A little piece of somewhere else

Our garden has some fairly clear distinctions when it comes to planting. The front is almost all Australian plants (except for two small veggie beds) and the back garden is for vegetables, chickens and other utilitarian purposes.

Despite of my intense love for Australian plants I have to admit that there are  non-Australian ring-ins in my ornamental garden. So I have been trying to work out how I could combine some ornamental plants from elsewhere into my garden without it looking too odd.

A little bit of somewhere else in the garden
A little bit of somewhere else in the garden

What I came up with is a small area that is focused around a Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum) which was an early purchase for my garden and has grown into a lovely small tree. One of my neighbours and another friend have gifted me hellebores, which seem to be getting their roots into the ground under the tree, after an uncertain start. Last but not least I bought some miniature cyclamens from the hardware store that dare nor mention its name. Bowls of seasonal bulbs are also added to the mix.

Some early morning sun on my latest garden feature.
Some early morning sun on my latest garden feature.

A recent visit to Bowral and a stay at a house with a lovely European-style garden encouraged me to look for another feature for this little spot. I found what I was looking for in the garden section of Dirty Jane’s Emporium and Antiques Market. It is a lovely stone trough!

The trough has some layers of paint on the outside but I’m hoping that they will genteelly wear away given time and some Canberra frosts. Speaking of frosts, the day after I heaved this weighty treasure into pace we had one of our -5 degree nights, so you can see the solid block of ice that formed below.

A very small ice skating rink!
A very small ice skating rink!

 

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Gutted and bent out of shape

Winter is the time of year when the pruning takes over. This year there has been some major work, focused on our Japanese Maple and our apple trees.

Our Japanese Maple had taken a major hacking last year when the electricity lines were checked and we received a notice to cut both it and some of our other trees back. As the work was carried out by contractors it was a matter of just cutting back rather than carefully pruning our trees.

Grey Currawong in the unpruned Japanese Maple
Grey Currawong in the unpruned Japanese Maple

I thought it was definitely time to ‘tidy’ the tree up. I feel my efforts may lack the subtlety of a Japanese gardener. Yes,  I gutted the centre of the tree and tried to remove any branches growing vertically. I just hope that when the leaves re-shoot in spring the horizontal effect will be emphasised.

 

Gutted, or pruning with extreme prejudice.
Gutted, or pruning with extreme prejudice.

In the interim I hope you are being distracted by the cyclamen’s which have now been planted at the base of the tree.

Meanwhile in the chook pen TB was training our apple trees. You see we didn’t quite factor in a chook pen when we first planted the apple trees along the back fence. Now TB has run the trellising wires through the pen so that the two trees in the pen and those outside the pen can be trained into espaliers. It looks very stark as present, but again we hope it will be much improved when spring comes.

espaliered apple inside the chook pen.
espaliered apple inside the chook pen.