Friday, 24 October 2014

Planning a Patch of Paradise

We've pretty much transformed our backyard from a sandy, weedy, monoculture of couch grass with the only feature being an asbestos shed to a, ahem, pretty cool space in the three years that we've lived here.

I am quite excited about our new, and most likely final, patch in the garden.  It fills a space between the raised veggie beds and the espaliered olive trees:

You can see from the picture above that we've laid out some pavers to mark the edge of the new (round!) bed.  I initially scraped out the lines in the dirt with my foot to make sure there was about a metre gap between surrounding vegetation and structures.  I also made sure to keep existing pathways open.  Mr Fix It used yellow marking spray to draw out the circular shape and used leftover pavers to mark it out more permanently:

As you can see from the photo above we have purchased a half wine barrel for this spot.  We bought it secondhand off the Wine Barrel Man for $75 on Gumtree.  I kind of planned the new bed around (pardon the bad pun!) the half wine barrel.  We bought the half wine barrel a few weeks ago.  Mr Fix It has sealed it with a varnish (I'm not sure what kind) to help it last longer in the elements.  

We haven't decided exactly what is going to go into the half wine barrel but I was thinking of transplanting our lime tree (you can see it to the right behind the wine barrel against the fence) since it has never given us a lime in the 4 years that we have had it (unless you count a 1 cm one that it managed to grow about 3 weeks ago).  The lime tree was in a pot for about two years and then we planted it in its current location.  It gets a lot of sunlight but it is close to the olives and next to where we were trying to grow a native hedge (that has not worked as well as we expected) and I suspect it needs a bit more space.

The reason we have spurred into action with the round garden bed this week is that a lovely old neighbour from up the street was replanting and sub dividing his Bird of Paradise, which had been in the ground for about 5 years.  He offered us a couple of segments (stem and root) and we thought that the round bed would be the perfect place for it.  I think the strappy leaves from the Bird of Paradise make a nice contrast to the olives espaliered behind.  It has also created a nice name for the bed, "Paradise Patch".

When our neighbour brought the segments over in a hessian bag Turtle was sleeping so we left them out the front, making sure that they stayed moist.  We followed strict instructions from our neighbour for planting the segments a few days later (at night since we had such a busy weekend, dedicated I know!).  Mr Fix It dug a hole about 50 cm deep, making sure it was wide and deeper than the roots of the stems.  Then the stems were planted about 5 cm deeper than they were originally (you could tell from the dirt line on the stems).  The hole was filled slowly with layers of existing soil (Bassendean sand) mixed with 50% compost to enhance it's water and nutrient holding capability.  Each layer was about 10 cm deep and then watered in so that the moisture was consistent throughout the hole.  You can see that we have mulched with pea straw on the surface to keep the moisture in.  Hopefully this little bird likes it's new Paradise Patch.


  1. Apparently lime trees grown from seeds can take up to 8 years to fruit. Ours still hasn't after 4 years. I reckon you will upset it if you move it again!

    1. Thanks for the advice lovelylois. I will definitely need to research it some more in that case.