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In My Garden
Courtyard GardenI am often asked what my own garden is like. Every body expects garden writers to have a spectacular garden. I know lots of gardening authors and television gardeners, but I cannot think of one that would be prepared to put their garden 'on show' (well, at least not without quite a bit of work!). Like most things, knowing what to do in the garden, does not necessarily mean you actually have time to get around to completing each and every task. 

I enjoy pottering around in my garden. My plants need to be watered, pruned and mulched just the same as the plants in your garden. I know when pest and disease problems are about in your garden, because I see them in my own.

It does not matter whether you are the neat and tidy type who likes perfectly trimmed edges and manicured lawns or have a more relaxed style where plants are allowed to do their own thing. You may be restricted to a small courtyard, a tiny balcony or just a few pots. When it comes to gardening, the most important thing is to get out there and enjoy yourself.

If you are a slave to your garden and resent the amount of time you have to spend working in it, your garden is either too big or not designed to suit your lifestyle.

Water-Wise by Necessity
My greatest battle in the garden is lack of water. The garden relies on rainwater and an extremely limited supply of tank and dam water. I have gardened like this for almost twenty years. During dry times the garden can look terrible! Fortunately, I have come to accept the fact the a good downpour followed by a couple of weeks of growth will see everything begin to flourish again. 

PossumI have become accustomed to the fact that in dry times my annual plants and some understorey species die out. Seeds, cuttings or an inexpensive trip to the nursery can quickly re-establish these species when rain comes.  Well established fruit trees have amazing recuperative ability and native plants like grevilleas and banksias survive without any additional watering. 

I love a productive garden and have planted plenty of trees and vines to supply garden fresh, organic fruit. I love juicing freshly picked oranges each morning and by planting plenty of trees, fresh pawpaw are available all year round. There is plenty of fruit to go round, even a surplus supply for our resident family of possums.

I grow leafy greens and herbs in raised garden beds. It does not really take much effort or room to supply enough lettuce and stir fry vegetables for my husband and myself. In fact, plenty of excess produce from the garden goes to feed our  chickens and ducks. In return they supply us with plenty of eggs, manure for the garden as well as weed and pest control. The ducks also do a good job at lawn mowing during the cooler months of the year.

 

 

Fruit Trees in My Garden
Citrus including lemons (Meyer, Lisbon, Lots A Lemons), oranges (Joppa, Valencia, Navel), tangelo (Minneola), mandarin (Imperial, Honey Murcott), limes (Tahitian, West Indian), grapefruit (Ruby), calamondin and Kaffir lime are some of my favourites.

Backhousia

Chocolate pudding fruit, star fruit, pawpaws (about 15), bananas, mangoes (Bowen, R2E2, Nam Doc Mai), avocado (Hass, Rincon), mulberry (black, white and Shahtoot), passionfruit (Panama Red), longan and lychee are some of the other species grown.

Edible native species include lemon and aniseed myrtle and native finger limes.

Legumes are used as groundcovers, as shade trees, for animal feed (we have four sheep) and for their aesthetic appeal. They include icecream bean, pigeon pea, tree lucerne and pinto's peanut.

Vegetables and Herbs in My Garden
Non-hearting lettuce, rocket, parsley, basil, spinach (English, Egyptian and/or Malabar depending on the season) and other repeat harvest vegetables are grown throughout the year, along with seasonal vegetables.  Fresh thyme, rosemary and golden oregano are in plentiful supply.

Self seeding cherry tomatoes grow throughout the garden, supplying a good harvest providing I beat the ducks to them. Water spinach or Kang Kong is grown in small raised tubs, along with water chestnuts. Ginger, turmeric and galangal (greater and lesser types) are always available fresh from the garden. I love Thai food and grow annual and perennial coriander to ensure I have a year round supply.

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