Saturday, August 31, 2013

Merewether in Spring 2013

Spring is here with warm weather in the high 20's and not a drop of rain.  After the dry winds of August we needed watering about five times over the month to keep the ground from drying out completely.  With the 12 chickens roaming as a flock they have started to lay with the warmer weather and we are getting 9+ eggs each day.
Tonna australias new spring growth emerging

In the Garden everything is showing signs of movement, especially the red cedar which is covered with new growth

I went and bought another dozen rough tree ferns (Cyathea australis) which I have found grow best in these conditions or perhaps are best suited to my garden management style.  Cyathea australis was first described in 1810 from a specimen collected in the Bass Strait.  It is hardy and will tolerate full sun so long as moisture is consistently available.  I prefer to establish them in the understory and let them find their own full sun as they emerge through the undergrowth.

Cyathea cooperi planted with rocks and water well

I planted them throughout the garden in spots that I have previously overlooked, in 45cm square holes with 25 to 40 litres of well rotted cow manure as a growing medium. 

Then on top I built a well or contour bank to collect water and then covered this with sticks and leaf litter, then bricks or rocks as available.  I have to take such protective measures mainly to deter the chickens from scratching too vigorously around the new plantings, but also to act as a water retaining and mulch base to keep the moisture in.

15 months back I planted four Cyathea cooperi and they have grown well - the two getting the morning sun have done much better than the two getting the afternoon sun, all things being equal.  Nut the different growth rates will give some interest with different heights.

 The birdsnest fern is growing well, attaching itself to the tree after a good 18 months of growing.  It gets direct morning sun and filtered afternoon.  You can see where it has started to cover the mesh I used position it.  All I have put behind it is scrunched up leaves from the mulch - and these appear to be effective in giving some moisture base for the plant to grow from.

Finally, here are some of the flock scratching about in their natural habitat.  I can see four from left to right a New Hampshire, two silver wyandottes and a white leghorn.  Bring on the eggs I say!

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