All new nursery plants
This was the area nearly three years ago. It looks as fresh as a daisy back in 2011, but most of the plants in this area died. After the grasses at the base eventually went, I required a new retaining wall solution. But I was to learn how dry it would become in our winters, when we normally have little rainfall. This year, particularly so.
Yucca (left), eremophila (right)
This is what it looked like seven days ago. Dry and overgrown. The yucca and eremophila (native fushia) are what you can see in the image. They are plants which have adapted to desert conditions, and the only reason they have survived. Another prostrate eremophila, nearly didn't make it though.
Eremophila ground cover
Since I have mulched and made an effort to water it recently, new growth has formed on its bare branches. I was happy to save this particular plant, as its rather beautiful with its silver-grey foliage.
Prostrate eremophila foliage
Eremophila has to be one of my favourite plants to grow here, and it typically does very well on natural rainfall alone. The honey-eaters and bees especially love the flowers. Another hardy plant I had to rescue (only planted last year) was a lomandra grass.
This is "Tanika" lomandra, and survived our incredibly hot summer last year. But it was starting to die back with the extended winter drought. With some new mulch, water and removing a lot of the dead stalks, I think its in better shape for next summer.
Old mulch (left) new mulch (right)
This is our jelly-bean plant (next to the yucca) and ideally it wouldn't be this red. It's supposed to be light green, but living in such an inhospitable area, it dons the red protective colour to retain moisture. With the new revamp, I'm hoping to help it out a little more.
David took this photo without me knowing
I decided to build another rock retaining wall, and it meant a lot of standing back and evaluating the level, by eye. Not very scientific or mechanical I know, but I'm an organic worker. Actually, I'm lucky to be any kind of worker, with my little fella in-toe. I couldn't have him on site, in case he tipped a barrow full of dirt on himself, so I was limited to working on the wall when David was available to baby-wrangle.
That's why it took me a whole week to do such a small wall, mostly by myself. David helped collect some rocks around the yard and did some weeding in the beginning, but it was a small area to work in so was best to have a single worker.
Yucca (background), eremophila, lomandra and prostrate eremophila
I have mostly finished the wall now and the new area has come alive again. I'm happy to have some mature plants (survive) to give an instant effect of foliage, in what is an incredibly dry area. I have added some new friends to the wall garden however...
Lavender Avonview, now in revamped area
Would you believe, the spark of this whole idea last Sunday, was a humble little lavender plant? A lavender out the back, threw 3 little seedlings which I was able to transplant into pots. I thought a lavender plant with its colourful purple flowers would look nice in this area, and decided to start moving rocks.
It's not the only reason I was inspired to revamp this area however. When I decided to re-work the swale above, it naturally drew my attention to the overgrown and dying area below. I always notice areas that don't work as originally intended, but when you're living on acreage and raising a family at the same time, it takes a while to get around to fixing things.
It was certainly a long week of work, but I'm content with the results. At the halfway mark however, I was tempted to believe it was a bunch of sweat for nothing when David said, the wall reminded him how I like to bring my ideas into being. From one little lavender plant which happily sprung up by itself, to a weeks work of rock moving and baby wrangling.
At the time it feels like the work will never end - the muscles ache, the baby cries for mum to come inside and the project is left incomplete (again). I kept hoping for rain that never came either. It's easy to think in those moments, what difference does building a wall make anyway?
Building a wall doesn't make much of a difference to the rest of my responsibilities in life, or the weather for that matter, but it's an act of adaptation nonetheless. Embracing the environment I have, using the natural resources available is attempting a balance between extremes. That is my responsibility and (surprisingly) pleasure; finding something in the environment I can marry to my concerted efforts. I look at the wall now and see adaptation at work, something which will probably never be finished.
So in a week, I didn't manage to change the world for the better, but I'm content with the labours I chose for myself anyway. Is there anything you have struggled with over the past week?