Friday, September 17, 2010

A Garden in Progress

From a weather point of view we have had the best lead into Spring for many years. Very good rains through Autumn and Winter have left the soil in the best condition I can remember, and with quite a few warm (comparatively) sunny days, it's been ideal gardening weather. So what have we been doing? Quite a lot, actually.

Here is a photo of our backyard soon after moving into our house. All we had was the house - no driveway, no garage, no fences, no deck, and definitely no gardens.

Over the years (far too many to mention) the above deficiencies were rectified, although even now the garden is still not complete. It's undergone quite a few changes over the years, not only in planting, but also in landscaping. I have often posted photos of the front garden, the vegetable garden, and other areas, but much of the backyard has remained a seemingly neverending bugbear.

For years it produced nothing but weeds, due to neglect while the rest of the garden took shape. Although for a time it was sown down to lawn which eventually died. The area then became a depository for temporarily unwanted heaps of soil, moved from elsewhere on the block. I couldn't count the number of times I have weeded these heaps of soil of their metre high weeds. The only consolation was that it provided plenty of material for making compost.

Apart from the weeds, Californian Poppies and Alyssum flourished, and several good crops of pumpkins - 14 last summer - were harvested.

Alyssum and Osteospermum (African Daisy) grew by the thousand.....
..... largely as a result of the mountains of prunings dumped there prior to shredding.

For a few weeks in Spring it was transformed into a 'wildflower meadow' - where some very special 'flowers' could hide from Grandma.

BUT this year, we decided 'enough was nearly enough'!!!!

I wanted to employ someone with a bobcat to move the heaps and level the ground, which would have taken half a day at the most. However, one of the reasons it has taken half a lifetime to establish our gardens is because a certain person wants to do it all himself!

I have to admit that he didn't quite kill himself, and it didn't take as long as I dreaded it would. Between us we concreted a path on one side and made a blue metal path on the other. (The cost of hiring a roller for the second path was exhorbitant so I tramped the metal down myself - I knew my weight would come in handy one

I think this photo and the one above should have been reversed, but we did eventually level the ground and prepared it for planting.

For the past few weeks we've had the dilemma of where and what to plant, although since our deck resembles a commercial nursery, much of which we have propagated ourselves, we've been spoilt for choice. We eventually selected about 15 smallish trees and shrubs. There's always the temptation to plant too close when you want to fill up a large area, and we may well have done just that - time will tell.

I've been 'in-filling' the garden with groundcovers and perennials from around the rest of the garden (nothing is safe from being dug up and divided anymore), and even this afternoon couldn't resist emptying some of the pots on the deck - about 21, in fact - into the garden. (I'll take more photos over the coming weeks.)

Whilst we can't really plant more trees and shrubs at this stage, as they need room to grow, there always seems to be space to fit in just one more small thing, such as a geranium, which will provide colour and can always be ripped out as the shrubs encroach.

Above and below, yesterday's plantings.

BUT ..... before you congratulate us too, you may well ask, "Where did the excess soil go to?"

Of course, HERE IT IS, along with two truckloads of topsoil just waiting to be spread in this area to create the LAST of the gardens! Well, it only needs spreading, and the removal of the weeds and poppies ..... or should I let them flower first?

It sounds like HERE WE GO AGAIN !!!!!

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Bernie said...

I will congratulate you two very enthusiastically. You've done a terrific job by yourselves ... I just love that blue pathway! It will be great fun watching and waiting for everything to mature and fill out.
The 'meadow' photos are spectacular ... gosh it did look great during Spring. I think I spotted one very special flower in amongst all those blooms. Your Osteos and Poppies are wonderful! I think I'd probably let the poppies bloom in the unfinished patch!

Kerri said...

So, that's what you two have been up to! What a lot of work! You seem to have lots of space. I didn't realize your yard was quite so big.
How nice that you've been able to utelize up some of the plants on your deck. What's the count down to now....50 or so? LOL
Between you you've done a wonderful job. I hope there are not too many aches and pains!
Those poppies sure are pretty. The "special flowers" will have to find a new place to hide now.
Are they with you now? If not, they soon will be. Enjoy your time with them! Lucky Grandma and Grandpa! :)

Ozjane said...

And here I thought your garden was all done and perfect already.......and now it is in the process of being perfected.
Oh how I wish I had that land to plant. I have to admit I would have charged out and purchased a pomegranate, have planted a baby one, a persimmon, an almond, a few more fruits, even if miniature and then some raspberry canes ..oh and more roses..have a thirst for those.
You are much more sensible and practical. Congratulations on all the hard work.
I think I would have had to pop a wisteria in there somewhere also. You can tell the things I am still dreaming about. But I am glad you used your propagation nursery.

Kerri said...

That should be "utilize", and would you please cross out the "up" for me? :)

Michelle said...

omg!!!! I will believe it when I see it1 Luckily that is in two days!!! can't wait - love us!!!xxx

Frankie said...

What?... no orchard?! (i like teasing and stirring a bit as you know!) You've done a wonderful job, specially hard in your climate there in the ACT.

Alice said...

Frankie and Ozjane - Actually we already have 3 plum trees, 2 pears, 2 cherries, 3 apples, 2 nectarines, 2 apricots, 1 peach, 1 walnut (which never produces walnuts) and more Black Muscat grapes than we can eat, plus gooseberries and raspberries. We’ve had them for years. I’ll send you some photos.

Frankie said...

Ah but you haven't got... a quince tree, have you? LOL

diane said...

You are doing a great job and by yourselves too. I wish I had someone who insisted on doing it himself..Looking forward to seeing it grow.

LindaD said...

Commorating your birthday, I've been taking a quick trip down memory lane in some of your past 'blog' entries. I'd forgotten how much your sense of humor delights me - don't you think we are delighted when someone else's humor, etc, strikes that similar chord in us? I went to read "just one" and now an hour later must put this away till later. Happy birthday New Year's baby!!