At this time of year having an acre to look after is overwhelming. Though most of the landscaping is done, and I’ve designed for easy maintenance, there’s no such thing as a no-work garden. Especially in a wet and sunny Spring.
When it comes to weeding for most of the year, I go around in circles anti-clockwise: kitchen garden, then poolside garden, then courtside garden, then front garden, and back to the start. But lately we’ve had a lot of rain followed by enough sunshine to send plants into a growing frenzy, so it’s been more a matter of tackling what seems like the most out of control area or, if all areas need urgent attention, whichever interests me most.
I regret not getting our wicking beds made and filled before we went overseas, but it took a while for the company to assemble the kits and those last weeks were hectic. We’ve only just finished them, and I haven’t yet planted anything. I also wanted to plant some citrus trees, but I should have done that in early spring. Now I plant them now there’s a chance summer will kill them off. Oh well. Next year.
Aside from a spectacular display of bottlebrush and some unexpected lilies springing up, not much is happening here. Now that I’ve removed the ivy and defeated the blackberry, onion weed had sprung up. I’ve been cropping it to the ground, because if you pull them little latent bulbs left on the roots are activated, and next year you get many more plants. Cutting them gives them no chance to draw energy back in.
The natives plants are doing well. I’ve been fighting onion weed here, too. The embankment belonging to the neighbour has been getting weedy, so I’m spraying it. They don’t do anything to maintain it. The alleyway on their side is an absolute mess, with weeds up to my shoulder. We’re spraying that, too.
Now that the ‘back’ garden is tamed we’ve been tackling the front. It’s mostly trees and grass, and I’m keeping it that way for now. We’ve been weeding and mulching under the trees, and trimming the lower branches. It doesn’t sound like much work, but the scale of this place is deceptive. What I think will take me an hour takes three with two or three people. Fortunately, we have a friend who hires herself out as a garden helper, who is happy to settle down and get weeding.
For the smallest bed, we tried digging a “Victorian” style garden edge – which is just a trench cut straight down on the grass side and sloped on the mulch side. I like it, so I’m going to put one around the rest of the front beds.
The biggest tree we have is a huge Chinese elm. It puts on leaves rather late, so the extra sunshine underneath means it gets pretty weedy. So far we’ve spent over 20 hours, with the help of our weeding friend, weeding, pruning branches and mulching. This was the pile of branches before we mulched them:
To get the mulch under the tree we put down a ‘slip and slide’ of builder’s plastic weighted down with bricks:
We need a lot more mulch under there, so we’ll be doing a lot more mulch sliding and raking in coming weeks.
In a month or so it’s going to be too hot to work outside and the ground too hard to dig. Then gardening will be mostly a matter of keeping everything alive (well, except the weeds, but their growth will slow down too) and maybe harvesting some veges from our new beds.