In which I recover from Open Garden and start a new adventure

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the people who planned, weeded, pruned, tidied, fed us, sat on the front desk, took photos, labelled trees, and generally helped out with open garden, and all of you who came, and were gentle with us! We’ve had the most enormous weekend, and it makes me realise how much we need our friends.

I was wondering how I would keep the impetus going after the open garden (and to tell you the truth, the nana nap has featured big in my week!), but now I’ve got just the thing. I’ve been asked to be part of the Garden Share Collective. Yay. That should keep me going at both the garden and the computer. More about that later in this post.

The Garden Share Collective

So first of all, here are (quite a) few pics of the garden on open garden day, when most of the garden was looking its best.


The “kids’ table’ set up by Master 10 (the aunty collector) and the flowers garden


The newly weeded raspberry bushes, thanks to Master 15 (the hungry one)

IMGP3542Mr Gorgeous has done the most wonderful job making companion planting beds under the fruit trees. We used the leftover bricks from the front of the house. The chickens, however, think they’re the most perfect dust baths, so we’re yet to have that argument, which will involve large quantities of chicken wire until the plants are established, I suspect.

Many of these seedlings probably should have been in the ground for open garden, but I was too frantic getting ready in so many areas of the garden that I didn’t have the brain space free to decide what should go where. So there they sat on Open Garden Day, but they were a good starter for conversation right where they were.


The babies!

I made a display table for the day with some of the food I’d preserved during the year, and lots of cordial (raspberry, lemon and lime/ginger), which we shared with our visitors.


Now that Open Garden is over, I have a booking with these chairs. One of the lovely things about the Open Garden was chilling with visitors looking at what’s good about the garden. When I work in the garden I tend to see only the jobs, but having new eyes in the garden made me appreciate again what I have.


I made some posters for the day: one of the history of the garden, and another of our year.


Now, to a mystery. I had a lovely conversation about tomato seedlings with someone on the day (A wonderful lady, I do remember that much) and then this lovely gift arrived during the week. I have a tomato seedling here to return the favour, but I can’t for the life of me remember who I was talking to. Some of the day is a bit of a blur! So if this is you, contact me, and I’d love to share my seedlings with you.


So, onto what’s happening now. The Garden share Collective (you can click on the picture at the top of the blog to go there) is a bunch of people growing food, who share what they’re planting, harvesting, and what they’ll do next, in order to encourage one another. Here’s what I’m up to.


As well as putting in the other seedlings in regular beds, I’ve been making a pumpkin patch. The netting is necessary as the chickens free range in this part of the garden. I have hammered thin bamboo posts into the ground, and joined them with poly pipe. I’ve then stretched a piece of old netting over the top, and then sewing up all the holes. The bottom edge is fully pegged down with some homemade pegs, thanks to some fencing wire and the next door neighbour’s generosity with his cutters. I’ll peg down the top (front of photo) once the plants are in.

It’s also time to get in my beans and corn in, and to plant some more greens like mizuna and lettuce so they’ll be ready when this current lot finishes. I have been planting beans to dry the past few years, and I’ll do that again this year if I have the space. I have 2 big new veggie beds – surely I’ll have space.



The day after Open Garden, I went around and picked lots of the stuff that I’d left there for people to look at, and the result was a big stir fry, a garden salad and 2 lovely bunches of flowers. The strawberries have just started to ripen, and need better netting soon. I’m also picking a bunch or two of asparagus every second day, and the peas and broad beans continue.



Nearly everything needs netting. Urgent are the strawberries, cherries, apricots and blackberries which also need weeding. ( A shame really, my arms have only just recovered from weeding the raspberries.)
Also, and very importantly, I plan to sit in the garden and enjoy it.


20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Brigitte Williames on November 3, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Your garden looks absolutely beautiful Donna! So glad to hear it was such a successful weekend for you all!


  2. How good to hear about your open day – would love to have visited, but was destroyed by the Maffra Show. Like your engineering for the pumpkin patch. Welcome to the Collective.


  3. Wow! The nets sure make it look different! Where did you get them from? Whenever I look for netting, it always either seems to have holes too big or is a stupid shape!


    • I buy it by the metre. Our local Dahlsens used to have 4m wide which is what I used on the pumpkins. One of our local plant nurseries, Rowes, sells the netting 10m wide which I use for the fruit trees. Last year I bought a whole roll from a place in min bulk or thereabouts. Hope this helps. Short answer- try hardware shops or nurseries.


      • No worries. The photo’s look awesome, can you see that view from the windows in your house? When we were there I wasn’t really paying attention to the house (hehehe, to many other things to look at 😉 ) That would be the BEST view!

      • Yes. That’s our view. I can see a tiny bit of snow on Mt Baw Baw in winter!

  4. You are so brave to have an Open Garden. Thanks for sharing your garden


    • Thank you. Everybody was very kind. I think that food gardeners are more forgiving when it comes to looking at gardens, especially others that don’t use chemicals either. They understand the occasional spot or bug.


  5. your last line: “I plan to sit in the garden and enjoy it” yes absolutely! You most definitely should, the garden is looking spectacular! Well done from a fellow GSC’er 🙂


  6. Welcome aboard the GSC, your garden is amazing, I look forward to seeing more of how your pumpkins get on and your new planting. My goodness I just wish the weeds would let up.


  7. Your garden does look very wonderful – I think there are a few of us who wouldn’t mind sitting in it and enjoying. Thanks.


  8. Yes, sitting in your garden enjoying it is very important! You sound like you’ve have a very busy but successful open day, how wonderful. I’m also new to GSC, but very much a beginner gardener in a new (to us, though it’s actually over 100 years old) house and garden with lots of work needed. It’s not huge, but bigger than I’ve had in the past and with lots of potential. I have the same greenhouse as you, but have found my seedlings get too hot in there, especially in the top section. Do you find that? I need a rethink about how to use it to stop my seedlings dying or not germinating in the first place.


    • Hi. Thanks for your comment. Your garden really does look great; it’s so organised! A couple of things about my greenhouse. Firstly, after it blew over the first time, I put a couple of bricks on the bottom shelf, and haven’t had any trouble since. I germinated my winter seeds( cabbages etc) and also my early spring seed in there, but it’s empty now. I planted my tomatoes, zucchini and other seeds into the greenhouse in the first week of the holidays, and they’re in the garden now( mostly, -maybe today I’ll finish the job.) we only had a couple of warmer days, and on those, I took the trays out and put them in a shady place. You could try putting the whole greenhouse in the shade, and rolling up the door. As we have a curious puppy, that would have been tragic if I’d done it! Hope this helps.


      • Thanks, yes I had lots of trouble with it blowing over at first, even with some heavy terracotta pots filled with dirt at the bottom, so it’s been in various positions and now is anchored to the shed wall. But I think I’ll need to move it to the shade. We’ve only had a few warmer days the rest has been freezing and I forgot to go out and open the door on one or two of these days which is when I lost most of my seedlings. I’ve still got a few things struggling in there but I’ve started planting most things direct now, though it’s still too cold for a lot of the seeds to germinate I think. Just 12 degrees today! Thanks for the advice.

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