“Oh Mr Hart – What a Mess!!” – my garden!

Okay, I never really imagined that a build would be garden friendly, but the blokes did a stellar job keeping out of the way of my trees. But a year is a long time!

The Kiwis have become a Kokoda jungle. The possums have snacked on the avocados, the guavas think they are invincible and are eyeing off the new building for plant v building dominance. The weeds are the big winners.  Some new species too, which is a real worry!

The plants I hoped would be okay in large pots are all fried to a crisp. I think the quince is the only survivor. Sadly, these plants were too big to move. I lost a large plum, an apricot, persimmon and perhaps another plum.

On the positive, some celery has self seeded. And a few apple and plum trees have shooted from leftover root ball in the ground. So excited by this. Looks like the blackberry was okay as well. Shock horror to that one!

The in-ground fruit trees look okay. Lost a custard apple (need two to breed!) which is a blow as they are not easy to come by.

A number of silverbeet have also self seeded. I wonder what the builders made of building with beets at their feet.

The ever friendly comfrey has returned too – a great sign. A few carefully hidden artichokes have also survived. Now I need to make sense of the earth and determine what happens next.

My attention turns to the new plantings and features. My frustration now turns to the lack of a definitive list of deciduous and evergreen fruit trees. With my 100% edible garden comes a lot of leaf shedding. But that isn’t the best look over winter. I’ll need some foliage to keep me company.

The house right before the brick ‘bagging’begins.

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The front nature strip that hasn’t been mowed in a year.2002-01-14 22.51.28

The back yard needing some work. You can see my water drums, wood and recycled deck

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A handful of the 50 odd potted fruit trees from the rental. I think I lost around 15 trees in the round trip – with another 5 on the critical list. Still, not a bad effort.2002-01-14 22.50.20

Top 5 edible plants for your garden

There are so many amazing edible plants for the backyard. Today I would like to talk about five  that are amazing but lesser known. All of them will have feature positions in my new garden.  They win a place in my top five because the space to yield ratio is almost impossible to beat.

1)      Pepino melon

Ever wanted apple-sized honey dew melons all year round? Welcome to the gorgeous and simple to grow pepino from South America. This tiny 30-40cm plant will deliver 20-30 fruit every year. Mark my words, you will get too many. What a delicious problem to have. The fact that they fruit inside 12 months is impossible to argue with.

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2)      Choko vine

Sure they are probably more at home in a pig’s dinner tray than a feature vegetable, but I will defend the humble choko. A single vine can give you 50 chokos. They are a great filler for soups, stews, pasta sauces, adding body and a soft earthiness. I love them because they take on and absorb the flavours of the other foods. Boring to grow, get on board. Oh, and they are great for covering an ugly wall or old shed.

3)      Tamarillo

I can’t fathom why this ripe red fruit – filled with passionfruit red and orange goodness isn’t prized by more. I think it is one of the most tasty fruits you can grow. You can stew it, make sauces out of it, eat them raw. In fact, knock yourself out. Some days I take a large bowl of them to the shade of summer tree and make myself ill with happiness. They fruit in their first year. Gold.



4)      Pineapple guava

Talk about tasty. These little green things pack a powerful perfume flavour. The fact that each small tree gives you about 5kg is an added bonus. They also ripen slowly so you can take your time. My aunt makes a pudding out of them. I eat them from the tree. They also juice up really well. They slip a few spots on the top five because they can take 4-5 years to fruit.


5)      Jerusalem  artichokes

Another veg for the pig family. A staple crop for farmers I’ll defend these nuggets from the earth. They have a glorious truffle flavour and richness that can be an amazing backbone to many recipes. You can make a great soup, or even better, chips out of them. They can be a solid substitute for potatoes. Just a small warning; they can give you a little bit of wind.  Added bonus, the yellow sunflowers these produce when they are getting ready to be dug up are absolutely amazing. Added points.

The other finalists that round up the top 10 : rocoto chilli tree, asparagus, babaco tree, yacon, globe artichoke.


Landscape design – first thoughts

When you bulldoze you get given a clean slate for the garden. Pity, because I liked my established garden. Then again, I get to start again and build the dream garden. So it is not all bad.

The established trees we were allowed to keep include:

  • Three avocado trees which are now into their third year of bearing fruit
  • Fruiting kiwifruit vine (one male and two females)
  • Two large olive trees
  • Loquat tree (fruiting)
  • Mulberry
  • Fig
  • Cherry tree

My garden was – and will be – 100% edible. That is, every plant must be able to be cooked or have a key use in the garden. Bamboo passes the test as it can be used to make bean and tomato stakes. Marigold flowers are an important part of the ecosystem so they also pass the test

I have around 50 fruit trees and herb trees with me in the rental that need to find a new home. I’ve also got another 20 fruit trees hiding on the non build part of our block

We’ve been advised that we need to pave around our home as a water barrier to keep any rain off the slab. Our block can get quite wet during rain. The paving has started the landscaping discussion.

Step one has been to write down the requirements.

  • Outdoor room decking wrap around to the rear
  • Water feature wall off the deck at rear (centre)
  • Citrus grove at front of property for privacy
  • Paving around the side (water barrier)
  • Extensive raised vegetable beds and herb beds
  • Permanent asparagus
  • Berry house (fully enclosed so the birds don’t get in )
  • Small green house
  • Lawn area/ clover lawn areas at front and rear
  • The dining room outlook should be very. feature driven. I’m not sure whether that is overlooking vegetable beds,arden beds.
  • The garden that supports the kitchen window outlook (south side and very tricky!)
  • Bin position is another consideration
  • Side fence for outdoor room development
  • Paving to front door

I’ve started to collect images of what I love in the hope that a basic design will leap out at me.  I’ll start shortlisting a few suppliers over the coming months. I’ve seen some great local work around our street so I’ll also do some door knocking as well.

Lovely feel and colours.

Gravel and retaining wall. Imagine this with herbs and tomatoes in it!

I love straight lines of things. I love the order and repetition. Hopefully there will be some linear elements in my garden.

A great water feature idea that would look great in front of my kiwi fruit vine

If they cut into my block any more I might be forced into this!

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