MANY people born and bred in our local area will only walk on concrete footpaths and formed roads. Under no circumstances will they wander into the bush or follow bush tracks. Snakes are their greatest fear.
I contend that the ordinary backyard is much more dangerous than the bush. In the last month I’ve been bitten twice by jack jumpers and once by a large black ant (very painful). European wasps are on the increase, bush flies are everywhere, along with mozzies and blowies, and a swarm of bees settled in my rose bush.
Two large blotched blue tongues inhabit the garden – gentle creatures but still frightening if met eyeball to eyeball as happened to me last week. Recently, a “misplaced” long-necked turtle escaped in the garden but was located hours later when every noisy miner in the neighbourhood gave the alarm signal – they vociferously screeched from the fence line until the turtle was captured and returned to its wetland.
Not all backyard dangers are animal – some are vegetable: thorny blackberry seedlings, clinging cleavers, rampant kikuyu runners.
But the greatest threat? It has to be the noisy miner. This bird has invaded South Wonthaggi’s gardens over the past 15 years. It harasses other birds, evicting wrens, willies, fantails, attacking magpies and ravens. Its voice is ear-piercing. It will swoop humans. But the ultimate outrage is their inroads on my rotary clothesline, cutting the plastic line to extract fluffy white material for nesting.
Native grasses (kangaroo, spear, wallaby and weeping) swayed above swathes of large purple flags, grass trigger plants, dianellas, blue grass-lily, guinea flower, and tiny treasures such as glycine, love creeper and fringe lilies.
Each cemetery has an impressive information board. You’ll also learn a lot about our early settlement as you read the gravestones on a wildflower walk. It’s great to see our early citizens surrounded by the beauty they must have witnessed when they entered the district.