Archive for the 'Garden' Category
Hello folks, Dann here. We’ve wanted to grow our own vegetables here at the Box for ages now. The thing holding us back has been the wildlife that likes to eat the free food that would provide.
The many times we have tried to grow herbs, strawberries and tomatoes in pots on the deck, the possums, wallabies and who-knows-what-else have had a marvellous time eating the fruit and leaves literally the day before they were ready to be picked.
So we knew that if we were going to do this properly, it would require some sort of wildlife protection/deterrence system.
We chose the position in our yard that soaked up the most of the suns rays and decided to start with a couple of small, raised planter boxes. These were constructed with some friendly treated pine boards and lined with some black landscaping plastic. We took our inspiration from the fabulous gents at The Little Veggie Patch Co.
We filled the boxes with a combination of on-site soil, manures, mushroom compost, straw, and piles of bamboo leaves. We aimed for the no-dig method where the laying of these elements would result in a natural composting system.
Meet our wildlife protection/deterrence system. Given the prevalence of wallabies (or “wobblies” as the Widg calls them), possums, bush rats and birds, most of our previous attempts at food growing have been failures. Hence the lovely white netting protecting our bountiful harvest. The poles coiled over are electrical conduit with bamboo providing some horizontal bracing.
The wood has been secured together with galvanised nails and screws, which we have also used to secure the netting.
The above picture is the first bed: the Tomato Patch. We have planted four types of tomatoes, some basil, thyme, spring onion and parsley.
The next bed has cucumbers, capsicum, squash, eggplant and pumpkin with a strawberry pot in the middle. I am pretty sure I have way more in this patch than I should, but “aim high and fail big” is my motto.
The patch survived a couple of very warm, dry windy Spring days. We then had a burst of wet, cold weather with some snow. Hopefully Mother Nature can help deliver some produce for Christmas Day.2 comments
Just a quick one to show you the bamboo we have growing down the side of the house. Yes, bamboo. And no, it’s not THAT type of bamboo. It won’t spread like wildfire. There’s this new-fangled clumping bamboo that stays where you plant it.
We planted ours some time in May 2009, and it was about 2 feet tall then (or about 50-60cm). It’s now 8-9 metres tall. Very fast growing. Our plan is to grow it up and then trim and shape it like giant bonsai so that it becomes a screen from the neighbours to give us a bit more privacy (we can see right onto their deck, and they onto ours) and to soften the summer sun. Oh, and for reference, the Box is the building on the right.2 comments
Well, the weather has been getting cooler, I’ve even worn a cardi on more than one occasion in the last week or so. And it’s April. I guess that means that summer is over.
While we are sure to still have a few more warm days ahead before the cold sets in, there will be fewer opportunities for leisurely outdoor time. Like this:
I know, our garden doesn’t actually look anything like this. But, well, pretty!
Doesn’t this just make you want to make a cup of tea in a pretty cup and take it outside?
It at least makes me want to throw a table cloth on the outdoor table and hang some lanterns or streamers from the deck roof. Maybe put some flowers in a vase. Perhaps we should make an effort to have one more outdoor meal while the weather’s still warm.
But don’t be dismayed. Winter brings it’s own joys. Cosy blankets, scarves, socks, flannelette pyjamas. Yummy soup and crusty bread. Open fires. And I can start wearing my boots again. There’s always a silver lining.2 comments
So we’ve had some fairly windy rainy weather of late. And we live in a pretty tree’d area. So it was no surprise when a large branch broke off one of our ghost gums. What was surprising was that it happened at around midnight, with a loud crash, just as we were falling asleep. And that it was roughly 10 metres long.
And that it fell precisely between our 2 parked cars, missing them both by only a few inches. And that the Widg slept through the whole thing.
Bless the boy.1 comment
One of my favourite nursery trips is to the Imperial Garden’s complex in Terrey Hills – which is located about 45 minutes north on Sydney. The complex contains The Buddha Belly restaurant, Imperial Gardens Bonsai, Imperial Gardens Landscape Design, Mr Bamboo Nursery, Gazebo Direct and Hidden Orient.
