After the warm and dry Autumn, the Winter has made its presence felt, as we all knew it would, with some cold days and nights and encouraging rain.
It’s quite amazing how the Garden reacts to the change of seasons. Some plants go into hibernation while others burst forth.
Some Winter vegetable crops are in and looking very healthy – among them cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, peas and beetroot. More plantings will follow.
The citrus trees are carrying some lovely fruit, although the tropical fruit such as bananas and pawpaws probably are hibernating. At the same time it great to watch the avocados and apples soak up the cool wet conditions. Meanwhile the native plants are starting to shoot and some are showing signs of flowering.
After the long dry autumn, the rain has had an immediate impact in the garden.
So there still is plenty of work for the gardeners to do in the Garden.
As the Garden has continued to grow, Watering has been quite a chore over the summer and Autumn period. Now that the cooler weather and rain has come, a roster for less frequent watering – possibly twice a week or as required – will be maintained over Winter and Spring. Volunteers are always welcome.
One of the recent achievements at the Garden has been the transformation of the Pathway between the Garden and Beach Road.
From an unsightly walkway, it now is a feature of the Garden, one which the neighbours and residents who use the pathway are rightly proud and take delight in using.
With the help of Department of Corrective Services people, the sandy concrete path verges were amended with compost and fertiliser. Then a selection of native plants and ground covers were planted including red and yellow kangaroo paws, scavolia and varieties of grevillea. A layer of mulch completed the transformation.
Neighbours are helping water the plants and also watch out for the security of the plants..
It has been a rewarding community exercise.
SCHOOLS ARBOR DAY EVENT
Resident birds in the Tuart trees joined the chatter of over 50 local school children at the Garden for our annual Arbor Day event on Friday 8 June 2018.
This Schools Arbor Day event is one of the more successful and popular community functions held at the Garden. As usual the feedback was encouraging. It was good to welcome strong supporters of the Garden, local MHR Michael Keenan and MLA David Michael.
The students, from three local schools, East Hamersley, Glendale Primary Schools and Warwick Senior High School, spent a couple of hours planting vegetable seedlings such as spinach, broccoli, peas and carrots as well as eremophila, kangaroo paws and everlastings. After a quick tour of the Garden which is in excellent condition after the good rains several days earlier, they enjoyed an activity and some refreshments.
Expect to see some of the students in the Garden in the days, weeks and months ahead to check the progress of their plantings.
Visit our YouTube channel to see the video of the day.
Later in the year (November 10 2018) the annual Spring Open Day and Plant sale will be held in the Garden. More details in the Autumn edition of “Under the Tuarts” newsletter.
Occasionally the call of an owl can be heard at night near the Garden.
Our inquiry to the City of Stirling (CoS) about the possibility of fitting Owl Nesting Boxes in the Garden drew an interesting response.
Apparently, the Owl population is in decline, for a variety of reasons.
One of the reasons is accidental poisoning with rat poison. The Owls eat rats that are sick because the rat has easten rat poison, and the Owl dies.
According to the CoS, there are only two chemicals that are “Rat-safe” – Warfarin and Coumatetralyl (found in Racumin). But they can be hard to find.
So, to help Owls, it may be useful to check the contents next time you use rat poison. More information can be found on the Society for the Preservation of Raptors website, http://www.raptor.org.au.
The upshot of our request for Own Nesting Boxes was an emphatic No.
But the CoS did suggest, as an alternative, micro-bat boxes. Stay tuned
Add compost, bentonite clay and/or rock dust, plus some charcoal and fertiliser eg Rooster Booster to the soil when planting vegetables or shrubs. They will improve the soil and help our sandy soils to retain moisture. And, watering the base of native plants can be more beneficial than spraying the foliage.
Happy gardening. See you in the Community Garden sometime.