Grey water pipe

The pipe from the washing machine has always been a bit of an issue. When we arrived, it was just lying on the grass below the house. I think Carl was using it to water the lawn. It was cracked and leaky, and we put it up in the bed above the grass where it contributed to growing an enormous wattle and making a soggy wet patch in the corner of the grass.

The wattle was destroying the retaining wall, so it came out in March. The pipe was replaced in April and the part in the garden bed buried.


The part next to the grass was also buried, and the rest left to trail down into the bottom of that part of the garden.


It wasn’t in the way, but it was unsightly. Burying the rest of it was low on the list of priorities, so it had to wait until now.


Ah, that’s better.

Screening the western fence

The grass around the block tends to go to sleep over winter, and doesn’t need to be mowed. By mid-September, however, it’s getting all woolly and, though we quite like it that way, get’s out of hand very quickly. So practically a whole day was spent mowing.


It’s very annoying. It doesn’t even look any good. There’s a particular spot over by the western fence that just grows weeds and is hard to get to. The neighbour’s house is very close, and there’s this awful thin tie-on screen stuff on the fence that’s falling to bits. We’ve had plans forever to put in some screening plants, and the annoyance of going up there with the trimmer spurred the decision to get started on it. Went out and bought Buddleia davidii and Westringia fruticosa.


All the grass is dug up, and mulch put down. Give it a couple of years and the ground here won’t be visible at all, if what goes on further up the hill is any indication.

These plants are not food, but you certainly won’t be able to see through them. This part of the garden will become practically inaccessible in time, as the long term plan calls for the second pond to go in front of them, so something that requires no maintenance in the long term is required.

Here are some larger versions up the hill. The Buddleia at top left of the first photo, and the Westringia at the bottom of the second photo.



Path cleanup

The path going through the meadow up on the hill has been a bit of a sticking point. Originally, we were going to lay down stones. Here’s S in 2013 making a start:

Laying stones back in April ’13

As it turns out, the stones are put to much better use being part of walls. Weeds also grew between the cracks and were impossible to remove without pulling the stones up.

With appropriate stones in short supply, the path languished, unloved after the retic pipe went in.

Digging up the meadow path to put in the retic pipe

The next plan, inspired by French vege gardens, was to put little white pebbles down. There’s a place in Kilsyth that sells 7mm Torquay pebbles, but at $110 a cube, they don’t come cheap.

Building the wall around the cherry tree, we needed more stones so we pulled up the ones in the path. At the same time we discovered that mulch in the hills is free, so we put mulch down in their place, just in the spot between the two sets of stone stairs.

Mulch replacing the stones at centre right

The mulch works really well. It’s soft underfoot. When the rain is heavy it draws the water away from the surface but holds it in place until it’s absorbed by the ground. It doesn’t cost anything. And it adds nutrients to the soil. The benefits were too many to ignore, and the plan for little white pebbles was abandoned.

Here’s where the mulch ended. The rest of the path is just an uneven mess of weeds.


The soil was dug back down to the level of the retic pipe, removing the compacted bit on top. Halfway there:


It’s a pleasure to walk on. It doesn’t suppress the weeds 100%, but the few that do come up are easy to deal with.


Spring in the garden

First tulip of the season


Hoping for proper-sized leaves on the cherry tree this year, now that it’s re-established.


This peach has one branch with pink flowers …


Emerging larch


The leaves on the birch pop out in a single day


Peach blossom and a new bit of wall


Blossom on the new almond


My favourite rhododendron makes creamy flowers with a delicate pink accent … but it’s a tiny twiggy thing that struggles to survive, with generally yellow, diseased leaves. Not sure what to do with it.


The cherry tree has taken well to being moved


Tulips pop up out of the shrubbery making a show in early October. They don’t last long, though, and this year a hot wind came through and burned them all to a crisp.


Gerberas emerge in mid-October


Propagation update

Raspberries have taken well. Not all the hydrangeas are happy though.



Also got two broccoli coming up, and the hollyhocks are starting to emerge.


Down in Rohan’s vege patch, the onions are emerging and the coriander is germinating.




Continuing cherry wall

Work in the “garage patch” and in dismantling the old sand pit has yielded a nice pile of rocks for wall-building. The circular wall around the cherry tree is the one we’re most interested in seeing complete, mostly because you can see it out the kitchen window.

Staked out prior to construction while I worked on the back half of the wall
Nice pile of rocks from the garage patch digging effort

All the big rocks go on the bottom, and make a solid foundation for the rest. The rocks on the top need to be nice and flat, so the correctly-shaped ones get duty doing that. All the rest go in the bulk of the wall, and there’s usually a bunch of little ones just under the cap rocks to make the right profile to make solid contact with the bottom of the cap rock.

All the weeds are removed first, and a bunch of self-seeded poppies. Tried to transplant the poppies but once they’re over a certain size they refuse to move without dying.
View out the window of the spare bedroom. More dirt is brought up from the garage patch to back-fill the wall in the little blue tub.
The curve is defined by a knot in a piece of rope tied around the cherry tree trunk. Some new little box hedge plants should stop anyone from trying to step straight up onto the wall.
Circularity almost achieved, but the weather turned again and soggified the dirt. Very hard to find more pink Armeria to go around the tree trunk!

Seeds and vege patch

Vege patch: renewed! Garlic, onions, parsley, coriander, kale, basil, tomatoes, potatoes and a rogue avocado found in the old parsley patch. Parsley is just recovering after being transplanted from the old patch.


Seed table: restocked! Mostly onions and lettuce. Some pumpkins, and R’s norfolk island pines from seeds collected at Sorrento. The little oaks in the back corner look like they’ve shrugged off last year’s leaf powdery mildew¬†and are ready to re-sprout. If we spot it again we’ll try the 1:10 milk to water thing sprayed on the leaves.


A touch of spring

C’mon spring! Coldest winter in 26 years …


Lovely furry peach blossoms. Didn’t know the colour when we bought them, but we lucked out and got a red one, a pink one and a white one.



Down the road at number 15 they took down a big stringybark and were giving away the wood. They have a couple of lovely purple magnolias in the yard.