Sunday, 11 April 2010

winter plans've been thinking hard about two places in the garden that need work.  The first is the big square bed that used to be the fish pond, pictured here.  After filling it in last year I've spent the year growing vegetables in it whilst I decide what to do in the long-term.  Vegetables aren't a good long-term solution because only the bottom left corner gets enough sun, which is an awful waste of the other 3/4 of the bed.

So I've spent over a year considering what to plant instead.  I really wanted to plant a fruit tree of some kind but I just don't think it'll work.  Most are too big - citrus would want more sun - most smaller fruit trees need pollinators.  So then I moved to considering small ornamental trees like a crepe myrtle.  I want something that will grow a few metres and spread out in a pleasant umbrella shape.  I think this part of the garden would appreciate some proper "dappled shade".  It's a funny mix of boiling-hot sun and deep shade with not a lot in between, and the left-hand bed gets a lot more sun than the right-hand bed.  A spreading tree of summer shade will even this out, letting me plant shadier plants on both sides.  I have dreams of Japanese windflowers to replace the Statice some day (as it's a sun-lover), and probably some more hellebore since it seems to be doing pretty well in the other bed.  A small spreading tree would also be a nice compliment to the oakleaf hydrangea, which will read a decent size in time.  Wouldn't want anything too small or it would be dwarfed by the hydrangeas.

But to be honest I'm not crazy about crepe myrtles and again there's a slight concern it wouldn't get enough sun.  Then finally, a wonderful suggestion from the OzGrow forum, a small tree I've never heard of before called Vitex agnus-castus.  Like the crepe myrtle it's a small deciduous shrub or tree, but instead of white or pink flowers it makes long crazy spikes of purple.  Purple suits me much better, and all the other flowers in that corner are either purple or orange/yellow.  Vitex also tolerates shade better than crepe myrtle.  Hopefully it'll look like this. other tough spot is behind the house where the camellias used to be.  I've considered a number of option but I think I'll go with Murraya paniculata, also known as mock orange or orange jasmine.  It's a member of the citrus family, tough and not fussy, but I was sold on it when I walked past a hedge in flower.  It has the most heavenly scent of orange blossom you can imagine, it actually stopped me in my tracks.

After a bit of deliberation I decided to save the last two pine bushes even though I really don't particularly like them.  Hedges aren't cheap and leaving them means I can buy two less Murraya than otherwise.

But before I undergo either project I need to top up those beds.  I've learned that soil tends to sink quite a bit after a while so it's important I fill up the beds as much as I can.  Which meant a call to Fulton's garden supplies for a big pile of dirt and another of barkdust. only ordered a cubit metre of soil and a half-metre of barkdust but I reckon I got a lot more than I paid for!  Just like last year I now have a big pile of dirt in the driveway.  It's a lovely soil called a "three-way" mix of two soils and horse manure.  It's quite light and friable and full of organic matter which is just the thing for my beds.  I have so much extra I'll probably spread the love into some of the beds with really inorganic "builder's rubble".'ve filled up a fair bit now as you can see, hopefully some of the dirt will settle and I can pile on some more.  I've certainly got plenty of time, winter's the best time to plant deciduous trees. 

Exciting times ahead for this winter!


mr + ms rabbit said...

Great plans! Looking forward to seeing updates as things progress.

There is a lot of that murraya you mention used as hedges in our area, it's a beautiful plant.

AmiraE_Tao0614 said...
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joodee said...

hi! where did you get your 3 way mix from? i got the 5 way mix this year and its not that great. I live in the melbourne too! great to find a melbourne garden blog!

Alexa said...

I get my soil and mulch mixes and from Fulton's garden supplies, because they're in the area. Good luck with your garden!