I've enjoyed keeping my container plants on the verandah, over the years. My small plants, become quite big and soon graduate to larger containers. What I love most about keeping container plants for several years, is how they become an instant forest, wherever you want to keep them.
Only something happened recently, which made me have to find a new home, suitable for my container plants. Somewhere not too exposed, or too starved of light. We had to clear the verandah recently to complete a large project on it. More about that, umm...later. I don't know how much later, because it could go on for a while.
So where to place all these plants, which were mollycoddled on the verandah?
I had a big mulberry tree, over a swale. Literally, this was the only place I could think to place a verandah full of pots, which wouldn't cook them to death. The leaves will fall closer to winter, but they should hold for several more months.
Hopefully, enough time to have our verandah project finished, and I can place my plants back again.
The exterior of the mulberry however, gives very little indication of what's happening underneath...
Remember what I said about instant forest? Within the hour, I had moved quite a few pots, and some even David had to help lift. Thankfully, we had a little trolley that did most of the leg work though.
It shouldn't have surprised me, this instant garden effect. I mean, that's what container plants do! You can shift them to different places, for different effects. Pile them all together and you get a miniature jungle. But I was so in love with this new arrangement - I wasn't expecting it to look so natural.
The swale was perfect for holding all these containers. I kept a little ally in between the two rows, so I could water them, once a day. Now the weather is starting to cool however, I can probably get away with 2 days between drinks.
The container plants are loving it! They're putting on new growth and I thought it was cool under the mulberry before, but now it's a miniature forest kind of cool. The mulberry is benefiting from the new arrangement too, with the regular watering. The tree canopy, lets in dappled light and the under-story holds in any moisture it can capture.
So if that wasn't enough function stacking, in this particular guild, did I mention my little marcot experiment?
I'm hoping to get three more mulberry trees, by air layering on the branch themselves. Youtube has plenty of videos if you're curious about this method (marcot) as I was. It's pretty easy, once I had the materials together.
The birds have taken a keen interest in the shiny alfoil too. I find peck holes in the medium, and sometimes the alfoil comes away from their constant inspections.
We have success though...see the tiny root showing through the cling wrap? I really love mulberry trees, which is why I love to propagate them. If you have the space, do plant LOTS of mulberries! Or just one if you're limited. It took a few years, but I now have a nursery tree, where I can utilise the cool under-story, the mulberry creates.
Who would have thought that so much could happen under just one tree? I have a swale to help capture the moisture to hydrate the mulberry, a deciduous tree which regulates its canopy cover, according to the climate, a temporary nursery for container plants and it's also a propagating area. Oh yeah, and it also produces delicious fruit!
In permaculture it's called stacking functions, and its one of the reasons I love the design principles permaculture teaches. If you're going to use energy for growing something, try to stack as many functions in and around it, to make the energy used, more efficient.
Do you have a tree or dedicated area, that does more than just produce one yield (ie: fruit) for you?