Gardening

A WALK IN THE GARDEN

This is the time of year for walking in gardens, when they’re often at their most beautiful.    They’re also the most work if you want to choose a particular look, rather than just take what comes.

waterfallOut on the hills, “what comes” is pretty good right now. Continue reading

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AFTER THE FROST

The Big Wilt has finally come.  Every year when the frosts arrive, the summer plants die back and make way for the ones that can take the cold.

This year we waited a long time for the changeover.  In some ways it was a vindication of my messy, lazy style of vegetable gardening, the one where I keep sticking in new things, but don’t pull out the old ones until after they’ve gone to seed and died. Continue reading

EATING HISTORICAL FRUIT

In the last couple of years we’ve netted the most accessible of the peach trees that have naturalized along Mullion Creek to keep the cockatoos from eating them.  The whole operation is worse than trying to get a giant bride and her veil through a forest.

peach tree being wrappedFour people were needed (one of them tall) and a lot of long poles.  The trick is not to twist your ankle,  fall into the wombat hole, the thistles, or in among the blackberries that grow lower down the bank.    Last year Charles tried throwing the net over using a tent pole as a javelin, resulting in a snarl of unreachable netting at the top.  This year we modified the system to prod the net over and then wrap it around.    Continue reading

UMBELLIFEROUS

I get a certain amount of flak for my untidy veggie garden.   I let things go to flower and seed and see what comes up from them next year.  I love that I can grow carrots without having to do anything at all but throw around a bit of compost.

veggie garden wide with carrotsI enjoy the flowers.

That’s where I learned my new favourite word.

It’s a mumbling, ominous-sounding adjective that doesn’t really suggest the prettiness and regularity of an umbrella shaped flower. Continue reading

SEASONAL JOY: APRICOTS AT LAST

bowl of apricotsFresh, juicy, aromatic apricots are one of the joys of Christmas time in Australia.

So I was horrified to see that criminals were in the garden stealing our treasures.   I ran out shrieking swear words at them. crime in progress apricot thieves Of course they think shrieking is just talking endearments in their own squawking language, but the running about flapping my arms gave them the hint. Continue reading

WEEDS – THE BOTANY OF UNDESIRABILITY

capeweed

capeweed (arctotheca calendula)

According to  Michael Pollan in The Botany of Desire there are plants that, just by chance, have turned out to be something we really want. Potatoes as food, apples for fruit and alcohol, marijuana for druggy highs.  Those plants that we like, we promote and encourage no matter how needy and pathetic they are.  We choose them over all others.  The attractiveness of tulips led to a bidding war that collapses an economy (in the 17th century, but still).  We move them from continent to continent, grow them under lights and in hothouses and despite all discouragement.

weed patchI was thinking about this as I hauled out weeds from the bottom of the garden. Continue reading

THE EARTH MOVES PART 3 – ROCKING ON

rocks and pipesIt’s amazing how projects grow.  I wanted water for my vegie garden.  I wanted a gravity feed water tank that would allow intermittent use of drippers and taps that tend to freak out our heavy-duty sprinkler pump.

The result, so far, is 550 metres of pipes and two rock walls.

Somehow I thought, when I waved my arm at a patch of sloping grass, that flattening it wouldn’t be a big deal.  And the retaining wall that would be needed would be maybe waist high.  Apparently I have no eye for a slope.  James O’Keefe, the master bobcat driver was pretty clear from the start that we would need to move a lot of dirt.

He was also going into hospital for his second shoulder reconstruction.   So we had a time limit. Continue reading