Clearing the decks

Autumn is upon us at last.

For those in temperate climates, this isn’t necessarily a matter for celebration, but for people nearer the equator, it represents the start of more moderate weather, a time when the garden doesn’t grow quite as rampantly as in the hot, wet summer, and when stepping out of a cool shower doesn’t make you immediately break a sweat because the bathroom’s stinking hot. So of course, it’s the time of year when you start taking care of all the stuff that’s accumulated over the summer. Autumn-cleaning, as opposed to Spring-cleaning. And it’s time to use all the free dump vouchers Mackay city council has kindly given us.

For me, this means firstly making a start on clearing out the store room, getting rid of the hundreds of boxes and piles and piles of newspaper left over from our move in September last year. They’ve been sitting flattened and neatly stacked but severely In The Way, and now I can face work down in the somewhat less boiling hot and rather dark store room, they’ve gone to the paper and cardboard recycling facility at the dump, pronto. It’s an easy start. I also discovered three boxes of books I was sure had got lost in the move, and have unpacked about a million boxes of the Husband’s DVDs. OK, about 6… but it felt like more, particularly as I had to shelve them as well.

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My second load today, after the trailer full of newspaper and cardboard…

The next trailer load is to be prunings of Monstera and Elephant ear and old deadwood from tidying up around Frogtopia, ripping out the old spent snake bean vines and tomato plants, green palm fronds I’ve cut back and deadwood from my yellow double hibiscus.

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Trailer loads 3 and possibly 4. There’s quite a lot of it to be shifted.

Trailer No. 3 will be the contents of the palm frond dumping bay behind the shed. Until I got my new telescopic offset loppers, I had no way of dealing with the large, messy, very fibrous dead palm fronds that would fall in quantities from the numerous palm trees in the garden, and they went into a corrugated iron ‘box’ to contain the problem until I found a solution. The Husband was in favour of petrol and a match. Which is illegal here unless you get a permit, because of the fire risk. I want to get rid of the lot, and they’ll be going to the green waste facility, along with lots of dead branches and bits of dead wood stacked beside it.

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Somewhere, about 10ft back from this, is a big old ficus and a fence. I can’t install chickens till I find the fence and make sure it’s in one piece. I got just so far clearing it, realised a chainsaw was required, and gave up for the afternoon!

Trailer No. 4 is the ugly, nasty, pointless, spiky, rampant shrubs in the left hand front flower bed. Nothing a little chainsaw action can’t take care of… The long term plan there is that we get a little Dingo digger in to grub up the roots, dig us some post holes, excavate the footprint of the chook house slab, and time permitting, slice off the turf from the area where I’m planning the vegie beds. We’re getting impatient to make a start on the chook area, and it’s time to begin…

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The mandarin I rescued from the Burnie vine, with almost fully grown fruit. Can’t wait to taste those, if I can beat the rosellas to them!

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A seed pod developing on the poinciana. Curious that such a delicate flower can develop such a massive pod – that’s over a foot long!

Meanwhile, I can’t bear looking at that nasty lot any longer and once the Dingo’s done its work I can start planting shrubs and small trees out there. Finally, a permanent home for the frangipanis, the flame tree, the murraya, the cherry guava. And some-where to put the replacements for the plants I had to leave behind at the last Gardens of Chiconia.

All this hacking back and garden planning is extremely pleasurable, but I confess I’m a bit weary…

31 thoughts on “Clearing the decks

  1. Strangely, I was wondering about the gardens of Chiconia just yesterday… great to see you are making some headway and to hear about some of your plans. Looking forward to Chick-onia too!

    • katechiconi says:

      It has been a terribly hot and unusually dry summer, and impossible to do much outside without risking heatstroke. The ground has been rock hard and impossible to work, so anything I’ve done to date has been container-based. Now, at last, the temperature has dropped enough to make daytime work possible, and I’ve got into it with a vengeance!

  2. Oh you are a splendid person! All that hard work must be exhausting, yet you cotinue to sew and to egale us with interesting stuff.
    Bravo. Roll o chicks and replanted flamboyant!

  3. mdlonnie says:

    A bit weary…? Yes chicktonia would complete your paradise.

    • katechiconi says:

      Definitely weary… But I’ll be out there again tomorrow, hacking away in the jungle. I miss having chickens, I love their singing kettle noises, their constant busyness and of course, the fresh eggs every day. They also do a magnificent job of clearing up bugs and vegetable scraps, so they’ll really earn their keep.

  4. Wowzers, you have been busy! I enjoy reading about your garden as I only have two small balconies with some pots!

    • katechiconi says:

      Even on a small balcony you can grow some herbs, a tomato plant and some lettuces. And perhaps a flowering creeper in a big pot… When I lived in a tiny third floor flat in London, I had window boxes on the balcony, hanging baskets, a trellis for tomatoes up the end wall, and herbs and lettuce on the kitchen windowsill. Of course, you have to want to grow food – otherwise geraniums, tulips and ivy look very nice too!

  5. knettycraft says:

    Wow Kate I enjoyed your post so much…. just the way how ypu described your gardening…. As Esther I only have two balkonies but it kept me busy the whole morning. 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Just imagine having to look after 3,000 square metres! Luckily, in this climate I don’t have to persuade things to grow, the trick is to keep them under control!

  6. Kim says:

    Some yard work is in my plan for today as well. With the rain we have had lately, things are a bit overgrown and need cutting back. I have this nasty sawgrass in my front bed that I cannot get rid of no matter what I do. I may have to apply some chemical tho I really don’t want to do that. Drink water and take breaks. It will get done. Good luck!

    • katechiconi says:

      I have a huge thermos mug that I fill with cold water, and every so often I retreat into the air conditioning… Your saw grass sounds like our nut grass, which cannot be killed even by chemicals. You have to dig it up. Boiling water helps to discourage it, though!

  7. Just googled dingo digger. I insist on a photo of you in the saddle when the time comes. 🙂

  8. Now, we all know you are Superwoman but you must take it easy, or at least easier than this. Well done on all your hard work. I’ve been sewing LOL.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve taken it easy for months! I can’t let this opportunity pass, and the jungle will just get worse, the longer I leave it. Besides, I dearly love a bit of chainsaw action!

  9. Magpie Sue says:

    I envy you a bit too. I can’t even maintain pots on the back deck currently. 😦 Not sure I’d want to take a chain saw in hand though! My husband also seems to prefer straight lines although he has to mow on foot as our yard is too small for a rider.We had to deal with nut grass in Texas too. Can’t remember now how we managed it… Wish I could get outside and make things happen the way you have!

    • katechiconi says:

      There’s a product called Sempra which will kill it, but it’s very toxic and very expensive, so I try everything else I can first… I’ve had another strenuous morning out there, so am looking forward to a spot of quiet sewing!

  10. In my book, cooler weather is a delight right down to the soul level. Hope you enjoy it.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m having a ball, it’s liberating not to be trapped in the house by heat and humidity, and to get out there and see what everything has been up to while you were away!

  11. Jen Gardener says:

    Wow, busy busy! Those mandos look amazing!

  12. katechiconi says:

    They smell delicious already, and I’m looking forward to eating my first one fresh off the tree!

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