Tuesday, July 31, 2012

unintentional bonsai

One of the things I was drawn to when we bought our house twelve years ago was the number of large, mature eucalypts in the vicinity. The native birds love them and they provide good shade.

But... one of the things I love the least about our property these days is the number of large, mature eucalypts in the vicinity. They suck the moisture and nutrients out of the soil, overshadow our yards and make it very difficult to grow fruit and veggies in our garden.
Exhibit A: Blood orange tree, planted at least three years ago and fed continually with chook manure, compost and occasional conventional fruit tree fertiliser. Approximately 30cm high... more or less bonsai-ed by the effect of the neighbours' two massive eucalypts.

Exhibit B: Broccoli, grown from seed three to four months ago. And in our garden I'd kind of class this as 'vigorous':

It's a little disheartening. And wouldn't you know, I campaigned some years back to keep our large eucalypt street trees when the council wanted to replace them all with something smaller. This was before I twigged to the bonsai effect. So they are now replacing them in (very, very slow) stages and I guess the one out the front of our house will be the last to go. My own fault!

Anyway, enough on the sad garden front. I haven't sewn anything in the last week but Charlie has very quickly picked up the idea of making log cabin quilt squares.
I thought he might like to make a cushion cover out of the scraps from his quilt. With just a little basic instruction he was off and running. The idea is to make four 12-inch squares for a large cushion cover.
He's on the second square. How proud am I?

School had a 'pupil free day' yesterday (second one in three weeks right after school holidays? harumph) so I offered the boys extra pocket money to clean our car. They did an excellent job of the inside and to be fair, the outside was extremely dusty after a trip into the mallee scrub. This is after washing:

I'm choosing to regard it affectionately. That mess was made with a lot of effort and enthusiasm (and cost me $14).

- Jane x


  1. Maybe they washed it with turtle wax? Great log cabin block too! Also remember it's winter and veges don't grow as quickly in the cold - my corn are midgets too!

    1. The boys washed the car under the carport where it was a bit dark to see the dirt properly!
      Yeah, the cold is partly to blame for slow-growing veggies here but sadly most things are kind of stunted and struggling year-round. I compare with my mum's veggie garden just a couple of suburbs away where her broccoli is onto its second lot of sprouts :( Raised beds with weed mat at the bottom to keep out the tree roots could be a solution, but pricey. At least when the darn street tree eventually goes the front garden might be more productive!

  2. To be fair, they've been pretty thorough.

    1. Yeah, 'good coverage' as a friend said!

  3. Oh, that teensy orange tree - it did make me giggle though
    I am very impressed with Charlie's blocks - they look fabulous
    (- you may need to consider changing car washes though! Yours seem rather expensive ;-) )

  4. Here in the UK, eucalyptus trees have a bad reputation for how quickly they grow and suck all life out of the soil, they are lovely though, I think you just need a big enough garden, I'm thinking of planting on in ours.....way, way away from the vegetable patch ;) The car 'washing' made me laugh - bless them! Bethx

  5. Yeah, Eucalyptus trees have a bad reputation in California too, where they grow very quickly and very well, are highly flammable (a decade ago, they played a big part in a terrible fire not far from where I live now, that moved so quickly it killed several people who were unable to escape in time), inhibit the growth of natives, and are basically classified as a "weed species." That said, I will always love the scent of a Eucalyptus grove - just lovely.

  6. Hmmm, you might want to ask for your fourteen dollars back :)
    (I should probably admit though, that if I was to wash a car it would probably come back looking even worse!!)


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