Tag Archives: saltbush

Guerilla gardening and hoping for rain

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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.

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I also have some of my first successes at propagating correas, and some scrambling saltbush.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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Spring guerilla gardening

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The guerilla gardening is going on–with seeds sprouting and plants that have grown slowly through the cold months or those which were propagated from cuttings in autumn going into the ground as I am able.

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Bladder saltbush (atriplex versicaria) in the foreground–I have been gradually creating some drifts of silver foliaged plants in this spot, as well as the ruby saltbush (enchylaena tomentosa) you can see growing in the background.  There is a place here where people walk through the bed and not along the concrete paths, and I’d like more vegetation, while there is plenty of concrete already. I am hoping eventually to crowd out the path people and dogs are using through the bed at the moment, so that one day it will cease to seem the obvious pathway.

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Some of my seedling eucalypts finally went into the ground!

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Pigface (carprobrotus edulis) is a winner even in very dry places.

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I’ve had to laugh abut how I’m spreading some of the plants in our garden into the neighbourhood.  This bladder saltbush went in at least 6 months ago.  I don’t think there is any risk of violas becoming a serious weed around here however!

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And here’s a task for the weekend–entire branches ripped and cut from nearby trees and dumped on top of other plants.  I don’t know why or or by whom, but I think I might just remove these myself (and plant a more prolific understorey so that this does not appeal as a place to dump things).  On the up side, every time I plant here now, there is so much soil compared to even a year ago.  Things are moving in a positive direction!

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More winter guerilla gardening

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Early one morning this week I went out with an Olearia, a ruby saltbush or two, and some bladder saltbush plants.  Really, I wanted to do some more weeding, still hoping to stay ahead of the poisoner on my culvert plantings, which are still small and therefore vulnerable.
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I’ve planted out some areas in the neighbourhood with ground covers and small shrubs in an attempt to stop car drivers from perceiving the root zones of large trees as places they can freely park.  Several large eucalypts have died in our area in the wake of works that had large heavy machinery parked right up against their trunks.  I want to stop that happening again, and crowd out the places people park illegally during the Royal Show (when pressure on parking is at its peak for the year), doing lots of damage to shrubs and saplings as well as ground covers.  The Council eventually responded to calls to put in barriers that would prevent some of that parking, and I’m building on that protection and gradually reducing the zones people and dogs choose to walk through and enlarging those where plants can grow and birds, animals and insects can get on with their lives.  We have plenty of roads and paths already to my way of thinking. These saltbushes should grow to further reduce a throughway on this corner.
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Then it was weeding, litter picking (gardening gloves mean I can pick up anything!) and home to breakfast and work.

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Guerilla gardening

I’ve been returning slowly and carefully to the garden in our backyard as well as the bigger one of the suburb.  I’ve been gradually weeding a little patch near a culvert, where some earlier plantings are beginning to gain in size and I am keen to stay ahead of the poisoner, who may visit at any time.

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This time, I put in some grey-leaved bladder saltbush, using the places where weeds are coming up as a guide to where they might be able to grow.

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Then I moved to a fence alongside the same culvert but on the other side of a path.  I plated some hop bushes here, in a place where there used to be some fine trees that were cut down just the other side of the fence.  It’s a bare, neglected place now.  As trains pull up at the station beside me on mornings when I work here I often wonder what the driver thinks, whether they even notice, and whether to wave!

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And–my old favourite, ruby saltbush, also planted along the fence line.  If these beginners make it, perhaps I can plant some trees here in time to come.  I picked up leaves that were forming drifts in the bed of the culvert and used them to mulch the little plants, because while it’s midwinter here now, summer is coming, the season of drying and crisping.

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Supervising the elves in the guerilla garden

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The last few weeks as our autumn has begun to set in, have been weeks of pain and disability.  I’m on the path to recovery faster than could have been expected, but there are some things that it doesn’t make sense for me to do, and gardening is one of those things.  The plants that have grown from seed through the warm moths are ready to go in the ground.  What to do?

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Depend on your nearest and dearest, that’s what! Here are two lovelies preparing to plant in the neighbourhood.  I came for the ride, there were jokes about my supervision, (and later on there were jokes about my elves) and I was the one greeting passersby while they worked and I made string.  Who can believe the matching outfits?

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There are more plants that made it through summer in this unpromising patch than you can see in this image, but my friends planted more.  Lots of saltbush to stabilise and create some ground cover.