I remember treking up to Imperial Gardens bonsai in 1999 as Ken Lamb (Managing director of Imperial Gardens Landscape) was constructing the Balinese pavillions that became Buddha Belly/Imperial Gardens Landscape/Hidden Orient. I usually return once a year and am struck by how authentically the gardens and constructions have aged. The whole area was mostly a dumping area 15 years ago and now feels like a landscape that has been their for 100 years.
We live in the Lower Blue Mountains. That means we travel. Lots. So we are thus used to and experienced in trekking all over to find useful places to source things around our home. I am bringing you some of my favourite and not so favourite garden nurseries from around Sydney.
Thus we traversed the lengthy and expensive toll roads of Sydney’s north to this subtropical seaside suburb of the Northern Beaches. I had previously ran past this on a Metrogaine in 2008 and thought that i should come back. Nearly 18 months later we return on a strikingly humid day too.
What impressed about this nursery is the varied amount of stock on offer and the low prices across their range. I usually steer away from all Flower Power nurseries due their almost default position of doubling the prices relative to what one would reasonable expect from a large chain. Warriewood Flower Power gladly has steered away from this with a generous selection of plants on sale and non sale plants still reasonably priced given their size and health.
Anyway the top 5 reasons that you should go to this nursery are:
- Tropical style plant stock – good varied ferns, palms, large leafy under storey types.
- Homewares and outdoor/indoor accessories – most nurseries attempt to have some indoor pots /general nice knick knacks but mostly fail. Not only is the indoor accessories area massive- the homewares are really nicely choosen , stylish and contemporay
- Native varieties – plenty of choice of varieties and sizes. Different cultivars too – I counted 11 different Lillipilly’s.
- On sale items – i picked up two 200mm pot banksias for $9.99 each from $19.99 – both over 1metre high. They had 200mm pots of Liriope for $3.25 down from $9.99
- Lots to see – as nurseries go it is quite spacious, has lots of different areas (natives, formal gardens, tropical/indoor, aquatic, fish, landscape, indoors, mature trees etc)
Photos can only show you so much – so here is a bit of a wander around the backyard (albeit shaky….) looking at what we have done in the garden over the past few years.
My aim has been to create gardens around the house (The Box) that are drought tolerant and bird attracting. When we moved here in 2003, there was three privet trees, two paperbark and one Camphor Laurel as well as six Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus Regnans) in the north east garden (pictured above). Due to their enormous size we had afew of these Eucalypts removed in September 2008. The removal of the trees opened up the yard to more sunlight – most notably afternoon sun. To sit under these huge gums, native flowering plants and grasses filled my creative vision.
I started November 2008, digging up this garden – turning the compacted sandy soils over and mixing in some organic matter to aid in water rentention (given the slope). I let the beds settle for a few weeks- regularly applying a mixure of seasol and nitrosol. In December 2008 planed out the garden with native tubestock. My aim was grevillia’s and banksia’s for the fenceline – with the hope that they will grow taller and add some privacy – and grassy/strappy plants along the garden edge and under the trees. These grasses included Swamp Foxtail Grass, Lomandra Longifolia/Tannika, Diannella, Kangaroo Paw and Gyamea Lilies. The grasses have tripled and quadrupled in size but the grevillas and banksias in particular have been a bit slower in growth rate. However with the advent of summer – they are really starting to thicken up.
Addionally I have aimed to divert water onto this garden by positioning the downpipe from a newly installed roof for our deck directed so it flows directly across the lawn and onto this part of the garden. Also I have actively placed logs and dug small zig-zagging troughs down the slope of the garden to slow down water as it passes runs over the garden.
I am trying to implement a new feature on talesfromthebox – a before and after series. Some might feature the simple before and after – while others might show a gentle progression over many years. Anyway at the moment I am madly in the garden – loving all things backyard focused given the onset of the Christmas and New Year rain and subsequent growth. The new addtions to the yard will be a tropical garden in the lower third of the garden – but more on that later. Today – simply a before and after of the backyard – the first picture taken 5 years ago in January 2005 and the second taken today. You will note the rather clearance of many trees, the oncovering of a new more, new garden beds, a moving shed and new tank and a flush, lush green lawn. It has been a busy few years!
These kangaroo paws were planted as tubes in December last year and in the last few weeks we have been greeted by these five foot high flower stems.No comments