Wednesday, August 30, 2017

My winter garden - before and after

Spring is only a couple of days away and I haven't done a gardening post in ages, so I'm sneaking one in before winter sighs its last breath.

I've even included before and after shots of the garden to show you what it looked like when we moved in compared to now. I probably should have chosen a more exciting season than winter to do the befores and afters because most everything is dormant and soggy, but... shrugs shoulders. If I get really organised, I could do before and after posts for spring, summer and autumn too.

The next photos show the empty yard that we filled with five raised beds and three fruit trees (two apples and a double-grafted nashi). People often ask why I didn't espalier the fruit trees against the fence. Good question. It's because there's a wickedly fat hedge on the other side of that fence and I need to be able to get a ladder up as close as possible to prune it.

Here's a bigger photos of those raised beds so you can see what I've got growing in them this winter - carrots down the bottom of the slope, spinach in the bed one up from them, kale in the bed one up from that, and you can't really see the top gardens, which face the other direction from the three you can see, but there are beautiful coriander and strawberry plants growing in the left-hand bed and garlic growing in the right. I took this photo in the morning. By afternoon the sun will have moved around to shine fully on the top beds. They get the most sun by far.

To the left of these raised beds is our deck, which has a wraparound garden that we built (and by we, I mean my brother-in-law, Ben). The garden is chocka blocka with spinach and kale. I throw spinach into most of our meals. It's been our staple green vegetable this winter. And of course kale makes the best chips.

The next photo takes a step back to show the deck and other half of the wraparound garden, which is where I planted four dwarf citrus trees (mandarin, lime, orange and lemon), interspersed with lavender, asparagus and strawberries. The lavender isn't looking too healthy. I recently added lots of store-bought vege garden soil mix to this garden so I'm hoping that will help bring my lavender back to life. I've never had much luck with lavender so if you know the secret to not killing it, please share.

Here's that same spot when we first moved in, before we'd built any of the gardens and before I'd stained the deck. Quite a difference, no? I love how the wraparound garden hides all those ugly deck posts and makes the deck actually look good from this angle.

The next corner of our yard looks out from our deck and is where I planted four feijoa trees after first digging out a mess of ivy roots. I love the camellia tree on the right. It adds a much-needed burst of colour this time of year.

Here's a side-by-side of our backyard just after we had the dying fir tree cut down last year compared to now. I really need to water-blast my fences. They're positively green. And I actually can now because we've put in an outdoor tap around this side of the house. Just gotta find me a water-blaster.
The cobbled area on the right has a wisteria vine growing on a trellis but it's dormant at the moment and I CANNOT wait until it blossoms because the display when it does is out of this world. The tall green tree you can see at the rear of both photos is a star magnolia. It's almost finished flowering now and the leaves have taken over, but a couple of weeks ago it was a glorious mass of white blossoms.

Here's a photo I took of it a couple of weeks back.

Walking around the corner towards the back wall of our house, you can see the herb garden I put in to replace the weedy rock garden that was originally here. I spent weeks shifting rocks out of this garden and putting them under our deck (and gave myself tennis elbow in the process.)

The herb garden is now home to rosemary, lobelia, borage, calendula, oregano, thyme, strawberries and a red raspberry cane. I took this photo in the morning, which is the least sunny time of day out here because of a very large fir tree a couple of houses over that shades this spot. The rest of the day it's a sun-pit - hence the enormous rosemary plants.

Here's a closeup of those calendula flowers popping out from under larger borage leaves.

And here's a borage plant getting ready to blossom. The flowers are edible and I'm going to try to remember to throw some in salads this year, but mostly I just grow them for the bees.

Around the corner from my herb garden is the spot where I planted two blueberry trees and a rhubarb. The straggly mint you see is coming through from the neighbour's yard and I want it to flourish, but the slugs and snails keep eating it right back to stalks. The mulch in all my gardens needs refreshing, so I'm thinking of contacting a tree-felling company and asking them to dump a load directly on my driveway.

I've got a NZ cranberry and a row of stone fruit all along the same fence as the blueberries, but the stone fruit is mostly dormant so completely uninteresting to look at right now, especially against a backdrop of sludgy green fence. One of my dwarf peach trees has just started to blossom though, so here's a photo of its gorgeous face to leave you with.

I purposely haven't shown you a photo of the shady corner under the star magnolia tree where I recently planted helleborus and potted colour. It desperately needs fresh mulch and for the fences to get water-blasted clean. I can't bear to show you a photo of it yet because it won't do justice to my vision for that corner. I also forgot to show you another wee pocket of garden where I've planted a lemon tree, a couple of swan plants and an ivory raspberry cane, but that will have to wait for another day because I'm out.

Em xx

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting Craving Fresh, and for taking the time to comment. Your feedback is so important to me.