Thursday, July 28, 2016

Backyard Project - Planting More Trees

Sammy, the owner of Pacific Ecoscapes , is asking me where I want the tree planted in the Gravel Bed Garden.

It is the focal point of the bed so its position is important. I have been holding off from planting more in this bed until I can what the tree looks like. 
We discuss where it could go and settle on its location.
Sammy has to scrape back the gravel, cut a hole in the filter cloth, and dig out the soil below before settling in the tree.

Strawberry Tree/Koumaria/Koumara/Pacific Madrone/Madrona (Arbutus unedo)
We considered many different trees before settling on the Strawberry Tree. It needed to suit the site - sunny, hot, dry thin well-drained soil. It needed to be multi-functional to fit with the permaculture philosophy - edible fruit for birds and me, lots of summer biomass (falling leaves) to act as mulch on surrounding beds over the hot months, falling fruit to feed the soil, a high resting place for birds and a shady spot underneath for me, tannin-rich bark for me to use as a fabric dye. All of these functions made it the winner. Design-wise it is a smaller version of the larger nearby Arbutus (Arbutus mensiesii).
It is an evergreen but like its cousin the Arbutus, it drops half its leaves over the summer. The guava-nectarine tasting fruit takes a year to ripen so the tree has ripe fruit and the next season's flowers both at the same time over late autumn into winter giving birds food into the cold months.

Sammy brought the feijoa/pineapple guava trees for the hedge. I have been growing in pots fig cuttings collected during a Gaia Organic Master Gardener pruning lesson. The soil in the new bed is not yet ready to plant in so Sammy left the plants in their pots and placed them within the hedge area. It is good to be able to better visualise what the hedge will look like.

Fig - Dessert King 
This has proven to be the best cultivar for our climate. Our summers support a plentiful very sweet brebus crop but there are not enough frost-free days to mature the 2nd crop.

Feijoa/Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana)
This yummy fruit bearing small tree will make up most of the hedge. The green fruit ripens and falls in the autumn. It has soft spiky scarlet flowers which will give the hedge a punch of colour.

Sammy brought and laid some top soil for the 2 meadow beds in front of the studio.
He also planted a native apple tree out the front by the letter box.
So lots of new planting that I now have to keep watered while we wait for the irrigation system to be installed.

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