Friday, July 30, 2010

The Colorado Bed- completed

Our Colorado Bed is just about finished! The whole process went fairly smoothly- first B and I dug as deep as we could into the compacted clay soil (uncovering buried treasures). Of course the boys thought this was great, and Little Bro has been saying "double, double" (=shovel, of course!) every time we head outside now.

I put all the salvaged plants into old potting mix bags which I knew I had been saving for just a purpose (without knowing what...!). We stuck a length of irrigation piping along the bottom of the trench, so that if needed in really hot weather we could send water directly under the trees. Then it was time to backfill- a total of 225 L of cow manure and mushroom compost, alternating with layers of the original soil and dry leaves. The hope is that it will blend up into a well-draining but water-retentive soil.

We let the soil settle for a week, and then it was time for the trees. This was the trickiest bit! As I've explained, we wanted silver birches as an aspen-lookalike. Silver birches come in a range of structures, from upright to drooping and, worse still, they come with a range of subspecies names! B and I agreed we wanted three upright trees that were around 2-3 metres tall, and settled on Betula pendula alba (aka Betula alba). First we headed up to nurseries on Sydney Road (including everyone's favourite, Hello Hello!) but the only place that had large enough trees for our tastes didn't deliver (and we couldn't fit the trees in our car). On the way home I suggested we check our local nursery-which delivers- and lo-and-behold, they had discounted their last silver birch from $45 to $25 and reassured me that they could order two more from their supplier. They also reassured me that in the absence of a label this was B. pendula alba. We went home satisfied that we were supporting our local business, and five minutes later our tree arrived. Too easy....

... or maybe not! The next day I got the call to say that the supplier had run out of trees! So the next weekend, we headed up to Bulleen Art and Garden to see what they had. I wish we'd started there- it's an awesome nursery! The boys loved the goldfish pond, the chicken coop and the carnivorous plants. I loved the range. There were heaps of birches of various description, all around the $20-30 mark. When I explained what we were looking for- a display trunk- the sales assistant recommended Betula pendula "moss white". Silly me said "oh no, we need alba", so two Betula pendula alba were delivered to our doorstep two hours later. And of course when they were lined up side-by-side with tree number 1, they were clearly different. Oh well, if the match is really too bad, we'll pull out tree number 1 and replace it with another Bulleen tree!

So in went the trees, in went some jasmine for the fence (we have a couple of vines further up the fence and love the smell on spring nights), and in went a huge rosemary from our now dedicated camelia bed. I'm growing some more rosemary cuttings to make a complete hedge. The "after" photo really doesn't do it much justice- thin, bare trees in front of a wooden fence really are a bit camoflaged but for now, here is the Colorado Bed, winter version:

1 comment:

ilipilli said...

How exciting! They will grow in no time.

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