The sun was shining this week and it was time to down tools, paintbrushes and get out into the garden.
Started off with the easy stuff......pruning our Hydrangeas. Better late than never! Remember to prune down to two fat buds on either side of the stem and you will get lovely bushy Hydrangeas. Much better than long leggy sparse looking shrubs. I took some cuttings from our previous garden and they have taken beautifully. Can't wait to see them flower here in the new garden.
Last flower left......to be enjoyed inside the house.
Most people say you should live in a house for at least a year, to get a feel for the garden and only then decide what plants should stay or go. Having designed quite a few gardens we usually have a pretty good idea straight up on what is not going to work. If we are not sure, then yes, we do "live with it" and maybe that shrub or tree gets a stay of execution. At the moment there is a Magnolia Stellata which looks a bit ordinary... I have given it a good prune to shape and dug the grass away from the base (actually we created a new bed under it) and it will be interesting to see what happens to it. So that appears for now to be a stayer.
As you can see the tree on the right, which was half dead with borer, had to go. It was way too close to the orange tree and not allowing it space to develop. If there is no way to make it work.....chop chop!
This one had to go.....we look directly out of our kitchen onto this area and we felt this needed something a bit more special. A lovely grove of Ornamental Chinese Pistachios for that big "POP" of autumn colour. When planting your trees, try and bear in mind, and this is hard, what the final spread of that tree is going to be. You don't want to spoil the natural shape of the tree by planting too close together. Most areas, even coastal can have lovely deciduous trees that colour well in a warmer climate. The two below are great examples.
Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum)
Chinese pistachio (Pistacia chinensis)
Being on acreage, winter is a really good time to do the big boy pruning and chopping down of things. We are lucky enough to be able to burn off and have great bonfire once a year.
This is Dom who gave me a huge hand on the day...we were like machines and
I slept like a log that night....sorry I couldn't resist that...
To be honest I do feel guilty when a tree gets cut down and I find myself apologising to the tree, in my head and sometimes out loud. Sorry tree...sorry tree. Yes I am a bit of a tree hugger.
But I redeem myself later down the page...
I'm not going to plug the Aerocart just because I'm the Worx Tools Aussie ambassador, but I have to tell you that it has been THE most useful item by a long mile, that I have used in this renovation. Being an independent gal, I hate having to call a man over every 5 minutes to give me a hand with the heavy stuff. I'm not particularly strong, but I have moved some amazingly awkward and truly heavy stuff ON MY OWN. This is so different to your average wheelbarrow. You can tilt the Aerocart right down, roll whatever....sandstone, giant ladders, awkward pieces of plywood, boxes, sandstone pots......you name it, I carted it. The plate at the bottom is the genius part. That log in the previous picture would never have been lifted by the two of us into a wheelbarrow but by rolling it onto that plate it landed snugly into the cart and JOB DONE.
Best invention ever!
Ps. A lady on my instagram account saw that pic with the giant log and messaged me to let know me she has one and got it as a summer solstice present last year. Wow that's different....
Another good reason to do your cutting down in winter is that if you are going to use your timber for firewood (which we are) the sap content is going to be a lot lower and it will dry a lot faster. These logs will get piled up neatly of course and then will season for a year or so, that way they burn a lot cleaner.
I just love bare rooted plant time......deciduous trees, fruit trees, berries, standards, I want them all!
Most local nurseries will now be getting them in...... run don't walk to your nearest one. I use Mount Murray Nursery in the Southern Highlands who have a MASSIVE selection only 6,000 plus just arrived!!! The staff are so knowledgable and Sue the owner of the business is just lovely and if you are not sure of anything she's your woman!
Another reason why I said you should run and not walk, is that these plants get snapped up so quickly and if you are wanting a particular variety of plant, then you have to get in quick. We will be creating a new orchard and I was on the hunt for an old fashioned variety of apple.
The benchmark for dessert apples.....
Also be aware when purchasing fruit trees, that some will need cross pollinators to set fruit. We are lucky that our neighbour has a very large orchard and his varieties will pollinate with ours beautifully. Sexy time for the apples..... ;) Even a white flowering crab apple will pollinate with this variety.
You can pre-order with your nursery so it's not such a panic but we had missed that boat with all the renovations that have been going on.
I could have gone nuts but stuck to the list.....yes ok a few extras were snuck into the ute.
Once the staff have priced and tagged the plants, they are placed in pots filled with a sawdust medium. You then just pluck out the ones that you want. No heavy pots to cart home....just a bunch of "sticks" all bundled up and bagged for the trip home.
Super important don't let them dry out.
We can't plant them in straight away, so we will be heeling them in. Heeling in is not too technical, it's just digging a trench preferably in a protected part of the garden.
HEELING IN -
- Dig the trench about 30cm deep, one side of the trench is vertical and the other at about a 45 degree angle.
- Hose off any sawdust
- Lay the plants on the sloping side
- Spread the roots so they are in contact with the soil
- Then just back fill and firm it up lightly...don't stomp on them.
- Give them a light water.
Now that you have the low down on bare rooted roses and bare rooted trees.....