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a fanciful idea (and rather overboard) pond filter in progress - plus paths


By cate


We finally have some picture of our garden such as it is – it’s only a suburban block which is a first for me – most unnerving to walk out of front, back and both side doors to be confronted by a tall fence – I’ve been lucky enough to have always lived where there is ‘room to breath’.

The soil here is/should be rich red volcanic soil that supported a hugely varied sub-tropical rain forest – however on our little patch was terribly degraded by poor farming practices and subsequent uninterested gardening which had created a barren waste with a few struggling plants in equally struggling ‘lawn’ – the soil was so poor that there were no worms in it and the first trees we planted sulked for 12 months then died,

So we went back to an ‘old’ method and fallowed the whole area for 18 months – our neighbors were skeptical but interested and thought us definitely strange as we cut swathes of chest high grasses every six months and let it just lie where it fell – and I do mean grasses plural – it was astonishing what a variety developed from seeds introduced by (I assume) birds – and not just grasses – all sorts of little ‘weeds’ with delicate and pretty flowers came from apparently nowhere …

And it worked – the roots have broken up the soil and allowed nutrients and worms to migrate through the whole area – the trees we planted 12 months ago have now started to develope a canopy so we have begun to plant out an understory of plants less able to cope with the hot summer sun – and the shade – ohhhhhhhh bliss!! no longer glaring white light coming into the house but green reflected light

Not sure if these pictures will make sense but I’ve been wanting to put some up for ages!

This is a before picture of the back area looking from beside the smaller of the two ponds up to the larger one (me behind the waterfall) originally there were no trees here so the tall casurinas on the left and the others that are ‘getting there’ on the right are a wonderful change – the fence behind me will be hidden fairly rapidly by the tree ferns and Wollemis that are growing there – just have to tolerate the ugliness for a while – have been tempted to paint plants on it!

The same area with the latest project under way – a stream will connect the two ponds creating a natural filtering and oxygenating system – the size of pebbles is graduated from large at the bottom to small on top and sedges, reeds and other water edge plants will be planted into the stream bed to help with this – a pump in the lower pond will move the water to the upper pond via the waterfall

This looks up the garden by the side of the house to the lower pond – non of this area was vegetated and there were not trees originally – palms and gingers on the right – on the left front – tree ferns (for shade), calladiums, nodding violets and other shade loving things are under them – top right is a double trunked local native cedar tree which will get ENORMOUS!! in about 60 years so I’m not too worried – other local rain forest trees flank it to the left and down to the right – lower back pond is by just above the last of the house posts you can see

And this is the opposite view standing beside the lower back pond – pomegranate in the right forground

The rocks for the paths are a combination of local sedimentary rock and a norther Queensland granite

Now there is a wonderful job of PLANTING to be done =))

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You've accomplished a lot with your garden transformation, Cate. It will be great to see your finished waterfall and won't you have fun planting up :)

1 Oct, 2010


Wow - that all looks like fun! What lovely plants you can grow in your climate.

1 Oct, 2010


thank you both =) we do have a lucky climate and now that the soil is much repaired the planting is so satisfying - although basically the plants just do it themselves - because they are local native species they can cope with the insects etc that like to feed on them and the birds they attract are truly amazing!

1 Oct, 2010


It's going to look great, and well done. You've put a lot of work into it :o) Now you've come to the best bit - planting it up :D

1 Oct, 2010


A lot of the hard graft sorted , so now you can really enjoy the rest, ........

1 Oct, 2010


So full of promise! I'm sure that it will be fabulous once you've planted up and the plants have settled in. Well done.

1 Oct, 2010


You've got a young jungle started, there Cate! It's getting nice now, and it's just going to get better. You may need to invest in a machete, though! : D

Well done!

1 Oct, 2010


LOL the machete Tug - luckily at the moment it will be planting and a little light weeding - the theory is that it takes care of it's self once it's established - and that is the 'promise' I'm looking for Claire!! so we can sit and rest and enjoy as Lin suggests =) but there is always room for just one more plant so the planting is never quite done and that's the best bit as you say Hywel =)) - thank you all for you encouragement - it must look rather strange compared to the glorious UK gardens you all have - but we just can't grow the gorgeous plants you have in the sun and heat and humidity here - although Bernieh seems to have a green thumb with many of them - wonder what her secret is ...

1 Oct, 2010


I'm looking forward to watching your garden grow Cate, and to see what plants thrive in your climate and conditions.

3 Oct, 2010


i am a bit late catching up with you Cate but find your 'suburban' garden wonderful to watch taking shape.
I so emphatize with your feelings re. the dead soil and letting things grow for a year, having done exactly the same here but its been worth waiting for, certainly in your case. i think that perhaps you have the high humidity which we lack here, it seems to me your plants grow at a much faster rate than mine. i cannt say that i have a 'canopy' yet!
but all this is such a journey of discovering how to garden in a way that would be totally impossible in england and is one big experiment which when it pays of is fantastic.
i will be following you... good luck and enjoy your garden/ jungle

26 Apr, 2011

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