Wattles on a Grassy Knoll

On brilliantly sunny days the top of the block can be an enchanting place to work. Though I seldom really stop long enough to take it all in. I usually find myself staring at a photo of it on the computer screen much later in the day thinking to myself . . .

“Wow, that’s really nice.”

With all the rainfall this winter and my sporadic thoughts of general, impending, global environmental doom, I did what I guess any self deprecative, soil-under-the-nails, backyard gardener would do.

I planted trees.

Now, as seen in the pic above, I planted the grassy knoll with wattles about a year ago. But the growth on these has been rather more impressive than anticipated. As I sorted out the fruit trees from their winter resting places and found just as neglected wattle saplings all pot bound amongst them I thought,

“Bugger it. Set them free!”

So I did. I trotted them up to the top of the block with Little T in tow and we had a lesson in tree planting. I figured that rather than spend the next few months in pots, they might as well grow up on the hill and create more habitat for the local wildlife in the meantime. And one Little Fella extra in the world who knows how to plant a simple tree has to be a good thing I figure.

They are of course ultimately a sacrificial bunch, these trees. But in the meantime they are going to do so much more. I will, as is my practice, prune some of the branches to create mulch and compost. Allowing the trees to spring back with new growth. This is what I do already with the Sydney Wattles.

Presently the Sydney Wattles have finished flowering and are adorned with the thinnest of seed pods which hang from them like fine tassels.

Shortly I will savagely and without remorse, prune and coppice these trees to create mulch for the garden and then they will diligently and earnestly set about sending out new branches of growth for next year. In this part of the country these wattles are a declared pest, but given they grow so well I am using this to my advantage in our garden and managing them resourcefully and responsibly. They always get pruned before the seed pods mature, and usually when green so that they have a premium amount of nitrogen contained in the mulch.

It doesn’t ever seem to stop Mrs PP from asking me when I’m going to get rid of the wattles.

“I’m not getting rid of them, I planted them on purpose. I’ll prune them before they seed and then I’ll do it all again next year.” I think after three years she has finally got it.

This Spring we also had new neighbours move in. Though we still have the Little Eagles flying by, in around August I noticed a pair of Kestrels were frequenting the area. This has not made for very happy New Holland Honeyeaters, who declare noisily to the garden and to any other critters in earshot whenever the Kestrels fly by.

But I am happy with the new neighbours and I think they are breeding somewhere and have made this side of the mountain home for now.

Our other Neighbour, our human one, has been allowing me to empty the green waste bin of grass clippings. Pretty much once a fortnight it seems. This have been a boon for setting up a good, healthy base for the Hothouse soil and for heating up the various compost bins that are scattered around the garden. We exchange garden produce from time to time, though more of it seems to come our way as the Little Fellas benefit from the ‘seconds’ oranges and lettuces that are about to bolt.

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