Highgrove gardening; power tools and bumper crops

In the short time we have been living in the country we managed to acquire a nice collection of power tools and the services of a mower company.

This is a bit of a change from our previous apartment dwelling life in central Sydney, where our gardening tools collection extended to a set of scissors.

These first months have really been a matter of looking what we want to do with it. Our back garden is a nice grassy slope, which deserves a good stone firepit.

A couple of afternoons digging unearthed a stepping stone path leading to a straggly looking mulberry tree.

Digging and weeding slowly revealed the old path

The side are flanked by rows of macadamia nut trees, which have been dropping their nuts since we arrived. These can be lethal projectiles when caught in a lawn mower!

The back of the garden has a nice row of citrus trees; grapefruit, lemon, limes, oranges and something that looks like a cross between a mandarin and a cumquat.

Our mystery citrus, it tastes sour, but is quite refreshing.

The fruits here have been ripening and falling since we arrived. We collect a small number, the majority get taken by flocks of cockatoos or roll under the fence to the donkeys and cows.

And we discovered a banana tree. Relying on the advice from friends and neighbours, we successfully managed to cut down the fruit and I am happy to report that all bananas have ripened at last….. all at the same time!!!!!

This weekend’s harvest… i see banana bread, smoothies and juices in my future

All those trees needed a good pruning, and our son and daughter-in-law took to the tools last weekend, lopping and mulching. Just a tidy, removing the lowest branches for easier access to remove the fruits and nuts in the future. As well as create space for a hammock!

The front garden is where our main focus will be, it is currently full of trees that have been kept small by extensive pruning.

Tip: when picking plants, do read the label to check the size of an adult specimen, as well as preferred soil, light and moisture conditions. Don’t just go for the pretty flowers.

Neither of us are into topiary, and it doesn’t quite seem to suit this cottage. Besides, it requires a lot of work maintaining those shapes, which we are not interested in doing.

We are slowly starting to remove these trees, to get an idea of what else is in there, and what we could or should keep.

The plan is to make the front garden into a cottage garden, that is bird and bee friendly, with a lot of flowering natives as well as a couple of those plants that would originally have been in the garden that fronted this cottage in the 1880’s.

Eastern half of our front garden as it was. Some of these have been removed now, others are scheduled to go.

We are checking out the gardens up and down our road, to see what grows well, what plants thrive in the conditions here, and would suit the garden we have in mind. Ideas and thoughts are very welcome!

Tip: slowly remove plants to discover the bones and potential of your garden. Check out what the neighbours have, and as plants do grow, less is definitely more!

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