Put it somewhere random and they will make it a home [1]

Developing from the series of posts entitled “Build it and they will come”, which captures different kinds of critters making a home in our garden and implies that our wonderful and pesticide free gardening has lured them into our lives, this “Put it somewhere random and they will make it a home” post tells a slightly different story.

I disturbed an ants nest today – just ordinary Australian black ants. A small plastic pot plant was sitting on a crack in the concrete driveway, underneath which there was an ants nest. But when I pulled a weed out of the pot today, an army of ants came out with it. This has happened many times now when a pot or similar has been near a crack and the ants just incorporate it into their life world. Obviously this is not always a good thing and I am not advocating randomly dumping crap anywhere just to see which creatures find it useful (although this morning I did find a family of common garden skinks living in my gardening gloves that I had left on the back steps for a few weeks). Nevertheless, it is an intriguing and innovative response on the part of the colony.

IMG_4502The plant involved is a saffron that was destined for the Garden of Bad Flowers, but it did not make the cut (not sure why saffron is “bad” either). But the plant has spent two growing seasons now in this tiny plastic pot. The reason I haven’t moved it (and the several other saffrons) to nicer pots is because I read they like dry and well drained soil, in a different climate quite to here. I thought it wouldn’t work. The fact that they were so happy in this crappy small pot last year made me think that this accidentally created the right conditions for them. And they bounced back again this year, after I’d given up on them entirely when they died back over summer. Anyway, they are still kicking along happily, without any attention or fertilizer, but we didn’t get any flowers large enough to produce the prize stigma for cooking. If anyone reading this has had success (accidental or otherwise) growing saffron in Sydney, Australia please get in touch!

And, while I’m at it, we also had a visit from a willy wagtail today, which was kind of cool. I don’t know how much of our “building” in the garden made this little guy fly by our way, but it is nice to have him visit.

willy wagtail