Three years ago or so, in August 2020, we planted a Jacaranda tree in the newly cleared garden bed between Abbotsley and Littlewood and then, in December each year since, we wait to see if it will bloom. Yesterday, it bloomed for the first time!
According to gardeningknowhow.com, "Depending on how they are grown, jacarandas may bloom for the first time between two and fourteen years after planting. Grafted trees tend to produce their first blooms on the earlier side of this range, while trees grown from seed can take much longer."
We're delighted that ours is one of the early first-bloomers!
The wheelchair access landscaping project is finally finished!
It’s taken a couple of months, six trailer loads of weed trees disposed of and a ton of future firewood wheelbarrowed up to the back of the house, fourteen trailer loads of mountain soil, five trailer loads of Coldstream topping, four trailer loads of mulch all brought in and spread by hand (with a shovel and garden tools of course.)
Two drystone rock walls were pulled down and rebuilt to form the new sloping path and the six sleeper steps to the right of the front door sleeper steps removed, filled with soil and rock wall border built.
Three tree ferns and a bunch of other plants were transplanted to clear the area and border the path and we took advantage of last week’s sale at the local nursery to plant it out.
The project came about earlier this year when it became clear that we needed to provide wheelchair access to the house where only sleeper steps existed - one set to the front door and then other set, next to the first, up to the brick patio leading to the kitchen/dining room doors and around the side of the house.
Over the years, the cotoneaster and pittosporum trees and other leafy shrubs had gradually taken over the area outside the front of the house too, and the garden path through them had all but disappeared.
One of Abbotsley garden's signatures is its drystone rock walls and borders and one of the significant rock walls is along the front of the house supporting the embankment. To create the new sloping path, half of this wall needed to be dismantled and rebuilt further out from the house and then the whole area backfilled with mountain soil.
But first - those cotoneaster and pittosporum trees and the other unwanted plants had to be removed and the tree ferns and other plants that we were keeping were transplanted elsewhere in the garden.
Bit by bit the project inched towards completion and now we're there.
The landscaping has opened up the front of the house beautifully - we’re delighted with the result and are looking forward to seeing the plants settle in over the next few months.
And it ready now for our daughter, Becky, to visit us again!
Our Bickleigh Vale possums absolutely love eating the new leaves as they emerge on our oak trees each year - gradually killing the trees. After Carole and Chris's success with a possum guard around the tree outside The Spinney, we're trying it on Abbotsley's only oak tree. It may already be too late to save the tree but let's see what happens.
Planting the two dark red Camelai japonica 'C. M. Hovey's at the top of the drive to join the mature one and the amelanchias and form a screen between the houses turned out to be a bigger job than originally expected. It seemed to be a good time to do something about a retaining wall and more Coldstream toppings and then we had the bright idea to use some of the spotted gum logs that had been cut down in the back garden earlier this year.
Great idea - and its nice to have grown your own building materials on-site - but they are very heavy. Bringing each block down the hill and then installing in in place was absolutely exhausting!
But look at the way it turned out - very satisfying :)
More cleaning up and mulching around the new feature sculpture delivered by Fiona from rustygardenballs.com. Now for the planting around it as soon as we're out of lockdown and can get the plants.
So, what next? At the moment, we're thinking of a combination of rhododentrons, camelias and azalias along the lines of this photoshop concept. The colours are yet to be decided and are very likely to be different to these.
It was Beth and Colin at Littlewood next door who started the project. Along the strip of garden between our driveways was a jungle of ivy and jasmine creepers draped over and mixture of dead and living cotoneasters. It's been a project that needed attention for the past 10 years but we never got around to it.
So now we're restricted by CoVID19 to what we can do and where we can go, what better than to roll up our sleeves and get into this so that its all ready for replanting next spring?
Moutains of green waste to get rid of - time to call Sam at Surburban Skips!
A year ago, I posted "The Back Garden Project is Complete" and added, "Now we wait for it to grow!" And grow it has. After a month of weekends getting the spring weeding under control and then a weekend of heavy rain, its looking very lush.
And the cabbage tree in front of the house - which makes such a mess for most of the year, and can only really be appreciated from the back garden looking over the house - is amazing at this time of year when its in full flower.
Chris and Karyn, Abbotsley homeowners since December 2010