Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Heat Effects and Death to the Lawn!

Apart from a short post about kamikaze insects I’ve neglected this blog for a while. With a couple of weeks of extreme heat, gardening hasn’t been very appealing and a as result the garden itself has taken on a neglected look.

It’s been hard to keep things in order when the temperature made it too uncomfortable to spend time outside. And there was just no way I could keep dehydration of the plants at bay with the hose. Now, most of the roses have crashed and my potatoes are very bedraggled after a very promising and healthy looking start.

With the lack of recent gardening inspiration I have been spending time starting up my new “literary” blog: Out of Shadows and I’ve tried to catch up on some of the books I’d been neglecting. But my garden was not completely abandoned.

On some of the cooler evenings I did venture out to reclaim some of the lawn area by creating two new garden beds. The first of these was next to the new water tank (which is now half empty again). We had three cubic metres of garden soil delivered and only half was needed for the tank area, so I used the rest to extend an existing garden.

To create the first bed I put layers of newspaper over the grass, piled a good thickness of the soil on top and added a covering of sugar cane mulch. Towards the back of this garden I planted a fuchsia that is supposed to grow up to two metres tall. If that height estimation is correct it will make quite an unusual looking plant because its flowers are tiny. Unfortunately I’m not very confident of its future, it seems to be struggling. Planting during an extended period of extreme heat perhaps didn’t give it the best start – although it is in one of the more shaded areas of the garden.

The second garden bed will be left for a while. I approached this one differently. Firstly I marked its borders by digging up the grass around the edges. I then placed the clumps onto the garden area grass side down and covered them with thick biscuits from a bale of “lucerne” straw. [I put the lucerne in quotes because there seemed to be more oats than lucerne in the bale – with an occasional hint of “Riverina bluebell”!]. I covered all of this with a good thickness of newspaper and topped it all off with the rest of the delivery of soil. I won’t plant anything here until the various layers have settled down significantly giving the area a bit more stability. I also used the last bit of my sugar cane mulch to cover half of the bare soil.

Looking at the back yard now I can see it taking the shape I’ve been looking for. After more than three years of planning and replanning, I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere. There were two clear turning points that started to move things out of my head and onto the ground. Firstly was the relocation of the old Hill’s hoist clothesline which had been right in the middle of the garden, limiting access and mobility. We replaced that with a removable clothesline to the side of the house which opened up many more possibilities. It also improved the view from the windows in our family/dining room.
The second turning point was the installation of the water tank. Now that the tank is in place we can attend to the area that was needed for access for the tank delivery.

Eventually I will reclaim all of the lawn at the back. Most will be converted to garden beds, with a small open paved/gravelled area in the middle. We’ll need to shade that area in some way, but the means of doing that will be considered later.

I’ve written quite a lot here without including any photos to illustrate the things I’ve been writing about. I haven’t taken any photos recently because the decline of the garden (after such a promising start in early spring) has been a bit discouraging. But now the weather seems to have cooled off a little, and after a decent rainfall yesterday, I might take the camera out again in the next couple of days to take a few more photos to post at a later date.

No comments: