Sunday, 8 November 2015

8th November

Not much done in the garden today.

Last night I went scavenging and came home with two garbage bags full of leaf litter that I spread in the front garden and two tyres that I will use in the retaining wall. I found a place where there is possibly years worth of leaf litter pushed up against a fence. I filled the two bags without moving from the one spot. I wont bore with more photos of just adding mulch, it pretty much looks the same.

The tyres come from another location. The mechanic leaves them outside his workshop and vandals throw them all over the streets near me so I have started collecting them for my garden.

I've also found a building site that has a large pile of bricks destined for rubbish that I will start collecting soon. I want to create some stepping stones through the garden and I may use bricks for these.

There will be roadside collection in my area in a few weeks, looking forward to seeing what I can recycle in my garden.

7th November - Before photos

I wasn't going to do a before post but then I thought it might be interesting to see how much I get done.

I want to cover this area in and make it into a nice patio. Still thinking about how to do that without anchoring anything to the house. When it's sunny, the light reflects off the concrete into the kitchen.

View from my kitchen window

The neighbour already has a red grape vine and climbing roses that I would like to train over and maybe add something else in the spots that are missing tiles. I'm also thinking about a hanging garden here with lettuce, herbs, etc.

Looking back towards my kitchen. Hi Ozzie!

I want to put natives here, I'm thinking larger bushes to the back near the fence and something smaller and colourful at the front. I love yellow flowers so I'll probably put a wattle in here as well as one of the cuttings that I am trying to get started. Once other plants are established, I will probably cut this last bougainvillea down. I'm thinking about growing something like corn here in the meantime and allowing the stalks to mulch this area.

Horrible Bougainvillea.

Not sure what I am going to do there, probably put in the bay leaf tree. There is a retaining wall just visible at the bottom of the picture. The fig tree is hiding behind the rosemary and has some new growth on it. The lemon tree already has some fruit on it.

Rosemary, Fig tree and Lemon tree
This area will have the path to the clothes line and mandarines. I'm thinking of something tall and thin in the back corner to block noises from the neighbours. The dark green patch is part of what needs to be filled in and the vegetable patch will go on top of it.

Mandarin trees and compost bin

The start of the retaining wall is visible here, I will need to get it about knee high to level the area out and make it usable. The back corner behind the satellite dish has green waste as well which I will move forward to the landfill area. I'm thinking of a mulberry tree behind the dish. There is also a mandarine there, too.

Satellite dish, mandarin and landfill area

This area will be mostly left as is. I'm covering the ground with leaf litter as mulch and cutting down the bougainvillea. I've already removed an asparagus fern from near where the bin is although I think it will come up again ans it is so close to the little rose bush there that I may have left some roots in. Once I have removed the bougainvillea, I will trim the bottle brush as needed. The roses will also be pruned and shaped as they are a little wild at the moment. I'm also considering some kind of border around this garden to keep the mulch in. The one currently there was damaged by the previous tenant.

Front garden with roses and a bottlebrush
This poor lawn is so neglected. I have some alyssium seeds that I may get started here but I'm not sure if that is what I want. I'd much rather a nice little ground cover for this area. The neighbour is going to extend her pathway up further and her son reverses over the top part of the lawn. I'll plot out where he drives before I plant anything and put something like gravel in that area.

Front lawn to the rose garden.

7th November

Some work done in the garden today. It was nice, overcast weather so I got out there and moved a few things around.

I found an old carpet waiting for verge collection and dragged it home. I decided it was time to try to move the compost bin since it seems to have become a bit dormant. After lifting it up, I noticed that it was barely composting so I moved it all over to the fill area and covered it with the carpet. As I was raking the last little bit, I noticed that there were some earthworms there so I put the bin back down over it and have started that compost again. Lesson learnt about what not to do in the compost so time to start it again.

Make me a Supermodel!

The cats are enjoying the carpet, my black cat likes to use it as a scratching post and the old tabby likes to curl up on the darker mat, I guess it is warm for her.

I'm ready for my closeup!

I dug up the root to the bougaivillea - man, what a job that was! Took a lot of work and bent my fork but it's finally out. Hopefully all the roots are out and it wont grow again.

I also attacked the rosemary, I want to encourage it to grow up rather than out so I am heavily trimming back at the sides and not so much on the top. I may end up putting something around it to keep it growing upwards.

Can you even see where I took out the branches?

Lots of drying to be done!

6th November

Not too much gardening done today. Set two cuttings in potting mix and three different seeds on wet paper towel to germinate. I don't know what the two cuttings are but they are a nice bushy plant with lovely white brush flowers. The seeds are tomato, corn and lettuce. The tomato seeds are from a tomato that I bought so it will be interesting to see if they germinate.

