There has been quite a bit of sedge planting. These are going into the banks of the local creek, Willa Willa. Here, the day myself and a friend planted what you can see in my bike trailer, as well as the sedges my friend had propagated. We were joined by a local person who came across us guerilla gardening on his bike route, and stopped for a chat. He was keen to join us, so we got in touch and he came over to plant and weed.
On another day, I went to the same spot with my daughter and granddaughter. They brought a picnic and I brought along a bee motel in process and some more sedges to plant.
Here is my load heading out. I also had parcels for the grandbub to open! The hat, and a jumper that’s about to pop out of that package… This was a moment when I realised that I was wearing #memendedMay but she was wearing #memadeMay (pants, jumper and hat all made by yours truly).
Anyway… we found bamboo and other plants suitable for the bee motel. My daughter and I pulled rubbish from the creek. And the grandbub and I planted the sedges with glee.
Eventually the fun was over and I headed home again.
Here are my before and after pictures of another trip over to plant… and litter pick.
I’m happy to say that a lot of the sedges we planted last year are still there. Some are now a decent size, and others are established enough not to be washed away should winter bring us more rain. It’s promising.
The last month or so has been peak seed collection time for me. I’ve been wandering the neighbourhood saving seeds from council plantings and from previous generations of my own guerilla gardening. There are a lot of different salt bushes–this one I still have not been able to identify, but it is certainly thriving in our suburb.
Here are three successive years of planting in the same patch, the most recent one planted in the last few months. Just in case you wonder whether anything lives–it sure does! The second year plants are fruiting (see below left), but the much bigger third year bushes are not. Intriguing! I am not sure what specific saltbush this one is. Below, from top left, unidentified saltbush (feel free to help me out if you can), two images of bulbine lily (bulbine bulbosa), which has begun to self sow! Ruby saltbush (enchylaena tomentosa), ruby saltbush again (but with orange berries), blue bush (maireana brevifolia, I think), and bladder saltbush (atriplex vesicaria)
These seeds will mostly be dried and saved for propagation and guerilla planting in Spring. But I have also been direct sowing some, and have planted others that might sprout now. Seeds are the best form of magic ever.
Guerilla gardening is like every other kind of gardening I know–there is no end, it just keeps going on and on. Except that the garden is a lot bigger! This morning (mid April), my friend and I went out to our shared project, a spot we have been sheet mulching for some time because there are many square metres of it and it is charitable to say it’s weedy–it’s quite exciting to see weeds have started to sprout there because it means that something else could grow. But nothing other than weeds has been growing there in many years, and sometimes not even that.
We began with my cardboard stash, and added onto what we have previously done (my friend has added some to our shared efforts without me!) on top of that, our first few sacks of leaves from the nearby car park where E Leucoxylon is in full bloom, and the late dry heat of summer and autumn has led to plenty of fallen leaves. Then we went to the local guitar shop, where they put all the boxes outside and are happy for folks to take them. We stripped out staples and tape again and added on. Then more leaves!
Next we headed home to collect soil (our test hole shows a liberal layer of bricklayer’s sand and a lot of gravel), water and plants. We sang the tree planting blessing over the first tree ( E Scoparia), and added some ruby saltbush for good measure and protection.
While we were there, a woman pulled over on her bike. She is older than me, and I see her cycling in my area really often, always in a dress, frequently going at a very fast speed. What a role model! She said she had formed the impression that the two of us had taken responsibility for this area of the rail corridor and she was wondering if some ruby saltbush that are coming up at her place might be a good fit. Absolutely! We said. So it appears we are now a team of three (in a very loose sense). We hope that rain is coming, and I have lots of plants to put in. Meanwhile, yesterday a friend dropped by with a stack of pots from her day job, that will be perfect for propagating. Might be time for cuttings…
This morning [well, it was a morning in October 2020–] I headed out with Bulbine lilies (Bulbine bulbosa) I was gifted from a neighbour who runs a project called Grow, Grow, Grow Your Own. They arrived as many seedlings in a single pot and I grew them on. Some thrived and some did not, and I am not able to say why, yet. I’ve never grown this plant before.
Here I am preparing to head out into the street… you will be glad to know that I asked for a metal watering can for my birthday and now have a glorious watering can. I bought another second hand, but it was crushed when a huge bough from our neighbour’s lemon scented gum dropped on our side of the fence. Given the size of the bough and the beauty of the tree, I was sad to lose the watering can but felt I had experienced a miracle! One of these has since fallen apart and gone to rigid plastics recycling.
I decided having researched online that they may need more water than our area usually gets, so I settled on a spot with a watering system, and chose a partially shaded spot, creating a massed planting around some of the pomegranate trees I have put in. If there is ever a grove of pomegranates surrounded by a carpet of yellow flowers? How amazing would that be!
This is one of the bulbine lilies in the ground beside the council watering system.
For context, these are salt bushes I planted earlier, thriving nearby.
