Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spring report

 It's been very interesting assembling this report. It makes me aware of progress and diversity in the garden. Also at each step realising that I'm not including a whole lot of other things that are doing well. The assembly of this article took time, but it's been worth the effort, thinking through garden questions along the way... I hope you enjoy. I've also changed the top photo today, photo of my front door.

This photo report on spring, photos taken 24 September 2013, can usefully be compared with the state of play when I began this blog, in autumn. Photos I took on 12 April are here.

I began this morning, with Mollison's indispensable Permaculture Designer's Manual, plus new Fujifilm XF1, I had breakfast in sunroom and looked out into the garden. The XF1 is the first camera I have bought new since maybe 2004 (that was the Fuji S6500FD, which I used here and here and which alas I gave to a family member who uses it little. I was giving my right arm..... For this blog I used an old Fuji S3 DSLR... which over two months was very tiring for the right arm! So now back to Fuji after other things... The Fuji preoccupation arises from the quality of colours as also was the case with their emulsion film photos, plus their command of issues of dynamic range, plus (plus plus) now a return from some weird options to the most extraordinary range of X cameras, this XF1 the most modest priced, which I happened upon in a local store sale for $251, offering for $50 more three years replacement warranty which comes also with vouchers for 100 6x4 prints each year and one 20 page bound photobook per year.

Anyway, to celebrate, first shot from that sunroom table using the double exposure feature of XF1, the black cover of the manual darkens the garden photo.

Here is the view into that window, roses about to bloom under the peach.

Out the window also a view of first spring problem, of aphids on young shoots of seedling peach which shades this (southern hemisphere) north facing winter warm window through summer. I have dumped diatomaceous earth on affected parts of the tree and around the trunk to stop ants farming the aphids. It is also a useful additive for plant and soil but my first objective is a suffocating barrier and skin irritant for insects provided by the microscopic shells in the DE. I expect the problem will go away as leaves grow and toughen. At the moment the infestation is on low sprouts, which I could and eventually will remove, to maintain air and light flow through the tree, but if I just took them off now the ants would carry the aphids to higher branches and you don't want to throw diatomites above your head as you don't want to breathe them in.

... and then to go outside. Here are two views of growth in a raised bed in the back yard. This was in its infancy in June, here.

Near that, a couple of square metres of asparagus spears, none showing today.

Alongside that I have just planted a soursop. I bought this at the Gerringong market on Saturday from my wonderful Greek-Australian friend George ("I come from the beautiful island of Lesbos"). I thought at first glance if might be some kind of custard apple, but it was a soursop and behinf my back Helen grabbed for her garden the last custard apple.

Had I not bought this soursop, I would not have discovered this amazing source of horticultural information. Perhaps the tree unsuited to my latitude, but we will do our best together and meanwhile I will read to it from the paper at link (here again) to ease its distress at being far from home. I will keep it well mulched and in winter it can have mirrors to catch the sun and for self-admiration. As a 'compost tea', I gave it at planting a bucket from the bin I keep under the raised bed, to catch drips from the rich soil in the bed. In 1987 the author of paper at link, Julia Morton, wrote:
In 1951, Prof. Clery Salazar, who was encouraging the development of soursop products at the College of Agriculture at Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, told me that they would like to adopt an English name more appealing than the word "soursop", and not as likely as guanabana to be mispronounced. To date, no altematives have been chosen.
Sturtevant noted that it was not included by Atwood among Florida fruits in 1867 but was listed by the American Pomological Society in 1879. A tree fruited at the home of John Fogarty of Manatee before the freeze of 1886.
See notes on materia medica at end of the article.

I turned around to take this photo, callistemon in bloom over rocket (arugola), sage, artichoke, leek and at the left margin some leaves of heavily pruned wattle (nitrogen fixed, soil miner and opener, source of wonderful leguminous mulch when chipped) and banana trunk.

I have nursed a couple of bunches of lady finger bananas through winter under a plastic bag, they are now near ripening. When these are harvested, the trunk will be cut down, the 'follower' trunk is alongside, recently well fed. I have improved access to this corner of the garden, which means that next crop should be earlier in the season and perhaps more numerous.

Three chooks, three eggs a day. Invaluable as consumers of kitchen scraps plus the remnants of lawn I tear up for them; also invaluable as source of manure, partly applied directly around trees, partly added to the compost.

Three eggs a day is a very good supply for two people, some surplus. These fresh home grown eggs taste very different from the shop bought egg.

Wonderful to have fruit growing well on the fig. There were no leaves a couple of weeks ago, lots of rain and then sun and warmth in a short period.

