#1 Tongues in Trees
March 04, 2022
Welcome to the FIRST Tongues in Trees Newsletter!
This week focuses on our regular features:
Moments of Wonder
Free link to a Medium Article
Have a request or feedback? Please feel free to comment!
Eastern Barred Bandicoots Make World History!
In 1989 only 150 of this species could be found in Victoria, Australia. Within a year the Eastern Barred Bandicoot was declared extinct in the wild. Thankfully, in the meantime, the Victorian government had convened a dedicated recovery team that had captured 40 animals for a captive breeding program at Melbourne Zoo.
The causes of the extinction are familiar ones: habitat loss and predation by feral animals.
On February 28th, 2022, the Australian Geographic reported that the program has so far resulted in a population of 1500 thriving in the wild. This is possible due to significant conservation projects that are fencing land and rehabilitating grasslands to create fox-free sanctuaries.
The sanctuaries based in former grazing land are also benefiting from re-introduction of native species like the Eastern Barred Bandicoot. The formerly compacted soil is slowly being rehabilitated by the animals poking their snouts into the ground in their search for food. This in turn helps the native grasses that have been reintroduced.
For more information check out the article here.
Plant Profile – Perennial Basil
This plant is a wonderful addition to the garden if you want to attract bees! It’s a hybrid with sterile seeds though, so you’ll have to get a cutting or buy it at a nursery rather than planting seeds. The good news is that it strikes readily in soil or water.
It’s also known as African Blue Basil or Dark Opal Basil referring to the lovely flower spikes.
You can grow it in most climate zones but it’s only perennial in Warm Temperate, Subtropical and Tropical zones. In cooler zones take a cutting in late summer and pop it in water on a bright windowsill ready to be planted again when warm Spring weather comes.
It’s tolerant of most soils and positions in the garden, but it does need at least part sun to flower and thrive. It’s great for rockeries and containers as well as garden beds and can grow to 1.2metres tall and wide.
The flowers are edible and the leaves can be used just like any other basil species. The flavour is mild with a hint of camphor and makes a lovely pesto.
Permaculture Tip – Start by Looking
Permaculture is a design approach that focuses on sustainability and working with nature to build a home and garden that is low maintenance and high yield.
The approach was originally developed in Australia by Bill Mollinson and David Holgrem. There are a series of principles that you can use to scaffold your journey to a permaculture garden.
Principle One is “Observe and Interact”. This is a perfect starting point for any garden. Before you plant, take the time to observe what is already going on in your garden. This works for any size garden from acreage to balconies.
Let’s start with two easy questions:
*How does sunlight move around your garden?
*Where does water flow and pool when it rains?
In the next newsletter I will explain how answering these two questions will inform your approach to the second principle!
This week’s moment of wonder comes from a lovely Crested Pigeon that frequents our backyard. It’s been wet… and I mean WET. We’ve been flooded in for most of the week and spent some of it without electricity too. In rare breaks between downpours the birds have been active. I occasionally throw out sunflower seeds for the Crested Pigeon and after cleaning out the pantry I found some stale shelled seeds that needed to be thrown away.
I was sitting outside when the bird appeared and I decided to give it some of the stale seeds which it pecked up greedily. When the rain started again it sheltered under the patio so I gave it some more seed near my foot. It tentatively approached and again pecked greedily. The next day it took some seed from my hand. Later I was sitting outside on my phone and it flew up and perched on my knee to get my attention!
Of course, I gave it some seed and I now have a firm friend in this little guy. Yesterday my children shared the wonder and fed him from their hands too! My daughter has named him “Cressy”.
This week’s friend link to a Medium story is inspired by Cressy. Use this link to read about “Why I can’t stop feeding the birds”.
All graphics were created by the Author using a Canva premium subscription and her own photographs.