Tag Archives: Dianella Revoluta

Spring Guerilla gardening 2

IMAG1461

Another early morning foray into the streets. More dianella revoluta to add to a massed planting where so many plants were stolen in three separate events the week they went in.

IMAG1466

Over several years I have planted saltbush into the gaps to keep the weeds down (now the saltbush is mounting a takeover bid!) and progressively propagated new plants to replace the ones that were stolen. This morning they went in like this, barey a spear shaped leaf above ground:

IMAG1463

Some of those planted in the last two years look good:

IMAG1464

And the original plantings are really successful.

IMAG1465

Here is the mound of saltbush removed (half to the chooks and half to composting):

IMAG1467

And at that point I decided it was prudent not to plant anything more and head home to  deal with that pile of saltbush, recycle some rubbish and give the chooks something tastier.  Dandelions, for example!

IMAG1468

 

4 Comments

Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures

Spring Guerilla Gardening begins

This week, with rain promised, I made a start on planting out the autumn propagated plants. I find that summer comes sooner and hotter all the time, so I’m trying to push these plants out into the ground so they can take hold of their new surroundings before the parching weather arrives.

IMAG1444

Myoporum parvifolium (narrow leafed “purple” variety) (above), and dianella revoluta (below).

IMAG1445

The bike trailer comes into its own yet again… as a hand cart!

IMAG1446

I’m filling gaps in a massed planting, most of which has gone from strength to strength.

IMAG1447

And you can barely see it, but here are some of my plants tucked into the gap… which is pretty much what I also did with the myoporum, a tough, ground hugging plant that has blanketed more and more of the patch where I keep planting it.  It looks good, it flowers, bees appreciate it, and it gives people the impression that they shouldn’t be walking into the patch where it is growing, where rubbish has been dumped, plants have been stolen, and rubbish lands–and all of these things happen less and less as plants fill the space, creating something good for insects, birds, animals and human passersby.

IMAG1448

8 Comments

Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures

Dianella planting

2016-09-17-11-14-45

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.

2016-09-17-13-39-02

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!)

2016-09-17-11-13-18

Fingers crossed for them to grow and thrive…

2016-09-17-13-49-24

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.

2016-09-17-11-16-26

As you were after that digression… Some boobiallas into the ground nearby for good measure…

2016-09-17-13-48-08

Just in time for the rain!

2 Comments

Filed under Neighbourhood pleasures

So much string

2016-01-07 16.08.39

Part of our holiday was spent staying with a long standing and treasured friend in a beachside suburb of Sydney.  It was a wonderful time but also an unseasonably cold, wet and windy one, so there was more walking than swimming and more knitting time than I anticipated.  The plants along that coast are just perfect for basketry.  Or in my case, string making.  Here, dianellas growing right by the sea.

2016-01-07 16.24.33

Here, a garden that could not have been planned with more care if landscaped by basket weavers.  For the first time ever, I made string from pandanus leaves, while a bunch of us did a long cliff top walk.  Just glorious! I gave it to one of our lovely companions immediately she commented on it.  First she tried it as a necklace, and then she settled on adding it to her rather gorgeous hat.  Those orange parts are the base of the leaf… she liked them, and clearly they fit with her hat’s colour scheme

2016-01-08 15.31.50

I also made string with cordylines from here and there, picked up on walks, beginning when we were on the Mornington peninsula staying in a place with immensely long leaved cordyline.  I tried twining pieces of shell and coral picked up on the beach into the string (successfully!  I will do that again)… I taught someone else to make string.  I gave string away.  I left string in people’s homes to be found later.  I made string while sitting, chatting and walking.  I came home festooned with string.

2016-01-23 12.31.40

Then one night after we arrived home I was playing guitar and the string was very much in the way.  So I gave away all the looser string on my wrist and now I have just this left as a holiday memento.

14 Comments

Filed under Basketry

More lessons from string

You don’t need as much as you think. A message that I can never hear too often as a first worlder.  Only a few leaves will make many metres of string if you twine it right!

2015-07-01 09.18.29

What you might need is all around you.  This is dianella, which we are growing, and so is the council.  Eventually dead leaves come away from the base and even these make decent string!

2015-06-24 15.00.21

If you have the right leaf, and you use a pin or needle, you can get a nice, fine strip with which to make nice, fine string.  Just insert needle into leaf and pull it toward one end of the leaf or the other! I learned this method when I did introductory basketry, but had clean forgotten until just recently.  I’ve found with cordyline that keeping everything really wet helps a good deal.  Here it is stripped into fine lengths and sitting in a container of water suitable for indoor string making.

2015-06-24 18.29.03

Tough fibres are more resilient and make a more robust string, but pliable fibres are much more pleasurable to work and not so poky to wear (if you’re wearing string this season).  Cordyline and dianella have been my more recent experiments, and they make very resilient and strong string.  But it never gets as smooth as daylily, which is lovely and pliable when damp and smooth and comfortable to wear when dry.

2015-06-24 08.43.22

Imperfection is acceptable more often than you might think.  Basketry manuals offer excellent advice about how to choose and prepare plant fibres for optimal use in basketry and cordage but you can use non optimal fibres and less than optimal preparation and still make something that will please you and that might be more than adequate for use or need.  Here you can see the cordylines I have most recently tried making string from.  They are standing in a bed alongside the footpath outside a residential facility for frail elderly folk in my suburb.  Under the live red leaves, dead brown leaves are gradually withering and eventually falling to the ground.  Taking a few of the dead leaves is unlikely to worry anyone.  In fact, I’ve collected fallen leaves for mulch from the footpath outside this place and been thanked by the residents and applauded for my public spiritedness (little do they know!)  If leaves have been out in the sun, wind and weather for too long they will become brittle and degraded, but these leaves are so tough they have been more than adequate for use, and I have made a lot more string since I realised (with some help from Roz Hawker and some experiments with leaves wet from rain in my own garden) that much less preparation and care might work fine for at least some applications.

2015-06-24 08.41.57

The structure of leaves is every bit as intricate and individual and interesting as I had always suspected from looking at leaves but not trying to work out how to use the fibres in them.

2015-06-24 08.43.28

There are companions on the road.  There are always companions.  Helle Jorgensen; Patten project; Weaving Magic and clearly many Indigenous traditions.  Thanks to kind readers who have pointed me in the direction of some of these lovely makers.

2015-07-05 11.53.23

These galahs (can you see them?) kept me company making lemongrass string and some rosellas watched over me and dropped little bits of tree on me while I made green lomandra leaf string and lemongrass string.

2015-07-05 11.46.18

There and the lessons of string for the moment!

2 Comments

Filed under Basketry, Neighbourhood pleasures

Dianella fruit

IMAG0321

Yesterday I came through the royal showgrounds with my secateurs.  On the way out, I spotted these fruits.  I think this is one of the dianellas, probably Dianella Revoluta. It’s a  common native, drought hardy inclusion in public plantings in my area.  There were so many that on the way back, I took just a couple of stems from each plant and put them in my panniers.  While I was there I saw some caltrop, so I removed that while I was there.

IMAG0323

It’s one of the enemies of cyclists, as you might guess from these immature fruits… which when ripe will be the stuff of many punctures.  I pull this out any time I have the chance.

IMAG0325

I followed Jenny Dean’s suggestions about processing berries…

IMAG0328

And, as might have been expected, the result was nothing like the fruits I started with.  I would rate the unmordanted wool pale tan, wool with alum dark tan, the silk is grey-brown and the cotton is pale grey.  Not too exciting, is my conclusion!IMAG0340

15 Comments

Filed under Dye Plants, Natural dyeing, Uncategorized