waiting on the rain to drench us tonight before we mulch. Those freakin’ harlequin bugs are also in plaque propportions here every other year. I spray with the detergent solution when necessary.its weird that that only appear evey second year here …perhaps they take their holidays in the La Trobe valley!?

  6. Hello Robbie! Well, you really are practically my next door neighbour in the blogging world! I’m not sure if the harlequin bugs holiday here bi-annually, I think they send a family branch every year 😦 Best of luck with the open gardens, looks like there is still plenty of rain coming through on the radar!

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