Tag Archives: NZ gecko

Garden diary, January 31, 2017. Radio, geckos, summer flowers and a tour in the rain.

img_20170129_064707A quick trip to Auckland at the weekend saw me rushing hither and yon but also enabled a face to face conversation with Tony Murrell in the studio at Radio Live. Usually we do these by phone. It is at the unseemly hour of 6.30am each Sunday morning so I had to rise even earlier to get to the studio. These conversations are remarkably complex for the early hour but both Tony and I are enjoying them enormously. Last Sunday it was partly about taking inspiration from other people’s gardens and not falling into the trap of thinking that recreating these ideas at home means using their blueprint, often from another climate, another country and another time. The link is here if you want to listen – it is about 25 minutes of solid gardening discussion.

img_3767We did not see Glenys, our resident gecko, last year so were thrilled to spot her again last week. But this one is not Glenys. It is considerably smaller so our best guess is that she is the daughter of Glenys. Whether the mother is still around and we just haven’t spotted her remains unknown but having a smaller specimen this year suggests we now have a breeding population. Why do I use the female gender? Because those more knowledgeable about herpetology tell us that this is the behaviour of pregnant geckos, incubating their young. These reptiles can disappear in a flash if they are spooked so it takes quiet movements to sneak up to see. The safe haven appears to be in the fissures of the tree, beneath the bark.

img_3770The UK gardening tour I mentioned last week has done been and gorn. It rained, steadily, when they arrived which was disappointing but we moved them all indoors for tea and cakes and the rain stopped a few minutes into the walk around the garden. While hosting these tours takes a bit of work and a surprisingly large amount of mental energy, the visitors often repay the efforts in more than money.  Being able to share the garden with appreciative visitors who have a fairly high degree of knowledge themselves – albeit with an entirely different range of plants – is what it is all about really. We don’t garden on this scale just for ourselves and it can be extremely affirming to share it with a group like this one. I have to report that the lilies in the garden did not flower as hoped but we have enough lilies planted “out the back” as we say for me to pick an impressive display for vases indoors and they did not go unnoticed.

img_3900img_3902Also putting on the very best display we have ever seen here is Tecomanthe venusta.  Other plants here may be more floriferous. Indeed there are some years that T. venusta doesn’t actually flower at all, but it is lovely when it does.

img_3784Finally, a few snapshots of summer flowers I liked this weekend. I called in to Joy Plants to check out their perennials and the kniphofia in the gardens were looking marvellous.

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There are times we get distinctly sniffy about both agapanthus and red hot pokers in this country but look at this scene – it was simple but lovely.

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Auckland Botanic Gardens have some excellent, large scale perennial plantings which are well worth a visit at this time of the year. This yellow achillea with a compact, very dark foliaged dahlia which is opening yellow flowers was a striking combination.

Fingers crossed here for some more sun this week and it really would be awfully nice if the temperature rose a few degrees more so we were in the mid twenties, rather than barely breaking into the early twenties.

Welcome back to our resident gecko, Glenys

Gecko, probably Hoplodactylus pacificus.

Gecko, probably Hoplodactylus pacificus.

We are very pleased to see our resident gecko back sunning herself in the same spot as last year on the gnarly old pine tree trunk. As this is apparently the behaviour of a pregnant female, it means we have more than one gecko in residence. If she was successful in bearing her babies from last year and they survived all the predators which includes adult geckos, it may mean we have several. Given that spotting one gecko is a rare occurrence (last year’s event caused considerable excitement amongst local herpetologists), we are never going to know, but we are hopeful that Glenys’s behaviour may become an annual event. The sunbathing is apparently part of the incubation process of the young.

It takes an eagle eye to spot a sunbathing gecko. We may well have others in less prominent spots and we may have had them here all the time and just never spotted one before. It is likely that Glenys is a fine specimen of Hoplodactylus pacificus.

Earlier stories from last year:
1) Gecko update
2) The first story (and best photo) about our gecko, as well as the flocking kereru and monarch butterflies which were delighting us at the time – Wildlife in the Garden, New Zealand style.

Gecko update

gecko-009A kind reader from the herpetological society (www.reptiles.org.nz) rang to tell us that our gecko is most likely a heavily pregnant Hoplodactylus pacificus. This is good because it must mean that we have at least two resident gecko but it did necessitate a name change. Geck, or Gok was quickly renamed Glenys (Mark’s choice). She has been out sunbathing most days but apparently when she gives birth to her live young (probably two of them), we will no longer see her because she is largely nocturnal by nature, though we may catch sight of her babies which will apparently resemble matchsticks with legs. Alas, the babies are vulnerable to every predator you can think of, including other geckos, but we have our fingers crossed that this may indicate a hitherto unsuspected resident gecko population.

The flocking kereru have now increased to more than twenty and we are none the wiser as to why they are congregating here but we are pleased to have them around. They arrive in pairs or threes. Mark’s theory is that they are either introducing their young to their uncles and aunts or they are swapping slaves, or maybe troublesome adolescents.