Spring Garden Saturday

I wandered around the garden yesterday, marvelling at the progress we’ve made since we moved in to a neglected pit full of beach sand, couchgrass, weeds, and rubble only a few short months ago.

Here are some of the highlights of the little native garden that was my Mother’s Day present.


Aren’t they beautiful? Click here for the full photos: 1. paws silhouette, 2. wee scarlet banksia, 3. yellow paw, 4. red paw, 5. wax flower, 6. red paw 2

For our overseas Hoydenizens: kangaroo paws, Anigozanthos and Macropidia, are Western Australia’s floral symbol. They only occur naturally in Southwestern Australia, though they can be growable in other areas with a very similar climate and soil.

We haven’t put in the “proper” vegetable garden yet, but haven’t been able to resist putting a few things in the ground. We’ve been gorging ourselves on snow peas and sugar snap peas for weeks from the first batch of those, and we’ve a new set growing up though there is no sign that the old is going to stop cropping any time soon.

Something is eating the bok choi and the mini cauliflowers, so we’ll probably need to break out the Bacillus thurigiensis sometime soon, but they’re growing regardless. The raised herb garden up near the kitchen door is now in place and planted, with coriander and chives and flatleaf parsley and basil and lemongrass and a few other delights.

Corn is growing on nicely, with a few sunflowers in that bed for good measure, and a few bean plants are scattered around the place. We have three kinds of tomato seedlings growing beautifully.

The lemon, mandarin, and Tahitian lime trees have all found their feet, with the lemon particularly showing lots of new growth and a little fruiting (we’ll keep it to no more than a handful of fruits this first year). And my two pineapple guava trees, planted at the weekend, are looking ok so far.

My creation

1. pineapple guava, 2. seedlings, 3. coriander, 4. cornrow, 5. new growth on the lemon, 6. snowpeas, 7. tomatoes, 8. babypeas, 9. bok choi

What’s happening in your neck of the woods?

Categories: arts & entertainment, fun & hobbies, Life

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19 replies

  1. As I said over on Flickr, my garden consists of a rosebush some herbs in pots (which are nonetheless very useful.
    Seeing those rows of corn brings me back to when I was a kid– we’d often grow our own corn over the summer, and it was always exciting to check how much it had grown overnight. Most of the time there wouldn’t be a perceptible difference of course, but sometimes there was be some amazing growth in the space of twenty four hours. I’d love to grow some of my own veggies– carrots, corn, tomatoes, etc (actually, I could do tomatoes in pots– I may yet do that this year).

  2. We’ve not put too much effort into root vegetables, which tend to be cheap and plentiful year-round in the shops. We have talked about growing a few Kipfler potatoes, which might be fun.
    Mostly we’ve grown the things that suck our cash, and/or that are much better super-fresh – leafy greens, tomatoes, snap peas, broad beans, corn, herbs. But now with this longer-term & larger garden, we’re looking at more trees – the citrus, the guavas, and we’re talking about avocadoes and mangoes too, and possibly some olive trees out on the verge. Mmm, mangoes. I haven’t sat down and thought about apples or stone fruits yet.

  3. I’ve unfortunately allowed my back garden, where I used to have lots of herbs, to get very overgrown. I think I may need to pay someone else to hack through it and allow me to find the space to grow some herbs again (space to host a BBQ would also be nice).
    The roses and pelargoniums corner out the front is blooming like mad for spring though, and my front courtyard trees are putting on leaf again so that I’ll have my lovely shady retreat for the summer.

  4. I’ve planted some rainbow silverbeet and the swamp wallabies have shown their appreciation by munching them neatly to ground level. The eucalypts are dropping boughs and branches everywhere. I’ve just seen some fireflies in the living room, flirting with the green standby lights.

  5. I mulched everything this morning. I’m using lucerne mulch for the first time and so far I’m impressed – it didn’t blow all over the place like pea straw does.
    We had bad winds during the week and a latticework trellis fell on my blueberries and I cut them back hard to clean up the damage. We put in an avocado and some more rhubarb last week and both have actually grown since the transplant, so the spring flush is well and truly under way.
    We’re digging up the front lawn for a large veggie patch this year. I’ve put some seeds into my little greenhouse to germinate.
    My big problem is the little patch of lawn in the backyard that I care about preserving. Foolishly we let the chooks run completely free last summer and they actually killed the couch grass – almost all of it. So the ‘lawn’ is flat weeds. I could dig them out and reseed but it’s forbidden to water lawns at any time. Not enough grey water to lavish on thirsty new grass either. Bit stumped about what to do there.

