It has been 3 years since I first thought I would like to help renovate the Cygnet Library garden. Finally, a few months ago, a friend and I were allowed to start on its rejuvenation. Something I have learned from permaculture is to always have 3 reasons for using a plant and all along I have wanted the garden to be not just decorative but also edible and educational, including as many native Tasmanian bush foods as possible.
When I say ‘garden’ you would no doubt imagine something much grander than this tiny strip of barren soil, only about 10cms deep, under which is a solid bed of road base! We did not know about the shallow soil until after we had started to do the work! It is a challenge and I feel my reputation as the writer of the monthly garden column in the local paper is very much at stake here!
Carol is lovely to work with. She is a keen scavenger, like me, and has added many plants she has grown from cuttings, from saved seeds gathered in neighbour’s gardens and from bargains at garage sales. She is an artist and, in time, is going to add some sorely needed artist creations if we can get permission to work around the whole perimeter of the library.
With such shallow soil the only thing to do is to plant very small plants, known to be happy in such a situation, with the idea that their roots will grow sideways. Eventually, when they grow, there will be a wonderful, edible shrubbery interspersed with annual herbs, flowers and vegetables. Summer will be the test but if such a garden can thrive anywhere, it will be here, where the temperatures are mild, there is some humidity and some summer rain. The librarians are fabulous and will keep an eye on things and do some watering when we are not there. Luckily the library is in the main street so I pass it whenever I walk to the shops and Carol does too.
Next step is to add some vertical elements. These will be made of prunings and so on from various trees, some native and some not, cut from our gardens and those of one of the librarians. Heather has also provided some Tasmanian pepperberry plants which self sow in her bush garden. This is the start of our bush foods collection.
All these words…. because I am a little embarrassed when I look at my photos, to see how insignificant it all looks. When I am there, planting or weeding and working amongst the plants, it seems so gorgeous!!
Native viola, a pretty addition to salads. Will spread and self sow.
The biggest bit of the garden!
Ornamental kale, which is also delicious. Nice salad leaves.
Tas. Pepperberry. Leaves and berries are very peppery.
Friday Oct 11th, 11am