Monday, July 9, 2012

A trip to the nursery

The more time I spend away from the computer, the harder it is to get back online. Life is such an amazing place to experience what living is all about. But to hear what the wider world has to say, I come back online.  And why do I want to know what the wider world has to say? I guess it's curiosity and the drive to connect with something larger than myself.

But this post is really about my trip to the nursery for some plants.

Actually, the story starts 24 hours before then - because it was our free mulch day at the Council tip. When we were meant to collect our mulch, I decided to start weeding the front garden to receive it directly - it saves double-handling the mulch that way. So engrossed in my weeding and pruning branches that were blocking walkways however, Dave decided not to break my stride and volunteered to collect the mulch without me.

It worked out well, David arrived with the trailer of mulch (twice in a day) and we had cleared areas in the garden beds to drop the mulch. Stepping back after all that work, we were amazed at the transformation!

Garden in the afternoon

Was this our yard? Truly it was hard to believe after three years of building a retaining wall and a few rough seasons (including a flood) to really test the soil and plants that managed to survive, it was finally coming into it's own. A full day peeling back layers of weeds and with the smell of freshly laid mulch, you know, it was inevitable I would start thinking about new plants...

Aptly called the mezzanine garden

There were patches in the garden that needed filling. Some things I pulled from elsewhere in the yard, and transplanted, but it was clear I needed more plant species. Different plants for different jobs, but hopefully all contributing to a banquet for the native animals which pass through our yard. Animals such as this beautiful pair...

Shot edited
because it was taken through the kitchen window

This kangaroo mum we affectionately named "Twitchy", and she has a lovely story to go with her. We first noticed her frequenting our yard a lot as a young joey. She stood out from any others we saw, because she never seemed to have a mum. We think the mum may have been killed, because poor Twitchy had a scar on her leg (not visible in the picture) and was constantly shaking her head from side to side. Hence the name, "Twitchy".

She always found solace in our yard, because it kept her hidden from the street and many of the roaming domestic dogs had easier yards to gain access to. We knew nature could be harsh, so we had no expectations for Twitchy, but our hearts always leaped when we saw her distinctive leg scar and her characteristic twitching.

Needless to say, when she brought her boyfriend around and then her own little bundle of joy, we felt so privileged to see first hand, what nature could achieve against the odds. And our yard is connected to that lifeline for the animals. It's why when I start dreaming about plants, I know how important it is to pick the ones that help.

So back to the trip to the nursery, where this story was meant to begin...

I travelled 30 minutes to find a nursery I knew sold tube-stock, more importantly native tube-stock. There were closer nurseries, but many sold the trendy plants in season and often as advanced specimens. Which isn't good if you want them to acclimatise to heavy clay - it's best to buy them young as tube-stock.

Grevillea Lanigera Lutea
for nectar feeders

I had a wonderful time in the nursery, I took about an hour, carefully reading each label to make sure the plants I would purchase could grow in our conditions. I drove away with $150 worth of plant material afterwards. Was that too much? Was I eating into the family budget? Would we still be able to afford the wisdom teeth surgery David needed in a few weeks time? All relevant questions and no wrong ones, but then I realised something always seemed more important than getting plants in the ground.

It's just life really, on a limited income, you can only spend so much. But we hadn't spent money on plants for a long time. And if I'm honest, the animals which travel through our yard as they go about their lives, are a lot more interesting to watch, than some of the discussion forums I occasionally read. Of late in Australia, everyone seems to be talking about the new Carbon Tax.

I'm no scientist, but I observe the garden with great intrigue and delight. I notice when there's plants around, the animals come. When there's plants around, the air is fresher. When there's plants around, there is food to eat and shade to sit under. Plants generate life like no-other living creature I know of. There's more power in plants than a Carbon Tax, and that's all I'm going to say about it.

I love my garden for everything it is, and everything it's not. It's a completely honest space that shows many amazing things. When I drove away from the nursery, I dreamed of new joey's I would meet in the future, new birds in the spring and bees humming their nectar chores. Of weeds I would pull and mulch I would lay, rocks I would haul and walls I will build...

A bare canvas for plants

When I think about participating in those discussion forums, it doesn't take me long to realise what's really important. A kangaroo will hop by the window with her joey in her pouch, teaching it to nibble at the grass. A kookaburra will swoop from the roof and catch a skink. All these truly amazing things, happening right outside my window. How lucky am I to call this our garden?

We certainly feel very privileged, but it's also about seeking what you're really passionate about. I didn't know we'd have all this to look forward to when we signed the contract on this piece of land. Sometimes when you're looking at the work or juggling bills, the garden seems the least important thing in the world. Yet, when you think about it, where is life without the trees and the plants? What more comfort can be found fixing something else?

I know comfort, when my hands are dirty and a new tree is going into the ground. That is my passion. It's why I do everything I do.


  1. Its looking great Chris and don't forget that the more plants you have in the ground the better your soil will be protected in any heavy rains. think of it as an investment or insurance. :)

  2. Wonderful post Chris. I think you are both doing such a marvelous job with the land! Its always better to be out doing than sitting around discussing what we will do some day on a forum. Outside of my blog and a couple of other blogs, I stay clear of many other online places too. I learned recently that "Life is the only thing worth living for" means going out and living it.

  3. That is very true greenfumb, plants stop soil from running away in the rain. They're such versatile wonders of the natural world. Definitely a form of insurance. Thanks for popping by, I will have to come visit your blog soon. :)

  4. That has become something I've had to do as well LindaM, avoiding some online forums. It's not that they're "bad", I just get so easily distracted and miss out on all the living stuff.

    I bet you're having fun with your cousins visiting, showing them around, and I'm sure they must admire what you've both achieved in such a short time too. I will have to come visit your blog. :)


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