Friday, September 2, 2016

spring springing

Bowerbird, bowerbird, blackbird, wren, wren, wren, 
wren, pigeon, spinebill, honeyeater... all good...
hmm, is that a human at 50 metres 
failing to wave and say hello?  grrr.
The spring is sprung, the grass is riz.
I wonder where the boidie is.
They say the boidie’s on the wing.
But that’s absoid. The wing is on the bird. [Anon]
Well, the birds are about in the garden, have been for some time. But the grass is almost eliminated, except a little at the front so the postman can make deliveries without injury and a little under the clothes line. For the rest and after lots of effort, more by Renay the gardener than myself, the grass is almost entirely eliminated.
Here is the morning view from bedroom. There is a strange tradition in Australian housing that [a] you put the so called master bedroom at the front and [b] you have a cleared, grassy front yard... which together [c] leads to the practice of keeping bedroom curtains closed for privacy. We have a different situation:
Rainy morning bedroom window view (towards street) 2 September 2016
Not visible here but through the day bowerbirds, Eastern Spinebill, Blue Wrens, wattlebirds, honeyeaters and pigeons. 
We have had a continuing muddle of warm-cold-mainly dry but in recent days good soft rain. Two days ago, this view from the back of the house in the afternoon.
Last day of winter, 31 August 2016, all eyes on the rainbow.
Last summer was difficult with severe health problems and severe weather. We have a good situation of control at the beginning of the growing season now. 
A young dwarf nashi near left, first leaves, a guava healthy, bananas windblown, herb understorey,
a spread of pepino shrub by the driveway. I have persistent problems with the passionfruit. Trying with another variety.
The big tree is a lilly pilly Syzygium smithii but while the winter fruit of this one is plentiful,
it's not very flavourful. At best, one struggles to describe lilly pilly as flavourful.
A raise bed of strawberries, plants happy but I must work to cover them against
the bowerbirds, more energetic and more ravenous than ravens,
which take the flowers before fruit develops.
Bed freshened by removing all, starting with mulched horse manure, then soil then plants, then mulch.
The bed is actually two halves of a leaky watertank, on a bed frame.
Climbing happily down the end is wonderful Hardenbergia violacea
an Australian native plant growing easily from seed,
a legume thus among plants able to provide available nitrogen to soil and the roots of other plants.
Under the black plastic is a young hugel bed, nicely explained here.
We add water from time to time and will add more manure
and after some hot summer months, we will unveil, mulch and plant.
Aesthetically it makes a change from the flat garden surface.
Terracotta pipe on left and yellow bucket are effective
 in getting water underground to root zones, encouraging root growth down, not hunting surface water.
The big white pipe contains composting material, open to worms at bottom and through holes drilled in the side.
The pot on the top keeps flies etc out and having a hole in the base it allows rainwater in.
Compost: 80% carbon material, 20% nitrogen material (green), manures, volcanic rock dust, etc. Plus air, worms and water. 

Oranges trees covered in blossom, the front of the house
will shortly be awash with perfume
Oranges and limes are in bloom, the Lisbon lemon continues its virtual year round production of fruit. 
The lemon took some encouraging initially to take an espaliered form
along the lattice, but sees these days to happily go that way.
One factor may be that to the right (out of photo) i
s a dark mass of passionfruit vine and staying by the lattice
may mean staying in the light.

and in between and underneath, spring flowers,
freesias whose perfume more potent indoors
Young tamarillos jump up to replace those several years old which have given up — several were fried by fierce heat early in the year. Passionfruit are resting after many months of crops, having delivered us to a point of passionfruit satiation. Interesting how taste can move with season. 
We've trimmed the biggest passionfruit vine, may need to be more radical. Passionfruit vines only last a few years. We await asparagus, may need to fence the chickens away from their ground, which they have well fertilised.

I'm very pleased with this little raised bed. I've just harvested some spinach and some garlic shoots for sushi. I have to share the spinach with some of the birds, but the garlic shoots are what has become of some cloves of garlic that sprouted in the fridge. For success with growing garlic, it's good to keep it in the fridge because it needs a period of cool to shoot. I could leave it growing in the ground and then harvest the heads when tops die back, but in the meantime the shoots have the sharpness of garlic with a freshness absent from the conventional item.

Oh, the raised bed? It was from a garage sale, formerly a huge dog bed for two rottweilers.
Holes drilled for drainage and old curtain to line it and keep soil from falling out.
Sitting on two very large carpenter's trestles.
Also, there's a dug-in-the-ground bathtub, once upon a time for growing lotus but the lotus was not successful.
So now when the garden bed is heavily watered (or heavily rained upon) nutrient liquid falls into the bath
and the sludgy soils accumulated are excellent for potting or garden bed improvement.

The mini-rainforest and little torii (which holds up the unbalanced tree) behind the house are providing a comfortable edge to sitting out for breakfast in spring sunshine at the eastern end of the house.

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