Top ten list of garden plants

  • Abutilons of all kinds
  • Buddlejas old and new
  • Epiphytic orchids and ferns
  • Gordonia species
  • Heliotrope, Lemon verbena, Fennel and herbs
  • Michelias of all sorts
  • Perennial Salvias large and small
  • Species Camellias
  • Tea and China Roses
  • Weigela of all types

Montville Rose

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Sustainability is a real buzz word. It is about treading lightly on the earth . Not being a great consumer of stuff . Being able to restore, recycle and reclaim. It is about all parts of life. It is the string saving state of mind where we think twice before we discard anything. It is the ability to be self sufficent and to move in the smaller circles . It is about having a contentment with who you are and where you are. Sustainabilty seems to have become serious but if you have a realistic approach it is the natural thing to do.
There are many reasons to have a sustainable garden. Naturally we like to have gardens that are as organic as possible and this can be achieved by using compost made on site. We can make choices about what we grow and in our garden we like to use tough plants that will tolerate change and that give us year round colour and interest.Sustainable gardening is more than that.It is not just about growing fruit and vegetables. It is about how a garden can sustain you physically ,emotionally and spiritually.
Some people may get sustenance from a small garden however for me I like to have a large diverse garden where I can work all day if I want to. Gardening makes me happy and I never tire of being outdoors . Spiritually my garden sustains me and it brings me back to what is important in life.The fact that human intervention into gardens might happen for a percentage of the time facinates me when I think of the greater percentage being done by God and nature.
Gardens should outlive the people who create them.

Lately we have been to Brisbane and the changes that have happened in the almost twenty years since we moved to Montville are astounding. It makes me realise how we made the right decision to raise our family in more rural surroundings. Fresh air ,open spaces, gardening and the down to earth friendships have been sustaining.
As I drove through the back streets of the bayside suburb of Brighton it is as if time has stood still. By anyones reckoning the suburb should be green with mature aged trees and gardens and yet 40 years later the yards still have the same sparse appearance that I remember as a child walking home from school. I would walk past the chain wire fences of the neat homes with rows of gerbras and roses or the yards that had a lawn up to the fence with perfectly trimmed edges along concrete paths. Then there were the occassional yards that had a couple of shrubs or perhaps a tree. I just remember that as a child walking those streets it was often stinking hot and there was very little respite along those footpaths.For some reason the benifits of gardens have not filtered into the suburbs. I can't imagine living in a suburban house without a garden. Some people are keen and their gardens are like a mirage for the weary walker on a hot ,humid day. As a children we would eagerly run through the sprinklers that were drumming away on the footpath is those un water wise times. When I look back it seems such a waste becasue 40 years later and all that water down the gutter many of the yards are as barren as ever.(40 years of compost and organically restoring the soil we would be walking in the garden of eden by now!)
For a start it is sensible to have trees to provide shade when most of our weather is hot. Mature trees create a microclimate for other plants so you can effectively have a diverse plant selection. There are many benifits to the physical work of gardening and being outdoors. It is quite easy to grow edible plants and fruits that can contribute and it is easy to establish compost piles so less organic material leaves the property. So what happened?
I drive along Brisbane streets and lament that there just hasn't been enough effort put into growing trees and plants on footpaths ,vacant land and in domestic gardens. Is it because of lack of interest, knowlede, imagination or is it the lack of direction from local government?
My view is that climate change is a real response to the way cities are so built up ,populated and polluted. Too much hard,artifical surface and too little green space.The best and easiest way to make a city more livable and sustainable is to grow richly diverse plants on every available space. A colouful, shady , usable space with edible plants is achievable desirable and sustainable.If a percentage of the money that was put into roads and tunnels went to greening a city it could be achieved. Brisbane could be the first subtropical,edible city.
My vision would to be to have fruit trees on footpaths . Imagine streets lined with mullberry,custard apples and paw paw trees . Passionfruit vines growing up old chain wire fences. Imagine having people employed to maintain the edible gardens on the streets,not just council workers who mow and trim. Imagine if people who could pick a mandarine off a tree on the way to work. Imagine if there was food growing that anyone could use. Imagine the school children walking home and able to sit in the shade of loquart or banana trees.
I think that people would come out of their houses to garden and to use the produce. The council could be employed to mainatin the trees or pick the excess produce and it could be left at locations to be sold or used for free. Generally I think that there would be a great sense of ownership and that the council workers would be on a 'don't call us ,we'll call you' basis.
It would be more beautiful to have the houses flanked with greenery and more sustainable because the shady trees would create liveable spaces outdoors and the interiors would stay cooler too. It would be healthier as the people were eating food that has less food miles and is organic. It would be healthier too because people would be outdoors doing the physical work of gardening.It would be spiritually sustainable because it would bring people together and it would redefine the social isolation that comes with living in cities. It may also bring a contentment and commitment to the people who participate.It could be a cross generational and cross cultural gardening initiative.
If even one street in one Brisbane suburb could attempt to do this I think it would be amazing to see everyone experience the physical, emotional and spiritual sustainability of gardens.
Cheers Kyleigh ( having a rave)

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