Monday, July 25, 2011

Garden progress

I've been pottering in the garden again and it's been absolutely wonderful! Even though it's still winter, the days are getting noticeably longer. One of the great things about living in this part of the Lockyer Valley, is that even in the middle of winter, you can have 20 degrees Celsius days outside. Plants are still growing in the garden, even if they're not growing as quickly as in summer.

Some of the swales still have water after weeks without rain

We've been working different sections of the garden - still digging our swales at the very top, and planting Lomandra Hystrix to combat soil erosion. These probably won't grow to the size we need this coming summer, but it's still a start and we're very relieved to have reached the planting stage.

There's still much to do on our swales as it's being dug by hand, but it's wonderful to realise some sections are being put to rest at last - given over to the hands of time, growing and maturing as nature decides. Another project we've been working on - probably as long as the front retaining wall (so about 2 years now) is the mezzanine garden, where all the ramps for our front retaining wall merge together.

All ramps merge in-front of this garden

We've slowly been collecting rocks from around the property which is why it's taken us so long to complete. We don't have many rocks, but you'd be surprised what we dig up sometimes. We even had some large ones, roll in from the storms earlier in the year. That's how strong the water flow was! But it was a great windfall for our little retaining wall project. You just have to wait for the right materials sometimes. It says something about instant consumerism, and the lessons you sometimes miss out on if it weren't for forced patience and miraculous opportunity.

There have been many occasions we've driven to the local landscaping shop to collect blue-metal, for behind our retaining walls, so we're no stranger to instant purchasing. But there's something deeply satisfying to watch your property bring forth what you need. Sometimes you don't even realise it's there, or haven't figured out a way to utilise it yet.

Never miss an opportunity to recycle in the garden!

You'll notice in our cobbled together garden, we've used logs to create mini tiers. These logs are felled spotted gums from our property, merely held in place with metal stakes. They grow like weeds around here and we try to get them out before they grow too big near the house.

Of course they'll decompose in a few years and need replacing, but that's all part of the plan. We try to utilise all the green materials on site - rather than cart them away. Actually, the mulch on this garden, is the recycled green material people take to the local tip. It gets chopped up and offered to the public for free, on the first Sunday of every month. We love the stuff and so does our garden!

Other news in the world of green thumbs: I've been busy propagating plants in the our new Middle Ridge nursery. Lots of seed germination going on, re potting and I'm eagerly awaiting our new banana trees which should be arriving by mail soon. Being in Queensland, we required a permit to have them in the garden, which is free, so it wasn't too much of a drama to get one.

I'm sure to be doing a lot more pottering in the garden, in the months to come.


  1. Sounds like you have been busy Chris. I love that you are trying to use resorces from the site.

  2. I love that you have such an extensive plan yet are very patient with how long it can take. We could learn a lesson on that matter:)
    I'm going to show this to Garry to see what we can employ all of our rocks with. We have lots and lots of rocks!
    You both do such great work and I continue to find this very inspiring.

  3. Hi Tricia, it's always good to see what we can recycle back into the land. I hate seeing anything go, in fact, I'm sure nothing has yet, LOL.

    I hope we keep it that way. :)

  4. Hi Linda, lucky to have all those rocks at your disposal. I know they're a pain when you're trying to garden, but I have to say if you've got rocks on your property, it's much easier to move them around to make stuff. Getting any delivered is a pain.

    Local rocks fit right in their landscape too. They're great to make drystone retaining walls from. What I love about drystone, is you don't need to buy backfill or ag-pipe. Gravity and the angle of repose, keeps them in place.

    You can plant them with all sorts of lovely rockery type plants too. We went with a mixture of rock, timber and plants with this wall, because it had a curve to it. Much more forgiving to use multiple materials.

    Good luck with your rock finds. :)

  5. I'd love to hear more about what was involved with getting the banana trees. It's something I've always planned to do, but haven't gotten around to yet.

  6. Hi Rinelle, glad to hear you're still plugging away at the garden. It's not that difficult to get a permit, although it can be a little confusing when you have to go between the Tissue Culture nursery who sells them, and the DPI.

    I don't think it's called the DPI any more either. I'll have to get my paperwork out and share the contact information in another post.

    My trees still haven't arrived yet, but was told there might be a small delay with the ladyfinger variety.


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