Since coming over from the UK 5 or so years ago, I’ve tried to grow veggies and herbs in pots in the various rental properties we’ve had. Never really had a lot of success; the climate is so much more fierce here in a lot of ways. OK; so it’s cold and wet a lot in the UK, but then you don’t try to grow much veg in the winter, and in the summer lots of rain can be a benefit rather than a hindrance. Here, pots dry out very quickly, and I would water them when I remembered or I could see they were stressed, then they’d dry out again of course – sometimes in the course of the same day! I think there’s something about the cycle of very dry to quite wet, to very dry again that plants find it hard to cope with.
So I was really looking forward to having my own garden; and when at last we found the right home on the Central Coast, I started making plans almost immediately. The garden was a little unloved – the house had been empty a while and the agents had kept the lawn down, but no-one had cared for the beds for a while. There were little old lady favourites – long lasting bulbs, geraniums and the like.
The sad, neglected garden….
It was late Autumn when we moved in, and inevitably there was stuff needing doing around the house first, but I was planning in my head, watching the light move around the garden at different times of day, working out where was shaded all the time all year, and where was bright enough in the summer months. It’s a delicate balance between appreciating the shade of these wonderful gums here, and acknowledging that that same shade means you can’t plant your citrus trees on that side of the garden!
Our goal is to plant, as much as possible, only food related plants. I’ve been experimenting with coffee bushes, fruit trees as well as veggies. I’d love to have a Camellia tea hedge! We’ve planted clumping bamboo all around the house to shade us from the sun when they grow up:
They’re not exactly food plants, but technically I guess you can eat the shoots! Eventually they’ll also stop our neighbours from being able to see into our bedroom – a distinct plus point!
I’m so looking forward to seeing what works where as the re landscaping progresses!