Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Absence makes the garden grow

Never mind about absence making the heart grow fonder, ever noticed how much your plants grow when you don't see them for a few weeks? It seems that they never grow that quickly when you are watching them every day.

We have another house a few suburbs away rented out to my son and two of his friends. Early last year a car came down the hill and ploughed through the front garden destroying a few trees and shrubs. We took the opportunity to remove almost everything else - contoneasters, pittosporrum, two tall cypress trees, old roses and heaps of ivy, vinca and the biggest curse of all, black plastic. We were left with only a liquidamber, a photinia and two not very big cypresses. The soil was rotary hoed and built up onto two levels, new soil and a few rocks added and the entire yard covered with forest litter mulch.

We bought camelias on sale and planted them against the house, and callistemons, alternating purple and white, down the side of the yard. The rest was planted almost entirely with plants propagated at home - various daisies, gazanias, arctotis, coreopsis, penstemons, gaura, plectranthus, wormwood, lambs ears, lavendar, grasses, geraniums, sedum, scabiosi among a few other things.

The boys water the plants a couple of times a week and I go over about every third week to do any weeding (very little required) and just see how things are going. The whole garden is looking really good and I'm always amazed at the rate of growth each time I see it.

It was quite a nice garden when we bought the house in 1991, but having been rented out to various tenants since then, the garden has deteriorated and about 3 years ago I spent days cutting down dead shrubs, trees and removing trailer loads of ivy. The front garden was a project just waiting to happen and one out-of-control car was the instigation for a complete make-over.

Definitely a case of turning a negative in a positive.

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