Well what has happened since we last met? Well it feels like a year ago as we have been so very busy. We have filled most of the fridge wicking beds with soil from the back of Sanctuary, we have ravaged Sanctuary and turned her into a fruit and nut garden (and edible shrubs and vines etc.) and we have irrigated Sanctuary as well. There is SO much to do at the moment and I feel like we are racing against the clock because although our year has been incredibly wet, pretty soon mother nature is going to cast her eyes on us and realise that we have had more than our fair share and suddenly all of this fecundity will dry up and we will be back to our usual dry weather and rock hard soil.
I have a whole lot of images to share with you about the progress we have made since we last met and so I will stop talking and start adding images. My apologies to those of you who read my posts on your phone or tablet (or laptop) as this post is image intensive. Time to head off on our wild, careening adventure…
Since we last chatted we have had a few rainy days. One of them was a little bit damper than usual…
This fridge wicking bed is situated directly under the gutters. We now know that when the rainwater tank fills to the brim, it backs up in the guttering and floods this particular bed. We had to hurriedly transplant the poor little lettuces in this bed into another fridge wicking bed and they are all doing well. Lettuces might look fragile but they are pretty tough little cookies.
Another rainy day
Earl depressed because its raining and thus he won’t get a walk. Depression, thy name is “Earl”.
We had a few rainy days in a row and everything got very soggy. Again, I don’t know what I would have done if Steve hadn’t bought me a pair of wellies at the beginning of autumn this year! I have practically lived in them since then.
You can’t phase a rooster. The driveway might be washing away but it’s just another thing to crow about.
“Like we need MORE moisture around here Earl!”
This was the first time I had set foot inside Sanctuary for quite some time. As you can see, it’s a wee bit overgrown…
These weeds were as high as my head.
It looks like Earl and I have dropped by just in time.
The whole of Sanctuary was a sea of damp green. We recycled the driftwood Christmas tree from a few years ago and its now doing double duty as “Garden Art” and a climbing pole for whatever wants to go vertical.
The little babaco (Vasconcellea × heilbornii) tree overwintered in the glasshouse and despite losing all of its leaves, is getting them back again now.
I might have been lost under all of that vegetation but Earl knew where everything was including his favourite place for scratching.
The wheat straw mulch that we used to cover the garden beds appears to have spawned a crop.
These potatoes, although they look healthy, are no more. They had to be pulled out to dig up the soil that they were growing in. Sanctuary has potatoes all over it now so hopefully some of them take root and grow elsewhere in the garden. You can never have enough shoes, bags or potatoes in my honest opinion.
I was only chatting to a fellow wicking bed gardener on Facebook this morning about how people only tend to show the very best things in their gardens. It’s human nature to want people to admire what you have done but in our case, nature does all of the real work and we just try to steer her in the direction that we want. I would like to point of that this is my strawberry wicking bed. Nature appears to have gone mad in it. This is an honest image from my garden. Feel free to laugh 🙂
As far as I can work out these are perennial tree chillies. I sprinkled some seed into a few pots and there are a couple of pots of these growing strong in the glasshouse. I initially thought that they were cape gooseberries but I didn’t plant any so that puts paid to that. I also have some pink English gooseberry babies growing on but for some reason I couldn’t get a good photo of them.
It eventually stopped raining and we were able to start plotting what we wanted to do in the gardens and how we were going to go about it.
It looks like we are going to get a few figs (if the blackbirds let us) this year.
And some muscat grapes!
And lots and LOTS of berries. We had so many thornless youngberry and loganberry plants that we had to pull a stack of them out and we are about to give them to a fellow horticulturalist who owns a large property nearby and who works at the local community gardens. Some will go home with him and some will be utilised in the gardens. An excellent outcome for something that was free 🙂
In order to fill the fridge wicking beds we need to do some serious hard yards to do so. First we have to push the barrow up the steep hill alongside Sanctuary and around to the rear of the garden where the manure and oak leaves have broken down to excellent soil that is perfect for the beds. Steve pushed the barrow but I did all of the shoveling. It’s only fair.
I wanted you to see how steep this area actually is and remember, we are wearing an extra couple of kilo’s of gumboot each.
Gone! He still has to wheel it down the hill further and off to the right, through the gate, bypassing the gatekeeper beast who tries (in vain) to escape) every single time! And into the area where we have the fridge wicking beds.
Each fridge wicking bed takes between 3 and 7 wheelbarrow loads of soil and we have 14 wicking beds so I will let you do the math. We have to drop the netting down each time we load a barrow as otherwise we would return to a garden full to the brim with chooks.
This is what the oak leaves and horse manure have turned into. It’s full of worms and is entirely delicious stuff. The green at the back of the barrow was some corn salad that I didn’t want to throw onto the big weed pile at the back of Sanctuary and used to help fertilise a fridge wicker and in the front we pulled out some purple congo spuds and replanted them into a fridge wicker.
We headed in to Bunnings and bought a whole lot of fixtures and fittings to create a drip irrigation system inside Sanctuary. You can see some of the potatoes that we pulled out while we were digging out barrow loads of soil. The rest are scattered all over sanctuary.
Well at least we know that the fridge wicking beds inside Sanctuary hold water! They are now upside down and stacked up on top of each other prior to us working out what to do with them now we have turned Sanctuary into a fruit and nut tree Sanctuary.
