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Life, the Universe and My Garden


By cate


I am living for the first time in an urban area and have found it a huge challenge with regard to the lack of garden space. Despite this I have planted a forest and the mini eco system is well on its way after three years.

It was an AWFUL ‘garden’ when we first moved in. Lawn and a few stunted struggling plants. Black plastic had been place over the concrete edged garden beds to stop weeds growing. Holes had been poked in this plastic and the poor plants stuck in. The whole lot had then been covered up with glaring white chips of some sharp rock. Someone’s idea of neat and low maintenance no doubt. That plastic came off almost before we’d moved in, and all the concrete has gone

Many of the poor things were beyond help as well as being classified weed plants in this area so they had to go. The ones that stayed have rocketed into life, especially a pony tail palm that has shot up above the height of the house and just kept going.

We have planted the garden in sections that flow one to the other and kept to local natives as much as possible

One of the first things to go in was a grove of grevilleas along one side fence, followed by and area of calistamons. Native myrtles and lillipillies are at the front with some rare and endangered local rain forest trees. Along the other side fence there are palms of all sorts, gingers and a little area of delicate sun-shy things like maidenhair ferns, caladiums, hoyas and orchids. There are two smaller ponds in amongst all this; lillies in one and a ‘Wooly Frog Plant in the other – that is it’s name I kid you not …

The big ponds are at the back; one surrounded by all sorts of native strappy leafed plants and grasses and the other by ferns of all descriptions, some big leafed things like the taros, cycads and two very happy Wollamie Pines! There is an open space in the middle of the back which has really tall trees like out native cedar on one side and a grove of different species of casurinas on the other. Now that the trees have gained a bit of height and giving shade we are planting understory things which is a total delight. I’ll try and borrow someones camera and put some pics in.

All this is considered way to much for a suburban garden but everything is thriving and taking care of it’s self. We don’t use herbicides or insecticides of any sort. Nor do we prune to make things bushy so we have a totally different view of these plants to the ‘norm’, all growing as they are meant to be. There is a profusion of frogs (5 species so far), masses of different birds that visit daily, insects that include a range of fascinating native bee species. In a natural undisturbed environment every little space is used by something. I love it this way and only wish there was more space =))

Needless to say there is very little room left for any lawn and what there is has been allowed to develop into a ‘meadow’ which is what lawns originally were. The variety of plants that have really tiny delicate flowers is amazing!

Other than the garden … I have a partner who loves the garden but, never having had one he has been on a sharp learning curve and is rather bemused by the speed things happen. I have a dear elderly dog called Lucy who is definitely my surrogate child (see picture). She loves to go for a potter (her top speed) a couple of times a day. Long brisk walks for us are out of the question at the moment as she would be devastated if we went without her. We have accidentally acquired four cats who are happy to stay inside most of the time and sit at widows and do hilarious whisker wobbling squeaks at the flying dinners feeding in the bushes outside. They come out and help us with the gardening which is not incredibly helpful but they enjoy it. Four is far too many and I don’t recommend it!! I work as an administrator, read as much as possible, and we are renovating our home slowly from a brick box into something more aesthetic. Suburbia is definitely a challenge!

I’m sure this is far too long but never mind … cheers – Cate =))

And PS – yes I know my spelling is appalling – sorry ’bout that LOL

More blog posts by cate

Next post: First flower thrill



wow,it sounds realy exiteing,im sure the cats and your dog are very happy,how did you get them by accident,got a pic in my head of you going shopping getting one and arriveing home with four lol,you must put on some pics would love to see them,chris

11 May, 2010


Great blog, Cate, i really enjoyed it :-)))
Your garden sounds like it still 'is' quite big .... to have got that lot in it ..... and your pusscats have clearly adopted you as the better cat-mother than they've previously had ..... ;-)

11 May, 2010


Wow, you seem to have minds of your own, and know what you want in your
garden....i congratulate you, everything being Natural, allowed to grow as it wants to grow...freely.....rain forest trees, good for you, more trees for the
birds to nest in, i bet, the Wildlife will have the time of their lives....what a wonderful haven, you have chosen to live in, cannot wait for your pics...Cate
Also, cannot wait to see pics of your old faithful doggie, & your family of cats
Nice Blog....: ~)))

11 May, 2010


Interesting blog and thanks for taking the time to describe your garden, do hope you can show us some pics I would be very interested to see some.

11 May, 2010


Can't wait to see the photos of the myrtles and lilly pillies in front of the grevilleas and callistemons. That sounds just lovely.

Welcome from another Aussie ... but further north of you, though. It sounds like you have been working so hard to create this fabulous garden. Black plastic should be banned! Don't know who came up with the idea that it would somehow be great in a garden.

Make sure you post some photos soon ... it sounds like a wonderful garden space with the ponds and the natives. The collection of plants you've planted sounds amazing ... and all in just three years. Marvellous job.

11 May, 2010


Great blog cate! Like the others I'm looking forward to the pics. Lucy looks adorable and I know what you mean by "surrogate child"...I have

11 May, 2010


Well thank you all for reading it all the way through - I kept typing then realised i was writing a book and stopped LOL - great to see a fellow Aussie on here too - are you also and ex-pat by any chance Bernieh?

I promise to do my very best to get photos on here - in fact looking at everyones beautiful pictures has inspired me to try an afford a camera of my own - although it's looking a little tired after such a hot and dry summer - so many of the plants are just getting established and it hit them a bit hard

You are almost right about buying one cat and finding four in the bag when we got home - I went to the RSPCA to get one for my self - and bought two for myself and one for my Partner and his Mum ... then the last one adopted us shortly after we had bought a home together so yes Louise you are right too LOL

Sigh - am at work so better get on with it I suppose - gorgeous weather for gardening though ...

12 May, 2010


Cate ... I'm not an ex-pat sorry! Born and bred right up here in north Qld.

16 May, 2010


Never fear Cate, the blood of Sydney runs through my veins :o))

Good luck with the gardening!

1 Jun, 2010

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