Happiness! Today council workers arrived early in the morning and planted TREES in our street! And hardenbergia and dianellas and other good things. And I heard a spinebill’s call. I have not been the only one planting the neighbourhood lately, and it makes me very happy. New people have come by the blog in the last few weeks in larger numbers than usual–a warm welcome to new folk! It might be helpful to know that my area suffered the loss of many trees (about 25 in my own street alone) a couple of years back, so the addition of trees is extra specially welcome. This post is about a project I have been on for a while, guerilla planting my neighbourhood in a variety of small ways. My ‘earth hours’ approach to this project started this year, after some years of quietly planting native plants had grown and grown into quite a persistent approach to the neighbourhoood coupled to a significant propagation programme. I’ve taken to recording what I take out into the neighbourhood (here, in my bike trailer!) and what I bring back.
Here’s how it went last week. One winter morning before work, I set out to start on a new patch on the way to the local railway station. There has been new planting on one side of the path, and on the other side of the path, the council poisoner has killed off the hollyhocks that had managed to self seed. Ruby saltbush, once again, gets the job! Once I got my trowel into the ground, I realised that there wasn’t much soil there. The asphalt went further toward the fence than I thought. All hail the hollyhocks that had convinced me anything could grow here.
The eucalypts which stand opposite this fence have been showering leaves and bark down on this patch for years, and the earth is gradually converting them into soil. I love this wonderful process by which the earth itself creates more earth. Under the mulch there is a lovely layer of compost and soil for a few centimetres, and then bluemetal which must be left from when this path was asphalted. The saltbush I planted in bluemetal in another part of the neighbourhood is still alive, so I pressed on, glad I had brought saltbush in bigger pots this time. They will have a little parcel of soil to help them get started. In some places there was gravel and earth to plant them in.
Bricks have been dumped here over time and I turned them to good use. Maybe they will protect these little plants from passing dogs while they grow. I am hoping that the poisoner’s next trip is far enough away that these will grow up enough not to be treated as weeds when he comes again.
Finally, I watered in 15 new plants, collected all the rubbish I found, applied the hori hori to the big weeds coming up among the plantings that have gone in on the other side of the path and marvelled over this volunteer, with a shiny cap.
On the weekend, I went back and put in another 18 plants.
It doesn’t show, but there is one little saltbush every half metre or so all along here now. One cyclist cheered me on as I planted them.
And here I am returning home, rubbish bucket half full, watering can empty and pots ready for refilling.