Monday, January 2, 2012

2012: The Year of.... The garden

Ummmm.... yeah, so weeding isn't our forté

There are a number of projects still tying up here post-renovation/extension. Just the words "extension" and "renovation" still make me shudder. Sure, the result is fantastic! In the end. That bit towards the end, though? When you see money draining out of your account like there's no tomorrow and EVERY single purchase is in the $thousands, you don't feel so much excited and sure of what you've set out to do, but more terrified you've made a huge mistake.

As the dust continues to settle - literally - and we patch up various natural disaster events and nail marks on architraves and skirting board sections that are still missing, the outdoor part of our humble compound abode is going along swimmingly.

A couple of years back, I joined Gardens For Wildlife. It's a council initiative that I have so far managed to convince two of our adjoining neighbours to try out. For the sake of their lawns/soil quality, the bird and other native wildlife, the insects, and their water bills (the neighbours' water bills, that is, not the fauna's...). What's not to love about contributing to the green belt we actually live in by regenerating our small areas of back and front yards with the types of plants that occurred naturally here until it was cleared 100 years ago??

In 2011, we made small changes to the garden. I have planted a hedge of indigenous natives along our front side fence line. Already, in just three months, the little single-stemmed 20cm tube stock plants have bushed out into beautiful, healthy knee-height specimens.

<------ Look at that! I have clipped this back three times.

And get this: I didn't even water the things in! This is where they grow best. I just bung them in, they will do the rest. This particular plant can be sculpted into any shape you can imagine. An elderly neighbour across the way has three of them. He has his shaped like a sphere, a box and an oblong sort of thing. They are works of art, to be sure (oh to have the spare time! One day...). Now, while I'm not going to go pruning mine into chess pieces anytime soon, it is wondrous to see a native looking every bit like the kind of expensive landscaping plant you'd find in the back yards of my website client's clients (just check these out for incredible!)

One of our random grevilleas, with its crazy-beautiful strange flowers

Lolly's frog pond
So, 2012. The year of the garden here. Over the year, I plan to...

...finish downsizing the roses that are struggling in the front yard.
...reintroduce indigenous native grasses to the front garden beds.
...reclaim some of our beautiful front yard lawn to accommodate a butterfly garden. Steve create a small paved area off the front porch next to the frog pond the LGBB and I made out of her old baby bath in '10 and screen it with fast-growing, bushy feature natives.
...clear a decommissioned vegie patch in the back yard and turn it into a screened "fairy garden" area - the request has been taken from the LGBB to plant "tall grasses that you can't see over so I can hide behind them." Point: taken.
...plant a small (ha! are they ever truly small?!) flowering eucalypt in a bare back corner, away from the house.

How does your garden grow? Have you ever considered investigating local native species?

I would highly recommend you research what grows naturally in your area. For instance, a native in Gippsland could be a noxious weed here where I live, just four hours away. Not all natives are the same! Still Australian native, yes, but not necessarily ideal for your area. Talk to the experts, if you have any at your council or other such body - if nothing else, they might be able to advise what is best *not* to plant. You may be surprised what they recommend!

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