November, normally a warm to hot month, has brought unusually cool weather to Alice Springs this year.
Starting with thunder storms in late October that demolished trees, fences, and a few roofs, November has been wonderful.
We've had some excellent rainfall and cooler days. The mornings and evenings have been perfect and now that the rain has cleared, the stark blue skies I love are back.
We have numerous native trees and plants in our garden and get many different birds visiting us. This is something I missed in Al Ain where, despite the greater access to water, the birdlife is much scarcer than at The Alice where birdlife is plentiful.
This honeyeater I captured feeding in our Grevillea (shown in next two photos). We have several different types of Grevillea around our house and they are all popular with native birds.
Our intention in revegetating our garden is to include as many native species as possible to reduce the water need and increase native wildlife.
Although there is no water shortage in Central Australia, (unlike our capital cities excluding Darwin) there is said to be around 400 years supply in our aquifer, it's expensive to buy and most of our residents treat it with the respect it deserves apart from the expense aspect.
While I find all our native plants attractive, my favourite for as long as I remember has been the Sturt Desert Pea (red and black).
Named after Indian born, British explorer, Charles Sturt, I first saw the flowers spreading for 10 or 15 metres across the top of a red sand dune in 1960 several hundred kilometres west of Tennant Creek.
At the time, I was on school holidays working with the Exploration Department of Peko Mine and Tennant Creek.
I recall thinking what a waste it was for such a beautiful display to be so isolated that only the odd geological team, like ours, would ever see it. Perhaps no other human being would ever see it. I was so impressed with their beauty they have been my favourites ever since.
Unfortunately, they are very temperamental and seem to grow only where they feel like it. I've planted seeds in different places and then, unexpectedly, they'll pop up and proliferate somewhere else as though they have a mind of their own.
Despite their temperament, the Alice Springs Town Council horticultural team seems to be able to place them in our median strips and they grow like fury.
Maybe I should ask them the secret.