Thursday, November 12, 2009

No Dig Plots

This is my no dig plot. Its quite small, however, it will do me for what I want. Its situated in front of our decking. At 2 metres in length by half a metre in width. The No-dig plot consists of straw, grass clippings, blood and bone, news paper and mulch. It does take time to construct, but its wonderful once its up and running. I'll leave it for a week and it should be ready to plant soon. I want to put herbs in this plot. I am going to make another one further away for vegetables. I have my herbs in pots at the moment.
I have to thank my dear friend Matt for introducing me to the world of No-dig gardens about ten years ago. I helped him construct one in his old place in Ocean Grove. It was a grand old garden. You may have noticed this (above photo). The land and therefore the bed are on a downward slope. The bricks (two that are visible) are the type with three holes in the middle. I did not want them to clog with soil so I meshed the length (tightly) and filled it with light soil (with med-large aggregates, so water can easily move through). I will then keep this moist (as possible in the Australian sun) which will hopefully drain downwards into the plot.

I guess that's the exciting thing about being a gardener. Everyone has a different way of doing things. And its very much trial and error. This may not work. I may have to construct a shade cloth over the well (which I was thinking about while writing this) but I will learn from it and move on. Wouldn't it be dreadful to think you could ever learn anything new again? That's an arrogant thought isn't it?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Spring

Spring is the best time of the year! As a Gardener, that is. Its when everything grows. When grass needs mowing more than once a month and people begin to think about their gardens and plan what they want to do. I went away for a good proportion of Spring this year. Not the best time, but what can you do? Spring is also a good time for Weddings. :-)

As I've said countless times before, I used to work in a Native Nursery. This time of year, the nursery came alive, not only with the plants (no, not a triffids type of thing) but with frogs, reptiles, birds, fauna and insects. They have species who were good for the nursery and the pests too. The European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) springs to mind first. Those horrendous creatures with the adorable face. I remember seeing, on many occasions - my bosses at the time running after small, half dead with the dreaded Caliciviris bunnies trying to kill or maim them and nine times out of ten looked more like Elmer Fudd than actually getting any where. Was amusing to watch though. The rabbits liked to eat the new growth on the plants. Or the juvenile plants. Another pest were mice. A new seed house was erected as the old one would house as many mice as the actual seeds. Another pest were rats. Thankfully, I only ever saw one. And that one was dead. It had drowned in one of the countless downpours we had had. Foxes were another pest. They were too quick and cunning to be caught. However, the boss did shoot a few every now and again. There were also pest birds and caterpillars, aphids and other such creatures which would eat the plants.

Onto the good species? The spider, which would frighten the boss but would be kept alive to rid the nursery of its insect pests. They have Wolf (Lycosidae) spiders, huntsman's (Selenops austraiensis), redbacks (Latrodectus hasselti) and whitetails(Lampona cylindrata). To name, but a few. The huntsmans and wolf were fine. They would skitter over one's hand whilst weeding or potting on. It was when the whitetails or redbacks would come close, which would freak me out.

Frogs were the other thing we used to see a lot of. That would be the thing I missed the most about working there. The Frogs....around the dam was the Eastern Banjo Frog, or Pobbledonk, which it was also known as (Limnodynastes dumerili) and the Green Tree Frog, shown in the photograph on the left hand side (Litoria caerulea). Fabulous creatures frogs are. If you have loads of micro-organisms and healthy water-ways, you should have them. The other great thing about the nursery I used to work at, is they used minimal chemicals, which was also a reason why there were so many frogs. And lots of birds including black cockatoos; regent honey eaters and willy wagtails. I miss that sound also. They have skinks and blue-tongue lizards also. I sound all nostalgic, don't I? Like I want to go back. As a worker? Not on your life. It did have its moments though. However, I've gotten used to work for myself. Doing contract work with other people twice a week is enough. :-)

Enjoy Spring People! I'm back to work now, so I'll be enjoying it!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Vanuatu & Lifou, New Caledonia - Plants

videoThis video was taken from my balcony on the P&O Cruise my hubby and I went on at the end of October 2009.

I've just come back from my honeymoon and it was excellent! We went on a cruise (with P&O) to the South Pacific. I was quite amazed with the vegetation. In parts, I saw Callistemons, Acacias, She-oaks and a lone Dianella longifolia in the midst of Cocos nucifera (Coconuts), which looked odd. It was also behind a dis-used toilet block which I thought might have something to do with it. There were many plants I know for a fact, as a gardener, we use in our gardens. We pay exhorbandant amount of money to have them in our gardens and they are running havoc over there. Most amusing. Tradescantia pallida is a prime example. People love it over here because its purple. I remember the first time I had anything to do with it and I whooped out loud. A purple plant, how fabulous! Blechnum nodum or annoyingly known as Fish Bone was another such plant that was everywhere in New Caledonia. I hate that thing with a passion. You can't get rid of it. I have a client by the beach and she had it everywhere - as a border - and I've dug it all out. Or so I thought and guess what? Its still coming up.


The following are some of the plants I saw whilst in Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

1. Plumeria rubra 2. Hibiscus 3. Tradescantia spathacea 4.Cocos nucifera
5. Araucaria heterophylla








.