November 6, 2018 · 4:28 pm
This culvert has been one of my patches for a few years now (in this post in 2016 I am not sure I am planting for the first time…), and it is really looking good now. In fact, today as I weeded, a gentleman in a suit came past and his only comment was “oh, I wondered who had been doing that!”
Ultimately, my goal is to have native plants out compete weeds, so that no one feels the need for poisoning, and native insects and birds and lizards can have a little more of what they need. In the meantime however, the struggle is on to make sure that effort to poison weeds do not kill my little plants before they can become established. So here is my weeding toolkit and our biggest bucket.
I filled it to overflowing and at this time of year, a weed the hivemind on this blog identified as a cudweed predominates. It is probably Gnaphalium affine (Jersey Cudweed) (so far from home!) But look! The saltbushes (three species here) are really established now.
There is flax leaf fleabane and prickly lettuce and fourleaf allseed , and even a few fumitory plants have survived past the first heatwave and my best efforts. On the other hand, look at the native plants now.
Even the Ngarrindjeri weaving rushes are looking good at the moment.
And, here it is afterwards–perhaps you can’t tell iin so small an image. But hopefully the seed burden is reduced. Already, the boobialla and saltbushes are crowding out weeds which really can only take root seriously at the edges. I hope the poisoners will leave things be.
And seedlings for autumn planting are springing up under the regular watering provided by my beloved. Life rises up in its own defence, and so must we rise up for the future of life on earth. Today, with a little local weeding.
October 18, 2018 · 12:30 pm
The last of autumn’s cuttings went into one of my favourite patches. I now have only correa alba cuttings left and I am not convinced they have established good enough roots to set them out into the wild yet.
This patch was my first, and it looks great. But, there is an invasive grass coming up there that is seeding. So I pulled as much as I could and tried to rogue the rest (yanking off the flowering heads to reduce the seeds that will be produced). One of the large saltbushes had died so I took that out too, and started to wonder how to remove my pile of green material! I planted rock roses here–cistus–and now I ave looked them up I find they are not actually native (well, they are native to the Mediterranean!) There were cistus growing here when I first moved into the area but they died long ago.
My friends close by couldn’t help me out with my pile of weeds this time. Along came a couple of women, one farewelling the other to a nearby train. I asked if the fareweller if she lived nearby and if so, whether she would mind if I filled her green waste bin. I must have been having a bold morning.
She told me where she lived–not that close! And then offered to come and pick it up in her car if I’d pull it into a pile. I checked whether she really wanted to do that and she said she appreciated what I was doing and we are both part of one community. I love meeting people who feel this way, while I’m out and about doing guerilla gardening. It helps my hopefulness a good deal. Twenty minutes later I had broken all the saltbush into small sticks and finished panting, and she arrived in her car and we filled up the back with weeds and dead bush.
Here is some of the bigger picture–everything apart from the tree planted by my friends and I. And of course, this isn’t really the end of the spring planting, because I’m putting seeds into pots as soon as I can free them up. A friend gifted me two containers of seed she saved over and above whet she could use to add to my own collection. So I made some tags from a yoghurt tub… and wrote on them with a pencil, and put some more seed in ready for autumn planting-out…
October 12, 2018 · 12:11 pm
Last week I went out and planted in a space where the council has planted and even put in a watering system, but some plants have died and not been replaced. I filled in some gaps…
Earlier in the week I went out and planted these little treasures in a spot where the conditions are harder both because there are still a few big eucalypts–hooray! and because the train authority is responsible for this patch and clearly doesn’t invest as much as the Council in setting up plants for success. Many of the original plantings could not manage and died so I’ve been planting into the gaps.
While I was working here in a light drizzle, a man came out with his dog and had a chat–there seems to be an artists’ co-operative in an old industrial building here. He’d been putting on a play at a Burning Man festival (in Australia though–news to me) and spoke enthusiastically about the festival’s gift economy, building community and such. He clearly approved of my efforts and offered the plants in the raised bed that is the entire front garden of their place as a resource. There is a plant in there that I’d like to try dyeing with so at last I got to ask about it….
These new plantings are tiny. But last year’s are coming along…
And those that have had even more years are growing well, protecting the bigger plants from being parked on and working with the mulch to keep weeds (and poison) down.
A bit of weeding and rubbish picking, and home again…
August 3, 2018 · 8:33 pm
Autumn is the season for cuttings. So as the weather cooled I started out with ‘old man’ saltbush. Here it is getting dipped in honey prior to planting.
