SUBURBIA 2012 – A SNAP SHOT

I thought I would do a post on my observations in the garden yesterday.
It started with a somewhat disgruntled decision to purchase some compost for putting on the back garden bed so that I could at least plant some winter plants in something other than the sandy soil which I am hoping to transform into rich, vital soil.
So, after a quick trip to the landscape supply place I had a truck load of the stuff delivered within the hour and in a steaming pile on the driveway.
Gradually I shoveled and barrowed and bucketed the stuff into the back bed and made the following observations.
All the toil I am putting into my garden is in such extreme comparison to many of the adjoining neighbour’s gardens. For example:
On one side of our property is a rental property. The last tenants were barely there and in the last few weeks of summer someone kept turning up during the week to put a sprinkler on the back lawn. On one of these occasions I went and turned the sprinkler off as it had been on for hours and it was pretty clear that whoever was calling in to mind it had obviously forgotten about it. Needless to say, it had a good soak that evening. So it’s a back lawn that nobody uses and nobody even sees or appreciates except for possibly the lawn mower man who turns up every few weeks for 10 mins, mows it and sends the bill. Thanks for coming. So there is a somewhat ‘green’ lawn sitting there.
As opposed to the other neighbour who also has a lawn but rarely uses it apart from a trip to the clothes line. There is at least some logic here as they don’t water it, so it’s dead. But like all lawn it will come back in winter and then will need mowing. It gives the dog something to poo on. I am still intrigued by the fact that despite spending any time in the garden they took it upon themselves to rid their side of the fence of the native wisteria leaving a huge pile of dead litter in their backyard which is still sitting there some weeks later. It’s also left the wisteria on our side of the fence looking worse for wear as more of it has died back after the treatment.Come July it will be full of delicate white flowers which look just stunning amongst the grey of winter skies. It wasn’t particularly doing anything too obscene or destructive. Not for a garden that doesn’t really have anything else in it except dead grass and a few native bushes. So it remains a mystery…
Whilst our other adjoining neighbours are renting and have the odd vegetables growing and probably are doing the very best they can given time and rental circumstances.
Across the road we have another rental with dead lawn, stray cats and a very disgruntled looking tenant who smokes regularly out the front – and I can often smell the cigarette smoke when the wind blows our way. I would put money on there being dead lawn out the back.
So, there I was, toiling in the humidity of the day, shoveling a mix of pig poo and chicken poo and other things that no longer looked like they used to look. . . . but at the end of the day when I looked at the days work I was glad for my efforts. I had a garden that looked neater and that I would be able to plant a few winter crops into. Plus, the addition of the manures would help speed up all the other stuff I had layered up underneath the beds which with a bit of rain and the magic of microbes and compost worms, will be a fantastic soil come spring. Well, that is the goal anyway.
Other areas of the garden are looking dry and sad right now. I have stripped a side bed of it’s sand and left a base of gravelly, rocky dirt. The challenge there is to build up a rich soil from the base up, but I won’t be buying any soil for that garden. It will be a work in progress in my little paradise amidst the dead, near dead and soul-less backyards surrounding us.
As ’empty’ as it looks now with the gardens bare, the trellis stripped of the passionfruit (it needed fixing and the passionfruit was not doing that well so I replaced it with a Panama Gold) and the rows of tubs sitting with seedlings just coming up, in a couple of weeks it will be lush again I am sure and standing still in stark contrast to those backyards surrounding it. Not to say it doesn’t really already with the tamarilloEs dripping with red fruits just hanging there in the autumn afternoon sun and the odd scurrying guinea pig amongst the pot plants …
Does anyone else out there have an oasis in the desert?

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