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.
…there has been some bad news. First the evidence that the poisoner had come through mounted. Then, concrete pipes were delivered to the neighbourhood (which is a good thing–they are intended to improve drainage and prevent flooding) and placed on top of quite a few plants. Then the workers who installed the pipes drove their car up onto more plants, killing quite a few. Then they took out an entire bank of saltbush that were a really good size when they installed the pipes. And as I assessed the damage I realised that someone had come through and pulled out all of the wallaby grass. I am sure it was done in error. They didn’t realise it was wallaby grass and no doubt wondered why the poisoner had left it untouched. So anyway. I planted these this morning.
The neighbour whose place is next to the new pipe and I had a chat about how unnecessary all the damage was, but agreed we could fix it in time. Otherwise it has been a week of weeding the neighbourhood (I have no idea how the poisoner’s route is determined–but mercifully, it isn’t complete coverage). As I was headed over to tend to my friends’ chickens, I spent an hour nearby grubbing out this awful invasive grass. I had spent all spring pulling it every time I passed, but it’s called ‘invasive’ for a reason.
On the way home, I collected rubbish. May as well.
I planted this rather lovely specimen only last summer, and now it is looking very much at home. And, now there is less rubbish and less invasive grass in the neighbourhood. I can feel good about that.
This is one of my newer planting sites. I’ve weeded it over a couple of times, collected rubbish and planted some things here to see what could make it. Then this grille appeared and there was a flood. So there were just a couple of plants left.
I started out by weeding and collecting more broken glass. I’d just been to a workshop on weeds and their uses, and so I took it to be interesting that this place has pink flowering fumitory rather than the more common (but not so medicinal, evidently) white flowering fumitory. Noted. I continue to find it funny that when I was still in school in the early eighties I would read Mrs Grieve’s (English) Herbal and wish all these amazing plants might be growing anywhere I would ever meet the. Well, dear reader, many of them do, but it took me a long time to realise that they were weeds!
In the clean up I found more intriguing rusty stuff (on the left–I realise my trowel has seen a lot of use!)
So out came weeds and in went plants.
Even more saltbush and sea fig on the upper parts pf the site…
And into the banks where so much water had so recently passed, I put some of the Ngarrindjeri weaving rushes that have grown up quietly since the weaving workshop. If there is a year they might make it, this year of flooding rains might be the one.
A portrait of the gardener…
And time to head home.
One weekend, out I went with pigface, also known as Carpobrotus glaucescens or sea fig. It has an edible fruit which is quite delicious. These started life as cuttings in autumn but now a couple have started to flower. The world is wet around here, time to get them into the ground.
I walked up to a tram stop where I have planted a lot. I spoke to the poisoners last time I was there and weeded to try and help them not to poison saltbush of various kinds, boobialla and wattle… One of them told me that ruby saltbush don’t absorb the poison. How I wish that were true, but it doesn’t appear that way to me I have had many turn black after the poisoners pass through. When I went back recently to catch a tram I could see lots of weeds and few plants. Some of the larger ones, rhagodias in particular, had made it and were doing well. This time I arrived to find the whole bed deep in mulch. The mulch was only a few days in place, and all over the plants. Three cheers for mulch, three boos for burying the living. I spent time excavating sedges, boobialla, correas, pigface (the large one thriving here drove my decision to plant the bed out with these highly recognisable and quickly spreading plants)… and everything else I could find. I managed to find a few leaves sticking out and dig some plants out that way. Others I found by accident, parting the mulch to plant other things!
In went the sea figs. Then home again, collecting a lot of rubbish after the Royal Show and the storms of recent weeks.
I scored some promising rusty stuff, and had a chat with a chap smoking a cigarette by the road who clearly knew what guerilla gardening was, asked me if that was what I was doing, and was generally approving and cheerful toward my project. I put a few more plants in along the route home, and then it was time for clean up.
I finally decided to plant out the Eucalyptus Scoparia I manged to grow from seed. I have been planting out an area near the railway line for some time now and it has gone from bare and weedy to bushy and well covered. There is plenty of protection for a tiny tree now!
I planted some more ground covers and was surprised to find that the seafoam statice that had been doing so well there had vanished, with some holes left behind. I hope it has been dug out and replanted somewhere where it was wanted.
The E Scoparia went in behind a bench where I’m hoping it will be safe to grow.
Later in the day I headed over to a new place I have been thinking over. It is a barren space adjoining the railway station in my neighbourhood, with an open drainage route running through it. I have been wondering whether the rushes might grow in the drainage channel, which is quite mossy in places at this time of year. I thought I’d start with the sides of the space though.
I took over some native pigface (Carprobutus glaucescens) which has grown readily from cuttings, some saltbush, a hop bush and a eucalypt (unknown species).
In they went. There was some soil here and a lot of sandy unpromising material as well.
And, there was so much broken glass. It looks to me as though someone/s must have had fun smashing bottles against the bridge walls here at some point. So I collected all I could.
I took my haul of rubbish home and tucked the rusty wire into my iron water jar for later use in dyeing.