Sunday, 7 December 2008

green ants in the Gardens

This black duck was just sitting in the sun beside the water enjoying himself (herself) when we were walking in the Gardens yesterday. We were only about ten feet away from him, but he was quite unconcerned. I couldn't resist photographing this green weaver ants nest in one of the corymbia trees - the ants form huge colonies, weaving the living leaves together to make their nest. When the leaves eventually die, the colony simply builds another nest nearby and moves on.

This photo tries to show you the ants, but they were pretty excited and not staying still! I had tapped their nest sharply to make them come out so I could show you what they look like, so they had reason to be excited. They have a very sharp bite, and because they build their nests in trees from which they are likely to drop down onto you and then bite, most people (including us) don't like them in their home gardens. However, the ants do eat a lot of small garden pests. The aborigines used to eat them as sweets, but you would need to bite very quickly I think to avoid being bitten in your mouth!

This giant cactus is looking very spectacular at present. The plants in this garden were presented to the Botanic Gardens by an elderly Maltese lady who has a wonderful collection of cactus and other succulent plants. She is in her late 80s (I really did mean elderly) and doesn't want her collection to be just dug up when she dies. I think most of these plants are what they grew in Malta, so have special significance. We have a very large population of people of Maltese origin here - they came to Mackay in the early 1900s to work in the sugar industry after the South Sea Islanders were sent home , and now form an important cultural group here.
I have been busy making a box, but no pictures till tomorrow. I have downloaded part 2 of lesson 2 for Maggie's online course and wish I had time to play, but I think that is on the back burner till after Christmas. I am getting in a panic when I think how close it is.


  1. Your photos of the gardens are beautiful Robin, you are so lucky to have something like that close by. You are right about Christmas - where did November go?

  2. Hi Robyn. I find ants fasinating they are so organised! Your step grandaughter is going to be a happy little girl. I would love the bag you have so beautifully made. And Wow what fabulous results from your on line lessons with Maggie. Your books look so rich in texture. Sorry I haven't stopped by for a bit, I've been a little busy. Its been so nice to catch up with your creations. xx

  3. I love your garden/nature photos Robin. So different from what I'm used to! But, I've visited Malta once, and it was a very interesting place in all aspects. Would love to go back some day.


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