*** edit *** the lettuce sprouted overnight. Still waiting on the tomato and corn.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

5th November

Trying to rescue this little one. I took three cuttings from my mother's garden, the other two are going okay, this one isn't. I've repotted it into seed raising mix and placed it in a self watering pot with a sunny spot on the window sill.

Fingers crossed!

1st November

I started trimming the bougainvillea in the front yard. I hate bougainvillea! With this one, and the others already chopped down, I am taking care to rescue any long, straight sticks to use in the garden for staking. The rest is being mulched or composted.

I cut off the dead flower heads from the roses. Now is not the time of year to prune them so they will stay as they are until it is a better time. We are coming into summer now and I don't want to stress them too much.

Cutting away a small part of the bougainvillea has already opened that area up and allowed light into the room behind it. I want to steam clean those carpets and move my desk in but wasn't looking forward to studying in a cave. Looking forward to being able to use this room. Hopefully the bottle brush near the window will encourage birds to come in.

This garden needs work but will have to wait for more suitable weather.

I also swept up all the leaves from behind the shed and have dumped them into this garden for mulch. Half of it is covered already, will add some more as I get some.

The bougainvillea in the front garden, as well as an asparagus fern that has already been removed, were growing through the screen on the window and provinding nice little homes for spiders.

All this will be removed, allowing light into the room.

I started the retaining wall and land fill in the back yard. Each tyre is filled with grass clippings and more green waste will be added as it breaks down. I'm lucky that this garden seems to have a lot of earthworms so things break down quickly. The carpet is over the other green waste to help it to break down quicker. There is also cardboard there, I know this attracts snails but that doesn't bother me for the moment, they will leave fertiliser behind as they eat the cardboard.

Green waste landfill started.

My neighbour was nice enough to give me a cutting of mint which I have now planted along with some oregano and thyme cuttings. All have makeshift greenhouses over them to encourage growth. They will be moved later to larger pots, maybe even the hanging garden.

Herbs have been started!

I'm quite happy with the progress so far and nothing has died yet  :D

31st October

Cut a 4m growth from the lemon tree that was from the stock of the plant. It has large prickles and bears no fruit so I chopped it down. The nutrients for the plant are better used for fruit bearing.

Large rosemary bush, the lemon tree and the space where the small bougainvillea was.

Chopped down the smaller bougainvillea next to the lemon tree and will break it down further for mulch.

Lemon tree and bougainvillea after they'd been cut down. The lemon cutting goes all the way to the blue drainpipe.

Trimmed the large Bougainvillea and left the trimmings to die to use later as mulch.

I can now walk through here without being scratched! Mandarin tree visable against the fence.

There's a lot more to be done in the garden, this is just day 1 :)

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


My gardens look terrible! They've been sadly neglected for at least 2 years. My neighbour tells me that they used to be quite nice but that the house owner liked his lawn. As for me, I hate lawns, I see them as a waste of money and water. I can see the value if someone has kids and wants somewhere for them to play but that doesn't apply to me.

I have a few concepts that I want to use in my garden:

1. Waterwise! Most important aspect of a garden in Australia.

2. I'm trying to create a nice, functional garden for as little cost as possible. I don't want to spend a lot of money on a rental property. Recycling will play a large role in what is used in the garden.

3. I want the plants to be functional. Flowers are pretty but I'm not that type of gardener. My plan is to have an area that has native plants to attract local wildlife and another area that is for vegetables. I'm also researching Bush Tukka plants that can be grown and used.

4. I will try to raise most plants from seeds or cuttings to keep costs down.

5. Everything needs to be either easy to remove or able to be left behind. While I'd love to build and attach things to the house, I simply can't do that so some planning will be needed.

6. Companion planning to avoid using chemicals.

7. Composting, mulching and recycling.

 I know almost nothing about gardening  or building so I will be researching and learning through trial-and-error as I go.

Some of the things I have planned are:
- a retaining wall made from tyres, filled in with compost and planted.
- raising the level of the garden behind the wall using green waste and compost.
- covering the area between the fence and side of the house to create a shaded patio and cut down on the glare into the kitchen.
- a hanging garden using recycled drink bottles.
- a vegetable patch broken into smaller sections for crop rotation, behind the retaining wall
- low fencing around the fruit trees to keep the dog away
- pulling up the large bougainvillea, once other flowering trees are established nearby.
- removal of the bougainvillea in the front garden - this one is blocking all the light to the front room, growing through the window screen and crowding out the other plants.
- big plan is to make a greenhouse using recycled materials.
- reticulation system throughout the garden