What happened after the landscaper left?


I got Francis, my chippie brother-in-law, to continue the side deck around to the door that will one day be my study, but is now Ryan23’s room.

I got him to put the step all the way around. One day, when I get the roof done, I can see people using these steps to sit and have a chat.

One thing that I didn’t foresee about putting wicking boxes on paving is that the water that spills from the outlet pipe pools has nowhere to go. Instead of being soaked into the grass it just sits there. I didn’t want moss to start to grow, so I went to Bunnings and bought these tubs. They catch any overflow – and the bonus is that I can then recycle that water back into the garden the next day. So my free tank water is going even further. Love that.

To be honest, I’m not that happy with the soil that the landscaper used for the veggie beds. It’s very nitrogen deficient, I think, as the plants that I’ve put in are all turning yellowy. I’m working on producing lots of compost, (more on that in another post – very exciting stuff), but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I probably won’t be getting great results for a year or two until I sort things out with the soil.

So what do you do when you are pretty much just mucking around? You see some potato starters in Aldi and bung them in, of course!

I don’t feel that these wicking beds are deep enough to really make the most of potatoes. But old-time gardeners call them a good soil conditioning crop, so what the hell? I brought home the starters, let them harden off and sprout a little more in the laundry and then whacked them in. I’m a little bit dubious about the quality of Aldi veggie plants, but that’s just probably me being elitist. Time will tell.

OMG I love this. What do you do with a thin strip of garden bed that’s in front of the screen for the clothesline and is slap bang in your line of sight as you come into the backyard? You plant apple trees and lavender to bring the bees to pollinate the apples, that’s what!

I had Ballerina apples in the old garden in the garden bed next to the chook run. Without a word of a lie, those apples were the best tasting things I have ever put in my mouth. (Except for Haribo gummy bears. Obviously.)

I bought these at Gardenworld and asked where the lavender bushes were. When I got there the table was attracting contented bees like you wouldn’t believe. Exactly what I wanted! I planted them the next day and as I was watering them in, a bee was already starting to collect pollen. Such a little thing to make me so happy.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and the trees are all covered in blossoms. They look pretty happy, too.

Last week a couple of friends and I went to Heronswwod, the Diggers nursery in Dromana. These are the seeds I bought. Love the names.

This is the dwarf apricot tree that my beautiful Theatre Studies class from 4 years ago gave me as their ‘thank you’ on the performance on the last night of their play. Fortunately, I didn’t get around to planting it at the old house, so when we moved it came with us. The Best House in Melbourne already has an apricot tree in the front yard, but it’s scraggly and feeds the possums and lorikeets, so this one will be for us. I planted it in the garden bed next to the apples, along the side fence.

I’ve decided to continue the recycled brick paving along the sides of the house. The previous owners laid black plastic down and put pebbles on top, but weeds are starting to come through and it looks messy. Old Lady Frogdancer doesn’t want to deal with that.

However, bluebells are coming up as well. I decided to try and save some of them. It’s the wrong time to be digging them up but I figured that they’re going to die anyway when the landscaper comes back, so I might as well give them a chance. I’ve put them in the same garden bed as the apricot tree. If they survive and spread, I think it’ll look very pretty along the fence.

I’ve put this in there as well. Spiky plant! Hopefully the possums will leave it alone. I’ve never tasted a finger lime, so that’s something to look forward to.

Finally, a Bird of Paradise plant that some dinner guests brought as a house-warming present 2 years ago has finally gone into the ground. I’m not sure if I’ve put it in the right spot though. Mum and Dad have one in their front yard – it’s been there for as long as I can remember, and Dad says that eventually it’ll push the fence and the retaining wall over. It’ll take a couple of decades though…

I don’t know. Maybe I should dig it up, pop it back in a bigger pot and use it as a houseplant?

No gardening post would be complete without a shot of my “helpers”. Poppy and Scout are waiting for me to kick the tennis ball for them to chase. Jeffrey doesn’t hold with those shenanigans.

Funny little people.

This entry was posted in Flowers, Fruit trees, gardening, Quality of life, vegetables, wicking beds. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to What happened after the landscaper left?

  1. foodnstuff says:

    It’s all looking great! I love the new steps. Good idea with the water catching from the wicking boxes……using the water a second time. Bill Mollison would be proud of you! You could also grow some water chestnuts in the water catcher bins. For your nitrogen problem and to continue the recycling efforts (and since you’ll have no chooks to provide manure), buy a 60 litre plastic rubbish bin from Bunnings and place it somewhere in the sun. Get the boys to pee into it (or into a bucket in the loo then transfer to the bin; no schock/horror please!) and dilute the liquid 50/50 with water before you use it. The sun on the black plastic will heat the pee and kill most bacteria. Then water the plants with it. You’ll be amazed at how they green up. I collect the liquid from my composting toilet and use it this way, stored in bins. The citrus trees love it.

    • I was reading up on composting, because I’ve got 4 tumbling bins on the go at the moment, and they were saying that urine mixed with compost was a good nitrogen giver. But you sound like you’ve put a short-cut together! ________________________________

  2. foodnstuff says:

    Forgot to say…. my finger lime is going bananas in a large tub next to the gas bottles beside the deck. This is its third year and it has flower buds! I’m hoping for fruit this year.

  3. atkokosplace says:

    Your garden boxes and yard and steps are absolutely gorgeous! WOW! I’d love to duplicate that in my yard! Thank you for sharing and inspiring!!!! Have a wonderful weekend! Koko 🙂

  4. Jamie says:

    That apple tree looks good. We are pretty lucky where we are. There are a bunch of apple trees we have access to in the almost-vacant land next to us. My favourite apple is a Pink Lady mutation called Lady Laura. Luckily there is a grower just a few hours north of us to goes to a market not a terrible distance away, so I keep in touch with them via email around Easter time to find out when they will be at the markets and make the trek to buy a massive bag of them. Rosy Glow is a similar variety I like, too. I don’t know what all of the varieties growing around our place are, some are pretty wild, but they are all different (all 8 of them I’ve tasted) and there is only one that I think isn’t worth eating. I found another one in the scrub the other day, so I will test it out this autumn.

    We had some fit young friends staying for the long weekend, so I got them to help me with some planting. They put in a peach and a sugar plum, plus a blueberry bush and a raspberry bush. We also managed to nab a very sad looking mandarin tree from some friends who had pulled it out. It doesn’t like the winters here. I’m going to give it a year and see if I can get it going again, bringing it on to the verandah (or perhaps even into the laundry) in winter.

    I found the first flower on my peas today. Some sugar snaps and snow peas, plus some very old seeds I had hanging around. Could be interesting to see what they grow! I didn’t think I would get anything from them, but about 30% seem to have popped up.

    • That sounds fantastic. How lucky to have all those different apple trees growing so close. I can’t imagine it being cold enough to bring a mandarin tree inside! ________________________________

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