Remember a click on any photo offers all in enlargement

This is another raised bed, formerly huge dog bed, on stand... It was marauded by chooks some time ago. I left it to grow mainly from seed of previous crop, see little lettuces (mainly cos) coming, usefully some more advanced than others. At the front, a dandelion, well placed to scatter seeds further round the garden. As we include chicory, rocket and dandelion in our salads and as our just-now picked lettuces are sharp and flavourful, we have abandoned use of salad dressing — no need!

Here near the front door, a red spined chicory hides behind skirts of three graces.

Oops, before leaving the back yard, pleasing to have this seedling passionfruit growing well.

The Golden Marjoram is turning gold, from its winter green. The empty space beside it has turmeric root planted in it, under that straggling rocket. Parsley and nasturtium everywhere, nasturtium leaves and flowers also excellent in salad, along with the marjoram, the brightest companion for tomato.
My espaliered lemon is in bloom..

as (now in the front garden) are the oranges which border the driveway.

on the way to the front (from east to west) there is a narrow space for clothes drying, enhanced by north facing (heated) brick wall. Several months ago, the wonderful Daley's Nursery sent me a wrong order including a Jackfruit, which should no more succeed here than the Soursop or the turmeric (previous blog entry. Morton says it may grow to 70ft. Preparing for major climate change, perhaps!!

It has JUST survived the winter. You will see it is companion to a rose which has been hit by aphids and has been given the diatom douche. I made a little swale above these two, this very hot dry corner needs lots of water. Freesias run wild here, have just finished flowering.

Here now are two broader views in the front yard.

ABOVE: Azaleas finished,  the Chinese lanterns continuing to flourish (ankle high four years ago), this one of now seven tamarillo trees reaching for the sky. With yellow label, behind the basin, a Jaboticaba, which I do not expect to begin to grow taller for several years.

BELOW: Rhubarb and banana, both have just had a spring feed, which also went to the roots of the passionfruit climbing over the arch.

Among exciting new things, this Indian guava has flowers

Raised beds, tucked in a sun trap corner, largely hidden from the street, now have lace curtains to protect against the sun,  not too much wanted by leafy greens... and also to protect against blacbirds and bowerbirds, which mowed some lettuce, see second photo. In a very warm spot in front of that raised bed, a newly planted eggplant.

The concret blocks below are holding in place an old clothes drying rack rescued from someone's chuckout, great frame for the curtain.

 Even a couple of flowers and first fruit on this tiny Tahitian lime. Very pleased with how healthy and unstressed it's looking now that it's decided this year to grow!

This papaya survived winter. Now, taller, it will get more sun.

Another raised bed, with strawberries, self-sown seedling lettuce, etc.

Amid the understorey, this wonderful Telopea or Waratah, not easy to find in home gardens, but the emblem flower of the state of New South Wales.  Always flowering in September, with very unusual hot-wet weather in autumn, this plant flowered then too.

Sage carpet

Passionfruit flowers

BELOW: in front, a White Sapote, growing very vigorously. Behind it, one of several native frangipani trees (Hymenosporu flavum) which provide (at this latitude( mid sized trees between understorey and big trees ... and with lots of flowers and product for bees and honeyeating birds.

 This photo from eye level gives an idea of how dense the Chinese lantern bushes now are. These are much enjoyed by the Eastern Spinebill and the White Eared Honeyeater. (The photos at those links make them look fatter and larger than in real life.)

Here is another photo of this area of the garden, which I took only days ago, when the azaleas were at their peak, looking out of the front bedroom window.
When I arrived in this house in 2008 you could see in this window from the street – weird conventional design concept for main bedroom. Now I've changed that and this view from inside shows how the front yard has now become enclosed.

BELOW: Ground cover: as well as coastal daisies, which grow to 30cm high, you will see purple flowers of woolly pod vetch which I brought in in a green manure crop several years ago. It is now self-seeding prolifically, excellent. The slightly grumpy ag dept description at link neglects to mention that it is a legume, fixing nitrogen. It sprawls over other low plants in my front garden, does not block light, improves soil, dies back in winter.

This is a photos from a window to the narrow dark space on the south side of the house, which was, when I arrived in 2008, a steel fence to mainly concrete below. Several seedlings of Kennedia rubicunda and in thrre years the space was filled with green AND these spring flowers.

Finally, the ladies at the front door. If, otherwise, I have 
Ceres in the front, wood carving
The Three Graces, near this group
and Isis guarding the back....
then who are these?

well... these lovely people are too charming to be given labels.

1 comment:

Looking forward to your thoughts, write as much as you wish, ask questions. Comments do not appear until moderated. I will try to do that quickly. Thanks for looking and thinking!!