The last path

When I was a young teenager my friend introduced me to “The Last Waltz”, a recording of the last live performance of a Canadian band simply called “The Band” (which for their farewell concert roped in musicians like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters (there’s a permie name for you), Neil Young, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and a score of others.) The album became an anthem for the first half of my secondary school. But what does that have to do with paths through our savannah forest garden, I wonder?

Well, of course we’re not operating at that star status level – thank goodness, although I wouldn’t mind to play a bit of guitar like some of those musicians. But in our small little world, we’ve likewise reached one of those major milestones at Dreamland!

When we initially designed and laid out Dreamland, there were quite a few areas where we didn’t have the funds, time or energy to plant the guilds in those areas. In fact, for a few of those areas, we had no idea what we wanted to plant there. We already had so many herb guilds, we didn’t want more herbs. So, we simply planted the fruit trees that we wanted to grow there and covered the rest under weed mat. Ugly old black weed mat. However, it kept the opportunistic plants (i.e. the weeds) at bay in those areas. Over the years that weed mat even became brown from the dust and a lot of it became covered under mulch, most probably because it was lying lower than the mulch surrounding it.

Well, with this last project we have finally lifted the last weed mat at Dreamland! It was a major milestone that actually warranted some celebration.

LP - Barry

Barry – very interested what is under the weed mat

The last area was quite a big one. It includes two well-growing pear trees, some bush tucker (native plums and gumbi-gumbis) all doing OK, a young apricot which already started bearing, a persimmon, a beautiful Magnolia and a massive lavender bush which we both inherited, and a patch of geraniums which are battling out an existence. A part of the area also borders on lavender lane, so it also has some of the new French lavender in it. In fact the area is so big that we designed a walk path (as opposed to a ride-on accessible path) meandering through it.

For the borders we are still using eucalyptus branches that we pick up in one of the lanes of big trees in the town. This time I got an amazing haul! Thick and long branches – many didn’t even fit in the trailer so I had to tie them to the roof racks. I actually got enough to improve some of the other edges too.

LP - haul

Quite the haul – free resources!

So it was the usual edging, irrigation fitting and prepping before I could start planting. When I put in the edging and irrigation I even widened the centre of the path so it can become a little pause area to do a bit of observation. Maybe a little bench on the side one day…

LP - prep 3

So what did we plant as the understory? With our recent focus on bees (as well), we noticed we’re a bit low on plants that flower in autumn. So together with two great currents, we planted many self-raised Zinnia seedlings and we sowed Calendula, Borage, Queen Anne’s Lace, Alyssum, two types of cone flowers and a few others.

LP - Zinnia

Zinnias and Currents

LP - bush flowers path

Native plum, flower seeds and path in the background

In the paths we sowed our usual Fescue grass and white clover mix. Why change the mix if it works? The clover is good for the bees, also good compost fodder and a good nitrogen fixer in between all those fruit trees’ roots.

Two sides of the path, prepped, edged and planted!

With us using a lot of seed and young self-grown seedlings (as we should), it is going to be a while before we will see the effects of this planting. Slow and steady solution. In the meantime we have to keep it fenced off to keep the chooks from destructing and eating the young plants. So young Sticky Steve is currently fenced in.

LP - sticky steve

Sticky Steve fenced in

Does that mean we’re finished planting at Dreamland? No way, not nearly! There are still many areas that have to be improved, and there are areas where the chickens have already caused enough damage that they need regeneration. Like why must they make their dust baths in the middle of my grass and clover paths? We have “installed” dust baths for them (with nice soft sand laced with diatomaceous earth) in between the mulch near their coop, but do you think they will use it?

Chooks dust bathing in another path

But anyway, here’s to a big milestone finally achieved!

About (207 Articles)
My name is Martin Rennhackkamp, I now live happily in Lara, Victoria, Australia with my wife, two children and two dogs. My interests, apart from the obvious Organic, Biodynamic and Permaculture Gardening and Farming, include sustainable living, surfing, horse-riding, a wide variety of music, dancing, nature, birds, reading, Christianity and a few other things which I never get to...

4 Comments on The last path

  1. Congratulations! The path looks nice and I hope Sticky Steve does a good job of keeping it in order for you 😊

  2. Congratulations! You’re moving more into maintenance than creation. It should mean more time for you, and things should start getting easier!

    • // April 8, 2019 at 2:30 pm // Reply

      Nancy, yes and no…. at Dreamland I guess you can say that (although there are some large areas under mulch that slowly need some planting done), and I’m very happy to have reached that milestone! But then at Homeland we have a 25m x 15m lawn we want to convert to a potager garden (once we can get rid of the lawn…)

      • Ha ha! A garden never stops anyhow. Always evolving – unless you can design in your successional planting at the start.

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