Sunday, 14 December 2008

the back corner

One of my first adventures was to sort out the back garden. First I slaved over the over-grown beds, tirelessly trying to prune the shrubs and maybe save one. I actually transplanted the gardenias to save them (they didn't survive). In the end I pulled them all out, including the rock mulch.

I mulled over what to replace them with for weeks, before finally settling on rhododendrons. That's not actually a smart choice in Melbourne - it's too dry to grow them without watering them. But at the time I was feeling homesick for plants I knew from Oregon and made the commitment. The soil's good for it - free-draining and acidic. And they have a thick layer of bark mulch to keep the roots cool. Several months later and they're putting out their second spate of new growth for the year. So far, so good.

And the dead cherry tree? It was so far gone you could pull it would just by rocking it in the dirt and hacking at the tap root with a shovel. I went on a field trip to the Dandenongs to a nursery that specializes in Japanese maples and found this little darling.

Unfortunately I have a strange problem - the tree is getting too much water. Can you believe it? Who would have thought anything in Melbourne was getting too much water. But when you look at it, that corner is the lowest point in the garden, so it must be getting run-off from the areas around it, and the roots are getting water-logged. I think its only hope is to dig it up again and raise a mound of soil to give it better drainage. But I haven't been able to do that because it's been raining all weekend. Oh the irony. So at the moment it has garbage bags around the roots to try to keep them a tiny bit dry until I can get into it with a shovel.


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