Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Smith street shop window garden of beauty and love

Just look at what I found wandering Smith St.
What a great city Melbourne is. I must change my ways and never again say a mean thing about succulents. The chance you may wake up to a day that contains a gracious tableaux like this makes life juicy with potential joys.

Here is the shops creatrix, with her aquamarine eyes. A fashion designer who would almost certinaly be a great balcony designer: I wish I could say she stole my idea of a fake-lawn covering for a balcony garden (when its mischevious like this, you can get away with it).
But she carried out the idea, and I did not. And in true Permaculture spirit, she even found a way for Bunnings to give her the lawn bits at a third of the price.
Now about the windowgarden, that's the work of her loving husband. They all came from the one plant, and the both of them keep an eye out for white ceramic pots for the new babies. The first rule for beautiful balcony gardens is harmonizing pots, freeing your eyes to enjoy the plants, and here is the result in all its glory. "Their little faces all look to the street, like puppies', she said. I wish I'd asked her name. I wish I hadn't lost her business card. I hope she finds this blog.

Weekend wonder-WWOOFer

Garden bath, drawn on Sunday for next month's Dengon Net column.
I wonder if I could actually make one..?
The most upstream act of greening your world would be to register as a WWOOF host. Delegation is the best way to end procrastination, and has you thinking up creative projects to do with your Willing Workers when they arrive on your doorstep, bundles of creative energy waiting to be unleashed.
The distraction of having a lovely WWOOFer, Rachel O'Connell, was most welcome this weekend, as it was the day the beautiful Italian man I had such hopes for went back to Italy. The end of a dream.From my balcony garden I watched this horse-drawn carriage pull up in front of our house. For a moment, it was though maybe my Filippo would be taken to the airport romantically. But it was for a bride from the apartment next door. What would life be like if I made more enchanted endings?

Mid morning, I was lucky to be received by Gail, the lovely lady from down the road, who let me view her ornamental grapevine, in its full, stained-glass glory.
The ironwork dome for the canopy was designed and made by her architect son and his mate.
I would love one for my climate-control garden at Buoyancy Foundation.Grapes provide shade for the house, leaves to wrap dolmades in spring, fruit in autumn, and after that, a water color painted by God. Gail taught me that almost everything gets clipped away for the winter, letting warming sunlight into the house. Then, it grows two miles again the next spring. The leaves compost easily, and she has promised to invite myself and my next wwoofer to come and help ourselves to fallen leaves, which break down quickly into good mulch and compost.
The beautiful children from down the lane, Singen and Cathier, come each Saturday afternoon. They make inventions, plant seedlings, and tend my balcony and veranda gardens. Rachel said that hanging out with them was one of the highlights of the weekend.
The cuttings and orchid shoots Gail gave me are immediately given homes by the children. Left to me, getting around to planting the poor litttle things could take days...
Here is the hessian-covering technique Rachel invented today, which keeps the black plastic rim of the pot hidden, while not letting the hessian get soggy. Its our present to the world - please copy, enjoy, and send me any photos of your beautiful work.

Tuck the hessian over a length of wire , tied around the pot with elasticPull the wire together, gathering up the hessian, and twist it tighly with pliers.Scatter with twig mulch, here from the hydrangeas pruned today, and enjoy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

climate friendly Buoyancy courtyard garden vision

Buoyancy needs dappled shade to cool the building, and to allow people to gather in the formerly blazing courtyard. Here are some ideas to import from Tokyo, just to start:

Creeper over mesh over bald or seamy walls, that is what this sandpit needs, being careful to avoid the hot spots. This potplant found behind Spiral Hall in Shibuya is a good model

30 centimeters can be all you need for a garden. This Tokyo garden would fit just right here:

Under-bench potplants
The soil and pot don't need sun or exposure, just the plant: I loved this space-saving idea I saw in Japan: Permaculture stacking. Although there is a gap at the back of the bench for the vines to grow up and out, it would be best to find a carpenter who can adjust the bench to be openable, like in a boat bench. Heres the spot for it: