It’s been a long time since the last update and the garden has been through a lot.
As it turns out, we didn’t have soil, which is why things weren’t surviving.
So after great expense, all the builders rubble has been excavated and replaced with real soil. A landscaper also rescued our front garden and now it looks like a real garden!

Now for the backyard. The landscaper also built me some lovely garden beds (mostly a low edge) and created a lawn in the middle.
It’s not a very good drawing I’m afraid, the green lines match the measurements. The deep bed along the back fence is 900ml deep and the side beds are 600ml deep.

There is an additional 600ml deep bed opposite the Alfresco area (which is under the roof line and does not get direct sunlight). It backs onto a fence which does not get full sun as there’s a two storey house on the other side of the fence which blocks quite a bit of sun. The first plants in the new veggie garden was some garlic from Diggers (picked up at the garden show, along with Diggers Club membership), opposite the Alfresco area.

Eventually I’ll have raised beds in the middle of the lawn also (maybe Birdies, anyone using these?), but trying to start with the boundaries and the espalier orchard.
Depending on how many veggies fit in around the orchard, I’m guessing I’ll need at least four raised beds, but maybe more or maybe I’ll have to cut the list.
The brick wall gets very hot of an afternoon and I’m not sure planting anything close to it is a good idea, as it may not survive the reflected heat (especially in summer). I’m wondering though, if that heat could be used for a tropical microclimate. It’s warm during the day, but I’m not sure how much heat is retained overnight.

Trees I’d like to espalier (this  may be too many for the space):

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Figs
  • Blood Oranges
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Tahitian Lime
  • Kaffir Lime
  • Cherries – regular and sour
  • Apricots
  • Plums
  • Nectarine
  • Peach
  • Bay Tree – not sure if this is possible
  • Nut Trees – not sure if these can be grown as espalier? If so, Hazelnuts and Almonds.
  • Olives – Still researching these, while they look easy to grow, I’m not sure they’re as easy to preserve/use and I’m looking for a productive garden.
  • Finger Lime – if there’s room
  • Ruby Grapefruit – if there’s room (I prefer blood oranges)

In the veggie garden, I’m hoping to plant as many of these as possible:

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beans – Broad, Climbing and Runner
  • Beetroot
  • Berries – Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Capsicum – as many as possible, these are my favourite!
  • Chillies
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli)
  • Kale
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Pak Choy
  • Passionfruit
  • Tatsoi
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatillo
  • Rhubarb
  • Lettuce, Mustard & Watercress
  • Herbs
  • Melons
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Shallots
  • Spring Onions
  • Peanuts
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Parsnip
  • Radish
  • Turnips
  • Silverbeet
  • Garlic Chives
  • Plants to encourage bees and good bugs
  • Sunflowers

Any advice greatly appreciated by this clueless gardener.

My garden is in Melbourne’s South East and it’s new soil, never had anything grown in it before in my garden.


My empty garden is mostly rubble, rubbish left behind by the builders, who promised to clean up and didn’t.

Empty Garden - Flower Bed

This is the best spot in the garden currently, it has plants which are not only alive, but have survived a full year in our windy garden (I think the fence helps).

My three purple fountain grasses

Despite the strong winds in this spot, they are thriving. Unfortunately so are the weeds growing up around them in the improved soil. Does anyone know what the green plants are with the white flowers? When small they have a pretty shape, but as they grow they become messy and eventually die. A visitor has told me that they may be from the nightshade family and that some people call this weed a “potato plant”, but there’s no potato-type growth underneath them and I can’t find any picture matches under that name.

Empty Garden - Narrow Bed

Empty Garden - Narrow Bed

Empty Garden - Narrow Bed

Empty Garden - Narrow Bed

Empty Garden - Against the house

Empty Garden - Against the house

I have always been fascinated with Espalier, but I always thought it was for aborists or people with training.

Chris England shows this is just not the case and anyone can Espalier their own trees!

Vasili’s Garden got Chris England to show the world how to do it, on video

Chris also has a great nursery called Merrywood Plants in Baxter Victoria, where you can buy all the gear you need, including black lattice, which I have never seen before.

I’d love to have loads of espalier in my garden, but I’m not sure I know enough about my yard yet, to know where to put them. I’d particularly love blood oranges, but I’m not sure if these grow well in Victoria or not.

The Xerces Society wants to know, have you seen these bees in the USA?

As a suburban gardener, I would quite like to have bees to assist pollination in the suburbs. However I think my neighbours with children would be less than keen on my keeping bees on the other side of the fence. I am also allergic, as are many of my family.

My question to other gardeners is, why don’t YOU have a bee hive?

I am curious to know if any gardeners don’t grow/raise bees due to the cost, as I would be interested in sponsoring a local bee hive in a more suitable location and maybe other people are too.

Tiered Herb PotI bought a couple of pots and some seedlings from Collector’s Corner at GardenWorld and Bunnings. I started with three empty white pots, ten succulent seedlings, a bag of white pebbles and six herb seedlings.

Square Herb Pot I used our bins as a potting bench, as I don’t have one.


This is the what happens when you pick up the open pebble bag the wrong way. Such little pebbles are hard to pick up.

Ten Succulents in a Pot
This is the best photo I got of the succulents, I waited too late and lost all the natural light.

Which is why this photo of the herbs looks so funny, too much white, too much flash. I took more photos, they’re on Flickr.

Bright Potted Herbs

via Margaret Morgan

Jodi DeLong (from Nova Scotia, Canada) has started the Garden Bloggers Geography Project, with the question: Where in the Gardening world are you?

Jodi is asking garden bloggers around the world to post about their local area and as I’ve been meaning to start a blog for my empty garden, so this seems like a good place to start, as I don’t have a garden to post about yet.

I live in Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne is located on the mainland of Australia, on the south edge of the East Coast, in the state of Victoria. Victoria is a beautiful state of Australia. From restful Daylesford with it’s Italian lavender farm, the hidden treasures high in the Dandenong Ranges, the sweeping green curve of the Mornington Peninsula, fairy penguins surfing themselves to shore at Phillip Island, the breathtaking view along the Great Ocean Road to the ever-present heartbeat of Melbourne’s CBD. The tourism slogan is You’ll Love Every Piece of Victoria, so far I have yet to find a piece that I don’t love and just some of the many reasons why I moved to Melbourne and Victoria.

At the hyper-local level, I reside in the Greater Dandenong district, a melting pot area with many vibrant cultures, young demographic and high growth rate, with many newly built houses on new land estates and as a result, many empty gardens (including my own).

I live not far from a place called GardenWorld. GardenWorld is a place that will tempt anyone to get started on their empty garden. Shop after shop of beautiful plants and garden tools. My favourite is Collector’s Corner, which has the beautiful and unusual. Succulents, bromeliads, bonsai, cacti, orchids, bug-eating plants and air plants.

As for my garden, it’s a sad, barren-looking patch of dirt filled with builder’s rubble, aside from a small strip of actual garden which contains three purple fountain grasses, thriving in their sunny spot (I found a photo of the same grass on Flickr). It’s a sterile ornamental grass.

Purple Fountain Grass - Flickr