I’ve planted a lot of creeping boobialla of two different kinds and it is thriving around the neighbourhood.
So now I can take cuttings from these plants to make more!
I’ve been trying out correas and rock roses and had success with last year’s trials.
I have also dug out root divisions from the dianellas around our way to grow more, and cuttings from pigface too. So I now have a couple of hundred pots which are looking promising so far… and now I need to get myself into condition to be able to plant them when spring arrives.
July 31, 2018 · 2:34 pm
Once winter seemed to have set in, I put my last plantings in the ground around the neighbourhood. Everything that was sprouted from seed in spring and summer has now been planted out.
There have been some losses as the Council or its contractors have been cutting down trees which have died sue to a soil borne fungus. Undergrowth often gets taken out in the complexity of removing entire tress. But they have also been planting more trees that are a decent size when they go in. And then (I am guessing) one of my neighbours dug out my most successful weaving sedge, undoubtedly with different ideas about how to manage water flow through the neighbourhood after the flood. Even more recently, someone decided to take out two huge thriving wattles that I liked very much, presumably as a way of dealing with the gentleman who had been storing things behind them, sorting through them and then leaving behind what he didn’t want or need. I’d picked up the discarded items a few times, but evidently not enough for someone… or there was other trouble going on from someone’s point of view!
Some things are really thriving and this year I have direct seeded saltbush into some parts of the neighbourhood where ground cover is low, while in others, saltbush is being itself and spreading itself around freely. Thank goodness.
Some of last year’s sheoaks have survived a more widespread than usual weed spraying programme and their understorey of saltbush and other tough native plants is growing too.
In this very challenging spot I planted some random plants given to me by various people and this hibiscus has been flowering for months. Understorey boobialla, some eucalypts and a feijoa tree are still growing too. Life just keeps growing up.
November 14, 2017 · 8:38 pm
This evening, we are coming down from several days of hot weather, and rain is predicted. It hasn’t happened yet, so I’m hoping for rain. Because, this seems like a good time to plant! I’ve got creeping boobialla, my first snakebush successes, my first hedge saltbush cutting successes, some bladder saltbush.
I also have some of my first successes at propagating correas, and some scrambling saltbush.
My parents have decided this wheelbarrow is surplus to their requirements. For now, it’s living with us. It’s lightweight and I managed to get all my plants and some water into it, ready to go.
The first plants went in here. I’ve planted a lot of the low growing plants on the left here, but there are still some barren patches. Some are barren because so much heavy machinery was parked here for the two years of infrastructure development. I think that is why we’ve lost some of the big trees here. Too much root damage, and the soil is as hard as rock. Still, it’s improving, and there are now seedling trees coming up in among the groundcovers and shrubs.
As I planted the bladder saltbush near the spot where some were pulled out, I was approached by the woman who lives on the other side of the street. We’ve spoken before but clearly my persistence has impressed her. She had seen me weeding, planting and watering and came out to give me a hug. She thought she might have pulled out some of the plantings thinking they were weeds. So I invited her to water them instead, and kept planting and weeding.
This is the plant I call “scrambling saltbush”. One day I’ll identify it properly. But it is growing well around the neighbourhood where council have planted it, so I’ve been collecting seed and adding it into my plantings.
Home again after collecting the rubbish that has been bugging me on my morning walk to the train station and doing some more weeding. Now, we hope for rain!!
October 25, 2017 · 10:01 pm
One day this week, I went out to do some guerilla gardening before work. I still have creeping boobialla (I promise, that is what it’s called!) propagated from cuttings in autumn that need to be planted out before it gets any hotter. As I walked down the street with a bucket in one hand, steering my bike trailer with the other, I was thinking about a couple of salt bush I lost in the last week. The grey-leaf bladder salt bush that had violas growing beside them. One day I walked to the train and there were two holes where they had been. I hope they went to a new location where they are thriving, but the holes were small. That same week, a whole row of sheoaks that had been doing well were poisoned, and I felt if I’d weeded them out that might not have happened. So I was feeling a bit sad about all of that, and remembering that persistence is what makes this whole business work. And that if I’m caring for Kaurna land in the period between colonisation and the return of sovereignty, that responsibility and privilege is no less because sometimes it doesn’t go the way I hoped.
So I planted my ground covers. And pulled out some weeds, and collected some rubbish. And I started to cheer up. I noticed how even though I’ve lost plants on this patch, some are thriving. This rhagodia is the biggest, but there are pigface spreading and saltbush growing up.
