Monday, 7 September 2015

Hidden delights of Rozelle - Callan Park Bush Track

Glimpses of the water from the bush track
So spring has sprung and everything looks brighter.  And as often happens when the sun comes out I get slightly more enthusiastic for health and fitness.  So I headed out on a morning walk.

Lots of people are probably familiar with the Bay Run which circles around Iron Cove Bay.  Living near Callan Park means I can cut through the park to meet up with the path, and take a lovely walk around the water.  It's very popular for cyclists, prams, and plenty of different levels of walking and running fitness.  

Callan Park itself is quite a hidden secret, and includes the gorgeous sandstone buildings of what was the Rozelle Hospital (or the Kirkbride Complex) which are now used by the Sydney College of the Arts.  But today I found a previously undiscovered (by me) path - the Callan Park bush track.

I also have recently been reading on the very excellent blog Garden Amateur about native Australian plants and the lack of knowledge in the general public (and certainly I fall into that category) about them.  So this seemed to be quite timely as well to see some of our natives in their (almost) natural setting.

So I have to admit that I have no idea what any of these plants are, but I wanted to share with you all some beautiful examples of the beauty which is hidden away and so close to the city!

The Bush track in Callan Park

The track is level and easy to walk
The steps run up to the road at one end of the track

Tiny purple flowers 


Mass of tiny white flowers

Don't know what this one is but I think I have a lot of these self seeding in my garden - but I pull them out before they flower!

Flowers are a bit blurry but these are yellow flat kind of flowers
Pink grevillea type plant, flowers about one inch wide.

Much as I do not want to give away the secrets of Callan Park and have it full (there was no one on the track today at all) I have to say it is worth a trip to visit this beautiful area so close to the centre of Sydney!

The blackbutt eucalyptus mentioned above

Friday, 4 September 2015

Garden Share Collective - Does Size Matter???

So I'm quite liking the idea of the themed posts for the Garden Share Collective.  And this first one is on size.  I think of it as that age old question - does size matter???

I tried to use a fancy program to draw a plan of my garden.  But it didn't work, so I have hand drawn it.

Because when it comes to size, my garden is on the "it's not the size it's what you do with it" side of the argument.   The majority of my garden is planted in the front of my house as this is both the largest area and the area that gets the most sunshine.  However, this is still a small courtyard.  The garden beds are basically one long bed running almost the length of the courtyard on the southern side of the courtyard, which is about 6m long and probably 70cm wide.  Then two beds at the front of the house, around 2m long each and also about 70 cm wide.  My neighbour is replacing the fence on the northern side and when this is complete I am considering digging in another bed, however it will not get very much sun so I'm not sure if I will be better off just using the fence as a vertical garden.

So I really won't be likely to become self sufficient growing here.  But I can still have great fun in the garden and provide at least some nice fresh additions to our meals.

The plan (please excuse the fairly slap dash manner) is here.
A pretty rough and ready drawing of our front yard.  Note the lovely feature of the bins, which have to be stored at the front of the garden as we have no side access to hide them out the back!!  Entire yard is 6m x 5 m and most of this is paved courtyard.

An older shot of the garden bed on the southern wall - it's now a lot more full and green!

The pak chois grow well

Hard to believe the whole garden started out looking like this 

Another shot of the main garden bed on the southern wall - this was during last summer and before I realised my tomatoes were being attacked by fruit fly.
 So because of my lack of garden beds I have to use a lot of containers.  Lots and lots of containers.  I am gradually filling up the courtyard with plants in pots.  My neighbours have taken to donating their unwanted pots to me (which I'm very happy to accept) so it probably won't be long and I won't be able to walk through the courtyard.

My dwarf lemon tree in one of my many brightly painted pots

Two lovely low line containers planted out with asian greens.
My kaffir lime also planted in a pot
My lovely pots of ranunculus with the never ending flowering snap dragon next to it.

I also struggle a bit with the sun.  The front faces east, and so the front yard gets morning sun.  The southern wall gets sun for most of the day, but the western side has the sun go off by late morning.  The back courtyard gets almost no sun due to buildings around it and a very large oak tree in our neighbours yard.

Even though I don't really have enough room to properly grow vegetables I am really enjoying learning about gardening and from my successes and failures.  I am quickly realising that given the space constraints I'm better off planting and growing those plants which are fairly high yield for small space.  Pumpkins are out!.  My snow peas have been brilliant and I have just planted out a crop of sugar snap peas to see how they go.  Mind you, there has been carnage as I didn't properly protect them from snails and slugs.

Prior to my snow pea harvest on Saturday - the wire trellis was being pulled off the wall!

My tomatoes yielded well in summer but the fruit fly ruined those.  Still, the capsicum plants are good for fruit and lettuce and rocket are always favourites and easy to grow.  

My capsicums went quite well so I will be planting some more this year.

I'm looking forward to harvesting my first garlic crop, and I'm hoping my square metre of precious sunny space will be worth giving up for 6 months for a good crop!  The broccolis and cauliflowers haven't really returned enough on my investment of space.
The garlic took up a fair amount of space but if I get 20 bulbs out it will be worth it.

Celery is going well in lots of different pots and my herbs are growing even out in the shade of my back garden.  

So this month I have started planning my spring garden, planting cucumbers (destroyed by slugs) sugar snap peas (also attacked) eggplant, zucchini, rocket, parsley, lettuce, tomatoes and asian greens.  Once I deal with the slimy critters (been out liberally applying table salt to them all tonight!) I will try again with some of my seedlings.  

I think as well I will try my hand at growing some carrots, and also some radishes and capsicums - all from seed - which will be next months GSC theme!  Happy gardening to all and look forward to seeing you next month.