Guerilla gardening: My dream of a eucalyptus lined bike path

Last winter I kept trying to keep this strip of trees alive. My friends and I planted some of them 3 years ago. I replaced some with the baby trees my sister gave me, when some were pulled out by the roots. Part of the job of keeping them alive, is to make sure that the weeds around them are managed well enough. This is an area where head high weeds have been the norm for years. I spent a lot of time sheet mulching with cardboard and then piling on gathered fallen leaves.

This first image is “before” can you see the Eucalyptus Leucoxylon in there??? No, I thought not. This might be a good thing, if you are minded to pull it out once sighted. On the other hand, if someone decides to mow this whole area once a year–I’ll lose all the trees. The stake might help, but frankly, sometimes having a stake is a problem, because it is visible during the night when people who are drink and drug affected clearly walk this way and random things happen. Like stakes and anything tied to them getting pulled out for no obvious reason. Maybe I have cause and effect all wrong, but that is how it seems to me in this patch.

So, I roll up with scavenged cardboard and my bike trailer. Then I spread the cardboard out, overlapping it to protect from wind. I’m a bit fascinated by the changing procession of weeds along here. At this point, scabiosa predominated, but there are invasive grasses, convolvulus and such in there too.

And then, leaf collection. I collected a lot from a car park, where eventually a woman came down from the office beside the car park to ask me what I was doing. Picture me, if you can, in my grubby, very much mended gardening jeans, equally scruffy short and sad old purple hat. This woman is up on the first floor answering a phone all day and looking out of a window. She sees this scruffy person with a bike and bike trailer appear, complete with shovel–disappear and then reappear and few times, and then maybe sees me again a day later or a week later. I explained that I was using the leaves for mulch and I was going out on a limb thinking that no one would mind if the car park was cleared of fallen leaves–and if it was weeded and litter was picked up as well. She was highly entertained by the idea of guerilla gardening and we both went back to our tasks!

Here is another tree with mulching part completed… usually about 4 trailer loads of leaves to get all that cardboard covered. Here it is, again, job done.

This was a major labour. There are about 8 trees still going. And those stakes are made from salvaged wood. My partner cuts them for me if I get all the nails out of timber I find in hard rubbish.

And here is another, mulched.

And with a bit more context. Last winter I planted ground covers and saltbush alongside some of these little trees to begin on giving them a weed suppressing understorey.

And then, one day, I rode along this path and saw in the distance that it finally had been mowed! The moment I had feared during the Royal Show–didn’t happen. The timing seemed so random to me! My heart in my mouth, I sped up and saw… that all the little trees were still there! The understorey plants had all been mowed flat. Some eventually came back. But the trees are all alive! Someone else planted an additional tree that was a species destined to be immense–I was worried about it but left it–that one died before the mower came through, and so did a couple of mine.

You may be detecting a few dye specimens here.

And finally–in the shot below you can see that someone else has been trying to make up for the lack of staking on some of these trees. It began with a mask someone adapted to “tie” a tree to a stake. Someone else brought short lengths of hessian string and added them. Maybe it’s the same person. I don’t know! And some one/s have added stakes ranging from tidy ones they must have hammered in, to sticks shoved in the ground and tied on. The E Polyanthemos has had a second stake added in a way I find very puzzling. Never mind. The punch line is: these trees have some friends, and THEY ARE ALIVE. My dream of a tree lined, ususally where stakes I put there have been pulled out bike path lives on.


Filed under Natural dyeing

2 responses to “Guerilla gardening: My dream of a eucalyptus lined bike path

  1. I do love the ‘random visit’ evidence of public gardens. It is a tradition usually left to cemeteries; where graves will be tended by someone and the next visitor tries to figure out who it was. The tradition of leaving a coin on a headstone to signify a visit could be adapted; maybe a leaking clay pot could be left by the tree and visitors can fill the pot with water to signify a visit to the tree.

    Liked by 1 person

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