Then I realised that the ruby saltbush has begun self sowing. This blurred photograph is just so exciting! There were quite a few seedlings coming up here, where I planted ruby saltbush that were torn out or poisoned–and they had enough time to leave seed behind to sprout.
So I went home again quite cheered up.
And then a little later, my partner was out on the street and I went out to see what was happening: she was chatting with a council worker who was out weeding and watering in our street, in one of the places I recently put in more plants. Clearly the woman from the council had noticed all this, and she started asking if I was also the one spreading the quandong seed and such… and she turned out to be a wild food specialist outside her day job. Too good. Happiness is remembering the project is shared with many people, and noticing when the earth begins to heal itself.
November 28, 2016 · 3:17 pm
As the weather begins to really start to warm, I am increasingly keen to get plants into the ground if I can. I still have weaving rushes (sedges) that need happy homes. There tubestock pots have become less and less happy.
Careful observation makes me think the place where they might have enough soil moisture to make it through the summer is in the culvert I have begun planting out. I added them to edge of the channel, where there is some clay that is still quite wet. Those further up the bank were planted a few weeks ago and have grown quite visibly. I spent some time trying to increase the water holding shaping of the bank, as you can see water just runs down it despite my efforts.
Here is the other side of the bank, complete with mystery plants.
I also planted this scrambling saltbush. One of them had a stray sheoak seedling in with it. Fingers crossed!
A few boobialla up on the top of the banks.
And here is the bigger picture. You can barely see my plantings, just the mystery plants, about 30-40 cm high.
Gnaphalium affine (jersey cudweed)? Helichrysum luteoalbum? Pseudognaphalium luteoalbum? One source suggests the last two are are the same plant… and that the common name is Jersey cudweed. Thanks for your suggestions! I will keep looking and accepting clues. Meanwhile, the mystery continues…
November 23, 2016 · 3:56 pm
Yesterday I was out and about before work in the cool morning after some rain during the night. In one spot, I added some tiny saltbush to continue closing the gap between established plants and a pathway.
On the other side of the path, the same process. I gave these some little sticks in honour of the neighbour who lives nearest. He approves of the planting and thinks sticks help. I am never entirely sure–sometimes they just attract unwanted attention.
A tree was felled here just recently and the predecessors of these boobiallas were taken out in the hubbub. I have been unsure how long to wait to discover whether the trunk of this massive ironbark will be collected. While the canopy of the tree was taken away after it was felled (over two days)… the trunk is lying there and has been for some time now. The longer I leave it, the smaller the chance of preventing parking on this area will become for the year ahead. meanwhile the truck is stopping bike and foot traffic through this patch, which creates an opportunity for plants to grow undisturbed.
The tree had died, and since heavy machinery was parked on its root zone right up to the trunk for two years, I have to say parking might be part of what killed this tree and the one that used to stand beside it. Perhaps I am wrong–but this made me more inclined to plant and try to fend off more soil compaction here.
A few more ground covers facing the road where some were lost in the flood. In case you might think there is no progress, look at the size of these ruby saltbush planted in the last year, on the same site.
Then, some weeding. The last thing I want is for the poisoner to take out these little plants unawares while poisoning the weeds. Then I went round to the new site by the culvert and weeded there. The unidentified plant is doing well and flowering. It is not curry plant. That really is what my parents have in their front garden, and there are similarities. But the smell is really distinctive, and missing here. All clues accepted, dear readers!
On one small saltbush, I found these little critters. I hope they won’t take too much… I was rather charmed to find signs of life in this unpromising spot, personally.
And then home again with weeds galore.
November 1, 2016 · 3:02 pm
You might remember this street planting. The dianellas have grown a lot, but the grand plan of the person who envisioned this sweep of strappy leaves was disrupted when plant thieves, and/or people who had exciting alternative plans for dianellas, took 9 or 12 of them over several nights soon after they were planted. In the end I planted ruby saltbush to fill the gaps and keep the weeds down. But I felt for the person who pictured in their mind a thriving mass planting. In autumn I took divisions off the side of some of these thriving clumps, and almost all of them grew.
Out came the saltbush, looking less than great at the end of winter. The dianella babies were enough to fill almost every gap (I seem to remember counting!)
Fingers crossed for them to grow and thrive…
If they don’t, the seedling saltbush on the edge of the patch stand ready to spring into the space! Every time I looked at these seedlings as I passed them, this fabulous song celebrating the permaculture principle about making use of edges came to mind. See if you like it too. Not sure what I am talking about? Details on the permaculture principle here.
As you were after that digression… Some boobiallas into the ground nearby for good measure…
Just in time for the rain!