And this is a bad image of one of the pomegranate trees! And below–the classic heading home shot, complete with only a little litter picked up…
Now, dear readers, it has been some time since I posted. Thanks for your patience, if you’ve been patiently waiting (I’ve been surprised to discover that some people have been). Thanks to those who signed up during the pause I turn out to have taken. Apologies if you have been concerned for my wellbeing (I did not expect that but ralise I should have–as I have seen blogs stop suddenly and then realised that the blogger has been facing cancer, or divorce). My life has had its ups and downs, to be sure. But in the year that has just passed, with all the suffering and trouble it has brought for so many people, I feel lucky and privileged. I just somehow stopped posting!
This post was begun in October 2020 and I can now update it and tell you that only two (2) bulbine lilies have survived to this point but they are about four times the size they were, and have flowered. I will see if I can propagate from them so I can keep trying for that massed planting! All four pomegranate trees have survived, though, and that makes me very happy. I’ve weeded this site both on my own and with a friend, and it is looking so much better since I found where the council water system was leaking and fixed it with part of our garden hose, during an early stage of the pandemic when calling the council seemed…surplus to requirements. No longer is part of the site in drought while part of it is flooded regularly!
And now, let’s see if I keep posting or not. And how random the sequence of posts becomes 🙂
The last of autumn’s ruby saltbush went out into the world. I had in mind a spot where I would plant it, but rail infrastructure crews were busy right there. So I changed my mind.
I put some rooted but not potted Ngarrindjeri weaving rushes into the creekbed while I was out. They are likely to do better there than potted on at this time of year, I decided. Then it was veldt grass out (a more knowledgeable person has identified one of the awful weeds of our neighbourhood for me!) and ruby saltbush in, along a fence line where I have been progressively planting saltbush and nature has been progressively creating soil as more leaves are trapped in place and break down into new earth. Perfect.
The council decided to mulch one of my guerilla gardening sites where loads of their plantings died once summer and have never been replaced. I was glad to see most of them unscathed. These saltbush have grown a lot since they went in!
In other guerilla gardening news, a nearby propagator has started offering me plants for this purpose! I scored pots destined for landfill as I returned from my run one day and separated out these little darlings to grow them on a bit more before planting.
There has been a fair bit of guerilla weeding going on. A gentleman on a bike stopped just to ask me what weeds I was pulling this morning!
Here are the little bulbine lilies in their new bigger homes in the propagating area, where I hope they will get big enough to plant out soon!
Goodness me, it’s been a while, gentle readers. It appears I stopped writing posts some time ago, with some still unfinished. So when this one seems to have been written in a different season–that is because most of it was!
I have had quite an amazing period of exchanges of gifts of late–and I’m struggling to remember when it began. Last week I got a query about whether I would like some bitter mandarins to make marmalade. I said yes! And left limes and lime marmalade in return.
That night I received a gift of onion and potato rolls. Delectable! I already had sourdough rising, so the next day I gifted the same friends a loaf of olive and rosemary bread. Next day, I got a message from someone who wanted to know if I would pick up second hand pots for re-use. They were in self isolation after visiting family, so I left limes and some more marmalade (I think we have made 5 batches of marmalade lately so we have plenty!) As I stepped out of my house to go on this delivery, I saw a little pot with seedling bulbine lilies from a nearby gardener who is excited to find I am a guerilla gardener. I’ve since potted them on, and will plant them around the neighbourhood in due course.
Next, I went to the Farmer’s Market, and had a chat with friends I’ve made quite a few pairs of slippers for. They gifted me a couple of grapefruit and some home-distilled hand sanitiser! That takes the cake, right? That night I scored a ponytail palm in a pot from someone in the local Buy Nothing group. I took them marmalade too, not that they were expecting it! And then the next night I got a call from a friend whose daughter needed a heater in a hurry. I bought this one second hand in the 1990s but hopefully it will do the job. That got hauled away this morning…
And this evening, I took a cowl in a bag around to a friend who had agreed to get it to someone else, who lost their cowl and was missing it terribly. I took mandarins and mandarin marmalade, and after a tour of the garden, walked home with a home grown bok choy and a green oak leaf lettuce.
In one of the patches I garden, there has been flooding in one part and drought in another for an extended time. I noticed it quite some time ago. I couldn’t figure out why, and chose plantings accordingly (as both flood and drought had caused the original plantings to die off).
Recently I figured out the problem.
It’s a nice, clean cut. I can’t see any way this can have happened, other than someone cutting it, with a tool, in two places. Mind you, that might be my limited imagination.
A friend helped me understand the way the watering system was constructed in a way that made me understand that I could fix it. Now maybe I should just have called the council. But actually, I call them pretty regularly to report things like this, and this time I couldn’t bear to. Instead, today I put my tools in my bucket, took a feed sack, and went to sort it out myself. Not pretty, but I used what I had. Not perfect, but surely an improvement. I just removed the century clips the way Dad taught me, subbed in a generous length of garden hose, and tightened up the clips again. Let’s see how the cycle of flood and drought goes now!