Getting organised in the garden

I’ve been reading lately on the blogs of other gardeners about the preparations getting under way for Spring plantings.  I too am looking to get organised in the garden, in particular in the large garden bed on the western side of the house.  You may remember from a previous post that this bed is severely neglected and riddled with weeds.  It was planted out (as cheaply as possible) by the developers who built our house four or so years ago and has never really taken off.  In the four years we’ve lived here we have transformed the rest of the garden, pulling up several beds to create the raised beds I currently grow vegetables in, paving or spreading rocks over some otherwise wasted areas and building a pergola.  When I think back to what it originally looked like I realise just how much we’ve changed and those are the areas which we use and are well cared for.  Now it is time to tackle the rest, and as I seem to only look after the gardens that produce something useful we intend to transform the large bed in a similar way.

Today, the first warmish sunny day for a long time was the perfect day to get stuck into it.  Even better, after a couple of days of rain, the soil was nice and soft, making it a breeze to pull those weeds out.  In about an hour and a half I was able to erradicate the weeds in half the area and filled the green bin to the brim.  Unfortunately green waste is only collected once a fortnight, so the rest will have to wait.  I will continue to weed throughout the week and pile them up until the green bin gets emptied.

My plan also includes ordering several bare-rooted fruit trees to go in here.  I’ve already planted out my dwarf lemon tree, and have room for a couple of apple trees and three other dwarf fruit trees yet to be decided.  Ideally I want trees that won’t take too long to bare fruit, possibly a mandarin, plum, apricot or other stone fruit.  Does anyone have any recommendations?  I also plan to put in some rhubarb crowns and a trellis for passion fruit, leaving the rest of the space to experiment with season vegetables, how exciting.

I’ve roped my husband in to help with this project, he’s usually not much or a gardener, except to heap loving attention on his precious lawn (mind you I was the one out weeding it this afternoon, go figure).  We do, however, have somewhat different approaches in this kind of project.  Initially he wanted to spray weed killer all over the bed instead of weeding by hand.  Hence I was out there on my own this afternoon – I couldn’t bare to start this project by spreading chemicals all over my garden.  He also has grand ideas about building the passion fruit trellis, where as I want to used recycled materials and not make it too large.  I suggested we try some tomatoes along one side of the lawn, but would need to fence it off to keep our tomato loving dog from eating them, this has now turned into another raised garden bed needing additional soil.  I think I’m going to have to pick my battles and let him go for it with the rest of it, at least he’s interested I guess.

I think I may have won him over on using recycled materials though, so now we will spend some time trawling through salvage places which sounds like my kind of fun.  I’ve been inspired by other creative and clever bloggers who turn trash into treasure in the garden.  I have visions of a potting bench to go along the side of the house near one of our tanks which my handy husband has also agreed to build.

In other news I have discovered that I’m perhaps not quite the gardening green thumb I would like to be.  My precious fuchsia cutting looks like it is going to curl up and die on me.  But in a fortuitous moment my friend, the lemon tree guru and her skilled gardener mother, gave me a beautiful fuchsia for my birthday.  This has been taken as a cutting from her mother’s garden and I’m told it will be bright pink – Miss Two is going to love it.  I think my pergola would look great with fuchsias growing in pots around it so I have high hopes for this plant.  The idea of growing from cuttings really appeals to my sense of nostalgia and history.  It’s quite remarkable that a plant can literally continue of indefinitely and in multiple locations by taking cuttings.


Hopefully there will be exciting developments in our garden to write about by next weekend .  What’s been happening in your garden?

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6 Responses to Getting organised in the garden

  1. Andrea says:

    Wasn’t it a great sunny day to be out in the garden today, sounds like you got lots done and plenty more planned. Fruit trees are a wonderful addition to the garden especially when you can use the fruit in lots of ways , apricots can be eaten fresh or stewed or made into jam, the same with plums the prune plum is a little different but very tasty. The only fruit I find a little wasteful is the necterine,although beautiful to eat they are always ready at once and you can’t make jam or relish with them. The clingstone peach is also a great one to cook and preserve with, as is the Granny Smith apple. One of my favorite no fuss veggie is Asparagus, takes about 3 years before you can pick/eat but it is very hardy and lasts about 15-20 years!! It likes a serve of well rotted compost/manure once a year and tolerates some shade. Happy Gardening!!!

  2. Andrea says:

    Forgot to add, when you take cuttings place the pot of cuttings inside a plastic bag for a couple of weeks, the warmth of the mini hot house helps the cuttings to take.

  3. It was a really glorious day in the garden today Andrea, Spring is on the way for sure. Thanks for the info on fruit trees. I was thinking of Granny Smith apple for cooking and one for eating. I had also thought plum and apricot would be versatile in that you can cook and eat and preserve etc. Miss Two absolutely adores apricots as well. Perhaps a peach would be better than the mandarin too.

    Oh and thanks specially for the tip on putting the cuttings into a plastic bag, I raced straight out and did just that, hopefully it will save the one I put in a couple of weeks ago. If not I’ll go get another one and try again. I love the blogging world for getting great tips like that.

  4. L says:

    Wow – you have been busy! Good job on getting hubby to help – I struggle to convince P to assist with my crazy schemes 🙂

    With fruit trees I can recommend a few, but some of my current favourites are better in a container. How tall do you want a tree to grow in this position?

  5. L so far my success at getting my husband to help is purely theoretical, he says he’ll help next weekend – let’s just wait and see what actually happens! Oh and I do love a crazy scheme or three, hubby just rolls his eyes at me usually.

    The apple trees will be full sized as they’re on the south side of the fence so need to height to get maximum sun, the rest we want dwarf so they don’t shade too much of the rest of the garden more than anything. And as we want to put in three of them there’s not enough from for full sized trees. It’s more the spread of the tree that I want to limit than the height. Actually if they grew to a little over the height of the fence it would help block out the neighbours ugly extension which looks straight into out backyard – not happy about that! That is also the reasoning behind the trellis with the passion fruit, to give us some privacy.

  6. Andrea says:

    Another thought you could espalier a pear tree or two, think Pear and Almond Tart !!

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