The muscovy and the black ducks

There are a few interesting walks close by that the Spotted Dog likes to take us on, however the reliable ‘quickie’, especially when dusk is falling (too too early these days) is down through the Cascade gardens beside the rivulet , down past the Female Factory and back up the road.

The Gardens are old with a mix of mature evergreen and deciduous trees to enjoy; birches, maples, conifers, crabapples, plus a bank of (mostly) winter / spring flowering shrubs; camellias, virburnums, hydrangeas, dogwoods, daphnes, rhododendrons. The Gardens are well used for picnics, barbeques and wedding photos but never appear to be crowded. So we stroll along the path through the gardens, and come out where the rivulet is ushered into a large concrete sided pond by a long concrete spillway. At the furthest end is a boulder trap that forms an eight foot weir over which the Hobart rivulet drops and goes on its merry way. In spring we were entranced several times by a large family of wood ducks returning to the spillway pond after breakfasting on the new grass in the gardens. The wood ducks have long since departed but the pond is still home to a small flock of black ducks and a rather large and portly muscovy.

Copy muscovy 5 copy

We first encountered the pied muscovy, magnificently black and white with bright red caruncles further down the rivulet, however over summer she (default gender) has made her way upstream to the spillway, how she got up there past the 8 foot weir is a mystery. The pond is surrounded with child safe fencing that extends up the creek about 20 feet, it would have been a long waddle up through the car park, on through the rhododendron garden and along the fence until she gained access to the creek, muscovies can fly but this girl looks way too fat and heavy, she swims on an angle with her front end deep in the water.

We took the Spotted Dog for a lateish constitutional when half the state was under flood water a short while ago. The rivulet had transformed into a raging torrent and the spillway was submerged under a turbulent rolling and foaming rush of water racing into the swirling pond. We were gazing, fascinated, as one is when nature suddenly flexes muscle,  when down came the muscovy, shooting along on top of the torrent like a cork out of a bottle of bubbles. She angled off the current before being shot Whoops! over the weir and then paddled around in a desultory sort of fashion, confined to one side of the pond with no dry embankment by the powerful current in the centre. We  were a bit concerned that the duck was stuck,  her fair weather companions had clearly flown off.  A week later I was relieved to see her still happily paddling around her now quiet pond, and the thought did occur to me that what we saw was not a stricken duck but just one of many deliberate joy rides down the current.

Typical June month, cold, warm-ish, frost, rain, floods, freezing horizontal rain straight off the mountain, aagh!

Hobart Rivulet very excited after heavy rain

Hobart Rivulet very excited after heavy rain

Then a series of lovely clear crisp sunny days, the mountain still wearing its cloudy cap in the early mornings



Golden twig


The garden has transformed to bogland and I’m starting to worry about losing my lovely young Mosswhites to drowning, I suspect that is what killed off two of the initial planting of 3 expensive Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Jermyns’.

The Golden ash is doing its winter bark thing and I’m able to admire it from the house, nice when the plan works.




More beautiful cyclamen flowering, I particularly love this palest pink and silver combination

Cyclamen coum Silver leaf

Cyclamen coum Silver leaf



More pink from the flamboyant Salvia karwinskii, waving gaily to me as it resists wind, frost and rain






Cheery orange and yellow Galdiolus dallenii, at least that’s what it looks like, this was another Flower Room Co-op purchase,  simply labelled “Gladilus”




The helleborus hybridus are following the Sterniis, this double is rather an uninteresting pink but is vigorously healthy and amongst the first to flower


There are some leaves still hanging on the Oak leaf hydrangea gleaming with their autumn colour. I keep meaning to take some cuttings and distribute it around the garden more widely, it has wonderful leaves and great voluptuous cones of double white flowers.


A satisfyingly resilient fuschia, simple and pretty as the leaves develop pink tonings to match the flowers in a last hurrah for the season.


One thing has been achieved from the list — the Stipa arundinacea has been moved to a small bed that surrounds a double grafted apple tree, a tree that has resolutely refused to grow! This small bed forms part of the edge of the Quince circle, a patch of grass and buttercups surrounding a young Quince tree. However when I slung the pick axe into the 6 inches of blue metal that forms the second layer under the 2 inch deep loam on the lower lawns the resulting hole immediately filled with water. Maybe not the ideal location for a grass that claims to be successful in drought conditions.

I’m also concerned for the delightful Salvia dolomitica, newly planted last winter, it grew beautifully all summer but is now drinking way too much.

Worried that some marauding creature would beat me to it, I dug my annual crop of Oxalis tuberosa, aka Oka, those tubers much beloved of the New Zealanders. Note the rather sad difference between the two properly sized tubers on top with the rest, a disappointing result as, despite resembling pink witchetty grubs, these are rather good to eat.  Note also the delightful soft coral rocks on the side, brought home some years ago in yours truly’s luggage from Alice Springs. Pity about the grubby old ice cream container, the oka are now sun baking in a fetching cane basket on the floor of the sunroom. Apparently leaving them in the sun for a while after digging sweetens the flavour.



This unidentified deciduous euphorbia (Euphorbia dulcis ‘Chameleon?)  is a brilliant autumn performer with these rich pink leaves, pity though it’s an appalling thug, really best kept in a pot, or surrounded by concrete



Galanthus 'Three Ships'

Galanthus ‘Three Ships’


Galanthus ‘Three Ships’ now opening and charmingly splashed with raindrops








I love the way the last leaves on this variegated hydrangea make a star burst pattern against the darker backdrop of the pittosporum hedge. This plant came from cuttings taken from plants edging the Cascade Gardens carpark, the originals have now disappeared



No, you can't have the spade, it's my dinner time

No, you can’t have the spade, it’s my walk time


The Spotted Dog gently making a point about his preferred activity



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One Response to The muscovy and the black ducks

  1. wildcygnet says:

    The three ships is a gorgeous wee tubby snowdrop isn’t it. Lovely chartreuse on the markings.


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