Friday, December 31, 2010

Azola Water Fern

Very boringly though not entirely unexpectedly, it's raining again. Last month, December 2010, we had 583 mm of rain! That is 23 and a half inches for those who think in that measurement. Rainfall for the whole year of 2010 was over two metres. (7 or 8 feet?)

If we feature at all on your news reports, they're probably saying the whole country is under water. Here, on my patch, it's soggy. Since my yard is on a flood plain, with its thousands of years of silt, it gets muddy with the constant addition of water.

Small plants with shallow roots are struggling. They're growing rank and leggy. I'll probably need to replant my second lot of summer vegetables, cucumber and eggplant. Or they won't make it at all this summer.

Azola Water Fern with Raindrops
One thing that consistently looks good in the rain is the azola water fern. A raindrop gathers on the centre of each plant and with even a tiny amount of light reflecting off them, it can be very decorative.

The green tinge on the fronds tells you there hasn't been enough sun. In full sun the plants are brown.

This bath-ful also supports the last few of a batch of striped marsh frog tadpoles which eat the azola roots. After I'm watching for a while, the tadpoles will start nudging the plants tearing off the roots.

Or sometimes you see these little tadpole mouths coming between the plants for a bit of air.

Azola is be a pest in many situations, but I find it very useful for the tadpoles. If I get too much, I'll scoop it out and throw it on the vegetable garden to rot down. Or I'll put a batch of into my worm farm.

What have you got growing?

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