Looking up at the front corner. That’s the study window on the left
Last time I described what we did with the back border. But that border ran from the kitchen door left to the garage. To the right of the kitchen door, the veranda went past the kitchen, the dining room, and then around to the end of house. Outside the kitchen door the house pad and the block were at their most level. From here, the land sloped down, and the house pad was elevated. Just outside the kitchen window Pete had built a patio area with a large table and benches built from sleepers. The patio was raised above the sloping land, which overlooked a steep bank. It all needed work.
His original idea had been to train a wisteria to grow on a pergola over the top of a patio. Although the pergola had never been finished, the wisteria had been planted. With nowhere else to go, it sprawled over an acacia growing in the corner. I tried very hard to get rid of it, but it resisted all efforts. When we decided to put the pergola up, it was raring to go.
Building the new pergola
Planing the slats for the pergola
Painting the slats for the pergola
In fact, we had two wisterias. The second one was planted on the other side of the aforementioned acacia and was supposed to be trained on another pergola, at right angles to the one over the patio with the picnic table, covering a paved section outside the dining room. Although the pergola had been built, the wisteria had never been trained and was in need of serious pruning. In fact, the back board supporting the bearers was rotten, so we had to take the lot down and replace it.
The pergola is finished and the wisteria has been shown where to go
You can see from the top picture there’s a natural line where ordinary mowing ends and vertical brush-cutting begins. We turned that sloping bank into a sort of rockery. We lined the edge with sleepers, bought rocks, which we manhandled into place, then added a layer of top soil.
The slope is cleared, ready for the rocks
Rocks are in place
This site needed tough, low growing perennials. I used predominantly blue, yellow and orange flowering plants, including Californian poppies, calendula, seaside daisy, lavender, prostrate rosemary, salvias, and the like, as well as some natives. Grey foliaged plants were also added to the mix. An enormous King protea cascaded down the slope at the corner, loving the neglect and the poor soil. It died of old age just before we left Victoria. I also grew roses. Roses are actually very tough, thrive in clay and don’t mind heat or a touch of winter frost (when they’re dormant anyway). I chose pale yellow varieties to contrast with the purple and grey.
Rockery planting is well under way
The end result was easier mowing. And something nice to look at. The rockery became a haven for little lizards, as well as bees and birds. The wisteria outside the kitchen window turned out to be the purple variety, and it was much loved every Spring by the crimson rosellas, which covered the paving under the pergola with a purple carpet.
The second wisteria was white, and also put on a spectacular spring show – although it was never ravaged by the rosellas.
We also thought that blank wall where the study was needed something. So we put up trellises on both sides and trained the Spring flowering, virtually thornless banksia rose to climb up it. I also planted a clematis. The idea was the clematis would flower in Summer when the rose had finished. But I got it wrong, and they both flowered in Spring. I did plant a dark red Summer/Autumn flowering clematis on the left side, but it wasn’t anywhere near as vigorous as the white one.
Oh well. That’s gardening
So… here’s some results. Next time I’ll tell you about the front border.
Rockery and wisteria are both established