Saturday, 4 June 2016

In my garden in June 2016

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.
~Maya Angelou

One of my gardening buddies.

Maya Angelou's words above are so good, aren't they?  I can become disheartened sometimes by my lack of progress, but when I stop to think about it, I am doing the best I can right now with the knowledge and resources I have. Because sometimes it is not just a lack of knowledge that can hold me back, it is a lack of funds too, that stops me progressing as fast as I would like.

He and his partner like to sit above my keyhole garden in the hopes of being fed.

If my pockets were bottomless I could order in truckloads of beautiful, fertile garden soil, use trailer loads of blood and bone, build another dam and install automatic watering systems that would save me hours of work endlessly moving sprinklers.

This is what gets the Butcher birds so excited. Grubs from the compost 'basket'
in the middle of my keyhole garden.

It has been  dry here for a long time now.  Last Saturday I watched the water truck drive past our house many times on its way to fill up house water tanks in the area. I bet they now wished they had waited and extra week because the drought was broken this weekend. My photos were taken before the rain.

Here the grub is burying himself back into the compost.

So during May I managed to fertilise and mulch some fruit trees including the mandarin and lemon tree. I have not yet given them the light prune that I wanted, I will hopefully do that in June and the mulberry as well. Actually I am hoping to prune a lot of plants so that I can put the green prunings through the mulcher and add it to my compost heap.

The old shade cloth on the ground and Don working on replacing the timbers.

Don spent many hours during May working on our pergola. Originally it had a lot of shade cloth around the rails which looked a bit ugly. However when we bought the property we kept the shade cloth in place because our dog spent a lot of time out there and I felt it made the area more snake proof. However our dog died earlier this year, a couple of months after Don had spent a lot of time building her a nice dog run. Anyway we do plan on owning more dogs in the future so the dog run will still be useful. So once the shade cloth was removed it became apparent that a some of the posts and rails needed to be repaired. Don has made the repairs and re-painted all the rails and we are happy with the result. We need to work out some type of shading for the summer months, so that will be our next project.

This is a section of the garden I will be working on this month.

This month I am going to spend a lot of time working on this ornamental garden (shown above).

I am going to prune any plants that need pruning, and then weed the garden. Once the weeds are dealt with I am going to lightly fork some blood and bone into the top soil and then cover with mulch. The mulch I am using this year is Lucerne. I try to change the mulch each year so one year it will be lucerne, the next sugar cane mulch etc.  Once I have a layer of mulch in place - and I don't use thick layers of mulch, my preference is to use a thin layer of mulch to help prevent moisture evaporation and to feed the soil. Anyway once the mulch is applied I will toss handfuls of manure pellets around which will feed the soil as it and the mulch break down.

Here is another photo of part of the same garden from another angle. The bare spot to the front left is due to 
an Agave that flowered and then began to die off. Behind the garden is our drive way. Note the white/very light 
grey colour of the sandy soil. Not much to work with in that soil

I want to find the time to remove the spent flowers from the grevilleas and banksias and then feed them.  This is easy to write but the truth is we have a lot of indigenous banksia's possible due to being close to an environmental park. They just appear on their own, but mostly I just let them go because the areas they appear  are not going to interfere with any of my future plans. They usually come up near angophora's, along with swamp grass trees and Dianella's, and occasionally there may be a bacon and egg plant in amongst the mix.

This photo is taken standing next to the middle section of the garden looking toward the far end. 

What are you planning to do in your garden during June?


  1. Well, I plan to plant another 4 boxes of veggies in self watering boxes. I need to attack the lemon and orange tree as they have huge growth out from the stock below the graft. I am listening to the thunderous rain now as we speak.

    1. Gosh, I see there is a lot of flooding down south. I hope you and your family (and chooks) are safe. You will be surrounded by veggies before too long. How wonderful. Watch out for thorns on the orange and lemon trees, depends on the variety but we have one tree that has thorns that are like something out of a fairy tale.

  2. Hi Sherri, your garden looks really good and I see you can grow great curl grubs! I like your keyhole garden very much, might borrow that idea for a herb garden I want to build here. I'm off to have a wander through your blog.

    1. I do grow great curl grubs Barb, and that one is only about a medium size. I used to hate the critters that took up residence in my compost heap - the grubs and beetles - yuck! At first I used to squash the curl grubs, then I taught the butcher birds to fly to me when I whistled part of the 1812 Overture and feed the grubs to them. (Unfortunately the butcher birds now fly to me no matter what I happen to whistle, in hopes they will get a feed.) Now I know it is the icky things in my compost that help break it down and turn the compost into humus. So now the butcher birds are on strict rations when it comes to grubs.

  3. I love your space and the proximity of the bush Sherri. Sometimes I feel stifled here in suburbia. The soil is always a challenge isn't it? We could all spend buckets of m oney improving it, but like you I try and supplement purchased mulch with some of my own. I grow some pigeon pea and lemon grass to chop and drop, and use composted grass clippings here and there.

    1. It is a lovely spot Hutchy, even when it's hot and humid, or dry and brown I can still watch the wildlife and count my blessings. I have included areas for growing green manure and mulch on my detailed permaculture design. I hope one day to produce all my own mulch on the property and not have to buy any in. Using pigeon pea and lemon grass as chop and drop mulch is a great idea.

  4. Great that the drought has broken, Sherri! I think that we can do better when we know better. I think, for many people, the trick is in finding the time to develop that knowledge. I have lemongrass growing under our back verandah and beside our water tank. I never knew I could use it as a mulch but now I do!

    1. Having time enough to learn and develop knowledge is truly a precious thing. That is where sharing knowledge among bloggers and in forums can be most useful. We share the bits and pieces we learn as we go along, which can help us all move toward our dreams that little bit faster.