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You can see at the top of the picture that some made it through the heat and have grown over summer, when many plants here died when there were two days over 40C back to back.  Hopefully these new plants will have time to sink some deep roots before the next wave of hot weather comes along.

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Here we have some saltbush going in nearby in another patch that is weedy for part of the year and desert the rest.  They join the two plants that made it through summer in this spot.  Fingers crossed for success!

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A little guerilla gardening

This morning I went out in the grey dawn for a little guerilla gardening, wearing a flour-bag shirt that has been dipped in indigo!

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Evidently I was in a hurry, and so the blurred image… ruby saltbush and a type I have not identified yet, that I call scrambling saltbush.  It’s already fruiting in the pot.  The days over 40C killed so many plants at home and in the neighbourhood that I have not been planting for weeks. I’ve just been weeding and picking up rubbish and thinking about autumn.  The season of cuttings and root division.  The season when the plants that are in pots now might be able to make a go of life in the big wide world.

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I took the seedlings to a site a street over where a big ironbark came down in a storm.  The trunk was cut away and removed but much of the crown of the tree as well as the root mass has been left as it fell or was cut.  I’ve begun carting it away.  The conversation I had with a neighbour I don’t really know when I was doing this recently was very funny.  I was strolling down the street towing a big green bin on wheels.  This is the way “green waste” (anything that can be composted) is collected in my council area. It gets chipped and composted commercially.  He said to me “most people take a dog out for a walk” and laughed a bit at my taking my bin for a walk instead.  I decided to maintain the mystery (I am not sure people really want full disclosure at times like these) and joked back.  He was still there when I towed it back up the street full of dead branches, so I made a joke about whether the bin enjoyed the walk as much as a dog would have.  I thought maybe I had a better time than the bin.

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I had started planting out one end of this site before the tree came down, so I planted some more, and continued moving branches off plants and shifting big branches back toward the driest area where nothing will grow.  Then picked up the rubbish, removed an old yarn bomb that had descended to the ground and begun to rot away, and came home again.  Off to work in the Very Hungry Caterpillar shirt.  I think the print is so cheery no one notices the size of the shirt (or if they do, they are way too polite to say anything about it). I can live with that!

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Summer in the guerilla garden

It had been a cool summer up to the point when I wrote this post.  Quite unlike a usual December in these parts.  So I have been making the most of it and planting away. This time, rhagodia (seaberry saltbush), enchylaena tomentosa (ruby saltbush) and two other varieties I have not identified–one upright silver leafed variety and one that scrambles on the ground.

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I am gradually filling out spaces where the tree was recently felled as it looks like the trunk is there to stay.

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Here’s one I planted earlier (foreground), in case you’re wondering if any ever grow!

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Then over to the culvert. Ruby saltbush at the top edges.

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There are some steep banks, so I am hoping the scrambling saltbush is up to the job.  2016-12-06-07-25-37

Next, some serious weeding.  There is one local patch where most of my losses are to the poisoner.  And, I am trying to avoid the poisoner’s attention arriving at the culvert plantings. I think weeding is the answer for now. It is the best thing I can do to ensure these plants get big enough to make it.  Once the low growing plants are established, I can consider putting in larger ones.  or trees.  I am having sheoak sprouting success right now.

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And now for a gratuitous picture of two maned wood ducks with their ducklings, running downhill toward water as fast as those teeny legs can take them.  Some days walking to the bus is the best part of the working day!

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Propagating

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A guerilla gardener needs a propagation plan. Mine starts in the chook run, sieving compost and soil turned every day by our six little helpers.

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Then to the endlessly recycled pots, on the potting bench my dad made from an old kitchen sink.  It’s a great height and has a handy drain down into a bucket below.  My bucket can sit in the sink with pots on the sideboards and everything is well.

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This week I planted more saltbush seed, soaked these prostrate wattle seeds in boiling water and planted them, and pricked out the seafoam statice seedlings in the foreground above.  Then, inspired by Rebecca from needleandspindle and PIP magazine, I made some gardener’s hand scrub!  Just what a guerilla gardener needs…

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This week in guerilla gardening

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.

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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.

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Here is the other side of the bank, complete with mystery plants.

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I also planted this scrambling saltbush.  One of them had a stray sheoak seedling in with it.  Fingers crossed!

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A few boobialla up on the top of the banks.

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And here is the bigger picture.  You can barely see my plantings, just the mystery plants, about 30-40 cm high.

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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…

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Guerilla gardening continues in spring

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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And then home again with weeds galore.

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