am often asked what my own garden is like. Every body expects garden writers to have a
spectacular garden. I know lots of gardening authors and television
gardeners, but I cannot think of one that would be prepared to put their
garden 'on show' (well, at least not without quite a bit of work!). Like
most things, knowing what to do in the garden, does not necessarily mean you
actually have time to get around to completing each and every task.
I enjoy pottering around in my garden. My
plants need to be watered, pruned and mulched just the same as the plants in
your garden. I know when pest and disease problems are about in your garden,
because I see them in my own.
It does not matter whether you are the neat
and tidy type who likes perfectly trimmed edges and manicured lawns or have
a more relaxed style where plants are allowed to do their own thing. You may
be restricted to a small courtyard, a tiny balcony or just a few pots. When
it comes to gardening, the most important thing is to get out there and
If you are a slave to your garden and resent
the amount of time you have to spend working in it, your garden is
either too big or not designed to suit your lifestyle.
Water-Wise by Necessity
My greatest battle in the garden is lack
of water. The garden relies on rainwater and an extremely limited supply
of tank and dam water. I have gardened like this for almost twenty
years. During dry times the garden can look terrible!
Fortunately, I have come to accept the fact the a good downpour followed
by a couple of weeks of growth will see everything begin to flourish again.
have become accustomed to the fact that in dry times my annual plants
and some understorey species die out. Seeds, cuttings or an inexpensive
trip to the nursery can quickly re-establish these species when
rain comes. Well established fruit trees have amazing recuperative
ability and native plants like grevilleas and banksias survive without
any additional watering.
I love a productive garden and have planted
plenty of trees and vines to supply garden fresh, organic fruit. I love
juicing freshly picked oranges each morning and by planting plenty of trees,
fresh pawpaw are available all year round. There is plenty of fruit to go
round, even a surplus supply for our resident family of possums.
I grow leafy greens and herbs in raised
garden beds. It does not really take much effort or room to supply enough
lettuce and stir fry vegetables for my husband and myself. In fact, plenty
of excess produce from the garden goes to feed our chickens and ducks.
In return they supply us with plenty of eggs, manure for the garden as well
as weed and pest control. The ducks also do a good job at lawn mowing during
the cooler months of the year.
Fruit Trees in
including lemons (Meyer, Lisbon, Lots A Lemons), oranges (Joppa, Valencia, Navel),
tangelo (Minneola), mandarin (Imperial, Honey Murcott), limes (Tahitian, West
Indian), grapefruit (Ruby), calamondin and Kaffir lime are some
of my favourites.
pudding fruit, star fruit, pawpaws (about 15), bananas,
mangoes (Bowen, R2E2, Nam Doc Mai), avocado (Hass, Rincon), mulberry
(black, white and Shahtoot), passionfruit (Panama Red), longan and
lychee are some of the other species grown.
Edible native species include lemon and aniseed myrtle and native finger
Legumes are used as groundcovers, as shade trees, for animal feed (we have
four sheep) and for their
aesthetic appeal. They include icecream bean, pigeon pea,
tree lucerne and pinto's peanut.
Vegetables and Herbs in My
Non-hearting lettuce, rocket, parsley, basil,
spinach (English, Egyptian and/or Malabar depending on the season) and other
repeat harvest vegetables are grown throughout the year, along with seasonal
vegetables. Fresh thyme, rosemary and golden oregano are in
Self seeding cherry tomatoes grow throughout the garden, supplying a good
harvest providing I beat the ducks to them. Water spinach or Kang Kong is
grown in small raised tubs, along with water chestnuts. Ginger, turmeric and
galangal (greater and lesser types) are always available fresh from the garden. I
love Thai food and grow annual and perennial coriander to ensure I have a
year round supply.