I don’t actually know the botanical name of this perennial tagetes but it’s leaves smell distinctly of fresh ripe pineapple whenever you brush up against them. I manged to get a cutting to strike and this 5ft tall shrub grew. It had to be moved from the area that we were planting espalier fruit trees etc. into but will now grow next to a row of currants. Flowers are more than welcome inside Sanctuary now as they will attract the pollinators 🙂
I love feverfew. I know a lot of people that pull it out but I really appreciate it and leave it to grow wherever it wants.
After whipper snipping a pathway around Sanctuary and ready to start irrigating.
Earl helping us to set up the irrigation.
Dripper rings around existing fruit trees inside Sanctuary.
Earl surveying all of his hard work.
In the process of clearing Sanctuary up a bit so that we could get irrigating we discovered several lovely aquilegia plants that had grown from seed spread by the birds. This is a pretty pink one.
And this is the classic, tough-as-nails purple granny’s bonnet. This flower would grow happily on mars!
Before we could plant out our pots of edible fruit and nut trees we had to “find” the garden beds under all of that foliage. That meant being a bit ruthless and pulling lots of things out and it looks a whole lot more unattractive than it did but before you can make an omelette you have to break a lot of eggs. This is the egg breaking phase.
You can see the fridge wickers stacked up on the left hand side of this image and the rear potato garden (soon to be ravaged for it’s precious soil) still looks fecund.
There are little pockets of Sanctuaries garden left dotted around the area but most of Sanctuary has had to be completely changed in order to create the espalier beds that we need for our fruit and nut trees.
Earl patrolling the perimeter fence. We have been plundering the soil from this area and Earl had to be locked out of the garden while we did it as otherwise he would be most of the way to the Australian mainland by now. Here you see him checking out what we have done to “his” garden.
Here are some of the potted fruit and nut trees that we want to plant out. Most of them are going to have to be given away (chestnut trees etc.) as we just don’t have room for them on our property but we have someone who is most happy to take them and sharing is what makes everything better 🙂
Earl and I managed to escape from the slave mines of Serendipity Farm for a few hours the other day. We dropped off some plants (currants and oca) to a friend in Beaconsfield and then we headed off for a walk. We like to peek over fences and see how other people garden (well “I” like to peek, Earl drops the “k” 😉 ) and one of the fences that I peeked over revealed this scrumptious garden right in the middle of Beaconsfield. It’s amazing what you can do with a few plants and a bit of a plan.
This is the row of hazelnut trees that I grew from seed planted out in situ. We have since added a double row of dripper hose to irrigate them. As you can see, the soil is still very damp at the moment but give it a week or two and it will dry out like crazy so I have to cover these beds with a good layer of mulch in the next few days to keep the moisture in the soil.
I have NO idea whether these are blackcurrants or jostaberries as i lost the tags on the pots but I am guessing it’s a mix of both with the odd red currant that we already had thrown in for good measure. This row will be grown into a tall hedge and kept as an edible hedge at the rear of Sanctuary. I have plans to add my little pink English gooseberries to this row in the future when they are big enough to join the fray.
Steve and I are working on designing a website for a friends daughter. There are some seriously decent perks to website design 😉
Both Steve and I have finally passed our course. That called for a celebration 🙂
This is Steve’s gorgeous Chinese bonsai beech tree. It’s looking particularly happy after a long wet winter and it has now been rehoused on the front deck in a nice shady space next to the door.
There are some serious benefits to being at home now and one of them is that we can take the time to head out and walk the boys in some lovely places. This was an image that Steve took with his Nikon the other day at Beauty Point when we were meandering along the beach. These birds are skewer birds and this lawn was right next to the beach.
Another one of Steve’s images. This one is of a lovely pink bottlebrush hedge at the Beauty Point caravan park.
Paper Beach is rapidly becoming our favourite dog walk. Here you see Bezial splashing around in the foreground and Earl and I on the beach in the distance.
It’s an absolutely magic day today. Steve took this photo of sparkles on the river on our walk this morning.
Bird reserve area at Swan Point. Bezial was MOST unhappy that he couldn’t race off and have a splash here as he says he is a friend to all birds but rules is rules Bezial.
One of the reasons that this area is called “Swan Point. Australian black swans.
We are SO lucky to live where we do. This beach is just 10 minutes away from our house.
Whenever we walk to Paper Beach Steve drops Earl and I off and we walk all the way while he and Bezial stop off at the Supply river and take a little walk around before driving to the beach. Here’s the supply river bridge.
This is the Supply River bridge again but taken further up the track on the way to Bezial’s favourite spot, an old flour mill ruin.
This is Bezials most favourite pastime. He is hunting for blowfish in the water. Whenever he sees one he tries to pounce on it but by the time he has started his pounce, the blowfish is about 100m away 😉
Steve took this photo from our front gate this morning. It’s just about time to whipper snip the front verge again. That means it’s almost time for the Auld Kirk Church Christmas Carols again!
As you can see the fridge wickers in the back yard are starting to take off nicely. We planted out the other fridge wickers (around the corner from the water tank) yesterday and are now racing against the clock to erect a protective structure before they start growing like crazy and attract the possums.
If you are still here, “Congratulations!” Well done on surviving an enormous image intensive post. I promise that my next post will be a bit shorter but I had SO much to cover in this one. Hopefully in my next post I will be able to show you our new fridge wicker structure as we plan on building it this week. We have to mulch all of the garden beds, finish irrigating the espalier beds and then start some serious whipper snipping of the grass on the property before fire season starts. Catch you soon 🙂