Thursday, 6 August 2009

Trees

This acre of land has a lot of trees. This makes planning a garden more difficult, or at least different from gardens that begin as blank "greenfield" spaces.
I have had to pick spaces for garden beds where there is enough sunshine and little enough competition for water and nutients. It has been quite an adventure.
Some of the big trees are kurrajong, which are not native to the area. These are introduced from New South Wales, and the story is that these huge specimens were those brought here many years ago in an attempt to find out whether they would grow in in South Australia. They have been used as a fodder tree, and must have been useful during drought years. Perhaps goats would find them good too. I sometimes think about having a goat, but not yet...

This kurrajong is in front (on the south side) of the house. The ladder is there to facilitate climbing up into the other branches... even Fiona has tried that. These two photographs are from opposite directions...
This kurrajong (beyond the house, below) is even larger. It shades the house in the middle of winter and may well be trimmed before next winter. The wood is not much use for firewood, but the lizards will love it.


The other really large trees have also been planted. They are red gums. There are also a couple of younger, self-sown ones, but mostly they have been planted.
These two trees are beyond the house and the garden. There used to be three here, but a couple of years ago, I decided to cut one down in order to make space for some vegetables. I found a "tree climber" to do the job. That was an adventure... he spent the day up the tree with a chainsaw, dropping huge logs from incredible heights, missing most of the important vegetation in the area. I have since had the same tree climber back to trim trees so that they don't touch the electricity wires coming into the house., on the other side from here.
The tree that was cut was formed into a chair at the bottom... hard to see now because it has grown back and is now shaded by its own canopy. It is a lovely spot to sit.
The picture below shows the branches growing out of the back of the chair...
Red gums are known for not sprouting from the stumps, but this one must not have heard that rumour!
And from behind... the branches are bigger than they look....
While crawling around behind the seat to photograph the bottom of the branches, I found these periwinkle flowers... they die off in the summer, but come back with the rain. (Aren't these the flowers that decorated Mrs Bucket's tea cups?)
From a distance, you can see how tall these branches have grown...not as tall as the old trees in the background, but tall enough.
Tomorrow I plan to cut those branches down again before they need all of the water that I supply. I'll cut them too, before they are too big for me to manage. Treeclimbers are expensive.

Meanwhile I have been planting fruit trees. Last summer several died, and I am replacing them this year.
This is a young apricot tree... about 2 years old. It is healthy and beginning to flower already...


A new tree, a "Granny Smith" apple.
Another new tree, a nectarine. Behind it is a peach tree that is the same age as the apricot tree. There are buds on this tree too, though not out yet.

Once again I have been out to pick the vegetables for dinner... sprouting broccoli (often called broccolini here) and a cabbage, fennel and eggs of course. In fact it is pension day, so we will have garlic prawns with our vegetables tonight! The veges will probably be stirfried or steamed. There are some beetroots ready to pull also, but they can wait. They will only get bigger and "keep" better in the ground anyway. There is enough here for us for tonight.
Whenever you cut or pull something from the garden, it's important to plant something as well. It's a continuous process... not so time consumeing, but constant. Today I planted some radishes. I don't usually grow these, but they are some wierd heritage variety and I'd love to find out what they are like.
The ground is drying out today. It has been warm and windy, and feels more like September weather than mid winter. If the ground stays like this, I can plant my potatoes on the weekend. The ground looks good and the soil is healthy. It will be good to see how the seed potatoes fare.

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