Tag Archives: landscaping

The garden at Greendale #12

The kitchen pond

I’ve covered all the main projects in the previous posts, but we did a few more things, too. One of the bushes outside the kitchen window turned up its toes, so we pulled the stump out and replaced it with a water feature for the back patio. Pete built up the sleepers so we had some height, then we bought a fibre glass cascade.

Doing the planting

The new pond in context. With my backside outside the shade house

I planted annuals at the front of the bed to give some colour. Also low growing herbs like thyme to spread and cover the area. That’s a native fuchsia at the top

An evening view

The Fernery

Another very early job was to redo the fernery. Peter had built a little bit of garden into the long, narrow house to allow in light and break the space up a little. The area had one brick wall and two walls made up of windows. A pergola covered with green corrugated plastic provided cover. Here, tree ferns had been planted. But tree ferns were far too large for a comparatively small space, so my first job was to clear the area out. The tree ferns went to a good home with friends. Then I planted smaller varieties, and hung hanging baskets. This was another area very popular with birds.

Fernery devoid of tree ferns

Taken from inside. This was the meals area, next to the kitchen

Fuchsias, ferns, umbrella trees, hanging baskets. This was one of the few bits of fencing Peter built himself.

The bio-pond

One of the big problems for owners of ornamental pools is keeping the water clean and clear. Yes, you can buy a filter, but they tend to fail pretty quickly. So Peter decided to build his own biological filter for the front patio formal pond. In principle, it works like a swamp does. Water feeds into a bed of coarse sand, slows down, and loses its sediment. Then it feeds out, clean and clear, into the main lake (or in this case, pond). Water plants like rushes grow in the sediment-rich ‘swamp’ part, using up the nutrients.

It worked well – but the downside was the water level in the pond was much lower. If he’d planned such a project from the first, he could have incorporated it into the design.

Water was pumped into this section, from where it leached into the planted part on the right

From there, the water rose until it was high enough to pour out of the pipe

Next time I’ll share some photos of flowers.

The garden at Greendale #9

A place to put ‘stuff’. Here we’d already started on construction, and removed most of the accumulated junk. We’ve put in bearers from the tank to the wall.

The shade house

Every house has to have that space where you put ‘stuff’. I won’t bore you with the construction of the three-level shed Peter built up next to the water tank. But when that was finished, we had a place to hide ‘stuff’ – there and in the woodshed next to the drive. You see, the place where ‘stuff’ was left was the gap between the water tank and the house, right next to the garage. It was ugly, so it had to go.

The tank was set a little bit into the ground behind it, and sleeper walls held back the earth on the side toward the back. The sleeper wall then stepped down to the back border. It was sheltered, and a perfect spot for tender plants like ferns. We called it our ‘rain forest’.

Over several weekends, Pete built a pergola over the space. I got to do the painting, climbing up and down ladders with tins of paint. At least it wasn’t hard on my back. Not too sure about my calves and feet, though.

The structure is defined, and painted

Looking along the back veranda

Pete did some painting, too.

The front gate, out to the driveway, and a trellis closing the area off from the terrace. We put a similar gate at the other end.

We added planter beds and a place for a water feature, then covered the lot with shade cloth.

We added gates at both sides, with deliberate holes so small birds could get in. Several birds built nests in the wall baskets, including the superb blue wrens.

Interesting corners were planted with ferns

And we added a water feature

The sleeper walls were ideal for hanging baskets and stag horns and the like. The area was also a great place to propagate cuttings. It was cool and green, and very relaxing in the dry summer months.

Next, we created a forest. I’ll tell you about that next time.

That’s a small Japanese maple (acer) in its Autumn finery.

Another view of the pond, with fuchsias and on the right a begonia

Begonias, ferns, staghorns, fuchsias, spider plant. And a path through the middle

The garden at Greendale #2

Looking up at the front corner. That’s the study window on the left

The rockery

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