We 'online gardeners' do not always have the opportunity to see the gardens or meet the gardeners we have come to know virtually. Last Sunday I battled rain and roadworks for the 140 K drive to Strathpine and Lissa's lovely garden. What should have taken around 2 hours took 2 1/2 but, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat..." seems to thwart the gardeners I've met, so how could I let the side down? ;-)
By outer suburban standards, this is a pretty small yard but still manages to support a garden with many mature trees (mostly growing up, not out), three raised veg beds totalling around 12 m2 as well as a lawn for the dogs. There are numerous smaller growing plants and a sheltered propagating area.
One advantage not often mentioned is that in a small garden you are more likely to notice the small good and bad things that go on in it. A couple of plants sported the distinctive marks of leaf cutter bees, and Lissa knows where they are hiding :). She also tells me that she checks the veg beds morning and night, aided by a torch. Try doing THAT with a large garden.
Amongst the delightful, mostly edible abundance were the two plants that lured me down the hill; bananas! Toowoomba is really at the edge of climate for bananas, but do grow and (more importantly FRUIT) up here in sheltered positions. And I have those sheltered positions? Errrr, nope but am I willing to bodgy up something in shadecloth until the surrounding trees grow enough to provide that sheltered spot? Need you ask? Both of the varieties I was interested in are reasonably cold tolerant and one, the Dwarf Ducasse can also be used green as a cooking banana, which could be useful.
Touring the garden with secateurs (my favourite kind of garden tour!) and umbrellas, I've come home with cuttings from several interesting plants as well as some potted ones. Who knew Aibika had more than one variety? If I can get them all through this winter my garden (and diet) will be much richer. Thank you, thank you thank you! I'll post the plants and their bios in another blog entry. Check Lissa's photos for ones of her garden, mine look like the drizzly day it was so I won't bother posting them.
After the wander around the garden and a delicious lunch with the veggies for the stir fry coming, naturally from the garden, we hit the Internet to do more garden related things. I had looked at the BLF site for a while because I kept ending up here when googling for information on some of the subtropical edibles I already grow or am considering. Lissa gave me a few pointers on how to use this site and, "Have you seen/did you know about?" etc led us to looking up a variety of other things that one of us had seen, and before I knew it, it was time for me to start back.
We never made it to the front yard, which is Lissa's next project. West facing, it needs some plantings that will help cool the house. The current plants are mostly ornamentals, but the choko on the front fence is what told me I had the right place when I was searching for house numbers. I've got a few ideas, but I'll have to email them.
Thank you Lissa for your hospitality (and plants!) I had a lovely day.