  6. Laura: You found a way to kill couch? Can we borrow your chooks?
    We’ve put a bit of Lippia (very low water requiring, local water authority approved) in at the spot we’d like a little lawn-like substance. It seems to have taken hold so I’m hoping it will spread and fill in the gaps. However, check with your locals to make sure it’s not a forbidden weed in your area if you’re considering it.

  7. Great Photos. I hope you don’t mind if I link to them, so others, who have expressed an interest, can appreciate them. I went around looking for Gravillias and Bottle Brushes that we seem to have in our parts on the east coast.

  8. Really lovely, Lauredhel. I’d actually never seen most of the native plants before. Fantastic!

  9. Laura- what about dichondra or viola hederacea instead of grass? Dichondra is quite drought tolerant I think. If it is really dry, maybe thyme or marjoram -something prostrate that doesn’t mind a little walking on. I think thyme is strong enough to be chicken proof. I know the roos here won’t touch it.

  10. My own ground is too clay-ey to keep prostrate thyme happy, but it is lovely lovely stuff to walk on if you have the right soil for it. In a sunny spot the scent of the oil just from the warm leaves is delightful.

  11. Limed the whole garden a couple of weeks ago, as I’ve been grey-watering and I think our soil is acidic anyway. Called the little boys out: “OMG there’s a freak snowfall! Come and look!!”
    It took them 15 secs to work it out.
    This weekend I was supposed to put in snow peas or snap peas, tomatoes and basil, but SO had the car two days running as he’s got an extra market once a month. The small business thing is really having an impact, not only on the breakdown of domestic work (appalling) but the kids and my my ability to do things on the weekend. This must be addressed but my attempts to do so have not been fruitful.
    So next weekend probably planting but far too late.
    Being in the SE I’ve planted mainly stone fruits: Apricot, about 5 years ago (Moorpark, mentioned in Mansfield Park as Laura will know, and an absolute bottler); Almond, about three years ago; Lemon, feijoa, Olive about two years ago; and a little afterthought nectarine a year ago.
    But now we have (oppressive background music)
    (or flying foxes)
    Therefore, will try to purchase nets this year.
    I’m in awe of your Kangaroo paws Lauredhel. I have tried to grow them here but the SE climate (or my gardening) hasn’t seem to favour them. I do have heaps of flourishing grevilleas and poa grasses out the front, but.

  12. Helen: I really suspect the kangaroo paw thing is to do with local conditions outside of one’s control, on the whole. All I’ve done is slam them into dirt that most gardeners would call “bloody awful” (it’s been sitting doing nothing under brick paving for many years), whack fresh tuart mulch on top, and then largely ignore them, with the odd bit of watering in really dry spells.
    We have a nursery near here that deals in truly local plants – not just Australian natives, but local southwest Australian – and I think we’re overdue for a trip back there.

  13. Helen, I put in a bare rooted Moorpark over winter and it’s just coming out of dormancy this week. I’m very pleased to hear yours is a good tree. People on one of my Jane Austen lists expressed scepticism that it would fruit without a pollinator. The nursery assured me it would be ok, though.
    Next week will be OK for planting don’t you think? I won’t get my ground seeds in for two more weeks. It’s still pretty cold at night.

  14. Snow pea seedlings have been in the ground since winter, but have yet to do anything so outrageous as grow a snowpea. Sugar snap peas have mostly not survived the weeding efforts of myself and Mr 5. New punnet of snaps was allowed to dry out and all six seedlings had to be planted in a bunch (or I may have been sooooo over it by then). Rhubarb coming up a treat, raspberry canes starting to spout leaves, baby lettuce surviving warm weather, as is the ‘where the hell did that come from’ lettuce. Cucumber sprouts have wilted, possibly fatally over warm weekend while we were away. Corn will be planted soon, once all chances of frost are gone. Potatoes seem to be sprouting everywhere, except where I wanted them to grow. Italian parsley thriving. Mostly good.

  15. lol, we have ‘where did that come from lettuce’ in the hedge.

  16. All those green shoots you get from lucerne or pea straw mulch must be terrific pickings for the girls. and very good for them.
    The moorparks are honey sweet, good size deep colour and very luscious – that is, they were, unless we can keep off the fruit bats this year. And if we do, what are the poor little buggers going to eat? And what the hell DO they eat, anyway, when the trees aren’t fruiting – which is most of the time!

  17. Shock horror, snowpea plants grow a snow pea! Two in fact. Not a bad effort between the six of them.


  2. Hoyden About Town
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