Thursday, February 15, 2018

and in February (2018)

I realise it's been half a year since last entry in this blog.

The climate has been rough, as also for many others in other places.

The sharp changes in weather, plus strong spring winds, meant a lack of bees and pollenation in Dennis's garden, notably for the tamarillos for which we had great expectations, but negligible fruit set. We enjoyed bananas: in this cooler climate the lady fingers ripen very slowly and though skin showing experience of winter and wind, the fruit itself rich as custard. Would that they did not all ripen at once. Now we have new banana bunches and growing guava fruit. A tropical tendency.

In Dennis's garden the soil historically shallow and on top of very deep fast draining sandstone, so moisture retention is difficult and compost and mulch tasks constant. With an eye to whether to let the more sensitive go, and accept shift to a more desert-like environment, grabbing niche moments and using microclimate corners for growing leafy greens. Visually it's currently full of gone-to-seed fennel (we've abandoned use of onions in cooking, fennel a wonderful replacement) and herbs that think they are in the heaven of a hot Greek plain, but without the goats.

In Helen's garden, a different situation: milder and more humid, 30km away, by the sea. Volcanic soil, good water retention, very pleased with custard apples and more. Now near forty fruit trees... and some small bleeding heart trees, seedlings which began in my raised strawberry bed, above which bower or black birds sat strawberry-oggline, before dropping a fertilised seed. Now doing well in understorey environment which they need most.

We are planning micro-bee habitats for Dennis's garden for pollenation; micro-bat housing for Helen's garden, where there is a bit of a mosquito problem.

Photos from Helen's garden 15 February 2018: (click on any photo to enlarge all)

outside the kitchen

up steps from previous photo

up close in that backyard view, a pomegranate at last

in front of the house
view from street, morning sunlight

Lemon tree view through hole in hedge (which you probably can't see in last pic)

Fennel with spider web


AS mentioned above we are making habitat for micro-bees and micro-bats.

And here is a man in the UK wonderfully obsessed with micro-bee habitat construction and so much more... so many ideas! If in a rush, skip the first eight minutes of this...

and another of his is here


A complete insect hotel from Colorado


Here's a thoughtful, concept focused, presentation about micro-bats

Team work here is fun but design may not be ideal
— could be taller, can't see if internal surfaces are rough enough (decking is good),
and colour depends on climate: bats need to be above human blood temperature for comfort)

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