Around ten years ago I started putting in my new garden around our house, then under construction. Alan Coulsen came and did some deep ripping in concentric circles, below the house site. You can still see it from Google Earth, but not from the ground. That area has had to fend for itself since that first summer, and is mostly doing well. The only existing vegetation was the huge old grey box tree at the front of the house.
The garden just grew like Topsy. It is of course at its best in Spring. It is not an indigenous garden, but is predominantly Australian natives, with succulents and a few roses lightly scattered close to the house. We planted dry climate specialists. I also have pot plants of tulips, petunias, or pansies, depending on the season, for colour in summer.
I think of my garden as constructed bushland. And in the hot season, it is inundated with a wide variety of birds including 8 species of honeyeater, just now. I even had a White browed Babbler visit. I hear Boobooks at night, and once, a Barking Owl over towards Fairholm. It was at Fairholm maybe 15 years ago that I heard a Curlew cry. I am getting birds that I thought were dry country specialists, like the Yellow Tufted Honeyeater, and Yellow Gaped Honeyeater. It seems to be a meeting place for them. The birdbath is neutral territory. Though there is hierarchy, the littler birds deferring to the Grey Shrike Thrush, and all deferring to the Crimson Rosellas. The New Holland is the dominant Honeyeater, followed by the White Plumed. But a group of little Brown Headed Honeyeaters is so cheerful and happy they ignore the tension and enjoy themselves, regardless.
I have my binoculars and bird book by the kitchen window and can waste an awful lot of time gazing out at the passing parade. It is somewhat like having a litter of pups in the house, you can spend hours just watching. Either way, it is a great joy to me and a responsibility. These birds live here now, it is their home, as well as mine.
On Australia Day 2013, it is well to remember those we share this country with.