by FeR on July 14, 2018 in gardening

I first started (thinking about) gardening 4 years ago, when I first moved to Australia. Wow! How things have changed. From contemplating leaving Australia to now, having my own place.

I have seen and worked in a few more places and hope that this current work will be my forever place (or at least, a good amount of time) as I do want to live in my own home permanently. My 1.5 years of working as a locum has been good and it helped that Melody offered her third bedroom to me for free. Where to find this kind of friend, eh? I am truly blessed to have very kind and generous friends living in close proximity to me.

Right. Let’s get back to my blog topic. Gardening.

I now know why dad is so proud of his longan trees and I can’t wait to get my fruit trees going. Between the inside and outside of my house, I agree with M that I should give priority in setting the outside up first because trees and plants take a while to establish themselves.

I got the help of a permaculture designer to come and have a look at my available space. The courtyard has full summer sun but gets nothing (well, a bit of reflected light and heat) in winter. The front of house gets sun all year round but only for the first half of day as it faces east. I know that I have to place my citrus tree at the front of house due to its sun requirement but am wary about placing raised garden beds there for veggies (although that would be the best spot due to direct sun exposure).

I’m glad to know that the courtyard space is not all hopeless. I am able to plant some deciduous fruit trees, roses (who would’ve thought that I’d be keen on it!), herbs and even grapes (not on my list at all) for natural shade that changes with the season. I’m getting a landscaper to come in next Thursday to have a look at whether the design is doable (logistically and financially!). I’m concerned about planting directly into the ground when my boundary line is literally my neighbour’s house wall (the bane of terrace houses) but I would prefer to plant it in the ground as I know that would be best for my plants’ health (also less work for me! :hee: )

Before the handover, I got a building inspector to come in for a walk-through. He then told me that my courtyard needs to be paved or at least about 2 feet around the perimeter of house. I am reluctant to have pavers in (costs!!!) as it could also make the area dryer/warmer(?). When the permaculture designer asked me what I wanted out of my space, I told her I wanted a zen, cool, green space that will take me away from the fact that I live in an urban area. I really hope it’ll become a reality without breaking the bank.

I plan to espalier my plum + nectarine (yes! Multi-grafted!) tree and later, another of apple tree – may also have to buy a multi-grafted (will be better with early crop due to sun exposure in courtyard, as advised by Nadja) since apples need pollinators. My courtyard is a blank canvas at the moment and I can’t wait to see a before and after once it’s done (check back in two years!).

I started off thinking I could have 3 fruit trees at the maximum due to the space I have – and also because the courtyard is not the best spot to have more of them (whether planted in ground or in big barrels as the space doesn’t get full sun about 6-8 months of the year!) Nadja reminded me about “fruit salad” trees (I remembered Jono saying he has a lemon + lime “fruit salad” tree) and I got a bit greedy. At the end of the day, my list of fruit trees I want to plant is now as below:

1. Lemon + mandarin + orange (Fruit Salad Trees)
2. Blood plum + white nectarine (Fruit Salad Trees)
3. Dwarf “Jiro” persimmon (Daleys Fruit Tree Nursery)
4. Red + green apples (yet to purchase)
5. Dwarf calamondin (yet to purchase)
6. Red/green seedless grapes (yet to purchase)

I would also have to set up an irrigation system so that it will not take me half a day to water everything I have. :lol:

My blank canvas.

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