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Mrs D's Bird Sanctuary

Reminiscing of a favourite garden from my childhood

When I was little we used to spend Christmas with my grandparents in Timaru, and I have vague memories of their garden being full of delights - raspberries, redcurrents and roses. It probably wasn't all that big, but for a little person it felt magical - ample space to sit and enjoy the summer and hide from the rest of the family for some peace and quiet. 

I felt a similar sense of magical tranquility when I first saw Mrs D's garden, and the more I learned, the more I fell in love with every single tree on the property. 

Bit by bit I'll share some photos of aspects that could be useful to others, starting with the compost.

October 2020: the first hot compost is used

The first few months with a green waste management system is a bit of a waiting game. Will the soil that comes from that first compost pile be all that we are hoping for? Even without cow manure, biodynamic compost preparations or the range of beneficial weeds I like to include... I was nervous. 

But the soil was lovely, the worms abundant, and the space we cleared was ample for a new cubic metre to get started - hurray!! 

Now that the system is up and running, the three enclosures will be rotated according to these signs: 

RESTING - the pile most recently built, in one or another stage of the thermophilic composting process. (I'll start a compost log with the next batch, and start using the biodynamic preparations)

ALMOST READY - this is an indication that we can use the compost aerator to pull up a lovely plug of soil when needed, and as soon as the moon is in the right spot, the whole lot will get sifted and used as mulch around the garden, with the big chunks getting composted with some fresh green material, cow manure, seaweed, cardboard etc. 

FRESH WEEDS HERE - this is possibly the most important sign, and helps the chaps mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges know where they can leave the green waste. 

The goal is for nothing to leave the property, and for Mrs D. to never have to buy another bag of soil again. In terms of 'Blue Borage Certification', this little garden is the closest I have on my books to being ready to declare circular and biodynamic. 

September updates: the roses are blooming

I am looking forward to seeing each of the rose bushes come into flower one by one - it's quite obvious they have been a treasured part of this garden for decades. Perhaps by the time summer arrives I will have a collage of all the different blooms, and maybe even research their names... 

Compost to blend into the garden

I couldn't bring a plastic compost bin into this beautiful space, but I also wanted something quick and easy. Here's what we settled on: 

  • A roll of chicken wire (it ends up being 2-3 layers thick, to make it stronger)
  • Four stakes placed between the chicken wire and the outer layer, to hold the shape
  • Brushwood fencing, to act as an exterior cover, help preserve the moisture inside and make it look more attractive.

You might wonder about the branch at the top? It's a perch for birds, and the oranges inside the compost are bird food.

The Small Kitchen Garden

I love this type of kitchen garden - it's literally right outside the kitchen! 

This means it's super easy to pop outside and pick a final sprig of parsley for the garnish on a dish, or to harvest a basket full of salad greens without needing to put on gumboots. 

Pop back to check on how these two beds are transformed each season - I'll be growing what I can to meet Mrs D's produce requests.

To be continued...



 

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